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Simonov SPP-1

Underwater Pistol [ 1971 ]

The Simonov SPP-1 was developed for specialist forces as an underwater-firing pistol - it served throughout the Cold War years.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 09/27/2016 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

During the late 1960s Soviet engineers worked on providing a new kind of weapon for specialist troops operating underwater. This became the Simonov SPP-1 "underwater pistol" introduced in 1971. Design of the SPP-1 fell to Vladimir Simonov who also lent his talents to the upcoming APS "underwater assault rifle" of 1975 (detailed elsewhere on this site). The cartridge was a joint design approach headed by Oleg Kravchenko and Pyotr Sazonov. Manufacture of the pistol has been through TOZ / Tula Arms Plant and the pistol may still be in service with Russian special forces today (2015).

The SPP-1 fires a specially-made 4.5x40mmR 5.7"-long cartridge (essentially a small, slim dart fitted as the nose of a standard Soviet 7.62x39mm case) from a unique four-barreled arrangement (stacked as 2x2 square). Reloading involves a break-action system which exposes the barrels near the breech of the gun. Four darts are clipped as a single unit for ease in reloading. The trigger is of a Double-Action (DA) design and a smoothbore barrel guides the projectile at least to the muzzle of the firearm. From there, hydrodynamics are relied upon to keep the outgoing projectile on its path towards the target - effective range underwater being about 55 feet in 16 feet of water. As pressures change in deeper water, range and effectiveness is reduced. This design element limits the value of the SPP-1 when firing out of the water as the smoothbore barrel does not aid in ranged accuracy as much - effective range being about 50-60 feet with accuracy variable. Muzzle velocity is rated at 790 to 820 feet per second. Nevertheless, this is a weapon for specialist troops to be fired under special conditions and in that role it succeeds.

The weapon is not necessarily compact featuring a length of 9.6 inches, a width of 1.5 inches and a height of 5.4 inches. Weight is about 36 ounces when loaded. The large trigger ring makes the weapon particularly cumbersome.

The "SPP-1M" model was brought along with some refinements to the base SPP-1 design, namely in introducing an additional spring for improved trigger pull and an enlarged trigger ring so the weapon could be more easily used by a gloved hand.

Despite its 1960s origins, the SPP-1 was not publically revealed until the 1990s.©MilitaryFactory.com
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Service Year

Soviet Union national flag graphic
Soviet Union


Underwater Pistol

Tula Arms Plant; TsNIITochMash - Soviet Union / Russia
(View other Arms-Related Manufacturers)
National flag of Russia National flag of the Soviet Union Russia; Soviet Union
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Pistol / Sidearm
Compact design for close-quarters work or general self-defense.
Special Purpose
Special purpose weapon for a specially defined battlefield role.

Overall Length
244 mm
9.61 in
Barrel Length
220 mm
8.66 in
Empty Wgt
2.09 lb
0.95 kg

Iron Front and Rear



(Material presented above is for historical and entertainment value and should not be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation - always consult official manufacturer sources for such information)



Rounds / Feed

4-Shot Clip
Cartridge relative size chart
*May not represent an exhuastive list; calibers are model-specific dependent, always consult official manufacturer sources.
**Graphics not to actual size; not all cartridges may be represented visually; graphics intended for general reference only.
Max Eff.Range
60 ft
(18 m | 20 yd)
Muzzle Velocity
800 ft/sec
(244 m/sec)

SPP-1 - Base Series Designation
SPP-1M - Enlarged trigger ring; additional spring added to improve trigger pull.

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Image of the Simonov SPP-1
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