Country of origin
5.45 x 39 mm
1 089 mm
Cyclic rate of fire
Practical rate of fire
40 - 100 rpm
30, 45 rounds
1 000 m
Range of effective fire
assault rifle was a Soviet answer to the US
M16, adopted in the mid 1960s
and used. A number of the American M16 assault rifles were captured
during the Vietnam War. These weapons were examined by the Soviets
and tested against the
that was then a standard-issue infantry weapon used by the Soviet
Army. Soviets found out that the new American 5.56x45 mm
intermediate round had superior ballistics to the Soviet 7.62x39 mm
round. An official requirement was
issued in 1966 to develop a new assault rifle alongside with new
ammunition. Their main goal was to improve firing accuracy of the
AKM. Development of the new 5.56x39 mm round was completed in 1973.
It was based on the previous 7.62x39 mm round in order to simplify
production. Also Mikhail Kalashnikov developed a new assault rifle,
chambered for this new round. Eventually this weapon was adopted in
1974 as the AK-74 and became a standard-issue infantry rifle with
the Soviet Army. The AK-74 is also in service with at least 30
countries worldwide. This weapon was license-produced in Bulgaria,
East Germany, Poland and Romania.
has improved firing accuracy over the AKM. This weapon retains all
advantages and disadvantages of Kalashnikov design, including
reliability, ruggedness, simplicity of operation and maintenance.
This weapon do not jams or misfires in worst conditions possible.
Also it has reliable extraction even with dirty chamber and cases.
This weapon can be field stripped in one minute without using any
tools. Its design simplicity made it suitable for mass production.
Its drawbacks are poor balance and ergonomics, as well as inferior
firing accuracy to most Western weapons.
The AK-74 is
a gas operated, selective fire weapon. Design of this weapon is
similar to that of the previous AKM. Even 53% of the parts are
interchangeable. It is chambered for a 5.45x39 mm small-caliber,
high velocity round, that has a slim and relatively long bullet. The
AK-74 is more accurate than the previous AKM due to improved
ballistics and lower recoil. However the 5.45x39 mm ammunition lacks
penetration of the older 7.62x39 mm round. It is also inferior to
the standard NATO 5.56x45 mm round.
safety and fire selector switch locks the bolt group and the trigger
in the "safe" position. It also serves as a dust cover. The middle
position is for automatic fire and the bottom position is for single
rifle is fed from a plastic box-shaped magazine, which holds 30
rounds. It is also compatible with 45 round magazine of the
RPK-74 light machine gun.
of the AK-74 had a wooden buttstock and foregrip. However late
production models were completed with polymer buttstocks and
rifle has a sighting range settings from 100 to 1 000 meters.
However it is way too optimistic, since the effective range of fire
is limited to 500 meters. At a range of 350 meters the AK-74
penetrates a 5 mm steel sheet.
fitted with new relatively larger muzzle brake, which also performs
roles of recoil compensator and flash hider.
new pattern knife-bayonet was introduced. A 40-mm
or GP-30 underbarrel
grenade launcher can be mounted. This assault rifle can be used in
combination with a PBS-4 silencer, that requires a special
is a version with a side-folding metal stock. It was designed specially for the airborne troops. It is fitted with a
new type of side-folding metal stock. It has similar
design to the baseline AK-74, except the buttstock.
is a compact assault rifle. It was
intended for the special army and police forces, vehicle and
AK-74N(N2) and AKS-74N(N2) versions are
compatible with night vision sights. The last mentioned has a
side-folding skeletal metal stock.
AK-74M is an
improved variant. It has been produced since 1991. It replaced in
production both the AK-74 and AKS-74. It has a
side-folding solid plastic buttstock. This version has a scope rail
and is compatible with various night vision sights. Currently the AK-74M is still in
production and is a standard-issue infantry rifle in service with
the Russian Army. It looks like the Russian Army has no plans to
is a light machine gun, adopted alongside the AK-74 assault rifle in
the 1970s. It can be seen as a heavy-barrel version of the AK-74,
fitted with bipod. This weapon is chambered for the same 5.45x39 mm
ammunition. It replaced in service the previous
light machine gun and became the standard squad automatic weapon in
service with the Soviet Army. Currently it is used by the Russian
Army and a number of former Soviet republics.
AK-100 series of assault rifles have been developed in 1994. These weapons evolved from the
AK-74M and were intended for export, as well as domestic market.
Assault rifles of these series are chambered for various calibers.
There are versions chambered for 5.45x39 mm, 7.62x39 mm and standard
NATO 5.56x45 mm ammunition. These weapons have some improvements and
use modern manufacturing processes. The AK-100 series assault rifles
have been exported to a number of countries.
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