Country of origin
7.62 x 39 mm
Cyclic rate of fire
Practical rate of fire
40 - 100 rpm
1 000 m
Range of effective fire
300 - 400 m
In the mid 1950s Soviet
Army issued new requirement for a lighter and more accurate assault
rifle than their
AK-47. These requirements were also complemented by a squad
automatic weapon. Kalashnikov submitted his new version of the AK-47
with some minor improvements. Eventually this improved rifle was
adopted to service in 1959 as the AKM along with the
machine gun. These assault rifles were widely exported. The AKM is
currently in service with at least 35 countries worldwide. Also it
was license produced in a number of countries.
The AKM is a
gas operated, selective fire weapon, chambered for the Soviet 7.62x39 mm intermediate cartridge. It is 0.7 kg lighter than the original
AK-47. Firing accuracy was slightly improved over its predecessor,
due to a hammer release delay mechanism.
improvements, the AKM still had inferior accuracy to most Western
assault or automatic rifles. However this weapon made its name for
its unsurpassed 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. Unfortunately AKM has a poor
ergonomics and is badly balanced.
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
The AKM is
fed from a 30 round box magazine. Late production models were
completed with distinctive red plastic magazines. This assault rifle
is also compatible with 40 round magazines of similar design or 75
rounds drum magazines. Both of these magazines are from the
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 300 - 400 meters.
The AKM was produced
with a solid wooden stock, or folding metal stock (AKMS). This version was
adopted for airborne troops. Both weapons have similar design,
except the buttstock. Even shorter version is the AKMSU, intended
both for airborne troops and special forces. The AKMN and AKMSN
versions are compatible with night vision sights.
multipurpose knife-bayonet of a new type can be attached. A PBS-1 silencer was
specially developed for this assault rifle. Silenced AKMs were used
by the Soviet special forces. This silencer requires a special
sub-sonic ammunition. The AKM assault rifle can be fitted with a 40 mm
GP-25 underbarrel grenade launcher.
and modified license-produced versions of this weapon are Bulgarian AKM, Cuban AKM,
East German MPiKM, Egyptian Maadi
Misr, Hungarian AKM, Iranian KL-7 and Polish AKM.
In 1974 the
Soviet Army adopted new
AK-74 assault rifle, chambered for 5.45x39
mm ammunition. Despite that the AKM was never removed from service and it
is still in used it the Russian Army. Even though veterans claim
that AK-47 and AKM with their more powerful 7.62 mm rounds are
superior to the AK-74 in urban and forest battles, where trajectory
of small-caliber bullet is heavily affected even by the leaves.
AKMN is a
"Night" version, with a universal side mount for night vision sight.
AKMS is a
version with a folding metal stock. It was adopted by airborne
AKMSN is a
version with a folding stock and side mount for night vision sight.
AKMSU is a
compact assault rifle. It has a wooden foregrip with a thumb hole.
This weapon was adopted by the Soviet airborne troops and special forces.
machine gun. It is a heavy barrel version of the AKM, fitted
with bipod. It is fed from 40 round box magazines or 75 round drum
magazines. It was used as a squad support automatic weapon.