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Assault rifle


The AKM made its name for reliability, ruggedness, simplicity of operation and maintenance

Caliber 7.62 x 39 mm
Weight (empty) 3.6 kg
Length 880 mm
Length (with folded stock) -
Barrel length 415 mm
Muzzle velocity 715 m/s
Muzzle energy 2 000 Joules
Cyclic rate of fire 660 rpm
Magazine capacity 30 rounds
Sighting range 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. 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 RPK light 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 7.62 x 39 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.

   Despite all 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.

   The combined 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 shots.

   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 RPK light machine gun.

   This assault 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.

   A detachable 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.

   Direct copies of this weapon are Bulgarian AKM, Cuban AKM, Egyptian Maadi Misr, Hungarian AKM, Iranian KL-7 and Polish AKM.

   In 1974 the Soviet Army adopted new AK-74 assault rifle, chambered for 5.45 x 39 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.




   RPK light 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.







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