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Compact assault rifle


The AKS-74U is a compact version of the AKS-74 assault rifle

Country of origin Soviet Union
Entered service early 1980s
Caliber 5.45x39 mm
Weight 2.49 kg
Length 735 mm
Length (with folded stock) 490 mm
Barrel length 200 mm
Muzzle velocity 735 m/s
Cyclic rate of fire 700 rpm
Practical rate of fire 40 - 100 rpm
Magazine capacity 30, 45 rounds
Sighting range 400 m
Range of effective fire 150 - 200 m


   The AKS-74U is a compact version of the AKS-74 assault rifle. Its development commenced in the mid 1970s. It was intended for airborne troops and special forces. It has similar design to the earlier AKMSU compact assault rifle, but is chambered for a 5.45x39 mm ammunition. The AKS-74U was adopted in the early 1980s. This weapon was adopted not only by paratroopers, but also by vehicle and artillery crews, and even law enforcement forces. Interestingly though airborne troops retired the AKS-74U soon after its introduction due to its insufficient range. However this weapon is widely used in Russia to this day. It has been exported to a number of countries. Some countries produced their local clones of this weapon. The AKS-74U is sometimes nicknamed in the USA as the Krinkov. This nickname was originally devised by Afghani Mujahedins during the Soviet War in Afghanistan.

   The AKS-74U is a gas operated, selective fire weapon. It uses 5.45x39 mm small-caliber, high velocity ammunition with slim, and relatively long bullet. In terms of weight and dimensions this compact assault rifle is close to submachine guns and personal defense weapons. However it packs a much more formidable punch.

   This weapon is based on the famous Kalashnikov design and retains all its advantages and disadvantages, 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. Also this compact assault rifle overheats rapidly when firing in bursts. Many parts of the AKS-74U are interchangeable with the AK-74 assault rifle.

   This compact assault rifle is capable of semi-auto and full-auto firing. The combined safety and fire mode 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 AKS-74U is fed from 30-round magazines. The same magazines are also used by the AK-74 assault rifle and its variants. This weapon is compatible with 45-round magazines of the RPK-74 light machine gun.

   The AKS-74U is fitted with a side-folding metal stock. Original weapons have a wooden foregrip. Since the early 1990s this weapon is fitted with plastic foregrip.

   This compact assault rifle has a sighting range of 400 m. The rear flip-up sight is adjustable and has settings for 200 and 400 m. Effective range of this weapon is 150 to 200 meters. Beyond this range accuracy is poor, but bullets remain lethal at greater ranges.

   Its versions, the AKS-74UN and -UN2 are compatible with night vision sights. The AKS-74U is not compatible with a bayonet.

   In the mid 1990s the AKS-74U was replaced in production by the AK-105 compact assault rifle. It is chambered for the same ammunition, and is compatible with the same magazines. The AK-105 is currently used by the Russian Army and Ministry of Internal Affairs, and has been exported to Armenia. However the AKS-74U is still used in large numbers.




   AKS-74UN and AKS-74UN2 are versions with side mounting rail, that can be fitted with night vision sights. These are typically used with NSPU and NSPUM night sights.

   AKS-74U-UBN is version for special forces, fitted with silencer and BS-1 Tishina suppressed 30-mm underbarrel grenade launcher.

   Onyx is a Polish version of the AKS-74U.







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