Country of origin
Length (with folded stock)
Cyclic rate of fire
Practical rate of fire
40 - 100 rpm
1 000 m
Range of effective fire
is a Polish clone of the Soviet
AK-74. In the mid 1970s the
Soviet Union switched from 7.62x39 mm ammunition to 5.45x39 mm round
and encouraged other nations from Warsaw Pact, including Poland, to
follow. Development of the new Polish assault rifle, chambered for
5.45x39 mm ammunition commenced in the late 1970s or early 1980s.
First prototypes appeared in the early 1980s. The Polish weapon was
intended to be a lighter and more modern version of the Soviet
AK-74. The weapon was adopted by the Polish armed forces as the Kbk
wz.1988 Tantal. Full-rate production commenced in 1990 and ceased in
1994. Around 25 000 of these assault rifles were produced. These
numbers are humble considering the size of the Polish armed forces.
In the mid 1990s Poland was moving towards joining NATO. The country
needed to completely re-arm its military with new weapons,
compatible with standard NATO ammunition. Eventually in 1997 a
wz.1996 Beryl, which is essentially a re-chambered Tantal, was
adopted as a standard-issue weapon. So the Tantal assault rifle was
used only for a couple of years.
is a gas-operated, selective fire weapon, chambered for a Soviet
5.45x39 mm ammunition. This weapon has a more complex trigger
mechanism than the Soviet AK-74, which alongside semi-auto and
full-auto modes allowed for 3-round burst. However this led to a
decreased reliability. It looks like this mechanism was borrowed
assault rifle, which is another clone of the AK-74, and was
developed during the same time frame, but appeared a couple of years
earlier. Only few other AK clones have this 3-round burst
A fire mode
selector is located on the right side of the receiver and is
operated by the thumb. A safety switch is similar to that of the
AK-74 and is located on the right side of the receiver. Overall such
fire model selector and safety arrangement is more comfortable to
operate that that of the AK-74. Though it is not that comfortable as
that of the US
assault rifle. Furthermore this more complicated trigger mechanism reportedly caused frequent
jamming and misfires.
is simple in technology. It is a rugged weapon that can withstand
battlefield abuse. Also this weapon
is also simple to use and to maintain. This assault rifle can be
briefly field stripped for cleaning without using any tools. There
is a minimum of parts. Furthermore there are no small or fiddly
parts, that can be lost while cleaning the weapon.
of its advantages, the Tantal is inferior to most Western assault
rifles in terms of range, accuracy and ergonomics.
was originally fed from 30-round steel magazines. Though this
assault rifle is sometimes seen with polymer materials.
assault rifle has a simple side-folding wire stock. The concept
behind such stock was that the same basic weapon could be used by
all kinds of forces, including infantry, airborne troops, special
forces, and non-frontline troops, who typically need a more compact
weapon. The stock is identical to that of the East German MPi-KMS
comes with a Bakelite foregrip. It has a slightly different shape
than that of the Soviet AK-74.
This Polish assault rifle
has got a simple iron sights. Sighting range can be set from 100 to
1 000 m in 100 m increments. However the maximum range of 1 000 is
too optimistic. Effective range of this weapon is limited to 500
meters. The AIMS-74 has inferior accuracy to most Western designs
due to poor balance and other specific design features. Some of
these Polish assault rifles have a standard Eastern block
side-mounting rail for various scopes and night vision sights.
has a different flash hider than that of the AK-74 and
can launch rifle grenades. These rifle grenades are launched using
standard live ammunition and have a range of 150 to 250 meters.
Grenades are effective against enemy troops, soft skin and lightly
armored vehicles. The Tantal assault rifle can also mount a Polish
wz.1974 or wz.96 Pallad 40 mm underbarel grenade launcher. A
knife-bayonet can be also mounted.
is a compact assault rifle. In concept the Onyks is similar to the
AKS-74U. It was specially developed for military and police
special operations units and vehicle crews. The Onyks is based on
the Tantal, but has a much shorter barrel. Front sight post was
relocated on the gas chamber. The rear sight post is also different.
Maximum sighting range is 400 meters. Initial pre-production batch
was manufactured in 1993. However it was not approved for
production. Some sources report that only 200 of these compact
assault rifles were ever built.
wz.1996 Beryl is a version of the Tantal, chambered for a
standard NATO 5.56x45 mm ammunition. During the mid 1990s Poland was
moving towards joining NATO. The country needed to completely re-arm
its military with new weapons, compatible with standard NATO
ammunition. First prototypes of the Beryl were completed in 1995. It
was adopted by the Polish armed forces in 1997 and became a
standard-issue infantry rifle. It replaced both the PMK
(license-produced version of the
AK-47)(7.62x39 mm) and Tantal (5.45x39 mm) assault rifles. This weapon has
some improvements over the Tantal.