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
which was adopted in 1964. 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
which was then a standard-issue infantry weapon used by the Soviet
Army. It turned out that the new American 5.56x45 mm
intermediate ammunition has 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 ammunition was completed in 1973.
It was based on the previous 7.62x39 mm ammunition in order to simplify
production. Also Mikhail Kalashnikov developed a new assault rifle,
chambered for this new round. This was essentially a rechambered AKM
with some minor improvements. This weapon was adopted in
1974 as the AK-74 and became a standard-issue infantry rifle with
the Soviet Army. By 1985 all previous AKM assault rifles were
replaced in service by the AK-74. 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. Such compatibility allowed to reduce production
costs, simplified logistics and training.
This weapon is chambered for the 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. Also the soldier can carry more
ammunition as it is lighter. 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. The AK-74 could not match
accuracy of the original M16 and was even less accurate than a US
M16A2, which was adopted in 1982.
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
rifle is fed from a plastic box-shaped magazines, that hold 30
rounds. It is also compatible with 45 round magazine of the
RPK-74 light machine gun.
of the AK-74, produced since 1974 until 1986, had a wooden buttstock and foregrip. However
weapons produced since 1986 were fitted with brownish 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 plate.
fitted with a new muzzle brake, which is relatively larger than that
of the AKM. It reduced the recoil and reduces the flash while
new pattern knife-bayonet was introduced. This assault rifle can
or GP-30 40 mm underbarrel
grenade launcher. It can also mount 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. It replaced in
production the AKMS.
is a compact assault rifle. It was
intended for the special army and police forces, vehicle and
artillery crews. It was adopted in 1979.
AK-74N2 are "night" versions. These have special scope rails and are
compatible with NSPU and NSPUM night vision sights.
AKS-74N2 are "night" versions of the AKS-74 with a side-folding
AK-74M is an
improved variant. It has been produced since 1991. It replaced in
production both the AK-74 and AKS-74, as well as "night" versions. It has a
side-folding solid polymer 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 immediate plans to
is a light machine gun. It was 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 a bipod. This weapon is chambered for the same 5.45x39 mm
ammunition. Essentially it is a rechambered version of the RPK with
some minor improvements. It replaced in service the
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 methods. The AK-100 series assault rifles
have been exported to a number of countries.
was a North Korean version of the AK-74. It had some modifications
to suit local needs and manufacturing capabilities. This weapon was
adopted by the North Korean military and replaced in service the
assault rifle (copy of the
The Type 88 has been exported to some African countries. Eventually
North Korea adopted further improved versions of their Type 88.