FANDOM


AK-74
AK-74
An AK-74

Type

Assault rifle

Place of origin

Soviet Union

In service

1974-present

Wars

Afghan War, various other conflicts in Asia and the Middle East

Designer

Mikhail Kalashnikov

Designed

1947

Manufacturer

Izhevsk Mechanical Works

Produced

1974–present

Cartridge

5.45x39mm

Feed system

30-round or 45-round RPK-74 detachable box magazine


The AK-74 (Russian: Автомат Калашникова образца 1974 года or "Kalashnikov automatic rifle model 1974") is a 5.45mm assault rifle developed in the early 1970s in the Soviet Union. It was developed from the earlier AKM (itself a refined version of the AK-47) and introduced in 1974.

The rifle first saw service with Soviet forces engaged in the Afghanistan conflict. Presently, the rifle continues to be used by the majority of countries of the former USSR. Additionally, unlicensed copies were produced in Bulgaria (AK-74 and AKS-74U), China (Type 88), the former East Germany (MPi-AK-74N, MPi-AKS-74N, MPi-AKS-74NK) and Romania (PA md. 86).

HistoryEdit

The idea of the reduced caliber ammunition for military shoulder arms was played with for a very long time. Each time the technology leaped forward, the standard calibers were reduced - from the 0.45 - 0.50 inch (11.4 - 12.7mm) of the mid-1800 to the .30 of the mid-1900s. The idea of further reduction of the caliber down to 6.5 - 5.6 mm (.240 - .220 inch) was also considered in many countries since the beginning of the 20th century, but it was not until the 1960s when the idea of a low impulse, small-caliber, high velocity round came up to something real. When the US Army adopted the M16 rifle in the mid-1960s, everybody else eyed Americans with interest. And as soon as the idea of a small caliber rifle was found worthwhile, the total rearming began.

The Soviet Army started the development of its own small-caliber ammunition in the early 1960s. After some years of development, a new round was created. This round featured a bottlenecked, tapered case 39mm long made of steel, loaded with slim, relatively long bullet with nominal caliber of 5.45mm (actual bullet diameter is 5.62 mm). The bullet featured a combined steel and lead core with the hollow nose, muzzle velocity from the 415mm barrel was about 900 m/s. It must be noted that the new 5.45mm ammunition featured a new case of smaller diameter (compared to 7.62x39 M43 cartridges); this allowed for a lighter round and also solved the problem of loading of the 7.62mm ammunition into the 5.45mm weapon by mistake (which otherwise might result in a catastrophical failure of the weapon).


As soon as the new ammunition was available and accepted by the Soviet Military, it was decided to develop a new family of small arms around this cartridge, and an official requirement for the new family of small arms were issued to all development organizations in 1966. Trials of new weapons commenced in 1968, and it must be noted that most rifles, submitted for trials, were of highly advanced designs, as the main goal of the new weapon was to significantly improve hits probability (compared to 7.62mm AKM rifles). Most weapons were build using so called "balanced action", in which additional mass is added to the action to counter-recoil synchronously with the bolt group, to minimize its effect on the gun stability. About the only weapon of the more or less conventional design was the entry by Kalashnikov team - this was more or less the old AKM rifle, adapted for new 5.45mm ammunition.

After extensive and torturing tests two weapons were put forward for extended troop trials - the conventional A-3 assault rifle by Kalashnikov and the 'balanced action' SA-006 rifle by Konstantinov. During field trials the latter was found to be much more accurate (and thus more combat-effective), especially in the hands of the average trained soldiers, while being adequately reliable. Despite that, trials commission have recommended the Kalashnikov entry for adoption, as its design was already familiar to both industry and troops, and possibility of teething problems during production and use was relatively low, compared with entirely new design by Konstantinov. The new Kalashnikov rifle also was simpler in design, lighter and somewhat cheaper to manufacture.

Following the decision of trials commission, the Kalashnikov 5.45mm assault rifle was officially adopted by Soviet army early in 1974 as" 5.45mm Avtomat Kalashnikova, obraztsa 1974 goda (AK-74)". Basically, it was the same old AKM weapon, adapted to the smaller 5.45mm ammunition and fitted with a relatively large muzzle brake. Another distinguishing feature was found on the buttstock, in the form of two lightening oval cuts on either side. The folding butt version, known as the AKS-74, which was intended for airborne troops, also featured a new type of folding buttstock - instead of the earlier pattern of underfolding stock, found on 7.62mm AKMS rifles, the AKS-74 featured more rigid and robust side-folding metallic buttstock, which folded to the left side of the gun.

VariantsEdit

AKS-74Edit

The AKS-74 ("S" – Skladnoy [Folding]), is a variant of the AK-74 equipped with a side-folding metal shoulder stock, designed primarily for use with air assault infantry and developed alongside the basic AK-74. Unlike the AKMS's somewhat fragile underfolding stock (modeled after the MP 40 submachine gun stock), the AKS-74 stock is fabricated from stamped sheet metal struts, machine pressed into a "U" shape and assembled by punch fit and welding. The stock has a triangular shape; it lacks the folding shoulder pad found on the AKMS stock and is folded to the left side of the receiver. The hinged stock is securely locked in its extended position by a spring-loaded button catch located at the rear of the receiver, on the left side. When folded, the stock is held closed by a spring-loaded capture hook situated on the left side at the front of the receiver housing. A rear-mounted sling swivel is also provided on the right side at the beginning of the stock frame.

The rifle's compact dimensions, compared to the AKS-74, were achieved by using a short 210 mm (8.3 in) barrel (this forced designers to simultaneously reduce the gas piston operating rod to an appropriate length). In order to effectively stabilize
Aks74

The AKS-74.

projectiles, the barrel’s twist rate was increased from 200 mm (1:8 in) to 160 mm (1:6.3 in). A new gas block was installed at the muzzle end of the barrel with a new conical flash hider combined with a cylindrical muzzle booster, which features an internal expansion chamber that increases the weapon's reliability. The booster enhances the recoil impulse by supplying the gas system with residual gases from the barrel. The chrome-lined muzzle booster also burns any remaining propellant thus reducing the gun's signature. The muzzle device locks into the gas block with a spring-loaded detent and features two notches cut into the flash hider cone, used for disassembly using the supplied cleaning rod. The forward sling loop was relocated to the left side of the carbine and the front sight was integrated into the gas block.In 1979, a shortened carbine variant of the AKS-74 was adopted into service with the Soviet Army: the AKS-74U (U—Ukorochenniy, lit. Shortened), which in terms of tactical deployment, bridges the gap between a submachine gun and an assault rifle. It was intended for use mainly with special forces, airborne infantry, rear-echelon support units and armored vehicle crews. It is still used in these roles, but has been augmented by various submachineguns, and the AK-105. It is also commonly used by law enforcement; for example, each urban police foot patrol is issued at least one.

AKS-74UEdit

In 1979, a shortened carbine variant of the AKS-74 was adopted into service with the Soviet Army: the AKS-74U (U—Ukorochenniy, lit. Shortened), which in terms of tactical deployment, bridges the gap between a submachine gun and an assault rifle. It was intended for use mainly with special forces, airborne infantry, rear-echelon support units and armored vehicle crews. It is still used in these roles, but has been augmented by various submachineguns, and the AK-105. It is also commonly used by law enforcement; for example, each urban police foot patrol is issued at least one.

The rifle's compact dimensions, compared to the AKS-74, were achieved by using a short 210 mm (8.3 in) barrel (this forced designers to simultaneously reduce the gas piston operating rod to an appropriate length). In order to effectively stabilize projectiles, the barrel’s twist rate was increased from 200 mm (1:8 in) to 160 mm (1:6.3 in). A new gas block was installed at the muzzle end of the barrel with a new conical flash hider combined with a cylindrical muzzle booster, which features an internal expansion chamber that increases the weapon's reliability. The booster enhances the recoil impulse by supplying the gas system with residual gases from the barrel. The chrome-lined muzzle booster also burns any remaining propellant thus reducing the gun's signature. The muzzle device locks into the gas block with a spring-loaded detent and features two notches cut into the flash hider cone, used for disassembly using the supplied cleaning rod. The forward sling loop was relocated to the left side of the carbine and the front sight was integrated into the gas block.

The AKS-74U also has a different sighting system with a U-shaped flip sight instead of the standard sliding notch rear sight. This sight has two settings: "P" (calibrated for firing at 350 m) and "4–5" (used for firing at distances between 400–500 m). The rear sight is housed in a semi-shrouded protective enclosure that is riveted to the receiver's top cover. This top cover is integral with the gas tube cover and hinged from the barrel trunnion, pivoting forward when opened. Both the gas tube and handguard are also of a new type and are shorter than the analogous parts in the AKS-74.

The AKS-74U is significantly more maneuverable in tight quarters than the AKS-74, however the significant decline in muzzle velocity from 900 m/s (2,952.8 ft/s) to 735 m/s (2,411.4 ft/s) resulted in a decrease in effective range (the effective hitting distance for a "running"-type silhouette target was reduced from 625 to 350 m). The carbine cannot mount a bayonet or standard under-barrel grenade launcher. However, a suppressed 30 mm BS-1 grenade launcher was developed specifically for that platform that fires a high-explosive dual purpose (HEDP) grenade. The grenades for the BS-1 are launched by blank cartridges and the rifle is cycled manually in this mode of operation. The majority of AKS-74U carbines were manufactured at the Tula Arms Factory rather than Izhmash. The AKS-74U was also used as the basis for several other unique weapons, including the bullpup OTs-14 Groza specialist carbine and the Gepard series of multi-caliber submachine guns (none of which evolved past prototype stage).

Specialized variantsEdit

The AK-74 is also available in several "night-fighting" configurations, equipped with a side-rail used to mount night vision sights (these variants, the AK-74N, AKS-74N and AKS-74UN are used in conjunction with NSPU and NSPUM sights). The AKS-74UB ("B"—Besshumniy) is a sound-suppressed variant of the AKS-74U adapted for use with the PBS-4 suppressor (used in combination with subsonic 5.45x39mm US ammunition).[10] Very little is known about this model.

AK-74MEdit

In 1991 the Izhmash factory in the city of Izhevsk began full scale production of an improved variant of the AK-74 – the AK-74M (M –Russian: Модернизированный;Modernizirovanniy or "modernized") assault rifle. Apart from several minor production improvements the rifle also features a new synthetic stock made from a black, glass-filled polyamide that is shaped like the AK-74
Ak74m 91

The AK-74M. Issued to the Russian troops since the early 1990s.

fixed stock, but also folds like in the AKS-74S. Additionally the AK-74M uses a reinforced muzzle device and dust cover. Each AK-74M is fitted with a side-rail bracket for mounting optics. The AK-74M would have been adopted by the Soviet Union as the standard service rifle, and has been accepted as the new service rifle of the Russian Federation.

AK-100 seriesEdit

The AK-74 was also the basis for the new Russian family of Kalashnikov firearms: the 5.56 mm AK-101 standard rifle and 5.56 mm AK-102 carbine (both use the NATO-standard 5.56x45mm cartridge), 7.62 mmAK-103 assault rifle and 7.62 mm AK-104 (both chambered for the 7.62x39mm M43 round) and the 5.45 mm AK-105 carbine (adapted to use 5.45x39mm M74 ammunition). The AK-101, 102, 103 and 104 are destined primarily for export, while the AK-105 is slated to replace the AKS-74U with the Russian Armed Forces.

GalleryEdit

See alsoEdit

Ad blocker interference detected!


Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.