Kalashnikov AK-47 / AKM [Automatic Rifle]:

The AK-47 is a very simple, and effective weapon. Alexi Klashnikov, was dissatisfied with the poor finish found on war time weapons. He set about to create something better. The AK-47 (Automat Klasnikov, year 47) reverted to prewar manufacturing methods, resulting in an excellent, nearly unbreakable, weapon. It is a gas-operated, selective-fire weapon firing the Soviet 7.62 x 39-mm M1943 round and uses a standard 30-round curved box magazine. The AK comes in two versions: one with a fixed wooden stock, and another, the AKS, with a folding metal stock issued primarily to parachutists and armor troops. Except for the differences in the stock and the lack of a tool kit with the AKS, the two versions were identical. The early AKs had no bayonet, but the version with the fixed wooden stock later mounted a detachable knife bayonet. The improved model, known as the AKM, is easier to produce and operate. It weighs about one kilogram less than the AK. The reduced weight results from using thinner, stamped sheet metal parts rather than machined, forged steel; laminated wood rather than solid wood in the handguard, forearm, pistol grip, and buttstock; and new lightweight aluminum and plastic magazines. Other improvements include a straighter stock for better control; an improved gas cylinder; a rate-of-fire control alongside the trigger; a rear sight graduated to 1,000 meters rather than 800 meters; and a greatly improved, detachable bayonet. The AKM also has a folding-stock version, designated AKMS, intended for use by riflemen in armored infantry combat vehicles such as the BMP. Except for its T-shaped, stamped-metal, folding buttstock, the AKMS is identical to the AKM. All 7.62-mm Kalashnikov assault rifles fire in either a semiautomatic or automatic mode and have an effective range of about 300 meters.

The AK has seen service in dozens of different conflicts, and can still be found, some 50 years after its first production. Many variations exist, such as the Yugoslav M-78, which is rechambered for NATO ammunition, and the Chinese type 56. (Which only differs in having the Cyrillic replaced by pictograms) Additionally, the Israeli Galil rifle is just a modified version of the same basic mechanism.

The AK is a reliable, no nonsense, piece of equipment. It gladly takes rough handling, and with proper maitnece, is unbreakable. A machinegun variant exists, with a heaver barrel and a bipod.

Weight: AK-47: 9.5 lbs (4.3 kg) empty, AKM 8.50 lbs (3.9 kg) empty.
Caliber:7.62 Soviet (7.62x39 mm) - Has been chamber in other calibers
Barrel Length: 16.3 inches (41.5 cm)
Overall Length: 37.25 inches(87.0 cm).
Action:Gas Operated.
Mode of Fire:Fully Automatic and Semi Automatic.
Range:984 feet (300 meters).
Magazine:30 rounds.
Cost:About $400-600, as low as $250 in some places.
Made in:Russia /Former USSR (Many Other Nations make copies for their militaries or for sale).
Special:Reliable, cheap, and powerful. Some are full auto, while others are equipped for two or three round bursts. Folding butt variations for paratroops, the knife-bayonet links with the scabbard to form a wire cutter. Can be equipped with a BGM-25 Under barrel Grenade Launcher.

[ Kalashnikov, AK-47, AKM, AK-47 are copyright of their respective owners. ]

Writeup by Mischa (E-Mail Mischa), Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune), and Flanker (Flanker027@aol.com).

Copyright © 1999, Mischa, Kitsune, and Flanker. All rights reserved.