The Kalashnikov Gun - AK 47, AKM, AK 74

The Kalashnikov Gun
The Kalashnikov gun (AK) was introduced by Mikhail Kalashnikov in 1947. Allready in 1949, AK was included in the inventory of the Soviet Army. This gun has inspired the invention of a great plenty of various weapons. Since then, a great number of different variations and modifications have been made on the basis of the AK. AK and its variations have grown to be the most popular weapon in the world, because they are reliable, effective, and easy to operate.

Mechanism and Concept
The Kalashnikov gun consists of the following details:
  • barrel and receiver
  • sighting units (front sight & rear sight)
  • Butt stock
  • removable receiver-cover
  • block carrier with gas piston
  • block
  • recoil spring guide assembly
  • forearm with gas tube assembly
  • firing mechanism
  • forend
  • magazine
The concept of AK’s operation is based on the energy of the explosive gas. On shooting, some of the explosive gas is released through a hole in the wall of the bore. The pressure of the gas leads to the forward motion of the forcer. Thus, the reloading for the consequent shot is automated.

AK 74History of the AK’s Modernization
Simultaneously with the original AK, another variation of this gun called AKS, adopted for the airborne forces, was included in the inventory. The only difference from the basic model (AK) was the gunstock. AK was equipped with wooden gunstock, whereas AKS had folding metal gunstock. The pressed receivers were often defective. Since 1951, both AK and AKS were equipped with machined receivers.

AKM
In 1959, a new, upgraded model of AK, called the AKM (Modernized Kalashnikov Gun - Avtomat Kalashnikova Modernizirovannyi), was included in the inventory of the Soviet Army.
The aiming range was 1 000 m. The receiver was once again pressed - to reduce the weight of the gun. The gunstock was now upper - to draw the stabilizing point nearer to the shooting range.
the firing mechanism of the AKM was equipped with the trigger delay. This provided for the more stable automatic reloading which improved the accuracy of the shooting.
The chase of the barrel was now threaded. It was used to attach the removable muzzle compensator which also provided for more accurate shooting. This thread could also be used to attach a silencer.
It was made possible to attach a GP-25 Koster under-barrel grenade launcher to the AKM. AKM was equipped with a wooden butt stock. Somewhat later, the AKMS model was introduced. AKMS had a folding butt stock, the manner of folding of which was different than that of AKM.
One more model was introduced - AKMSU. It had a steel butt stock and a shorter barrel. This model was issued in limited quantities, and never became wide-spread. It was not included in the inventory of the Soviet Army.

AK-74
The further modernization of the Kalashnikov gun was bound with the switching of most shooters to the lighter-calibrated bullets - 5.45 mm. Before that, all the models of AK were meant to use bullets of 7.62 mm calibre.
In 1974, a new gun - AK-74 - was included in the inventory. It had two general variations: AK-74, equipped with a wooden butt stock, a pistol grip, a hand guard, and a forend; and AKS-74 - with a folding metal butt stock. Smaller and lighter bullets helped to reduce the recoil, which, in turn, provided for the accuracy of the shots, the unladen mass of the gun and the reserve ammunition. Moreover, a muzzle reciol compensator was installed, which also provided for the better accuracy of the shots.

AK Butt stocks, Forends, Receivers, and Pistol Grips
First models of AK traditionally had wooden parts: a butt stock, a forend, a receiver, and a pistol fire control grip. The wood was birch, the wooden parts were lacquared three times. This delivered sufficient protection of the wooden parts of the gun from humidity. Soon, all the butt stocks and pistol grips were made of plywood instead of birch, and the receivers and forends were now pressed of laminated veneer. The plywood parts of the gun were also lacquered several times. The original AK-74 were equipped with wooden (plywood) parts. The situation has changed after the Soviet Army has launched its military campaign in Afghanistan. The reason was that the hot Afghani climate made the lacquering of the wooden parts of the weapon, melt, and thus burn the soldiers’ hands. This was a considerable incovenience and had a negative effect on the success of the military operations. The soldiers had to peel the laquering off of the butt stocks, pistol grips and forends, or wrap them with black tapes, in order to avoid discomfort or trauma.
Therafter, the production of the AK-74 was discontinued. Nowadays, wooden stocks, pistol grips and receivers are extremely rare (or ‘collectibles’).
AK-74 are since equipped with butt stocks and pistol grips made of impact-proof glass-filled nylon, originally - AG-4S, later - AG-4V, and other modern polymer materials.

Now You can buy in Soviet-military.com on-line store:
Other parts of AK 47 & modifications


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