Firearms / Assault rifles / AK-47

AK-47

General Facts

  • TYPE
    Assault rifle

  • ORIGIN
    USSR

  • NICKNAMES
    AKK (Bulgarian AK-47)
    AKKS (Bulgarian AKS-47)
    AKKMS (Bulgarian AKMS)
    Misr (Egyptian AKM)
    AK-55 (Hungarian AK-47)
    KLS (Iranian AK-47)
    KLF (Iranian AKS-47)
    KLT (Iranian AKMS)
    Type 58A (North Korean AK-47)
    Type 58B (North Korean AKS-47)
    Type 68A (North Korean AKM)
    Type 68B (North Korean AKMS)
    kbk AK (Polish AK-47)
    kbk AKM (Polish AKM)
    kbk AKMS (Polish AKMS)

  • DESIGNED
    1944 - 1946

  • DESIGNER
    Mikhail Kalashnikov

  • PRODUCTION
    1947 - present (AK-47)
    1961 - present (RPK)

  • PRODUCERS
    USSR - Izhmash
    USSR - Tula Arsenal

    Licenced production:
    Albania - (Type 56 family)
    Bulgaria
    China - (Type 56 family)
    East Germany - (MPi K family)
    Egypt
    Ethiopia
    Hungary - (AK-63 family)
    India
    Iran
    Iraq - (M70 family)
    Pakistan - (Type 56 family)
    Poland
    Nigeria
    North Korea
    Romania
    Sudan - (Type 56 family)
    Vietnam - (Type 56 family)
    Yugoslavia - (M70 family)

  • QUANTITY
    About 70 million of all AK-47/AKM type rifles produced, including foreign production

  • UNIT COST
    Unknown

  • CHARACTERISTICS
    Rugged and reliable
    Cheap to produce
    Easy to use and maintain
    Limited accuracy
    Limited effective range
    Low quality sights

Introduction

The AK-47 is an early Cold War era assault rifle of Russian origin. It was developed by Mikhail Kalashnikov at the end of World War 2 to equip Soviet forces with a weapon of similar capabilities as the German Stgw 44. The AK-47 proved to be so effective and reliable that it was produced in large numbers. AK-47 stands for Avtomat Kalashnikova 1947, Russian for Kalashnikov automatic rifle of 1947.

Design

The AK-47 is a gas operated weapon with a similar layout as the Stgw 44. It cycles using a long stroke gas piston. Combined with high tolerances and a tapering cartridge this makes it very reliable. The 7.62x39mm round was designed for this weapon. The AK-47 is made out of metal with the handguard and fixed stock made out of wood. The original AK-47 has a milled receiver while the product improved AKM has a stamped receiver.

Firepower

The AK-47 fires the 7.62x39mm round from a curved 30 round magazine. The 40 round magazines of the RPK can also be used. The AK-47 is a select fire weapon that is capable of semi-automatic fire and automatic fire at 600 rounds per minute. The effective range is about 300 meters. The RPK light machine gun has a longer barrel, resulting in a higher muzzle velocity and longer effective range.

Users

The first and main user of the Kalashnikov was the USSR. The AK-47 and AKM were also widely exported and widely produced under license. These factors make the AK-47 the most produced firearm in the world. The AK-47 and its derivatives remain in active use today, especially in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Variants

AK-47

The AK-47 is the original Kalashnikov model and has a milled receiver. It is a select fire assault rifle that fires the intermediate power 7.62x39mm round from a highly curved 30 round magazine. The AK-47 was produced until the mid 1950's at which time the production shifted towards the AKM. The AKS-47 has a metal underfolding stock to make the weapon more compact for mechanized infantry and paratroopers. The S stands for Skladnoy, Russian for folding.

TypeAssault rifle
Caliber7.62x39mm Soviet
Magazine30, 40
OperationGas operated, long stroke gas piston
Fire selector0-1-F
Rate of fire600 rpm
Barrel length414 mm
Rifling4 grooves, 235 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity710 m/s
StockFixed
Length869 mm
Width?
Height?
Weight4.3 kg
SightsIron sights, adjustable post front, tangent U-notch rear, adjustable to 800 m, 376 mm sight radius
Remarks-
TypeAssault rifle
Caliber7.62x39mm Soviet
Magazine30, 40
OperationGas operated, long stroke gas piston
Fire selector0-1-F
Rate of fire600 rpm
Barrel length414 mm
Rifling4 grooves, 235 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity710 m/s
StockFoldable
Length875 mm / 645 mm
Width?
Height?
Weight4.3 kg
SightsIron sights, adjustable post front, tangent U-notch rear, adjustable to 800 m, 376 mm sight radius
Remarks-

AKM

The AKM is the modernized version of the AK-47. The M stands for Modernizirovanniy, Russian for modernized. It is a simpler and lighter version of the AK-47. The main differences are the stamped receiver, improved trigger design, different angle of the stock and muzzle device. The majority of the Kalashnikovs that have been produced are of the AKM type, but they are often simply referred to as AK-47. The AKMS is an AKM with a similar metal underfolding stock as the AKS-47.

TypeAssault rifle
Caliber7.62x39mm Soviet
Magazine30, 40
OperationGas operated, long stroke gas piston
Fire selector0-1-F
Rate of fire600 rpm
Barrel length414 mm
Rifling4 grooves, 235 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity715 m/s
StockFixed
Length876 mm
Width?
Height?
Weight3.15 kg
SightsIron sights, adjustable post front, tangent U-notch rear, adjustable to 800 m, 376 mm sight radius
Remarks-
TypeAssault rifle
Caliber7.62x39mm Soviet
Magazine30, 40
OperationGas operated, long stroke gas piston
Fire selector0-1-F
Rate of fire600 rpm
Barrel length414 mm
Rifling4 grooves, 235 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity715 m/s
StockFoldable
Length902 mm / 655 mm
Width?
Height?
Weight3.3 kg
SightsIron sights, adjustable post front, tangent U-notch rear, adjustable to 800 m, 376 mm sight radius
Remarks-

RPK

The RPK is a gas operated, air cooled selective fire light machinegun based on the product improved Kalashnikov assault rifle. It fires the same medium power 7.62x39mm round. RPK stands for Ruchnoy Pulemyot Kalashnikova, which is Russian for Kalashnikov light machinegun. The RPK differs from the AKM in having a longer chrome lined barrel, bipod, redesigned stock and thicker receiver. The RPK uses 75 round drum magazines and 40 round box magazines. The drum magazine proved rather heavy and expensive to produce. The Soviet army decided to issue one drum and several 40 round box magazines to every RPK operator, with the drum magazine to be used at the start of the battle. The RPKS is the folding stock variant of the RPK. Unlike the folding stock AKMS the stock is not a metal one that folds under the weapon. The stock is made of solid wood and folds to the side.

TypeLight support weapon
Caliber7.62x39mm Soviet
Magazine30, 40, 75
OperationGas operated, long stroke gas piston
Fire selector0-1-F
Rate of fire660 rpm
Barrel length591 mm
Rifling4 grooves, 235 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity745 m/s
StockFixed
Length1.040 mm
Width?
Height?
Weight4.8 kg
SightsIron sights, adjustable post front, tangent U-notch rear, adjustable to 1000 m, 570 mm sight radius
RemarksFixed bipod
TypeLight support weapon
Caliber7.62x39mm Soviet
Magazine30, 40, 75
OperationGas operated, long stroke gas piston
Fire selector0-1-F
Rate of fire660 rpm
Barrel length591 mm
Rifling4 grooves, 235 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity745 m/s
StockFoldable
Length1.040 mm / 820 mm
Width?
Height?
Weight5.1 kg
SightsIron sights, adjustable post front, tangent U-notch rear, adjustable to 1000 m, 570 mm sight radius
RemarksFixed bipod

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