Firearms / Assault rifles / AK-74

AK-74

General Facts

  • TYPE
    Assault rifle

  • ORIGIN
    USSR

  • NICKNAMES
    6P18 (GRAU designation for RPK-74)
    6P26 (GRAU designation for AKS-74U)
    AI 74 (Romanian AK-74)
    MPi K-74 (East German AK-74)
    Tantal (Polish AK-74)
    Krinkov (popular nickname for AKS-74U)
    AKR (early designation for AKS-74U)

  • DESIGNED
    Early 1970's

  • DESIGNER
    Mikhail Kalashnikov

  • PRODUCTION
    1974 - 1991 (AK-74)
    1979 - 1997 (AKS-74U)
    1991 - present (AK-74M)

  • PRODUCERS
    Bulgaria - Arsenal
    East Germany
    Poland
    Romania
    Russia - Izhmash
    USSR - Izhmash

  • QUANTITY
    Over 5 million produced. Production continues.

  • UNIT COST
    Unknown

  • CHARACTERISTICS
    Increased effective range over AKM
    Limited recoil
    Rugged and reliable
    Low production costs
    Reduced lethality compared to AKM
    Difficult to mount accessories

Introduction

The AK-74 is a 5.45mm assault rifle of Soviet origin. It was developed in the early 1970's as a response to the US 5.56mm M16A1. The design is based on the successful Soviet Kalashnikov AKM assault rifle. The AK-74 replaced the AKM as standard assault rifle with the Soviet forces and remains in use today.

Design

The AK-74 is a modification of the AKM assault rifle. The layout and design principle remain the same, but the caliber and muzzle are different. The 5.45x39mm round was specifically designed for the AK-74. In the folding stock version the underfolding stock of the AKM has been replaced by a side folding stock that provides better stability. The RPK-74 is a 5.45mm light machine gun that was derived from the AK-74 assault rifle in a similar way the RPK as derived from the AKM.

Firepower

The AK-74 fires the 5.45x39mm round from a 30 round magazine. The RPK-74 light support weapon uses 45 round magazines and can use standard 30 round magazines as well. The AK-74 is a select-fire rifle with a cyclic rate of fire of 650 rpm. The maximum effective range is about 400 meters. The shorter barreled AK-74SU sub machine gun has an effective range of 200 meters.

Users

The AK-74 replaced the AKM as standard assault rifle with the Soviet forces and remains in use today. It has been exported to a wide variety of nations, but in much more limited quantities as the AK-47 and AKM. The RPK-74 is used by most forces that use the AK-74 and remains in service and production today.

Variants

AKS-74U

The AKS-74U is a sub machine gun derivative of the AK-74. It was developed for vehicle crews, but is also popular with law enforcement and special forces. The AKS-74U has a much shorter barrel with increased twist rate and has a different flash hider. The U stands for Ukorochenniy, which is Russian for shortened. Especially in the USA the AKS-74U is better known as the Krinkov.

TypeSub machine gun
Caliber5.45x39mm Soviet
Magazine30 rounds
OperationGas operated, long stroke gas piston, rotating bolt
Fire selector0-1-F
Rate of fire650 - 735 rpm
Barrel length210 mm
Rifling4 grooves, 160 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity735 m/s
StockFoldable
Length735 mm / 490 mm
Width?
Height?
Weight2.5 kg
SightsIron sights, 350 and 500 m gradations
Remarks-

AKS-74UB

The AKS-74UB is an AKS-74U adapted for special operations. B stands for Besshumniy, Russian for silenced. The AKS-74UB is fitted with a PBS-4 silencer and fires subsonic ammunition. Additionally the BS-1 silent grenade launcher and associated rubber buttpad are often fitted under the barrel. The BS-1 system is also known as the GSN-19 Kanarejka.

AK-74

The AK-74 is the original model of the AK-74 family. It is essentially an AKM in the 5.45x39mm caliber. The AK-74 has a wooden furniture and a large flash hider. The AKS-74 is similar to the AK-74, but has a side folding metal wire stock. The S in AKS-74 stands for Skladnoy, which is Russian for folding.

TypeAssault rifle
Caliber5.45x39mm Soviet
Magazine30 rounds
OperationGas operated, long stroke gas piston, rotating bolt
Fire selector0-1-F
Rate of fire650 rpm
Barrel length415 mm
Rifling4 grooves, 196 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity900 m/s
StockFixed
Length943 mm
Width?
Height?
Weight3.03 kg
SightsIron sights, 100 - 1.000 m gradations
Remarks-

AK-74M

The AK-74M is a product improved AK-74. The most distinguishing feature is the black plastic furniture instead of the wooden one. AK-74M is also fitted with a mount for optics and only comes in a model with side folding stock. The M in AK-74M stands for Modernizirovanniy, which is Russian for modernized.

TypeAssault rifle
Caliber5.45x39mm Soviet
Magazine30 rounds
OperationGas operated, long stroke gas piston, rotating bolt
Fire selector0-1-F
Rate of fire650 rpm
Barrel length415 mm
Rifling4 grooves, 196 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity900 m/s
StockFoldable
Length943 mm / 700 mm
Width?
Height?
Weight3.4 kg
SightsIron sights, 100 - 1.000 m gradations
Remarks-

RPK-74

The RPK-74 is a light machine gun that is derived from the AK-74 assault rifle. The RPK-74 features a longer barrel, a bipod, different stock and uses 45 round magazines. The RPKS-74 has a folding stock. The RPK-74N and RPKS-74N are fitted with night vision optics.

TypeLight support weapon
Caliber5.45x39mm Soviet
Magazine30, 45 rounds
OperationGas operated, long stroke gas piston, rotating bolt
Fire selector0-1-F
Rate of fire600 rpm
Barrel length590 mm
Rifling4 grooves, 196 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity960 m/s
StockFixed
Length1.060 mm
Width?
Height?
Weight4.58 kg
SightsIron sights, 100 - 1.000 m gradations
Remarks-
TypeLight support weapon
Caliber5.45x39mm Soviet
Magazine30, 45 rounds
OperationGas operated, long stroke gas piston, rotating bolt
Fire selector0-1-F
Rate of fire600 rpm
Barrel length590 mm
Rifling4 grooves, 196 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity960 m/s
StockFoldable
Length?
Width?
Height?
Weight4.72 kg
SightsIron sights, 100 - 1.000 m gradations
RemarksFixed foldable bipod

RPK-74M

The RPK-74M is an improved model RPK-74 with the same features as the AK-74M. The wooden furniture has been replaced by a black plastic one. A side mounted sight rail is fitted as standard and only a folding stock model is available.

TypeLight support weapon
Caliber5.45x39mm Soviet
Magazine30, 45 rounds
OperationGas operated, long stroke gas piston, rotating bolt
Fire selector0-1-F
Rate of fire600 rpm
Barrel length590 mm
Rifling4 grooves, 196 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity960 m/s
StockFoldable
Length?
Width?
Height?
Weight4.43 kg
SightsIron sights, 100 - 1.000 m gradations
RemarksFixed foldable bipod

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