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Kalashnikov AK-74



Overview


AK-74

Right side view of Kalashnikov AK-74 assault rifle with orange bakelite magazine.
Source: Sergei Sandalov - © GNU Attribution - Share Alike license

Origin
Soviet Union
Type
Assault rifle
Entered service
1974
Status
In service
Development
Early 1970’s
Developer
Soviet Union
Mikhail Kalashnikov
Production
1974 - 1990’s
Producer
Soviet Union - Izhmash
Number produced
About 5 million
Designations
6P20 (GRAU index for AK-74)
6P21 (GRAU index for AKS-74)
Notable users
Soviet Union

Description


Introduction

The AK-74 is a late Cold War era assault rifle of Soviet origin. It was developed to provide Soviet forces with a firearm firing a high velocity small caliber cartridge analogous to the American 5.56x45mm introduced with the M16.

Design

The AK-74 is a further development of the AKM. The most notable difference is the use of the new 5.45x39mm cartridge, which was developed specifically for the AK-74. The most notable external differences from the AKM are the large muzzle device and less curved magazines. The folding stock variant uses a side folding triangular metal stock, which is a major ergonomic improvement over the AKMS.

Firepower

The AK-74 fires the 5.45x39mm Soviet round from a 30 round magazine. The 45 round magazine and 75 round drum developed for the RPK-74 light machine gun can also be used. Although the 5.45x39mm has less muzzle energy than the 7.62x39mm round, it has a flatter trajectory and has much less recoil. Cyclic rate of fire is about 650 rpm. Practical combat range is 300 m, but targets can be engaged out to 500 m.

Users

The AK-74 was adopted by Soviet forces in large quantities. Derivatives of the AK-74 were also acquired by Warsaw Pact nations, although in much smaller numbers than the AKM and its variants. The same goes for export sales. The AK-74 was exported to some allied nations, but in insginificant numbers compared to Kalashnikov assault rifles in 7.62x39mm.

Variants


AK-74

Full size standard version of the AK-74. It has a fixed wooden stock.

A variant with an optics mount on the side of the receiver is called AK-74N. This variant is normally issued with night vision optics.

AKS-74

Full size AK-74 with side folding stock. Issued to special forces and troops that require a more compact weapon. The triangular side folding stock is a more solid design than the underfolding stock on the AKMS. It also allows for a better cheek weld.

The AKS-74N is the folding stock counterpart of the AK-74N.

AKS-74U

Compact assault rifle derived from the AKS-74. Developed for vehicle crews and other personnel that require a personal defense weapon. It has a much shorter barrel and large muzzle device. Other differences include a hinged dust cover and simpler sights.

This variant is described in a separate article.

Details


Facts AK-74 AKS-74
General
Origin
Soviet Union
Type
Assault rifle
Caliber
Caliber
5.45x39mm Soviet
Feed system
30 round detachable box
45 and 75 round RPK-74 magazines can be used as well
Barrel length
415 mm
Rifling
4 grooves, 196 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity
910 m/s
Operation
Action
Gas operated, long stroke gas piston
Locking
Rotating bolt
Fire selector
0 - 1 - F
Rate of fire
650 rpm
Dimensions
Stock type
Fixed
Length
943 mm
1.089 mm with bayonet
Width
70 mm
Height
189 mm without magazine
Weight
3.3 kg empty
3.6 kg loaded
Sights
Mechanical
Iron sights, adjustable post front, tangent U-notch rear
Range adjustment
Up to 1.000 m, per 100 m
Sight radius
376 mm
Optics
AK-style optics rail on AK-74N
Accessories
Bayonet
Yes
Grenade launching
Optional, GP-25 or GP-30 can be fitted

Related articles


Kalashnikov AKM

The AK-74 was developed to replace the earlier AKM as the standard issue rifle in Soviet military service.

Kalashnikov AK-74M

The AK-74M is the Russian successor of the AK-74. The single AK-74M model replaces all four AK-74 versions.

PM md. 86

The PM md. 86 is the Romanian counterpart of the AK-74. It is a local development of the PM md. 63 in the 5.45x39mm cartridge.