A young Soviet tank crewman was wounded at the end of
the Second World War.
During rehab, Mikhail Kalashnikov spent hours designing
a dependable Soviet assault rifle.
Months later, the fruits of Comrade Kalashnikov's
brainstorming and labor birthed the most famous rifle of modern
warfare. First, there was the AK-47, unveiled at the conclusion of
World War II.
That version of Mikhail's famous Russian assault gun,
in 7.62x39mm has been mass-produced and copied far and wide to the
tune of millions of rifles. Imitation is indeed the best form of
Then, there was the AKM - an improved AK-47.
Now, there is the AK-74 - the Russian main assault
rifle (i.e., AK-74M).
The AK series...it just keeps getting better and
better. To the detriment and concern of the United States and any and
all others that may find themselves on the business end of this
high-powered, ever-dependable, usually inexpensive-to-produce,
easy-to-operate and maintain Russian assault rifle.
The AK-74 is chambered for 5.45x39mm ammo. It is
gas-operated and features a rotating bolt.
The AK-74 represents a line of AKM improvements that
were introduced in the mid-1970s.
It was battle-tested in the Soviet war in
Afghanistan - one of the most brutal and bloody wars of our time
and certainly one of the most inhospitable of environments to field
troops and materiel.
AK-74 is the
abbreviated form of Automat
1974 - Automatic
Kalashnikov 1974. After the mujahideen
(Afghan freedom fighters) in Afghanistan waged a brutal war against
their Russian foes - with the help of the U.S. (just trying to
return the favor for Vietnam), the vaunted Soviet army tucked tail
and made a beeline home to their vodka and borscht, minus several
thousands of their men and tons of armaments. In their stead, the
Russians left an Afghan puppet regime that was doomed to failure - and
the rest is history - up to and including the U.S. going in and
spanking the Taliban.
The AK-74 is still produced at Izhevsk Mechanical
Works. Like its great granddaddy, the AK-47, this gun has numerous
variants - both domestic and foreign. A stately Mikhail
Kalashnikov, still going strong after all these years - and
wars - must look on with disdain as replica AKs are built. If
they aren't built in Mother Russia - they aren't squat - and
Mikhail might have something there.
The rifle is light compared to earlier versions - at
slightly more than 6 1/2 pounds. With the full stock extended,
the AK-74 measures an inch longer than three feet; folded it measures
27 inches. The standard gun has a 16-inch barrel. The AK-74 is
capable of cycling upwards of 650 rounds per minute, leaving the
flash-suppressed barrel at nearly 3,000 feet per second. It has an
effective range beyond a half mile and uses standard 30-round,
45-round and RPK-74 detachable box magazines.