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Kalashnikov AK74 (M1974) Assault Rifle (1977)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 11/21/2013

The AK-74 replaced the 7.62mm caliber AK as the standard Soviet infantry rifle.

The Kalashnikov AK74 was a derivative of the AK47 series assault rifle, but more closely associated with the AKM, and was a smaller caliber system utilizing the Soviet 5.45x39.5mm round. Basically retaining the major features of previous Kalashnikov attempts, the AK74 featured a new barrel and bolt component along with a plastic and steel magazine. The AK74 has seen considerable success since its introduction and became the standard Soviet rifle thereafter.

The firing action of the AK-74 proved to be efficient, even when firing from full automatic mode. The weapon fired from a 30-round detachable box magazine with the signature Kalashnikov curve. China went on to produce a local version of the AK74 that was made to fit the 5.56mm round, traditionally found in the West, and targeted for the export market. Common with other AK rifle designs, the AK74 also produced the AKS74 system with a folding steel butt, making for a more compact system.

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Specifications for the
Kalashnikov AK74 (M1974)
Assault Rifle

Country of Origin: Soviet Union
Manufacturer: Various - Soviet Union
Initial Year of Service: 1977

Overall Length: 928mm (36.54in)
Barrel Length: 0.00mm (0.00in)
Weight (Empty): 8.51lbs (3.86kg)

Caliber: 5.45x39.5 Soviet
Action: Gas-Operated; Automatic
Feed: 30-Round Detachable Box
Muzzle Velocity: 2,952ft/sec (900m/sec)
Rate-of-Fire: 650 rounds per minute

AK74 - Base Series Designation

AKS74 - Features a folding steel butt

M1974 - US Inventory Designation

Soviet Union (Russia), Poland, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, China (among others).