The following extract comes from US Army Field Manual 100-2-3
The Soviet Army; Troops Organisation and Equipment published in June 1991.
The publication was approved for public release with unlimited distribution
(ie may be freely used). The entry provided covered the AK-74 and the AKS-74 military assault rifles.


The Ak-74 is basically an AKM rechamebered and rebored to fire a 5.45-mm cartridge. Externally, it has the same general appearance as the AKM, with two noticable differences. It has a distinctive, two-port muzzle brake, giving it a slightly greater overall length than the AKM. It also has a smooth plastic magazine which is slightly shorter and is curved to a lesser extent than the grooved metal AKM magazine. It uses the same type of bayonet as the AK-series weapons.

There is also a folding stock version, designated AKS-74, which has a Y-shaped tubular stock. The stock has an extremely narrow buttplate, as opposed to the T-shaped, stamped-metal buttstock of the AKMS.


The AK-74 fires 5.45 x 39-mm ball, ball-tracer, and incendiary-tracer rounds. The 5.45-mm round of the AK-74 has a considerably higher muzzle velocity than the 7.62-mm round of the AKM; this eliminates the range-limiting drawback of it predecessor. Like the AKM, the AK-74 has a maximum sight setting of 1,000 meters, but the effective range is 500 meters (versus 300 meters for the AKM).

The muzzle brake of the AK-74 a fluidic device to minimize recoil and muzzle climb. Although the AK-74 is somewhat heavier than the AKM when empty, its loaded weight is slightly less than that of the AKM; this is due primarily to the plastic magazine and its smaller-caliber ammunition. Like the AK and the AKM, the AK-74 can mount a grenade launcher and a passive image intensifier night sight.


The gas cylinder, like the cylinders on the AK and AKM, is in a valunerable position; if dented, it may cause weapon mulfunction. The reddish-brown or orange color of the plastic magazine does not lend itself to camouflage.


The Soviets fielded the AK-74 in 1974, as indicated by the weapon's designation. The folding-stock AKS-74 was first seen with Soviet airborne troops in November 1977. The Ak-74 is also the basis for other 5.45-mm small arms, including the AKSU-74 submachine gun and the RPK-74 light machine gun.

The following data comes from Janes Infantry Weapons 1995 - 1996.

Cartridge: 5.45 x 39 mm
Operation: gas, selective fire
Locking: rotating bolt
Feed: 30-round plastic box magazine
Weight: 3.3 kg unloaded; 3.9 kg loaded
Length: 943 mm
Barrel: 415 mm
Rifling: 4 grooves, rh, 1 turn in 196 mm
Sights: fore, post; rear, U-notch
Muzzle velocity: 900 m/s
Rate of fire: cyclic, 600-650 rds/min
There are 2 versions of the AK-74 made in the 1970's by the Soviet Union, the AK-74 and the AKS-74 (folding butt). Both of these were used to replace the AK-47.

The newer AK-74 is a fully automatic weapon that is almost indestructable and easy to mantain. I hear you could bury it in sand and it will still fire. Extremely simple to mantain.

It's easier to fire than an AK-47 because of a muzzle break, but extremely noisy in long bursts. Freedom fighters in Afghanistan took this off of the dead Russian soldiers on the battlefield during the Cold War conflict.

Weight: 6.8 lbs
Length: 34.2 in
Magazine: Curved Metal cartridge box; 30 rounds
Muzzle velocity: 2,330 ft/sec
Rate of Fire: 800 rounds/min
Maximum Effective Range: 400 Yards

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