AK-63

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AK-63
Type Assault rifle
Place of origin Hungary People's Republic of Hungary
Service history
In service 1977–present
Wars Iran–Iraq War,
Nicaraguan Revolution,
Salvadoran Civil War,
Gulf War,
Croatian War of Independence,
Iraq War
War in Afghanistan 2001–
Libyan civil war
Production history
Designed 1977
Manufacturer Fegyver- és Gépgyár[1]
Variants See Variants
Specifications
Weight 6.8 lb (AKM type), 7.3 lb (AKMS type)
Length 34.6 in (AKM type), 35.5 / 25.8 in (AKMS type)
Barrel length 16.5 in

Cartridge 7.62×39mm
Action Gas-operated, rotating bolt
Rate of fire 600 rounds/min
Effective firing range 500m
Feed system 10/20/30-round magazine

The AK-63 (also known in Hungarian military service as the AMM) is a Hungarian variant of the AKM assault rifle manufactured by the Fegyver- és Gépgyár (FÉG) state arms plant in Hungary. It is currently used by the Hungarian Ground Forces as its standard infantry weapon, and by most other branches of the Hungarian Defence Forces.

In Hungarian service, the AK-63 replaced the AMD-65, which is nearly identical but features a modified heat shield and a vertical forward hand grip under the barrel. Although the AKM-63 had been the Hungarian service rifle since 1963, it was more expensive to build, and the forward grips had a reputation for being easily damaged in the field. In the late-1970s, the Hungarian Defense Ministry requested that FÉG manufacture a cheaper rifle based on the more traditional Soviet AKM design. By the end of 1977, the AK-63 was adopted by the Hungarian People's Army (beginning with the Ground Forces). In 1978, FÉG added a folding stock AKMS version of the AK-63 to their catalogue; thereafter, the fixed-stock AK-63 became known as the AK-63F (Wooden Stock) and the folding-stock version was designated AK-63D (Descent).

In Hungarian service, the AK-63 F and D are designated as the AMM and AMMSz, respectively.

Features[edit]

The AK-63 F and D (AMM and AMMSz) are both nearly identical externally to the USSR-manufactured AKM and AKMS. The main difference is that the AK-63 series retains the distinctive-looking straight pistol grip of the AKM-63. The forward hand grip of the AK-63 also lacks the grip rails which characterize the Soviet AKM (and most AKM copies made in many other countries). The wood on the AK-63, like that of the AKM-63, has a bright, laminated blond finish.

Export Users[edit]

During the Cold War and afterwards, the AK-63 series was widely exported to a number of nations in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and South America.

Iraq under Saddam Hussein was the first major export customer to receive the AK-63, which it began importing in large numbers in 1979 to equip its armed forces. These rifles made their combat debut in the hands of Iraqi soldiers during the Iran–Iraq War in 1980-1988. During the war, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and many of the local militias which participated in the fighting were also armed with AK-63s; these were most likely acquired by capturing them from the Iraqis (since Iran mostly purchased AKs from China and North Korea, and received some Soviet weapons from Libya and Syria). The AK-63 was used by Iraqi forces again during the Gulf War in 1990-91, and later turned up in Kurdish and Shi'ite hands during the insurrections in Iraq throughout the 1990s.

The AK-63 was also exported to the Sandinista government in Nicaragua, which used them to fight the Contras in the 1980s. Significant numbers of AK-63s were also sent to the FMLN in nearby El Salvador starting in late 1984 or 1985. One estimate suggested that about 11,000 AK-63 rifles may have been sent to the region over a five-year period. Since the end of the Cold War, the AK-63 has also turned up regularly in the hands of militants in Somalia and Zambia, and was also purchased by Croatian forces for use during the Croatian War of Independence.

In 1985, a semi-automatic version of the AK-63 was exported to the United States for civilian consumption. Imported by Kassnar (of Harrisburg, PA), which sold it as the SA-85M, it was only available in its "pre-ban" form for a few years before the 1989 assault weapons importation ban. Since only about 7,000 pre-ban SA-85Ms were imported prior to 1989, it is now considered a collector's item amongst firearms enthusiasts and commands high prices (often $1,500 or higher). The post-ban version of the SA-85M, featuring a thumbhole stock, was discontinued after only a few years of importation. However, in recent years, several companies in the United States have built clones of these rifles from Hungarian parts kits on American-made receivers.

Variants[edit]

  • AK-63F (AMM in Hungarian service): The basic fixed-stock copy of the Soviet AKM.
  • AK-63D (AMMSZ in Hungarian service): An AKMS copy with an under-folding steel stock.
  • AK-63MF: Modernised AK-63D with telescopic stock and MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny rail.
  • SA-85M: A semi-automatic-only version intended for civilian sales in the United States; imported by Kassnar in both pre- and post-ban versions.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kalashnikov AKM-63 Machine Carbine. Retrieved on August 25, 2008.