Kalashnikov rifle

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A Kalashnikov (Калашников) rifle is any one of a series of automatic rifles based on the original design of Mikhail Kalashnikov. They are officially known in Russian as "Avtomát Kaláshnikova" (Russian: Автома́т Кала́шникова, lit. 'Kalashnikov's Automatic Gun'), but are widely known as Kalashnikovs, AKs, or in Russian slang, a "Kalash". They were originally manufactured in the Soviet Union, primarily by Kalashnikov Concern, formerly Izhmash, but these rifles and their variants are now manufactured in many other countries. The Kalashnikov is one of the most widely used guns in the world, with an estimated 72 million rifles in global circulation.[1][2][3]

The Kalashnikov assault rifle 1974 model by Izhmash, Russia (AK-74)


The original Kalashnikov rifles and their derivatives, as produced in the Soviet Union and later the Russian Federation.[4][5]

Soviet 7.62×39mm AK Type 2 assault rifle (1951 issue), the first model variation that features a milled receiver
Model Cartridge Year Manufacturer
AK-47 7.62×39mm M43 1949 Izhmash and others
AKM 7.62×39mm M43 1959 Izhmash, Tula Arms Plant and others
AK-74 5.45×39mm M74 1974 Izhmash
AK-74M 5.45×39mm M74 1991 Izhmash
AK-101, AK-102 5.56×45mm NATO 1995 Izhmash
AK-103, AK-104 7.62×39mm M43 2001 Izhmash
AK-105 5.45×39mm M74 2001 Izhmash
AK-12 5.45×39mm M74 2011 Kalashnikov Concern, formerly Izhmash
AK-12K 5.45×39mm M74 2017 Kalashnikov Concern
AK-15, AK-15K 7.62×39mm M43 2017 Kalashnikov Concern
AK-200, AK-205 5.45×39mm M74 2018 Kalashnikov Concern
AK-201, AK-202 5.56×45mm NATO 2018 Kalashnikov Concern
AK-203, AK-204 7.62×39mm M43 2018 Kalashnikov Concern
AK-19 5.56×45mm NATO 2020 Kalashnikov Concern
Comparative characteristics of Kalashnikov assault rifles and machine guns
Name Country Type Cartridge Length extended/folded (mm) Barrel length (mm) Weight (kg) (empty) Cyclic rate of fire (rounds per minute) Maximum sighting range (m) Muzzle velocity (m/s)
AK-47 Soviet Union Assault rifle 7.62×39mm M43 870 415 3.47 600 800 715
AKM Soviet Union Assault rifle 7.62×39mm M43 880 415 3.1 600 1,000 715
RPK(s) Soviet Union Light machine gun 7.62×39mm M43 1040/820 590 4.80/5.6 600 1,000 745
PK(M) Soviet Union General-purpose machine gun 7.62×54mmR 1173 605 9.0/7.5 650 1,500 825
AK-74 Soviet Union Assault rifle 5.45×39mm M74 943 415 3.07 600 1,000 900
AKS-74 Soviet Union Assault rifle 5.45×39mm M74 933/690 415 2.97 600 1,000 900
AK-74M Soviet Union Assault rifle 5.45×39mm M74 943/705 415 3.4 650 1,000 900
RPK-74 Soviet Union Light machine gun 5.45×39 1060 590 4.7 600 1,000 960
AKS-74U Soviet Union Carbine assault rifle 5.45×39mm M74 730/490 206,5 2.7 700 500 735
AK-101 Russia Assault rifle 5.56×45mm NATO 943/700 415 3.6 600 1,000 910
AK-102 Russia Carbine assault rifle 5.56×45mm NATO 824/586 314 3.0 600 500 850
AK-103 Russia Assault rifle 7.62×39mm M43 943/705 415 3.4 600 1,000 715
AK-104 Russia Carbine assault rifle 7.62×39mm M43 824/586 314 3.0 600 500 670
AK-105 Russia Carbine assault rifle 5.45×39mm M74 824/586 314 3.2 600 500 840
AK-107 Russia Assault rifle 5.45×39mm M74 943/700 415 3.8 850 1,000 900
AK-108 Russia Assault rifle 5.56×45mm NATO 943/700 415 3.8 900 1,000 910
AK-109 Russia Assault rifle 7.62×39mm M43 943/700 415 3.8 900 1,000 750
AK-9 Russia Assault rifle 9×39mm 705/465 200 3.1/3.8 (with suppressor) 600 400 290 (СП-5) / 305 (СП-6)
AK-12 Russia Assault rifle 5.45×39mm M74 940/730 415 3.3 700 1,000 900
AK-15 Russia Assault rifle 7.62×39mm M43 922/862 415 3.5 700 1,000 715
AK-19 Russia Assault rifle 5.56×45mm NATO 935/725 415 3.35 700 1,000 910


Original AK variants (7.62×39mm)

  • Issue of 1948/49 – The very earliest models, with the Type 1 stamped sheet metal receiver, are now very rare.
  • Issue of 1951 – Type 2: Has a milled receiver. Barrel and chamber are chrome plated to resist corrosion.
  • Issue of 1954/55 – Type 3: Lightened milled receiver variant. Rifle weight is 3.47 kg (7.7 lb).[6]
  • AKS – Featured a downward-folding metal stock similar to that of the German MP40, for use in the restricted space in the BMP infantry combat vehicle, as well as by paratroops.
  • AKN (AKSN) – Night scope rail.[7]

Modernized (7.62×39mm)

  • AKM – A simplified, lighter version of the AK-47; Type 4 receiver is made from stamped and riveted sheet metal. A slanted muzzle device was added to counter climb in automatic fire. Rifle weight is 2.93 kg (6.5 lb)[8][9][N 1] due to the lighter receiver. This is the most ubiquitous variant of the AK-47.
    • AKMS – Under-folding stock version of the AKM intended for airborne troops.
    • AKMN (AKMSN) – Night scope rail (Scope rail and folding stock)
    • AKML (AKMSL) – Slotted flash suppressor (Flash suppressor and folding stock)[10]
  • RPK – Hand-held machine gun version with longer barrel and bipod. The variants – RPKS, RPKN (RPKSN), RPKL (RPKSL) – mirror AKM variants. The "S" variants have a side-folding wooden stock.

Low-impulse variants (5.45×39mm)

AK-74 and RPK-74

The AK-100 Series


5.45×39mm / 5.56×45mm / 7.62×39mm

The AK-12 series


5.45×39mm / 7.62×39mm / 5.56×45mm

  • AK-12 / AK-15 / AK-19 – A new AK family derivative based on the AK-400 prototype. Accepted as main service rifle in January 2018.
  • AK-12K / AK-15K – Carbine.
  • RPK-16 – Squad automatic weapon, based on the AK-12.

The AK-200 Series

5.45×39mm / 5.56×45mm / 7.62×39mm

Other weapons

PK general-purpose machine gun


The rifle's simple design makes it easy to produce, and the Soviet Union readily leased plans of the firearm to friendly countries, where it could be produced locally at a low cost.[2] As a result, the Kalashnikov rifles and their variants have been manufactured in many countries, with and without licenses. Manufacturing countries in alphabetical order include:

Country Variant(s)
Albania Automatiku Shqiptar 1978 model 56 (ASH-78 Tip-1) copy of Type 56 based on AKM rifle; Tipi 1982 model (ASH-82) copy of AKMS; model 56 Tip-2, copy of RPK; and model 56 Tip-3. Several other versions of the AKMS have been produced mainly with short barrels similar to Soviet AKS-74U for special forces, tank & armored crew and for helicopter pilots and police. There have also been modified ASh-82 (AKMS) with SOPMOD accessories, mainly for Albania's special forces RENEA & exports.[11]
Armenia K-3 (bullpup, 5.45×39mm)
Azerbaijan Khazri (AK-74M)[12]
Bangladesh Chinese Type 56
Bulgaria AKK/AKKS (Type 3 AK-47/w. side-folding buttstock); AKKMS (AKMS), AKKN-47 (fittings for NPSU night sights); AK-47M1 (Type 3 with black polymer furniture); AK-47MA1/AR-M1 (same as -M1, but in 5.56mm NATO); AKS-47M1 (AKMS in 5.56×45mm NATO); AKS-47S (AK-47M1, short version, with East German folding stock, laser aiming device); AKS-47UF (short version of -M1, Russian folding stock), AR-SF (same as −47UF, but 5.56mm NATO); AKS-93SM6 (similar to −47M1, cannot use grenade launcher); RKKS (RPK), AKT-47 (.22 rimfire training rifle)
Cambodia Chinese Type 56, Soviet AK, and AKM
China Type 56
Croatia APS-95
Cuba AKM[13]
East Germany[14] MPi-K/MPi-KS (AK/AKS); MPi-KM (AKM, wooden and plastic stock); MPi-KMS-72 (side-folding stock); MPi-KMS-K (carbine); MPi-AK-74N (AK-74); MPi-AKS-74N (side-folding stock); MPi-AKS-74NK (carbine); KK-MPi Mod.69 (.22 LR select-fire trainer)
Egypt AK, Misr assault rifle (AKM), Maadi
Ethiopia AK, AK-103 (manufactured locally at the State-run Gafat Armament Engineering Complex as the Et-97/1)[15]
Finland RK 62, (7.62×39mm)

RK 95 TP, (7.62×39mm) improvements including a fire control selector and a muzzle device that enabled the firing of rifle grenades, the attachment of a silencer, or bayonet

Hungary[16] AK-55 (domestic manufacture of the 2nd Model AK); AKM-63 (also known as AMD-63 in the US; modernized AK-55), AMD-65M (modernized AKM-63, shorter barrel and side-folding stock), AMP-69 (rifle grenade launcher); AK-63F/D (other name AMM/AMMSz), AK-63MF (modernized); NGM-81 (5.56×45mm NATO; fixed and under-folding stock)
India Trichy Assault Rifle, AK-7[17][18] Indo-Russia Rifles, AK-203[19]
Iraq Tabuk Sniper Rifle, Tabuk Assault Rifle (with fixed or underfolding stock, outright clones of Yugoslavian M70 rifles series), Tabuk Short Assault Rifle
Nigeria Produced by the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria as OBJ-006[20][21]
North Korea Type 58A/B (Type 3 AK/w. stamped steel folding stock), Type 68A/B (AKM/AKMS), Type 88 (AKS-74)[22][23]
Pakistan Reverse engineered by hand and machine in Pakistan's highland areas (see Khyber Pass Copy) near the border of Afghanistan; more recently the Pakistan Ordnance Factories started the manufacture of an AK/AKM clone called PK-10. Pakistanis had also made a new caliber just by a little changing in original (7.62×39mm) ammo, that is known as 44 bore.[24] Pakistani 5.45mm AKs are sometimes called "Kalakovs".[25]
Poland[26] pmK (kbk AK) / pmKS (kbk AKS) (name has changed from pmK – "pistolet maszynowy Kałasznikowa", Kalashnikov SMG to the kbk AK – "karabinek AK", Kalashnikov Carbine in mid-1960s) (AK/AKS); kbkg wz. 1960 (rifle grenade launcher), kbkg wz. 1960/72 (modernized); kbk AKM / kbk AKMS (AKM/AKMS); kbk wz. 1988 Tantal (5.45×39mm), skbk wz. 1989 Onyks (compact carbine); kbs wz. 1996 Beryl (5.56×45mm), kbk wz. 1996 Mini-Beryl (compact carbine)
Romania PM md. 63/65 (AKM/AKMS), PM md. 80, PM md. 90, collectively exported under the umbrella name AIM or AIMS; PA md. 86 (AK-74), exported as the AIMS-74; PM md. 90 short barrel, PA md. 86 short barrel, exported as the AIMR; PSL (designated marksman rifle; other names PSL-54C, Romak III, FPK and SSG-97)
Sudan MAZ[27] (based on the Type 56)
Ukraine Vepr (bullpup, 5.45×39mm), Malyuk (bullpup)[28]
United States US132 rifle (7.62×39mm), US132Z assault rifle (7.62×39mm), US109L shotgun (12 Gauge) & US109T shotgun (12 Gauge). Produced by Kalashnikov USA.[29][30][31]
Vietnam AKM-1, AKM-VN (AKM) assault rifle, TUL-1 (RPK) light machine gun, Galil ACE 31/32 assault rifle
Venezuela AK-103 [32] / License granted to Venezuela[33]
Yugoslavia/Serbia M64, M70, M72, M76, M77, M80, M82, M85, M90, M91, M92, M99, M21

Similar rifles[edit]

The following rifles were either based on the Kalashnikov design, or have a different design but are superficially similar in appearance:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ AKMS is ~200 g (0.44 lb) heavier than the AKM rifle.

The Kalashnikov weapon design has become increasingly more popular in the American firearms industry. There are specific competitive shooting matches that require the use of its weapon variants like the Red Oktober match held just outside of St. George, Utah.[34] It is a match designed for the use of ComBloc style weapons, but the Kalashnikov design is extremely heavy within the participants' arsenals.[35]



  1. ^ Blair, David (2015-07-02). "AK-47 Kalashnikov: The firearm which has killed more people than any other". Daily Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Archived from the original on 2022-01-12. Retrieved 2019-09-26.
  2. ^ a b Franko, Blake (2017-05-08). "The Gun That Is in Almost 100 Countries: Why the AK-47 Dominates". The National Interest. Retrieved 2019-09-26.
  3. ^ McCarthy, Niall. "The Cost Of An AK-47 On The Black Market Around The World [Infographic]". Forbes. Retrieved 2019-09-26.
  4. ^ "Концерн Калашников -- Официальный сайт". kalashnikov.com.
  5. ^ "200 series Kalashnikov assault rifle: AK-200, AK-201, AK-202, AK-203, AK-204, AK-205 (Russia)". modernfirearms.net. 7 June 2018.
  6. ^ НСД. 7,62-мм автомат АК 1967, pp. 161–162.
  7. ^ Monetchikov 2005, p. 76.
  8. ^ НСД. 7,62-мм автомат АКМ (АКМС) 1983, pp. 149–150.
  9. ^ "AK 47 fix stock Russian AKM, deactivated assault rifle". Archived from the original on 2014-07-14. Retrieved 2018-08-30.
  10. ^ "AKML (AKMSL)". AK-INFO.RU. Retrieved 8 Feb 2013.
  11. ^ Albanian Small Arms Archived 2017-10-14 at the Wayback Machine by Aftermath Gun Club.
  12. ^ Азербайджан приступил к серийному производству автоматов АК-74М по российской лицензии [Azerbaijan began serial production of AK-74M assault rifles under Russian license]. ЦАМТО (in Russian). Moscow: Centre for Analysis of World Arms Trade. 8 July 2011. Retrieved 8 July 2011.
  13. ^ Dimov, Roman. "Kalashnikov Arms Versions". The AK Site. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007.
  14. ^ "MPi-K / MPi-AK Assault Rifle Series". Энциклопедия оружия и боеприпасов (in Russian). Retrieved 19 Feb 2013.
  15. ^ "Advertisement flyer for manufacturing capabilities of the GAEC – Gafat Armament Engineering Complex". Archived from the original on July 10, 2011. Retrieved 2014-01-23.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link) Retrieved on 8 October 2010.
  16. ^ "Hungary. Assault Rifles". Энциклопедия оружия и боеприпасов (in Russian). Retrieved 24 February 2013.
  17. ^ "Why General Kalashnikov couldn't sell the AK in India". India Today.
  18. ^ "Ishapore factory develops Indian variant of AK-47". Times of India.
  19. ^ "Explained: The new AK-203, and its legendary ancestor, the AK-47". The Indian Express. 5 March 2019. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  20. ^ "Nigeria to mass-produce Nigerian version of AK-47 rifles." Retrieved on 5 October 2008.
  21. ^ "DICON – Defence Industry Corp. of Nigeria" Archived 2013-12-27 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on 23 June 2012.
  22. ^ US Department of Defense, North Korea Country Handbook 1997, Appendix A: Equipment Recognition, PPSH 1943 SUBMACHINEGUN [sic] (TYPE-50 CHINA/MODEL-49 DPRK), p. A-79.
  23. ^ US Department of Defense, North Korea Country Handbook 1997, Appendix A: Equipment Recognition, TYPE-68 (AKM) ASSAULT RIFLE, p. A-77.
  24. ^ Russia confronts Pakistan, China over copied weapons, 2009-11-16, archived from the original on 2011-07-17, retrieved 2011-10-16
  25. ^ Onokoy, Vladimir (16 July 2018). "Pashtun Names for AKs in Pakistan and Afghanistan". The Firearm Blog.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  26. ^ "Poland. Assault Rifles". Энциклопедия оружия и боеприпасов (in Russian). Retrieved 19 Feb 2013.
  27. ^ "MAZ". Military Industry Corporation. Archived from the original on 27 December 2008. Retrieved 8 February 2009.
  28. ^ Raigorodetsky, Aleksandr (6 Oct 2011). Автомат "Малюк" ("Малыш") (Украина) ["Malyuk" Assault Rifle (Ukraine)]. Оружейная экзотика (in Russian). Archived from the original on 2015-09-03. Retrieved 1 Dec 2012.
  29. ^ "Kalashnikov USA Website".
  30. ^ Aaron Smith (30 June 2015). "The first American-made Kalashnikovs are now for sale". CNN.com.
  31. ^ Max Slowik (August 10, 2015). "Kalashnikov USA prices out first wave of American AKs". Guns.com.
  32. ^ "Primeros 3,000: Cavim inicia entrega de fusiles de asalto Kalashnikov AK-103 a la Fuerza Armada de Venezuela". infodefensa.com. 3 June 2013. Retrieved 14 September 2015. (on spanish)
  33. ^ Martin Sieff (15 August 2007). "Defense Focus: Venezuela's Kalashnikovs". UPI.com. Archived from the original on 2008-06-04. Retrieved 19 October 2008.
  34. ^ Red Oktober
  35. ^ David Reeder (6 October 2018), Breach Bang Clear, https://www.breachbangclear.com/red-oktober-rifle-dynamics-ak-shooting-competition/


External links[edit]

  • Media related to AK family at Wikimedia Commons