The AK 47

The AK47 and its variants has become the most prolific assault rifle in the world, and it is perhaps the most successful that has been produced so far. It has been the standard rifle of the Soviet forces since 1957 and has replaced all others as well as the sub-machine guns that were in service. manufacture has spread all over the communist world, with many different variants being made in the client countries. The AK47 is gas-operated and is unusual in having the piston rod permanently attached to the bolt carrier. The bolt locks rotating and engaging two lugs. The barrel is chromium lined and the body is machined from the solid, making it a somewhat expensive and difficult weapon to produce. The gas port has no regulator, so that there is no adjustment for the gas, and there is no holding-open device on the magazine to indicate when the ammunition has been used up. The sight radius is short, and open notch rear sight is not in line with modern thinking. The furniture is solid wood, often light coloured. The prominent safety catch on the right side of the body also acts as a closure for the bolt way. Prominent features are the pistol grip and the curved magazine and the gas cylinder above the barrel. Among the many variants are rifles and plastic furniture and folding steel stocks.

From 'Janes' Rifles & Light Machine Guns. Edited by Colonel John Weeks 1980


Ammunition: 7.62 mm x 39

Operation: Gas; selective fire

Magazine: 30 round box

Sights: Foresight pillar; Rear sight tangent notch

Muzzle velocity: 710m/s

Cyclic rate: 600 round/min

Length: 869 mm (barrel 414 mm)

Weight:4.6 kg

Manufacturer: Soviet State Arsenals, and many communist state factories

Status: Current. No longer made, replaced by AKM