Kalashnikov rifle

A Kalashnikov 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 "Avtomat Kalashnikova" ("Kalashnikov's Automatic Gun"; Russian: Автома́т Кала́шникова), but are widely known as Kalashnikovs, AK47s, or in Russian slang, as 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.[1]

The Kalashnikov is considered as one of the most pervasively used guns in the world, with an estimated 7.5 million to 200 million rifles in circulation around the world (accounting for roughly 20 percent of the entire global stock of firearms as of 2015) and present in almost 100 countries.[2][3][4]


The primary types of Kalashnikov rifles.[5][6]

AK7.62×39mm M431949Izhmash and others
AKM7.62×39mm M431959Izhmash, Tula Arms Plant and others
AK-745.45×39mm M741974Izhmash
AK-200, AK-2055.45×39mm M742018Kalashnikov Concern
AK-101, AK-1025.56×45mm NATO1995Izhmash
AK-201, AK-2025.56×45mm NATO2018Kalashnikov Concern
AK-103, AK-1047.62×39mm M432001Izhmash
AK-203, AK-2047.62×39mm M432018Kalashnikov Concern
AK-1055.45×39mm M742001Izhmash
AK-12, AK-12K5.45×39mm M742011Kalashnikov Concern, formerly Izhmash
AK-15, AK-15K7.62×39mm M432018Kalashnikov Concern
Comparative characteristics of Kalashnikov assault rifles and machine guns
NameCountryCartridgeLength extended/folded (mm)Barrel length (mm)Weight (kg) (empty)Cyclic rate of fire (rounds per minute)Maximum sighting range (m)Muzzle velocity (m/s)
AKSoviet Union7.62×39mm M438704153.47600800715
AKMSoviet Union7.62×39mm M438804153.16001,000715
RPK(s)Soviet Union7.62×39mm M431040/8205904.80/5.66001,000745
PK(M)Soviet Union7.62×54mmR11736059.0/7.56501,500825
AK-74Soviet Union5.45×39mm M749434153.076001,000900
AKS-74Soviet Union5.45×39mm M74933/6904152.976001,000900
AK-74MSoviet Union5.45×39mm M74943/7054153.46501,000900
RPK-74Soviet Union5.45×3910605904.76001,000960
AKS-74USoviet Union5.45×39mm M74730/490206,52.7700500735
AK-101Russia5.56×45mm NATO943/7004153.66001,000910
AK-102Russia5.56×45mm NATO824/5863143.0600500850
AK-103Russia7.62×39mm M43943/7054153.46001,000715
AK-104Russia7.62×39mm M43824/5863143.0600500670
AK-105Russia5.45×39mm M74824/5863143.2600500840
AK-107Russia5.45×39mm M74943/7004153.88501,000900
AK-108Russia5.56×45mm NATO943/7004153.89001,000910
AK-109Russia7.62×39mm M43943/7004153.89001,000750
AK-9Russia9×39mm705/4652003.1/3.8 (with suppressor)600400290 (СП-5) / 305 (СП-6)
AK-12Russia5.45×39mm M74940/7304153.37001,000900
AK-15Russia7.62×39mm M43922/8624153.57001,000715


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).[7]
  • 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.[8]

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)[9][10][N 1] due to the lighter receiver. This is the most ubiquitous variant of the AK-47.
  • 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)

The 100 Series

5.45×39mm / 5.56×45mm NATO / 7.62×39mm

The AK-12 series

5.45×39mm / 7.62×39mm

  • AK-12 / AK-15 – 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.

Other weapons


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.[3] 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:

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.[12]
Armenia K-3 (bullpup, 5.45×39mm)
Azerbaijan Khazri (AK-74M)[13]
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[14]
East Germany[15] 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)[16]
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[17] 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[18][19] Indo-Russia Rifles, AK-203[20][21]
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[22][23]
North Korea Type 58A/B (Type 3 AK/w. stamped steel folding stock), Type 68A/B (AKM/AKMS), Type 88 (AKS-74)[24][25]
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.[26]
Poland [27] 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[28] (based on the Type 56)
Ukraine Vepr (bullpup, 5.45×39mm), Malyuk (bullpup)[29]
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.[30][31][32]
Vietnam AKM-1, AKM-VN (AKM) assault rifle, TUL-1 (RPK) light machine gun, Galil ACE 31/32 assault rifle
Venezuela AK-103 [33] / License granted to Venezuela[34]
Yugoslavia/Serbia M64, M70, M72, M76, M77, M80, M82, M85, M90, M91, M92, M99, M21

Similar rifles

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


  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.[35] It is a match designed for the use of ComBloc style weapons, but the Kalashnikov design is extremely heavy within the participants' arsenals.[36]



  1. "RIP Kalashnikov: 20 facts you may not have known about AK-47 and its creator". RT. December 23, 2013.
  2. Blair, David (2015-07-02). "AK-47 Kalashnikov: The firearm which has killed more people than any other". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2019-09-26.
  3. 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.
  4. McCarthy, Niall. "The Cost Of An AK-47 On The Black Market Around The World [Infographic]". Forbes. Retrieved 2019-09-26.
  5. "Концерн Калашников -- Официальный сайт". kalashnikov.com.
  6. "200 series Kalashnikov assault rifle: AK-200, AK-201, AK-202, AK-203, AK-204, AK-205 (Russia)". modernfirearms.net.
  7. НСД. 7,62-мм автомат АК 1967, pp. 161–162.
  8. Monetchikov 2005, p. 76.
  9. НСД. 7,62-мм автомат АКМ (АКМС) 1983, pp. 149–150.
  10. "AK 47 fix stock Russian AKM, deactivated assault rifle". Web.archive.org. Retrieved 2018-08-30.
  11. "AKML (AKMSL)". AK-INFO.RU. Retrieved 8 Feb 2013.
  12. Albanian Small Arms by Aftermath Gun Club.
  13. 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.
  14. Dimov, Roman. "Kalashnikov Arms Versions". The AK Site. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007.
  15. "MPi-K / MPi-AK Assault Rifle Series". Энциклопедия оружия и боеприпасов (in Russian). Retrieved 19 Feb 2013.
  16. "Advertisement flyer for manufacturing capabilities of the GAEC – Gafat Armament Engineering Complex". Archived from the original on July 10, 2011. Retrieved 2014-01-23.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link) Retrieved on 8 October 2010.
  17. "Hungary. Assault Rifles". Энциклопедия оружия и боеприпасов (in Russian). Retrieved 24 February 2013.
  18. "Why General Kalashnikov couldn't sell the AK in India". India Today.
  19. "Ishapore factory develops Indian variant of AK-47 - Times of India".
  20. "750,000 new AKs for India: Modi unveils Kalashnikov plant producing latest Russian rifles". RT. 3 March 2019. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  21. "Explained: The new AK-203, and its legendary ancestor, the AK-47". The Indian Express. 5 March 2019. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  22. "Nigeria to mass-produce Nigerian version of AK-47 rifles." Retrieved on 5 October 2008.
  23. "DICON – Defence Industry Corp. of Nigeria" Archived 2013-12-27 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on 23 June 2012.
  24. 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.
  25. US Department of Defense, North Korea Country Handbook 1997, Appendix A: Equipment Recognition, TYPE-68 (AKM) ASSAULT RIFLE, p. A-77.
  26. Russia confronts Pakistan, China over copied weapons. Archived 2011-07-17 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on 16 October 2010.
  27. "Poland. Assault Rifles". Энциклопедия оружия и боеприпасов (in Russian). Retrieved 19 Feb 2013.
  28. "MAZ". Military Industry Corporation. Archived from the original on 27 December 2008. Retrieved 8 February 2009.
  29. 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.
  30. "Kalashnikov USA Website".
  31. Aaron Smith (30 June 2015). "The first American-made Kalashnikovs are now for sale". CNN.com.
  32. Max Slowik (August 10, 2015). "Kalashnikov USA prices out first wave of American AKs". Guns.com.
  33. "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)
  34. Martin Sieff (15 August 2007). "Defense Focus: Venezuela's Kalashnikovs". UPI.com. Archived from the original on 2008-06-04. Retrieved 19 October 2008.
  35. Red Oktober
  36. David Reeder (6 October 2018), Breach Bang Clear, https://www.breachbangclear.com/red-oktober-rifle-dynamics-ak-shooting-competition/


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