AK-74M: A standard service rifle of Russian Army

Author: Eric Sof

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The AK-74M is a modification of the AK-74, which its intended use is for motorized infantry and as a standard service rifle. It was manufactured and designed in Russia by Izhmash Small Arms as the main service rifle of the Russian Army. The AK-74M also exists in another variant, the AKS-74M, which has a side folding stock designed for Airborne troops.

Design

Production of the AK-74M (“М”— Russian: Модернизи́рованный, tr. Modernizírovanny, lit. ‘modernized’) began in 1990, and the Russian Army officially adopted the rifle in 1991. It is chambered in 5.45×39 and features black synthetic furniture. The AK-74M has an 18.11-inch barrel with a birdcage style flash suppressor attached to the barrel to control muzzle climb. The rifle can be fired in three different modes; semi, three-shot burst, and full-auto.

The rifle can also be used with many vehicles as a mounted weapon. The AK-74M disassembles the same procedure as the AK-74 and is almost an exact copy except for the barrel and synthetic stock. The AK-74M has an optical plate installed on the side of the receiver for attaching scopes and other optical equipment. The optical plate will accept most types of Russian and European AK optics. The standard optical sight is the 1P29 universal sight with 4-power magnification. It has a field of vision of 80.

1P29 Universal sight for the AK-74 and other small arms
1P29 Universal sight for the AK-74 and other small arms (Photo: XY)

The rifle has an effective range of 1000 yards and a rate of fire of 600rpm. The rifle will accept most synthetic and metal AK-74 magazines, generally 30 rounds in capacity. The 30-round True Black magazine is the current-production magazine for the rifle. The magazine is made of lightweight strength polymer. It can be quickly reloaded from stripper clips. The empty weight of a 30-round magazine is 0.23kg.

The lightweight 5.45x39mm magazine significantly reduces the load for the soldiers. It allows the carriage of additional rounds for the same weight compared to the earlier magazines of the AK family of assault rifles.

Russian soldier takes aim with his AK-74M
Russian soldier aims with his AK-74M (Photo: XY)

The assault rifle can be attached with an under-barrel grenade launcher or a knife bayonet. The rifle fitted with GP-34 single-shot grenade launcher can engage targets within 100m to 400m. The GP-34 can fire grenades, fragmentation bounding grenades, and smoke grenades. Other accessories provided with the rifle include a quick-loading device, spare cartridges, stripper clips, maintenance kit, cleaning rod, and sling.

Variants

AK-74MR UUK (Universal Upgrade Kit)

An AK-74M universal upgrade kit consisting of new safety, dust cover, and furniture featuring improved ergonomics and rails to attach accessories like aiming optics, optoelectronic sights, laser sights, weapon lights, and vertical foregrips and a new muzzle device had its official debut on 9 May 2015 in Moscow as part of the 2015 Moscow Victory Day Parade.

AK-74MR UUK (Universal Upgrade Kit)
Kalashnikov Concern’s AK-74MR UUK (Universal Upgrade Kit) (Photo: XY)

The Kalashnikov Concern has developed three sets of additional equipment for the modernization of 5.45×39mm and 7.62×39mm chambered AK-pattern assault rifles for regular military units, reconnaissance units, and special forces units. The Kalashnikov Concern announced a contract with the Russian Ministry of Defence to deliver upgrade kits for their AK-74M assault rifles.

Users

Azerbaijan started the licensed production of the AK-74M in July 2011. The rifle is being manufactured for the Azeri armed forces under the designation of Khazri. Azerbaijan manufactured more than 100,000 AK-74M rifles by mid-2019. The AK-74M rifle is used by Afghanistan, Armenia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Georgia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Mongolia, North Korea, Philippines, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

Technical specifications

Manufacturer:Kalashnikov Concern (formerly Izhmash), SSSR
Designed:1991
Service:1991–present (Russia)
Type:gas-operated, rotating bolt
Caliber: 5.45×39mm
Barrel:415 mm (16.3 in)
Weight (empty):3.4 kg (7.5 lb)
Effective firing range:500m
Rate of fire:600-650 rounds per minute
Magazine capacity:30-round AK-74, 45-round RPK-74 detachable box magazine, or 60-round casket magazine
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