AKM

AKM

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The AKM is a 7.62mm assault rifle
Assault rifle
An assault rifle is a selective fire rifle that uses an intermediate cartridge and a detachable magazine. Assault rifles are the standard infantry weapons in most modern armies...

 designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov
Mikhail Kalashnikov
Lieutenant General Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov is a Russian small arms designer, most famous for designing the AK-47 assault rifle, the AKM and the AK-74.-Early life:...

. It is an upgraded version of the AK-47
AK-47
The AK-47 is a selective-fire, gas-operated 7.62×39mm assault rifle, first developed in the Soviet Union by Mikhail Kalashnikov. It is officially known as Avtomat Kalashnikova . It is also known as a Kalashnikov, an "AK", or in Russian slang, Kalash.Design work on the AK-47 began in the last year...

 rifle and was developed in the 1950s.

Introduced into service with the Soviet Army
Soviet Army
The Soviet Army is the name given to the main part of the Armed Forces of the Soviet Union between 1946 and 1992. Previously, it had been known as the Red Army. Informally, Армия referred to all the MOD armed forces, except, in some cases, the Soviet Navy.This article covers the Soviet Ground...

 in 1959, the AKM is the most ubiquitous variant of the entire AK series of firearms and it has found widespread use with most member states of the former Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
The Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance , or more commonly referred to as the Warsaw Pact, was a mutual defense treaty subscribed to by eight communist states in Eastern Europe...

 and its many Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

n and Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

n allies. The production of these Soviet rifles was carried out at both the Tula Arsenal and Izhmash. It was officially replaced in Soviet service by the AK-74
AK-74
The AK-74 is an assault rifle developed in the early 1970s in the Soviet Union as the replacement for the earlier AKM...

 in the late 70s, but remains in use worldwide.

Design details



The AKM is an assault rifle
Assault rifle
An assault rifle is a selective fire rifle that uses an intermediate cartridge and a detachable magazine. Assault rifles are the standard infantry weapons in most modern armies...

 using the 7.62x39mm Soviet intermediate cartridge. It is gas operated with a rotating bolt
Rotating bolt
Rotating bolt is a method of locking originally developed by Ferdinand Ritter von Mannlicher and found in his Steyr-Mannlicher M1895 straight-pull bolt-action rifle designed for and issued to the Austro-Hungarian Army...

. The AKM is capable of selective fire, firing either single shots or automatic at a cyclic rate of 600 rounds/min. Despite being replaced in the mid-1970s by the AK-74
AK-74
The AK-74 is an assault rifle developed in the early 1970s in the Soviet Union as the replacement for the earlier AKM...

 the AKM is still in service in reserve units in Russia/CIS and several east European countries.

Improvements over AK-47



Compared to the AK-47, the AKM features detail improvements and enhancements that optimized the rifle for mass production; some parts and assemblies were conceived using simplified manufacturing methods. Notably, the AK-47's milled steel receiver was replaced by a U-shaped steel stamping. As a result of these modifications, the AKM’s weight was reduced by approx. 1 kg (2.2 lb), the accuracy during automatic fire was increased and several reliability issues were addressed. The AK-47's chrome-lined barrel
Gun barrel
A gun barrel is the tube, usually metal, through which a controlled explosion or rapid expansion of gases are released in order to propel a projectile out of the end at a high velocity....

 was retained, a common feature of Soviet weapons which resists wear and corrosion, particularly under harsh field and ammunition conditions.

The AKM’s receiver
Receiver (firearms)
In firearms terminology, the receiver is the part of a firearm that houses the operating parts. The receiver usually contains the bolt carrier group, trigger group, and magazine port. In most handguns, the receiver, or frame, holds the magazine well or rotary magazine as well as the trigger mechanism...

, compared to the AK-47, has a stamped sheet metal
Sheet metal
Sheet metal is simply metal formed into thin and flat pieces. It is one of the fundamental forms used in metalworking, and can be cut and bent into a variety of different shapes. Countless everyday objects are constructed of the material...

 housing to which a rear stock trunnion and forward barrel trunnion are fastened using rivets. The receiver housing also features a rigid tubular cross-section support that adds structural strength. Guide rails that assist the bolt carrier’s movement which also incorporates the ejector are installed inside the receiver through spot welding
Spot welding
Spot welding is a process in which contacting metal surfaces are joined by the heat obtained from resistance to electric current flow. Work-pieces are held together under pressure exerted by electrodes. Typically the sheets are in the thickness range...

. As a weight-saving measure, the stamped dust cover is of thinner gauge metal than that of the AK-47
AK-47
The AK-47 is a selective-fire, gas-operated 7.62×39mm assault rifle, first developed in the Soviet Union by Mikhail Kalashnikov. It is officially known as Avtomat Kalashnikova . It is also known as a Kalashnikov, an "AK", or in Russian slang, Kalash.Design work on the AK-47 began in the last year...

. In order to maintain strength and durability it employs both longitudinal and latitudinal reinforcing ribs.

Barrel


The forward barrel trunnion has a non-threaded socket for the barrel and a transverse hole for a pin that secures the barrel in place. On some models the rear trunnion has two extended mounting arms on both sides that support the buttstock; other fixed models use a stepped shaped trunnion that covers the full width of the inside of the receiver.

The AKM’s barrel is installed in the forward trunnion and pinned (as opposed to the AK-47, which has a one piece receiver with integral trunnions and a barrel that is screwed-in). Additionally the barrel has horizontal guide slots that help align and secure the handguards in place. To increase the weapon’s accuracy during automatic fire, the AKM was fitted with a slant cut muzzle brake
Muzzle brake
Muzzle brakes and recoil compensators are devices that are fitted to the muzzle of a firearm or cannon to redirect propellant gases with the effect of countering both recoil of the gun and unwanted rising of the barrel during rapid fire...

 that helps redirect expanding propellant gases upward and to the right during firing, which mitigates the rise of the muzzle
Muzzle climb
Muzzle climb refers to the elevation of muzzle of automatic and rapid-fire semi-automatic firearms caused by combined recoil from multiple shots being fired in quick succession....

 during an automatic burst when held by a right-handed firer. The muzzle brake is threaded on to the end of the barrel with a left-hand thread. The AKM's slant brake can also be used on the AK-47, which had a simple nut to cover the threads.

Gas block


The gas block in the AKM does not have a cleaning rod capture or sling loop but is instead fitted with an integrated bayonet
Bayonet
A bayonet is a knife, dagger, sword, or spike-shaped weapon designed to fit in, on, over or underneath the muzzle of a rifle, musket or similar weapon, effectively turning the gun into a spear...

 support collar that has a cleaning rod guide hole. The forward sling loop was relocated to the front handguard retainer cap. The handguard retainer also has notches that determine the position of the handguards on the barrel. The AKM’s laminated wood handguards have lateral grooves that help securely grip the rifle.

Gas relief ports that alleviate gas pressure in the piston cylinder (placed horizontally in a row on the gas cylinder in the AK-47) were moved forward to the gas block and placed in a radial arrangement.

Bolt carrier


The AKM’s bolt carrier is slightly lighter in weight and despite some minor differences in its shape – it can be used interchangeably with the AK-47’s bolt carrier and bolt.

Stock


The wooden stock used in the AKM is further hollowed in order to reduce weight and is longer and straighter than that of the AK-47, which assists accuracy for subsequent shots during rapid and automatic fire.

Spring


The AKM uses a modified return spring mechanism, which replaces the single recoil spring guide rod with a dual “U”-shaped wire guide.
The AKM has a modified trigger assembly, equipped with a hammer-release delaying device (installed on the same axis pin together with the trigger and disconnector) commonly called a "rate reducer". In fact its primary purpose is not to reduce the rate of automatic fire; it is a safety device to ensure the weapon will only fire on automatic when the bolt is fully locked, as the hammer is tripped by the bolt carrier's last few millimetres of forward movement. The device also reduces "trigger slap" or "trigger bounce" and the weapon’s rate of fire, which also reduces the dispersion of bullets when firing in fully automatic mode. The hammer was also changed and equipped with a protrusion that engages the rate reducer and the trigger has only one notched hammer release arm (compared to two parallel arms in the AK-47).

Sight


The AKM’s rear sight consists of a ramp with a range scale marked from 100 to 1,000 m (graduated every 100 m), as compared to that of the original AK-47, which was graduated to 800 meters. The rear sight leaf’s position teeth that secure the sliding adjustable notch were transferred over from the right to the left edge of the ramp. The front sight post also has a slightly different shape and its bottom portion is more narrow.

Accessories


The AKM comes supplied with a different accessory kit that contains a M1959 6H4 or 6H3-type bayonet
Bayonet
A bayonet is a knife, dagger, sword, or spike-shaped weapon designed to fit in, on, over or underneath the muzzle of a rifle, musket or similar weapon, effectively turning the gun into a spear...

 and comes with synthetic or steel magazines. The 6H3-type bayonet blade forms a wire-cutting device when coupled with its scabbard. The polymer grip and upper part of the scabbard provide insulation from the metal blade and bottom part of the scabbard to safely cut electrified wire. The kit also comes with a punch used to drive out various pins and a device that aids in assembling the rate reducing mechanism.

Ammunition


The weapon uses the same ammunition as the AK-47: the 7.62x39mm M43 intermediate rifle cartridge. The AKM mechanism's design principles and procedures for loading and firing are practically identical to those of the AK-47, the only difference being the trigger assembly (during the return stage of the bolt carrier on fully automatic mode) as a result of incorporating the rate reducer device.

AKMS



The main variant of the AKM is the AKMS (S – Skladnoy [Folding]), which was equipped with an under-folding metal shoulder stock in place of the fixed wooden stock. The metal stock of the AKMS is somewhat different from the folding stock of the previous AKS-47 model as it has a modified locking mechanism, which locks both support arms of the AKMS stock instead of just one (left arm) as in the AKS-47 folding model. It is also made of rivetted steel pressings, instead of the milled versions of most AKS-47s.

The AKM was produced in the following versions: AKMP, AKML and AKMLP, whereas the AKMS led to the following models – AKMSP, AKMSN and AKMSNP.

The AKMP rifle uses subdued tritium
Tritium
Tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen. The nucleus of tritium contains one proton and two neutrons, whereas the nucleus of protium contains one proton and no neutrons...

-illuminated aiming points integrated into the front and rear sight. These sights enable targets to be engaged in low-level light conditions, i.e. when the battlefield is illuminated with flares, fires or muzzle flashes or when the target is visible as a shadow against an illuminated background. The sliding notch on the sight arm is then moved to the “S” setting (which corresponds to the “3” setting in the AKM). The sight itself is guided on the sliding scale and has a socket, which contains a tritium gas-filled capsule directly beneath the day-time notch. The tritium front post installs into the front sight base using a detent and spring.
The AKMN comes equipped with a side-rail used to attach a night vision device. The mount comprises a flat plate riveted to the left wall of the receiver housing and a support bracket fixed to the mounting base with screws. To shield the light-sensitive photo detector plate of the night vision sight, the weapon uses a slotted flash suppressor
Flash suppressor
A flash suppressor, also known as a flash guard, flash eliminator, flash hider, or flash cone, is a device attached to the muzzle of a rifle or other gun that reduces the visible signature of the burning gases that exit the muzzle. This reduces the chances that the shooter will be blinded in dark...

, which replaces the standard recoil compensator. The AKMN can also be deployed in the prone position with a detachable barrel-mounted bipod
Bipod
A bipod is a support device that is similar to a tripod or monopod, but with two legs. It provides significant stability along two axes of motion .-Firearms:...

 that helps stabilize the weapon and reduces operator fatigue during prolonged periods of observation. The bipod is supplied as an accessory and is carried in a holster attached to the duty belt.

The AKMLP is a version of the AKML with tritium sights (as in the AKMP).

The AKMSP rifle is based on the folding stock AKMS variant but fitted with tritium night sights, as in the AKMP.

The AKMSN model is derived from the AKMS and features an accessory rail used to mount a night vision sensor as seen on the AKML and additionally a flash hider and bipod. The left arm of the AKMSN’s folding stock is bent outwards in order to avoid the sight mount bracket during folding and the sling loop was moved further to the rear.

A version of the AKMSN additionally supplied with factory tritium night sights is called the AKMSNP.

A version of the AKM with a modified lower handguard designed to accept the 40 mm
40 mm grenade
The 40mm grenade is a military grenade caliber for grenade launchers in service with many armed forces. There are two main types in service: the 40×46mm, which is a low-velocity round used in hand-held grenade launchers; and the high-velocity 40×53mm, used in mounted and crew-served weapons. The...

 wz. 1974 Pallad
Pallad grenade launcher
The Pallad is a 40 mm Polish under-slung grenade launcher, developed for use with the AKM assault-rifle and intended to replace the kbkg wz. 1960 grenade-launcher rifle. The name of the weapon reflects the Polish-language word for palladium.The development of the weapon drew on concepts...

 grenade launcher
Grenade launcher
A grenade launcher or grenade discharger is a weapon that launches a grenade with more accuracy, higher velocity, and to greater distances than a soldier could throw it by hand....

 was developed in Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 and designated the karabinek-granatnik wz. 1974.

Users





: Produced locally.: Produced locally.: The Misr is an Egyptian copy of the AKM, manufactured by Factory 54 of the Maadi Company for Engineering Industries in Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

 for the Egyptian Army
Egyptian Army
The Egyptian Army is the largest service branch within the Egyptian Armed Forces and holds power in the current Egyptian government. It is estimated to number around 379,000, in addition to 479,000 reservists for a total of 858,000 strong. The modern army was created in the 1820s, and during the...

 and for export sales.: Still in limited Military/Police use. Replaced by AK-74
AK-74
The AK-74 is an assault rifle developed in the early 1970s in the Soviet Union as the replacement for the earlier AKM...

.: Holds stocks of imported AKM clones for wartime reserve service (the Chinese Type 56 known as the RK 56 TP and the East German MPi-KM as the RK 72) along with locally designed AK derivatives (the RK 62
Rk 62
The Rk 62 is an assault rifle manufactured by Valmet and Sako. It is the standard issue infantry weapon of the Finnish Defence Forces....

and the RK 95 TP
Rk 95 TP
The Rk 95 Tp is a 7.62 mm Finnish assault rifle adopted by the Finnish Defence Forces in the 1990s in relatively small numbers.-History:...

).: There is a Hungarian copy of the AKM called 'AK-63' manufactured by FÉG. The AK-63 comes with a fixed wooden or plastic stock, but there is a version with an under-folding metal stock called AK-63D.: Captured from Arab armies over the course of the Arab-Israeli Conflict.: Type 68 variant. The variant does not have a rate reducer.: Some captured from Dhofari rebels
Dhofar Rebellion
The Dhofar Rebellion was launched in the province of Dhofar against the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman, which had British support, from 1962 to 1976. It ended with the defeat of the rebels, but the state of Oman had to be radically reformed and modernised to cope with the campaign.-Background:In...

.: Type 56 variant.: Produced locally. Replaced in the early 1980s.: Produced locally.: Still in limited use, officially replaced in most Russian military units by the AK-74
AK-74
The AK-74 is an assault rifle developed in the early 1970s in the Soviet Union as the replacement for the earlier AKM...

. still in limited use, officially replaced in most Ukrainian military units by the AK-74
AK-74
The AK-74 is an assault rifle developed in the early 1970s in the Soviet Union as the replacement for the earlier AKM...

. Standard Infantry rifle of the Vietnamese Army.: Several variants based on the AKM built by Zastava Arms
Zastava Arms
Zastava Arms is a Serbian manufacturer of firearms and artillery. It was founded in 1853 when it cast its first cannons. It is currently the leading producer of firearms in Serbia and is a large contributor to the local defence industry...

 factory, most notably the M70
Zastava M70
The Zastava M70 is a 7.62mm assault rifle developed in Yugoslavia by Zastava Arms. The M70 was designed on the basis of the AKM and became the standard issue assault rifle in the Yugoslav People's Army in 1970. The M70 is air-cooled, magazine-fed, selective fire rifle...

and M70B.

External links