Ak

Developed in 1974 and entering service in about 1977 this is the latest rifle in Soviet service. The folding stock version, AKS 74, was first seen during the Red Square Parade of that year. Basically it is a re-chambered, re-bored AKM firing a 5.45mm cartridge. It is identifiable by some external differences: a distinctive, two-port muzzle brake, which increases its length slightly; horizontal grooves on the foregrip and butt: and a smooth plastic magazine which is slightly shorter and less curved than that of the grooved metal AKM.

Below: Soviet Naval Infantry on the Black Sea coast. Note the distinctive smooth plastic form and red colouring of the AK 74's magazine.

Assault Rifle

Above; Known by the Finns as the RK 62 the Model 62 assault rifle is also in service with the ground forces of Qatar.

The muzzle brake uses a fluidic device to excellent effect in minimising recoil and muzzle climb; however, the gas cylinder is vulnerably placed and may cause malfunctions if dented. It has proved itself a first class weapon in combat in Afghanistan where Spetsnaz tested derivatives such as the AKS-74U, a much shortened version with folding stock.

Finland

M62 (THE VALMET)_

Always closely associated with her more powerful neighbour, Finland developed her first Soviet type assault rifle in the late 1950s. Mechanically it was identical to the AK 47 but with external differences. Made at Valmet, the Model 60 was all-metal, much of it plastic covered. It had a plastic forehand grip ventilated with a series of holes and a rattier ugly tubular butt with a

Above; Known by the Finns as the RK 62 the Model 62 assault rifle is also in service with the ground forces of Qatar.

shoulder piece welded onto the end. Also it had no trigger guard, merely a vertical bar in front of the trigger. The object was to allow gloved hands to fire it during the fierce Finnish winters, but it must have increased the risk of accidental discharge. The Model 62 makes increased use of pressings and riveting. It has the same curved magazine and a tangent backsight mounted on the receiver cover. The three-pronged flash hider incorporates below it a bayonet bar. From the mid-1980s Model 62s have been given folding stocks and more robust machined steel receivers instead of sheet metal. A further variant, the Model 62/76. was essentially a Finnish AKM but production now centres on the improved Model 62.

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