The Kalashnikov AKM is an improved version of the AK-47 assault rifle, even with the adoption of the AK-74 as the main rifle of the Russian Army, the AKM still operates in some forces of this country.
DescriptionEditIn the mid 1950s Soviet Army issued new requirement for a lighter and more accurate assault rifle. These requirements were also complemented by a squad automatic weapon. Kalashnikov submitted his new version of the AK-47 with some minor improvements. Eventually this improved rifle was adopted to service in 1959 as the AKM along with the RPK light machine gun. These assault rifles were widely exported. The AKM is currently in service with at least 35 countries worldwide. Also it was license produced in a number of countries.
The AKM is a gas operated, selective fire weapon, chambered for the Soviet 7.62 x 39 mm intermediate cartridge. It is 0.7 kg lighter than the original AK-47. Firing accuracy was slightly improved over its predecessor, due to a hammer release delay device.
Despite all improvements, the AKM still had inferior accuracy to most Western assault or automatic rifles. However this weapon made its name for it's unsurpassed reliability, ruggedness, simplicity of operation and maintenance. This weapon do not jam nor misfire in worst conditions possible. Also it has reliable extraction even with dirty chamber and cases. This weapon can be field stripped in one minute without using any tools. It's design simplicity made it suitable for mass production, as well as incredibly simple and intuitive to operate, and extremely reliable. The original AK-47's and AKM's are fair to average in terms of accuracy. However, more modern Kalashnikovs, starting with the AK-74, have featured good accuracy featuring an effective sighted fire range of 500m.
The manual of arms for the Kalshnikov is highly reminiscent of other infantry rifles of the early Cold War Era. Magazines are inserted with a highly positive rocking action wherein first the front lug on the magazine is mated to a corresponding lug on the receiver. The magazine is then rotated back around the lug until it goes click. With a proper connection between magazine and receiver, there should be absolutely none to only a very small degree of wiggle. Once the magazine is loaded, deactivate the safety with your index finger, keeping your middle finger on the trigger. Push it down by one notch for automatic fire and push it down all the way for semiautomatic fire. The weapon is cocked by taking the charging handle and pulling it all the way back before releasing it. To release a magazine, grab a magazine by the base and press on the release catch located on the bottom front of the trigger guard. Pull the magazine forwards and down. To facilitate quicker reloads, use a fresh magazine held perpendicular to the barrel and parallel to the ground to both trip the catch and knock the old magazine out of place. Then insert the fresh magazine and cock the weapon again if there is no round in the chamber.
The basic reload technique for a right-handed person is to use their left hand to rotate the rifle onto its side with the right side facing upwards. The old magazine is removed and then a new magazine is then inserted, a round chambered, and the hand placed back onto the grip and trigger. For quick tactical reload, use the left hand to grab a new magazine and use the new magazine to knock out the old magazine. Then, insert the magazine and charge the weapon by reaching around underneath to access the handle.
The combined safety and fire selector switch locks the bolt group and the trigger in the "safe" position. It also serves as a dust cover. The middle position is for automatic fire and the bottom position is for single shots.
The AKM is fed from a 30 round box magazine. Late production models were completed with distinctive red plastic magazines. This assault rifle is also compatible with 40 round magazines of similar design or 75 rounds drum magazines. Both of these magazines are from the RPK light machine gun.
This assault rifle has a sighting range settings from 100 to 1 000 meters. However it is way too optimistic, since the effective range of fire for the AKM is 400m, according to Izmash.The AKM was produced with a solid wooden stock, or folding metal stock (AKMS). This version was adopted for airborne troops. Both weapons have similar design, except the buttstock. Even shorter version is the AKMSU, intended both for airborne troops and special forces. The AKMN and AKMSN versions are compatible with night vision sights.
A detachable multipurpose knife-bayonet of a new type can be attached. A PBS-1 silencer was specially developed for this assault rifle. Silenced AKMs were used by the Soviet special forces. This silencer requires a special sub-sonic ammunition. The AKM assault rifle can be fitted with 40-mm GP-25 underbarrel grenade launcher.
Direct copies of this weapon are Bulgarian AKM, Cuban AKM, Egyptian Maadi Misr, Hungarian AKM, Iranian KL-7 and Polish AKM.
- Afghanistan: The Afghan National Army still uses the AK series reminiscent of the Communist period, like the AK-47, AKM and AK-74. Another AK copies, like the PRC Type 56 and the Hungarian AMD-65 in the hands of the Afghan Army and in the Taliban.
- Algeria: Main Service rifle
- Bulgaria: Produced locally.
- Cape Verde
- Central African Republic
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- East Germany: Produced locally as the MpiK, MpikM and MpiAK74N, replaced by the G-36 after German reunification, a few still can be found in the German Army.
- Egypt: The Misr is an Egyptian copy of the AKM, manufactured by Factory 54 of the Maadi Company for Engineering Industries in Cairo for the Egyptian Army and for export sales.
- Equatorial Guinea
- Estonia: Still in limited military/police use. Replaced by AK-74.
- Finland: 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 and the RK-95 TP).
- Hungary: There is a Hungarian copy of the AKM called 'AK-63' manufactured by FÉG. The AK-63 comes with a fixed wooden stock, but there is a version with an under-folding metal stock called AK-63D.
- India: Limited use
- North Korea: Type 68 variant. The variant does not have a rate reducer.
- Pakistan: Type 56 variant.
- Peru: used by airborne troops
- Poland: Produced ceased. PMK, Kbk AKM and Kbk AKMS, Wz.88 "Tantal" is in 5.45mm. Replaced by Wz.96 'Beryl'.
- Republic of Macedonia
- Romania: Produced locally.
- Russia: Still in limited use, officially replaced in most Russian military units by the AK-74.
- São Tomé and Príncipe
- Saudi Arabia
- Sierra Leone
- Ukraine: Still in limited use, replaced by the AK-74 as the main assault rifle
- United States: The U.S. soldiers sometimes use the AK variants captured in the Middle East.
- United Arab Emirates
- Yugoslavia: Several variants based on the AKM built by Zastava Arms factory, most notably the Zastava M70.
- Caliber: 7.62x39mm
- Weight: 3.6 kg
- Length: 880mm
- Muzzle Velocity: 715 m/s
- Rate of Fire: 660rpm
- Range: 400m
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