What is an AK74?

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2010-08-01 20:36:14

The AK74 is a gas-operated automatic rifle chambered in 5.45x39.

The rifle has the distinctive look of the AK series with a curved

detachable magazine, tall front sight and a pistol grip. The 74

stands for 1974, the year the rifle was officially accepted into

service by the Soviet Army. Mass-production began in 1976. The AK74

is an updated version of the AKM, which was the modernized version

of the original AK. The major change was the caliber switch from

7.62 to 5.45 along with some other minor tweaks for ease of

manufacture and improved accuracy.

AK74 served as the basis for variants, such as the AK74S

(folding stock), AKSU (short barrel), and many others. The newest

iteration of the design is the AK-100 series. Despite it being

accepted as the main service rifle for the Russian Federation armed

forces the AK74 remains in service with many units.

Besides the Soviet Union and its successor states, the AK-74 was

widely adopted by many Soviet client states and other nations, in

particular users of the AK and the AKM, although not nearly as

extensively as those rifles. Like the AK and the AKM, the AK-74 was

copied both illicitly and under license.

Yugoslavia license built the weapon as the M80, and it was

featured prominently among many of the armed forces operating in

the country during the 1990s. It remains the service weapon for

many of the former Yugoslav republics.

Semi-automatic variants of the AK-74 have gained in popularity

with gun owners in the United States due to laws there restricting

manufacture of machineguns for civilian use. Civilian rifles (and

pistols) based on the Kalashnikov include a hodgepodge of features

from various countries, even being available in 5.56 x 45 mm.

Captured AK-74s and several variants thereof have also been used by

the Mujahideen, Taliban, Al-Qaeda, and Northern Alliance in

Afghanistan, and by Osama Bin Laden and his subordinates in videos

and interviews.

Value is around $300 to $500 depending on the buyer and what

other assessories the weapons has to offer and how many times its

been fired. A brand new one could be valued at close to a thousand


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