Soviet AK47 and AK 74 Automatic Rifles – Functional Differences


Mikhail Kalashnikov (1919-2013) Holding the AK47 He Designed

Mikhail Kalashnikov was a peasant who rose-up through the ranks of the Soviet Red Army during the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945). Due to his experiences during that terrible war against the Nazi German invasion of the USSR, he was of the opinion that the average Soviet soldier required a better all-round automatic rifle primarily for defence of the country. Although self-taught as an engineer and designer, Mikhail Kalashnikov was supported and encouraged by the Soviet State to use his mind in the most progressive manner. This he did, and his designs were often considered superior to Soviet engineers and designers who had received a formal university education. In this regard, it is reported that Joseph Stalin admired Mikhail Kalashnikov and his achievements because he was an ordinary person whose mind (and body) was ‘freed’ from the oppression of capitalism, and uplifted by a Socialist State to achieve everything he could in a single lifetime. Although Western accounts of his life are integrated with US Cold War lies and anti-Soviet racism, Russian biographies explain that the AK47 was designed for the International Working Class to defend itself against the sophisticated and deadly arsenal of the bourgeois industrial complex. It is said that Mikhail Kalashnikov designed the AK47 so that if left in water for two-weeks (with a full magazine), it could be picked-up and immediately discharged with accuracy. Tests on the AK47 have proved this assumption correct. The AK47 is a general purpose weapon of defence, designed to defend the Socialist Revolution. This weapon was designed prior to the rise of NATO and the threat that bourgeois organisation posed to the Soviet people. As a consequence, the AK47 was not designed to confront the West – but to defend the Soviet Union from ‘non-specified’ aggressive military action. As a consequence, the AK47 fired a 7.62×39mm cartridge.

As the United States (and its allies) in the West, developed NATO as a means to protect the class privilege of capitalism, Western and Northern European armies formally joined with the military of the US to form an aggressive organisation designed to attack the Soviet Warsaw Pact countries, as and when the balance of power was considered strong enough in capitalism’s favour. As a routine matter of disinformation, NATO was packaged as ‘defensive’ (whilst adopting an aggressive encirclement of the USSR and other Communist countries), whilst the ‘defensive’ network of Socialist and Communist armed forces (the Warsaw Pact), was falsely presented as being the ‘aggressor’ against the capitalist West. In fact, the Third International founded by Lenin in 1918 (when Russia was under attack from fourteen foreign powers – which called for the International Working Class to rise-up across the globe – was formally abolished by Joseph Stalin in 1943 (as the USSR was an ally of the West at the time in the war against Nazi Germany).

AK74 – Improved Version of the AK47 Designed to Defend Against NATO Attack

The US military made the standard NATO ammunition conform with that of the American M16 Assault Rifle. This meant that all the armies throughout Europe had to adopt the US designed 5.56×45mm NATO round as standard for Western (capitalist) ‘assault’ rifles. In response to this military threat against the Soviet Bloc, Mikhail Kalashnikov designed the much more versatile AK74, that had a number of versions, and fired the far smaller 5.45×39mm round. Soviet thinking at the time was that as NATO forces advanced into Soviet territory and became enveloped and cut-off from their logistic base, Red Army personnel could ‘liberate’ the 5.56×45mm NATO round and use it in the AK74 – which possessed the mechanical ability to fire two different (but similar) calibre of rounds. Conversely,the NATO assault rifles could not use or fire any captured Soviet ammunition (which was too small). Should the Soviet forces run-out of ammunition, it was believed that the Red Army could use the captured stores of the neutralised NATO forces. Furthermore, as AK47’s, AKM’s and AK74’s were often used together throughout the Red Army, and given that NATO might fire nuclear weapons at the USSR (causing endless night-times and immense destruction), Mikhail Kalashnikov thought that Soviet soldiers (and ordinary Soviet citizens) might have to fight NATO in the dark for various reasons, and so he added a ‘groove’ down the stock of the AK74 that is not present in the AK47 or AKM. A defender of the Soviet homeland – deprived of visual ability – could tell from the groove in the stock that the weapon he had picked-up was an AK74 and not an AK47. From this information it could be ascertained that the AK74 could fire captured NATO ammunition.

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