47? 74? Not Dyslexia. Yes, Different AKs

I found this video from Brandon Herrera this morning and it was worth the share.

It’s a common mistake to call any and every AK pattern rifle an AK47 and while AK and AR are categories of firearms an AK47 really only covers the original AK47 types and the AKM. Just as every AR-15 is not an M4, not every AK is an AK47.

In fact a great many are not AK47s, most common among a mass produced and immense number of variations is the AKM, the stamped steel receiver update of the 47. As you get further away from Russia and the Soviet heartland you see more changes away from that centralized AKM pattern if the rifles used were produced domestically. If the nation bought rifles the usually bought boatloads of AKMs.

Around 1974 the Soviet Union was seeing the advantages of NATO’s switch to the lightweight, longer effective range, more accurate 5.56x45mm for their assault rifles and followed that logic train with the 5.45x39mm round. The AK74 was built around it as a whole system improvement on the AKM and highlights the manufacturing improvements as well as the increased effectiveness of the rifles.

The 74 didn’t disseminate the way the 47 did though. Nations who had bought arms from China or Russia just kept the cheap stockpiles of 7.62×39 weapons and 5.45×39 weapons became associated with more professional military services on the international stage. The AK47 became the weapon of ad hoc militias, guerillas, and third world armies while the lightweight higher velocity 5.45 weapons were the purview of modern soldiers.

A few nations, like Poland, that had been using the 47 in Eastern Europe kept the AK design, but in 5.56 as NATO members. In overall performance regards it is generally assumed that 5.56 AK pattern weapons are slightly less durable, reliable, and desirable than their 5.45 “true AK” siblings. This, in my opinion, is mostly fueled by the different Fanboi camps and not based in an overabundance of fact.

Keith Finch
Keith is the former Editor-in-Chief of GAT Marketing Agency, Inc. He got told there was a mountain of other things that needed doing, so he does those now and writes here when he can. editor@gatdaily.com A USMC Infantry Veteran and Small Arms and Artillery Technician, Keith covers the evolving training and technology from across the shooting industry. Teaching since 2009, he covers local concealed carry courses, intermediate and advanced rifle courses, handgun, red dot handgun, bullpups, AKs, and home defense courses for civilians, military client requests, and law enforcement client requests.