9-Hole and the AK74…
For those still under the belief that the AK47 was superior to the M16 in some way during the Vietnam war, I present to you that mimicry is the most sincere form of flattery.
While the Soviets didn’t copy Stoner’s rifle (they had a working rifle design), they did copy the 5.56 ammunition. The effects both logistically and terminally of using LWHV (Light Weight High Velocity) were clear to the Soviets from the study of Americans with the M16. In typical Soviet efficient fashion the simply took the improvements they wanted to implement and made the caliber change in their AK platform. Nyet, rifle is fine… new bullets though.
Greater effective range, greater accuracy, lower recoil.
The AK took the legacy .30 caliber and just powered it down, 7.62x54r to 7.62×39, and the Soviets did that one rifle generation before the Americans and NATO. We kept .30 one iteration longer with the FAL, G3, and M14. We then jumped ahead with the M16, taking the lighter all purpose rifle concept into the ammunition too.
This ended up with both us and the Soviets in a two (for the Soviets at large, three) caliber solution. We had the light rifle ammo and the heavier machine gun ammo which was our legacy .30’s. We also used the .30’s for our precision rifles and anything that needed mass to retain some energy to reach beyond the soft 500 meter mark of our service rifles. Not all the Soviets went 5.45 and a solid mix of 7.62 AKs remained, especially in rear echelon units where there was no rush to upgrade.
We in the US would mimic that pattern as the services increasingly selected the M4 and M4A1 and retired the M16A2 and A4’s from the primary roles during GWOT.
A 5.45 is one I am still hunting personally, I believe I know what I want but waiting on availability. Ammo is also pretty steep for them at the moment so there is that.
But it is a great round, some prefer it to 5.56 even.