The AKM is a 7.62mm assault rifle designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov. It is an upgraded version of the AK-47 rifle and was developed in the 1950s.
Introduced into service with the Soviet Army in 1959, the AKM is the most common and prolific variant of the entire AK series of firearms and it has found widespread use with most member states of the former Warsaw Pact and its many African, Middle Eastern and Asian allies as well as being widely exported and produced in may other countries. The production of these Soviet rifles was carried out at both the Tula Arms Plant and Izhmash. It was officially replaced in Soviet Front-Line service by the AK-74 in the late 1970's, but remains in widespread use worldwide. Most weapons around the world identified as AK-47s are more likely to be AKMs or foreign made copies.
The AKM is an assault rifle using the 7.62x39mm Soviet intermediate cartrige. It is gas operated with a rotating bolt. The AKM is capable of selective fire, firing from either single shots or automatic at a cyclic rate of 600 RPM. Despite being replaced in the late 1970s by the AK-74 the AKM is still in service in some Russian Army reserve and second-line units, Many African, Asian and Middle Eastern countries and several east European countries
Improvements over AK-47Edit
Compared to the AK-47, the AKM features detail improvements and enhancements that optimized the rifle for mass production; some parts and assemblies were concieved using simplified manufacturing methods. Notably, the AK-47's milled steel receiver was replaced by a U-shaped steel stamping. As a result of these modifications, the AKM's weight was reduced by approx. 1 kg (2.2 lb), the accuracy during automatic fire was increased and several reliability issues were addressed. The AK-47's chrome lined barrel was retained, a common feature of Soviet weapons which resists wear and corrosion, particularly under harsh field conditions and near-universal Eastern Bloc use of corrosive primed ammunition.
The AKM's receiver, compared to the AK-47, has a stamped sheet metal housing to which a rear stock trunnion and forward barrel trunnion are fastened using rivets. THe receiver housing also features a rigid tubular cross-section support that adds structural strength. Guide rails that assist the bolt carrier's movement which also incorporateds the ejector are installed inside the receiver through spot welding. As a weight saving measure, the stamped cover is of thinner guage metal than that of the AK-47. In order to maintain strength and durability it employs both longitudinal and latitudinal reinforcing ribs.
The forward barrel trunnion has a non-threaded socket for the barrel and a transverse hole for a pin that secures the barrel in place. On some models the rear trunnion has two extended mountin arms on both sides that support the buttstock; other fixed models use a stepped shape trunnion that covers the full width of the inside of the receiver.
The AKM's barrel is installed in the forward trunnion and pinned (as opposed to the AK-47, which has a one piece receiver with integral trunnions and a barrel that is screwed-in.) Additionally the barrel has horizontal guide slots that help align and secure the handguards in place. To increase the weapon's accuracy during automatic fire, the AKM was fitted with a slant cut muzzle brake that helps redirect expanding propellant gases upward and to the right during firing, which mitigates the rise of the muzzle during an automatic burst when held by a right hand firer. The muzzle brake is threaded on to the end of the barrel with a left-hand thread. Not all AKMs had slant muzzle brakes; some were also fitted withthe older muzzle nut which came from the AK-47. Most AKMs with muzzle nuts were older production weapons. The AKM's slant brake can also be used on the AK-47, which had a simple nut to cover the threads.
The gas block in the AKM does not have a cleaning rod capture or sling loop but is instead fitted with an integrated bayonet support collar that has a cleaning rod guide. The forward sling loop was relocated to the fromt handguard retainer cap. The handguard retainer also has notches that determine the position of the hanguards on the barrel. The AKM's laminated wood handguards have lateral grooves that help securely grip the rifle.
Gas relief ports that alleviate gas pressure in the piston cylinder (placed horizontally in a row on the gas cylinder in the AK-47) were moved forward to the gas blick and placed in a radial arrangement.
The AKM's bolt carrier is slightly lighter in weight and despite some minor differences in shape - it can be used interchangeably with the AK-47's bolt carrier and bolt.
The wooded stock used in the AKM is further hollowed in order to reduce weight and is longer and straighter than that of the AK-47, which assists accuracy for subsequent shots during rapid and automatic fire.
The AKM uses a modified return spring mechanism, which replaces the single recoil spring guide with a dual "U" shaped wire guide. The AKM has a modified trigger assembly, equipped with a hammer-release delaying device, commonly called a "rate reducer". In fact, its primary purpose is not to reduce the rate of automatic fire; it is a safety device to ensure the weapon will only fire on automatic when the bolt is fully locked, as the hammer is tripped by the bolt carrier's last few millimeters of forward movement. the device also reduces "trigger slap" or "trigger bounce" and the weapon's rate of fire, which also reduces the dispersion of bullets when firing in fully automatic mode. The hammer was also changed and equipped with a protrusion that engages the rate reducer and the trigger has only one notched hammer release arm.
The AKM's rear sight consists of a ramp with a range scale marked from 100 to 1,000 m, as compared to that of the original AK-47, which was graduated to 800 meters. The rear sight leaf's position teeth that secure the sliding adjustable notch were transferred over from the fight to the left edge of the ramp. The fromt sight post also has a slightly different shape and its bottom portion is more narrow.
The AKM comes supplied with a different accessory kit that contains a M1959 6H4 or 6H3-type bayonet and comes with synthetic or steel magazines. The 6H3-type bayonet blade forms a wire-cutting device when coupled with its scabbard. The polymer grip and upper part of the scabbard provide insulation from the metal blade and bottom part of the scabbard to safely cut electrified wire. The kit also comes with a punch used to drive out various pins and a device that aids in assembling the rate reducing mechanism. The GP-25 grenade launcher can also be fitted to the AKM.
The weapon uses the same ammunition as the AK-47: the 7.62x39mm M43 intermediate rifle cartrige. The AKM mechanism's design principles and procedures for loading and firing are practically identical to those of the AK-47, the only difference being the trigger assembly, as a result of incorporating the rate reducer device.
The main variant of the AKM is the AKMS, which was equipped with an under-foldng or side-folding metal shoulder stock in place of the fixed wooden stock. The metal stock of the AKMS is somewhat different from the folding stock of the previous AKS-47 model as it has a modified locking mechanism, which locks both support arms of the AKMS stock instead of just one (left arm) as in the AKS-47 folding model. It is also made of rivetted steel pressings, instead of the milled versions of most AKS-47s.
The AKM was produced in the following versions: AKMP, AKML, and AKMLP, whereas the AKMS led to the following models - AKMSP, AKMSN, and AKMSNP. It is designed especially for use by paratroopers-as the folding stock permits more space for other equipment when jumping from a plane and then landing.
The AKMP rifle uses subdued Radium-illuminated aiming points integrated into the fromt and rear sight. These sight enable targets to be engaged in low-level light conditions, i.e. when the battlefield is illuminated with flares, fires or muzzle flashes or when the target is visible as a shadow against an illuminated background. The sliding notch on the sight arm is then moved to the "S" setting (which corresponds to the "3" setting in the AKM). The sight itself is guided on the sliding scale and has a socket, which contains a tritium gas-filled capsul directly beneath the day-time notch. The tritium front post installs into the front sight base using a detent and spring.
The AKMN comes equipped with a side-rail used to attach a night vision device. The mount comprises a flat plate riveted to the left wall of the receiver housing and a support bracket fixed to the mounting bas with screws. To shield the light-sensitive photo detector plate of the night vision sight, the weapon uses a slotted flash suppressor, which replaces the standard recoil compensator. The AKMN can also be deployed in the prone position with a detachable barrel-mounted bipod that helps stabilize the weapon and reduces operator fatigue during prolonged periods of observation. The bipod is supplied as an accessory and is carried in a hoster attached to the duty belt.
The AKMLP is a version of the AKML with tritium sights (as in the AKMP).
The AKMSP rifle is based on the folding stock AKMS variant but fitted with tritium night sights, as in the AKMP.
The AKMSN model is derived from the AKMS and features an accessory rail used to mount a night vision sensor as seen on the AKML and additionally a flash hider and bipod. The left arm of the AKMSN's folding stock os bent outward in order to avoid the sight mount bracket during folding, and the sling loop was moved further to the rear.