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“Krinkov”: The Soviet AKS74U

By Miles Vining

The compact Soviet AKS74U is one of the more fascinating and successful developments of the Kalashnikov platform. Conceived for one usage, but actually deployed in another, the AKSU spawned an entire genre of short barreled Kalashnikovs, currently in use all over the world, and especially popular in the United States under the name “Krink” or “Krinkov”. This essay will example the history of the compact assault rifle, actual use in combat, etymology of the moniker, and current interest in the historical reproduction of the platform in the United States.

Conception and Experimentation

This story begins with a submachine gun design that was designated the AO-46, and prototyped in the 1960s. Small arms designer Peter Tkachev headed the project. It featured an over folding stock, curved magazine that served as a pistol grip, and was chambered in the round that was to become the basis for the 5.45x39mm 7N6 service cartridge, the commercial 5.6mm. This design was innovative, but there wasn’t any practical purpose or competition that suited it. However it did prove the usefulness of a compact weapon system chambered in an intermediate cartridge.

Running concurrent with the design and adoption of the new 5.45x39mm 7N6 round, the attempt to create a compact assault rifle was introduced under Project “Modern”. The stipulations for the competition called for a compact assault rifle, that with the stock folded, would not fit outside the profile of the soldier carrying it (no longer than a shoulder width or ruck sack). It was envisioned as a short rifle for infantry roles that required a defensive weapon while carrying their main weapon system, i.e, RPG gunners, machine gunners, and mortarmen. Additionally it would ideally become the rifle of choice for the Spetsnaz.

The competition began in 1973, and there was little doubt that the Kalashnikov lead design bureau would take the lead, as the new Soviet service rifle, the AK74 was being adopted, and it would make sense for the new compact rifle to have interchangeability and familiarity advantages with the rifle that the rest of the military was using. Nevertheless, prominent Soviet small arms...

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