Kalashniko V AKM 1962: The Upgraded Kalashnikov Assault Rifle

By Pascal Thibert


The AKM (Kalashnikov Improved Assault Rifle) is the second version of the AK-47. It was adopted in 1959 by the Russian Army. Built with a receiver stamped on a hydraulic press, it is lighter, more reliable and cheaper to manufacture, but a little less rigid than the AK-47 receiver.


The history of the AK-47 is quite well known, and it is inseparable from the birth of the at the time new multi-purpose Soviet cartridge, the 7.62x39mm M43. This caliber was imagined almost at the same time as the German 7.92x33mm ammunition, which the Russians tested after seizing the Sturmgewehr 42 on the battlefield. They also officially tried the USM1 US carbine chambered in .30 carbine (7.62x33mm).

The concept appealed to the Russians, and they set to work as early as 1942 to define their own intermediate rifle caliber adapted to an assault rifle—less power and speed but more capacity and compactness to make the weapon-ammunition package more effective in combat. It took a long time before arriving at the perfect caliber and at the concept of the assault rifle. A 7.92x41mm cartridge was designed and tested in a dozen different weapons. The results were not ideal; the weapons were too heavy so studies resumed. New tests were scheduled for the beginning of 1946 with the appearance of Mikhail Kalashnikov and the presentation of his work. He made a prototype submachine gun which was rejected by the evaluation commission. Then he designed a semi-automatic rifle, inspired by the M1 Garand rifle, called the AK-46 or AK N ° 1. The commission studied three rifles made by Bulkin, Dementiev and Kalashnikov. The latter was evolving his assault rifle, cleverly using the best solutions designed by the weapons engineers of his time. He finally won the official tests with his weapon that offered the best compromise between reliability, lightness, endurance and precision.

Production began in Izhevsk in the Urals during 1947 with press-formed receivers Type I that posed many manufacturing and quality problems. This led to mass producing machined frames Type II before being able to switch...

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V22N4 (April 2018)
and was posted online on February 23, 2018


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