| || |
First seen in combat in the early 80's in the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan this 5.45x39mm caliber rifle had been shrouded in secrecy from its adoption in 1974 to replace the 7.62x39mm AKM rifles in the Soviet Army. The rifle was developed from lessons learned from the 5.56mm caliber M16 rifle in the jungles of Vietnam which had proven the lethality of a small caliber high velocity projectile over the standard 30 caliber projectile. The AK74 was a modified version of the AKM with several new features. It had also been proven that based on various variables that the AK74 was a more reliable platform then its 7.62mm big brother. This rifle and cartridge would go on to be adopted by all Warsaw pact countries. However, the 7.62x39mm remained in production and in use throughout Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Introduced in the early 1990's to the American firearms market, the very sought out rifle has seen wide use in the American market, primarily with rifles built off of parts kits from Bulgaria, Romania, Poland and some Russian rifles. The rifle is the least powerful of any military rifle in service, however, its control ability is excellent, as well as its accuracy. It had earned a gruesome reputation in Afghanistan, and is still to this day the service cartridge of Russia and many of its allies.