Both AK-47 and AK-74 are sophisticated assault rifles that originated in the Soviet Union. Though both appear identical, there are many differences between these. Here’s taking a look:
- The AK-47 came into service in 1949, while the AK-74 came into service in 1974. The designwork on the AK-47 started in 1945. Though both the rifles are decades old, they are still in service as we write this feature (November 2011).
- Going by their year of manufacture, the AK-74 is “younger” than the AK-47.
- Both these rifles were designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov. The “AK” in both the rifles’ names stands for Avtomat Kalashnikova. Kalashnikova comes from the creator’s name, Avtomat means automatic. The AK-74 rifle is officially referred to as “Kalashnikov Automatic Rifle Model 1974.”
- Both the rifles are selective-fire, gas-operated rifles. Both rifles feature a rotating bolt.
- The AK-47 weighs 4.3 kg minus the magazine; the standard AK-74 is lighter at 3.03 kg without the magazine. There are a few AK-74 models available and their weight differs from each other. Some lightweight AK-74 models are specially designed for air assault infantry. The AK-74s are fold-able and some are equipped with rails that can mount night vision sights.
- AK-47 fires cartridges that are of 7.62mm X 39 mm size; the AK-74’s cartridges are smaller in size at 5.45 mm X 39 mm.
- AK-47 fires 600 rounds/minute, while the standard AK-74 fires more rapidly at 650 rounds/minute. The premium AK-74 models fire even faster and can fire up to 735 rounds/minute.
- A standard AK-74’s muzzle velocity is greater at 900 m/s than the AK-47’s 715 m/s.
- The AK-47 is hugely popular because it is very durable, robust, low-cost, low-maintenance, and very easy to use.
- The typical AK-47 magazine can hold 30 rounds. The AK-47 is also compatible with magazines that hold 40 rounds and the 75-round drum magazines. The AK-74 features 2 separable magazines with capacities of 30 and 45 rounds.
These are the key differences between the AK-47 and AK-74 (standard model). If you’re looking for technical and scholarly information and for information about different AK-74 models, check the rifles’ technical manuals and refer to Wikipedia.
Images obtained from: commons.wikimedia.org