The Soviet Army – AKS-74U Submachine Gun

The following extract comes from US Army Field Manual 100-2-3 – The Soviet Army; Troops Organisation and Equipment published in June 1991. The publication was approved for public release with unlimited distribution (ie may be freely used). The entry provided covered the AKS-74U submachine gun.

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The AKS-74U is a modified version of the AK-74 assault rifle with a much shorter barrel (207 millimeters versus 413 millimeters) and a conical flash supressor instead of a muzzle brake. Like the AKS-74, it has a folding metal stock. The overall length of the submachine gun is only 492 millimeters with stock folded or 728 millimeters with extended stock. The rear sight is a flip-type U-notch. The front sight is a cylindrical post.


The Soviets designed the AKS-74U as a weapon short enough to be handled easily when the crew enters and exits vechicles. The device at the end of the barrel functions as an expansion chamber to bleed off gases which would otherwise cause a violent recoil. With a loaded weight of 3.106 kilograms, the submachine gun is considerably lighter than the assault rifle AK-74 and has a somewhat higher rate of fire.


The AKS-74U has a greatly reduced range due to its shortened barrel. However, it still has more power and longer range than conventional submachine guns that fire pistol cartridges.


The AKS-74U was first seen with Soviet airborne troops in early 1984.

The following data comes from Janes Infantry Weapons 1995 – 1996.
Cartridge:5.45 x 39.5 mmOperation:gas, selective fire
Locking:—-Feed:30-round magazine
Weight:3.2 kg loaded; 2.7 kg emptyLength:490 mm with butt folded; 730 mm butt extended
Barrel:206.5 mmRifling:4 grooves, rh
Sights:—-Muzzle velocity:735 m/s
Rate of fire:(cyclic) 650-735 rds/minEffective range:—-

Additional Information:


  • Legends and Reality of the AK
    Val Shilin and Charlie Cutshaw



  • Headquaters, Department of the Army. FM 100-2-3 – The Soviet Army: Troops, Organization and Equipment. Washington D.C.: Department of the Army, June 1991.
  • Nedelin, A. Kalashnikov Arms. Moscow: Military Parade, 1997.
  • Jane’s Information Group Limited (edited by Gander, T. J. and Hogg, I. V.). Jane’s Infantry Weapons: 1995-96. London: Biddles, 1995. ISBN: 0 7106 1241 9.

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