Among a large number of modifications of the Kalashnikov assault rifle, the most common in our time are those samples that were produced in different years in the countries of the so-called Warsaw Pact: Hungary, Romania, Poland. By and large, the partners of the Soviet Union chose the path of least resistance and began producing licensed weapons according to the principle “they took the best from the original, added a little of their own.” In the end, the imagination of the Romanian gunsmiths went so far that in the world such not-so-ordinary automatons appeared, like the RM Md.65 and the RA Md.86.
Initially, a Kalashnikov assault rifle was adopted in Romania under the designation RM Md.63, and a copy of it was launched at the weapons factory. Structurally, the PM Md.63 was an exact copy of the AK with a gas engine of automation, automatic and single firing modes, air-cooled barrel and magazine power. The only difference was in the modified form of the forearm: its lower part was made together with an additional handle, which became a proprietary feature of the Romanian automaton.
In 1965, the production of the PM Md.65 modification was started, which differed from the base version with a metal butt that folded down and forward, as well as with the shape of an additional handle installed on the forearm, which was bent in the other direction.
For civilians began to produce semi-automatic rifles, which differed from the military versions of the lack of automatic firing mode.
The weight of the Romanian copy was 3,6 kg, the magazine contained 30 cartridges. The initial speed of the bullet reached 715 m / s, sighting range of shooting - 1 km, rate of fire - 600 shots per minute.
In 1990, the Romanians began the production of the RM Md.90 modification, which differed from the basic version only with a wire butt that was folded to the right, and with an additional handle on the forearm. For the armament of the crews of combat vehicles and special forces, the PM Md.90 model was created with a shortened barrel, a new flame arrester and a front sight transferred to the gas outlet tube.
As for the copy of the Soviet AK - RM Md.86, it appeared after Romania refused to acquire a license to manufacture Kalashnikov machines adapted to the new caliber 5,45x39 mm. The Romanian gunsmiths decided to independently adapt for the new cartridge those machines that were in service with the national army - the RM Md.63 and the RM Md.65. As a result, an automatic rifle with a folding and fixed butt, which received the designation PM Md.86, appeared. Its weight was 3,1 kg, the store placed 30 cartridges. The initial speed of the bullet reached 880 m / s, sighting range - 1 km.
Structurally, this modification is an exact copy of the Soviet machine gun with some changes: a metal wire butt folding to the right, a muzzle brake, a trigger mechanism with a ratchet device and a special lever, which allowed not only automatic or single firing, but also firing in bursts of three shots. From a sample of the Md.63 PM, gunsmiths borrowed the lower part of the forearm with an additional handle. In addition, the receiver on the left was provided with the ability to install mounts for night and optical sights. The possibility of installing a grenade launcher was also provided.
A shortened copy was also developed for special forces and crews of combat vehicles.
From the original Kalashnikov assault rifle, these samples differed in a very unusual shape of almost all components - the size and shape of the butt, forearm. But of particular note is the love of the Romanian gunsmiths for the placement of additional arms made of wood in the very first Romanian versions. Such a technical solution can not be explained by anything but a personal initiative.
According to the head of the tactical shooting center and an expert in the field of small arms I. Zenchuk, he was shocked by the first Romanian modifications of the Kalashnikov machine gun, and had never experienced such aesthetic horror before. If AK Soviet-made can be used without any problems, then the Romanian version needs a long time to get used to. Romanians experimented with their first modifications, making a muzzle cut of an unusual shape, attaching unnecessary handles, shortening the trunk. From the original, almost nothing is left except a reliable mechanism. Therefore, Zenchuk notes, he would not like to be in a battle with a machine gun of Romanian production.
In addition to its unusual form, Romanian modifications were characterized by low quality workmanship. They were usually used during the years of armed conflict in the Middle East, where these weapons were supplied in all possible ways under the designation AIMS and AIM. It was very easy to distinguish a Romanian copy from a real Russian machine gun - on the third day of using the Romanian clone was simply falling apart.
Polish copies of the Kalashnikov assault rifle, which are known in the world as Tantal, cannot please with their quality either. Officially, the work on Polish copies began in 1984 in Radom, in the Center for Research and Development. By the next year, the tactical and technical characteristics of the machine were approved, and by the end of 1985, the first factory tests of the sample were carried out. In 1986, the first batch of weapons entered for qualification tests.
Structurally, the Polish clone was created on the model of a Kalashnikov assault rifle chambered for 5,45 mm, while gunsmiths tried to preserve as much as possible the nodes and parts of the Soviet original. Since the new weapon should be able to shoot rifle grenades, designers needed to create a muzzle multifunctional device that would differ from the Soviet one with a strong folding butt. In addition, the new machine was equipped with a queue length limiter.
By the end of the 1987, the machine gun was re-designed, and some parts and assemblies were improved: the bolt, bolt carrier and shops interchangeable with AK-74 were used. After conducting all the necessary tests, in 1991, the Polish machine gun entered service with the Polish Army.
"Tantalum" is an automatic self-loading weapon, which operates on the principle of removal of powder gases through the side hole of the barrel. Its mass reaches 4 kg, the initial velocity of the bullet is 880 m / s, the rate of fire is 700 rounds per minute. Chrome-plated bore, bolted to the right. The weapon is protected from an accidental shot by an adjustable safety lock that blocks the descent and limits the movement of the slide frame. Butt folded on the right side, can be replaced with a permanent wooden butt from a Kalashnikov assault rifle. Receiving pad and handguard made of plastic. The power supply of the machine - shop, is carried out from the dual-charge sector store on 30 cartridges, made of tin or plastic.
Sights consist of a front sight and a sector sight. It is possible to install additional sighting devices that make it possible to conduct shooting at night. In the volume of the main equipment, the machine is also equipped with three spare shops, a bayonet, a bipod, four 15 holders for cartridges, a portable belt, holders for holders, a pencil case, a magazine pouch.
Theoretically, the Polish version was supposed to be much better, lighter and more modern than the classic Kalashnikov machine gun, but it turned out exactly the opposite. And all because the Poles sought to make an even cheaper sample in production, which led to a sharp decrease in the reliability of the mechanisms of this weapon compared to the original. Polish copy constantly misfired.
According to the weapons expert and military historian Oleg Radashvili, the Poles, like the Romanians, made a very big strategic mistake - they decided to improve the receiver and work on the mechanism. In addition, the Poles decided that the original machine gun was too heavy, so they began to add plastic handles, to invent new butts, that is, they only worsened the normal design. In the end, in the 4 production year (1990-1994), the Poles managed to produce up to 25 thousands of such “reliable” machines, after which the program was closed. Currently, the lion's share of Polish copies of the Kalashnikov assault rifle is in service with the Middle East, while the Poles themselves have re-armed and are using NATO weapons.
However, the Romanian, Hungarian and Polish copies in the world are used to, so no one will be able to surprise them. What can not be said about the Iraqi clone of the legendary Kalashnikov assault rifle. The very fact that Iraq began developing its own automaton based on the Russian original looks quite ambiguous. The Tabuk Iraqi machine was originally conceived as the most common copy of a Kalashnikov machine gun with minor changes to the handle and forearm, but the quality of it and the degree of reliability left much to be desired.
The Tabuk self-loading sniper rifle was developed in 1978 year. It was based on the Zastava M76 sniper rifle manufactured by Yugoslavia, which was created on the basis of the Soviet Kalashnikov assault rifle.
The Iraqi copy's sighting range was 800 m, the initial speed of the bullet was 740 m / s, the weight reached 4,5 kg with an empty magazine and an optical sight. The power supply of the machine was made from a carob shop on 10, 20 and 30 cartridges. The difference of the Iraqi clone from the original lay in the particular structure of the firing mechanism, which allowed only single shooting. The barrel is heavy; a flame arrester is placed on the muzzle. The removal of powder gases occurs from the bore. Butt frame, in the lower part of the forearm, you can attach an additional support handle. The receiver on the left provides mounting of various optical devices. In addition, a fixed front sight and a sector sight are permanently mounted.
According to an expert in the field of small arms and an instructor in fire training, Roman Vyaznik, the Iraqi copy is quite ambiguous. For whatever reason, Iraq decided to create its own version of the Kalashnikov assault rifle - it is not clear. Iraqis also decided, like the Romanians, to experiment with the dimensions. As a result, a copy of them turned out on whole 10, see shorter than the original, and besides with an unfit butt. Moreover, the Iraqi gunsmiths decided that their model could well do without an automatic shooting mode, which is impossible to understand at all. According to the expert, the Iraqis among all those who tried to remake the AK, spoiled it the most. A complete failure completes the use of the Chinese M43 cartridges, which simply crumbled.
Another unsuccessful copy worth mentioning is Chinese Type-56. After cooling relations between the Soviet Union and China in China, they came to the conclusion that it was necessary to create their own Kalashnikov assault rifle.
"Type-56" was adopted by the Chinese army in 1956 year. Until 1973, its manufacturer was the 66 plant, but later production was established at Norinco’s factories.
It should be noted that the Type-56 machine gun is not only a copy of the Russian Kalashnikov machine gun, but can also serve as a vivid example of confusion in terminology: the Type-56 assault rifle is 87,4 cm in length, while the Type-56 carbine »Longer than a meter. And at the same time, the carbine was at all times considered a shorter weapon than a rifle.
The Chinese rifle exists in three versions: with a constant butt and a folding bayonet, with the butt folded to the right, with the butt folded down. Its weight reaches 3,8 kg, food - store, on 30 cartridges. The rate of fire is 600 shots per minute.
The Chinese copy of the Type-56 is almost completely analogous to the Kalashnikov machine gun, with the exception of the needle bayonet, which can be folded down and back in the stowed position. In earlier versions, the barrel, bolt group and gas piston were not chrome-plated, which led to a decrease in the survivability of these parts.
The Chinese not only copied the original to the smallest details and assemblies, but also managed to maintain a relatively good quality of materials. The only fundamental difference between the Chinese copy and the original was in the bayonet, which with the help of a special mechanism could be simply folded, as well as in the fully-closed front sight.
The main features of the Chinese clone have become cheap and overall reliability. This allowed for many years to release up to 15 millions of copies of AK. Thus, China can be called the best in terms of copying Soviet armaments, since not a single state in the world has been able to manufacture the Kalashnikovs, while maintaining the high quality of the weapons. A little later, the Chinese began to stamp Type-86 assault rifles, equipped with an elongated barrel, and after some time, the AKS-223 assault rifle, adapted to the NATO cartridge 5,56x45.
Thus, it is quite obvious that such a large number of copies of the Kalashnikov assault rifle in the world, which have appeared over several decades, is evidence that the quality and simplicity of Soviet weapons, as well as their constructive usability and low cost, are the main arguments in the selection. To determine the exact number of copies of the Kalashnikov assault rifle, which until now have been released worldwide, is simply impossible, because it has long exceeded the mark of one hundred million copies.
Until now, the Kalashnikov assault rifle remains one of the most popular and sought-after automats in the world, and its production has been adjusted even in America. But the high quality for which this weapon was famous in the Soviet years was only managed to be preserved by the gunsmiths of modern Russia.