The AK-47 and Its 20 Clone Variants: A Comprehensive Guide to the World’s Most Iconic Assault Rifle and Its Clones
The Kalashnikov AK-47 and its variants have the highest penetration rate among military weapons. More than 45 countries have deployed it, and from its inception in the late 1940s, it has participated in every significant military engagement.
Even though the overall shape hasn’t changed much, many countries have made minor changes to make it better fit their needs.
In this article, we’ll look at common and less-common AK-47 versions. You can use this guide to figure out what some less common models from around the world look like.
The AK-47 and Its 20 Clone Variants
1. Russian AKMs
Here, we have the Soviet AKM in its Underfolding stock configuration. It is based on the German MP-40 submachine gun and has a metal stock and a chambered in 7.62x39mm.
It has a 16.1-inch barrel that has been chrome-lined and has been hammer-forged, along with laminated wood furniture, a synthetic pistol grip, and a slant-cut compensator. The components for this gun were taken from the PLO by Israel during the 1982 Lebanon War and assembled there.
2. Polish PMKMS Underfolder
The under-folding stock PMKM with stamped steel receiver. It is chambered in 7.62x39mm and has a beavertail fore-end like the AKM and a compensator cut at an angle. A Polish bayonet is shown in this illustration.
3. Polish Tantal wz88
The Tantal, which fires a 5.45x39mm cartridge, stands out because, in addition to Semi and Auto, it also has a three-round burst mode. The folding stock and one-of-a-kind selector switch on the left side of the receiver (inlay) make it highly convenient to transport.
It has a grenade launcher attached to its unusual muzzle brake and night sights. This rifle is packed with features along with the Bakelite handguards and collapsible aluminum stock, which folds to the receiver’s right.
4. Romanian PM md. 63
The PM MD. 63, chambered in 7.62x39mm, was Romania’s first AK version when it was released in 1963. It’s an AKM with a chromium-plated bolt, chamber, and piston. A hardwood pistol grip and a barrel nut reminiscent of an AK-47 are also included.
5. Romanian PM md. 65
The PM md. 65, Romania’s first subfolder, is mechanically indistinguishable from the PM md.63. It fires the 7.62x39mm cartridge, has a stamped steel receiver, and is outfitted with a vertical foregrip.
6. Polish PMKM
This 7.62x39mm version is the most accurate replica of the Russian AKM available anywhere. It is shown with a Polish bayonet and oil bottle and features a slant-cut compensator, synthetic pistol grip, and laminated wood stock set.
7. Romanian AIM-G
Formed in 1989, Romania’s Patriotic Guard is currently made up of 700,000. A ‘G’ was engraved on the left side of the rear sight of their semiauto PM md. 63 rifles.
Over 20,000 of this model of Romanian rifle have been brought into the United States, making it the most popular variant. It has a characteristic wooden vertical foregrip and a 7.62x39mm chamber.
8. Romanian AIMS 74
This PM md. 65 variant includes a vertical grip on the lower handguard and side-folding metal stock, making it distinct from the original PM md. 65. When the stock is released, the receiver shifts to the right. Recoil is mitigated thanks to a muzzle brake similar to the AK-74.
9. Yugoslavian Zastava M92
The Yugoslavian special forces have employed this 7.62x39mm chambered short-barreled AK. It is constructed around a stamped steel receiver.
It features an under-folding stock, an expansion chamber muzzle mechanism, and a rear sight (inlay) fixed on the top cover for use in two different positions.
10. Yugoslavian M70-B1
This 7.62mm rifle was standard equipment for the Yugoslav Army. The RPK-type receiver is thicker and heavier at 1.5 mm, and it features a wooden stock, rubber buttpad, gas shutoff valve, and grenade launcher sights.
One can attach a grenade launcher to it via threading (inlay). Some practice grenades and an M52P3 anti-personnel land mine are displayed alongside it.
11. Hungarian AKM-63
The AKM-63 is a full-size rifle that has been in production since 1963. It has a wooden stock and a vertical wood foregrip attached to a metal fore-end for use with automatic fire.
The upper handguard is missing. They are among the rarest AK versions in the United States, as only 1,100 were imported.
12. Hungarian AMD-65
This 7.62x39mm rifle has a shorter barrel (12.6 inches) than the AKM-63 but shares the latter’s foregrip. The wire stock folds to the side, making it easier to use in tight places like those found in tanks and other armored vehicles.
This rifle is less accurate than the AKM-63 due to its narrower sight radius and barrel, but its portability makes up for this shortcoming. Take a look at the 20-round magazine.
13. East German MPi-KMS72.
Ernst Thaelman, an East German manufacturer, is responsible for this 7.62x39mm side folder. The wire stock, Bakelite grip, and upper hand guard were initially provided to airborne troops and mechanized infantry formations.
14. Chinese Type 56
The Chinese introduced a stamped-receiver variant of Type 56 after the split between China and the Soviet Union. Because of this, the stamped-receiver model was reverse-engineered without Soviet technical assistance.
This 7.62x39mm side folder was manufactured in East Germany at the Ernst Thaelman plant. It featured a wire stock, Bakelite grip, and top hand guard when it was first issued to airborne soldiers and mechanized infantry divisions.
15. Chinese AKS
This 7.62x39mm AKS is chambered in stamped steel and features a Phenolic folding stock (inlay). You won’t find many Chinese firearms like this one in the States.
16. Chinese AK-47S
It is the semi-automatic variant of the 7.62x39mm Type 56, and it is China’s closest imitation of the Russian AK-47 Type 3 to date. The Soviet Union was instrumental in starting up the manufacture of Type 56 by providing essential equipment and expertise.
17. Russian AKM Khyber Pass clone
The majority of the world’s commerce routes pass via the region known as the Khyber Pass, which is located between Pakistan and Afghanistan. In most cases, gunsmiths working in dirt-floor markets assemble these rifles using whatever components they can source.
This rifle has a side-folding stock similar to an AKS-74 and is chambered in 7.62x39mm. This is also the model that the late Osama bin Laden shot in several videos that have been released.
18. Egyptian ARM
The Maadi, or 7.62x39mm as it is sometimes referred to, was imported in large quantities to the United States by Steyr-Daimler-Puch of New Jersey in the early 1980s. The Maadi is an almost identical copy of the Russian AKM, with the same side-folding wire stock and stamped receiver.
19. Iraqi Tabuk Carbine
This 7.62x39mm Kalashnikov variant was manufactured in Iraq at Al-Qadissiya factories. It is modeled by the Yugoslav M70B2 and shares that firearm’s stamped RPK-type receiver, hardwood furniture, rubber buttpad, gas shutoff valve, rifle grenade-launcher sight, and slant muzzle brake.
The rifle grenade launcher is a feature of this particular type. American forces captured many during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom from the streets of Iraq, where they were a common sight.
20. Iraqi Tabuk DMR
The Iraqi Tabuk is a 7.62x39mm semiauto Designated Marksman Rifle (DMR) with a 23.6-inch barrel and a 4x24mm scope (often a Russian PSO-1, but occasionally Romanian LPS Type 2s and Yugoslav ZRAKs) used for engaging targets at intermediate ranges.
The 7.62x54R sniper rifles, which are larger and more powerful, are commonly confused with this one. In essence, it is a scoped and more accurate RPK.