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AKM is an assault rifle using the 7.62×39mm Soviet intermediate cartridge. It is gas operated with a rotating bolt. The AKM is capable of selective fire, firing either single shots or automatic at a cyclic rate of 600 rounds/min. Despite being replaced in the late 1970s by the AK-74, the AKM is still in service in some Russian Army reserve and second-line units and several east European countries.The GRAU officially designated the AKM as the 6P1 assault rifle.

Improvements over AK-47

AKMS variant field stripped (below) compared with the American M16
Compared with the AK-47, the AKM features detail improvements and enhancements that optimized the rifle for mass production; some parts and assemblies were conceived using simplified manufacturing methods. Notably, the AK-47’s milled steel receiver was replaced by a U-shaped steel stamping. As a result of these modifications, the AKM’s weight was reduced by ≈ 1 kg (2.2 lb), the accuracy during automatic fire was increased and several reliability issues were addressed. The AK-47’s chrome-lined barrel was retained, a common feature of Soviet weapons which resists wear and corrosion, particularly under harsh field conditions and near-universal Eastern Bloc use of corrosively primed ammunition.

AKM’s receiver is stamped from a smooth 1.0 mm (0.04 in) sheet of steel, compared with the AK-47 where the receiver was machined from heavier gauge steel. A rear stock trunnion and forward barrel trunnion are fastened to the U-shaped receiver using rivets. The receiver housing also features a rigid tubular cross-section support that adds structural strength. Guide rails that assist the bolt carrier’s movement which also incorporates the ejector are installed inside the receiver through spot welding. As a weight-saving measure, the stamped receiver cover is of thinner gauge metal than that of the AK-47. In order to maintain strength and durability it employs both longitudinal and latitudinal reinforcing ribs.