Century GP WASR-10 7.62x39mm
Spawned from the classic Avtomat Kalashnikova Modernizirovanniy (AKM) design, the Century GP WASR-10 features the lighter overall weight (7.5 pounds) and stamped receiver that came to typify the AKM design. The GP WASR-10, a collaboration between Century International Arms and the Romanian arms-maker Cugir, features a 30-round magazine, a black phosphate finish and laminated wood stock set. Author Mike Humphries put the GP WASR-10 through its paces on the range, and said in his review of the 7.62x39mm AK, “I put a few hundred rounds through the rifle. There was not a single malfunction during the entire test.”
See more at centuryarms.com.
Romanian RPK 7.62x39mm
Another adaptation of the previous Avtomat Kalashnikova Modernizirovanniy (AKM) platform, the RPK (Ruchnoi Pulemet Kalashnikova) is easily identified by its 23-inch barrel and standard muzzle-mounted folding bipod. Known as the primary squad automatic weapon for the Soviet Union during the Cold War, the RPK offers versatility through the option to swap its basic parts with any other AKM-based rifle. This versatility is also highlighted in the 75-round drum magazine that has come to emblemize a “typical” RPK. Author Mike Humphries noted, “One of the most unique characteristics of the RPK is the steel drum that was developed for it. Although the drum was designed with the RPK in mind, it is designed to function with any standard 7.62x39mm AK rifle.”
NVA Tet Offensive Memento
Forty-five years after the North Vietnamese Regular Army’s (NVA) notorious Tet Offensive of the Vietnam War, we looked back at the weapons used in the conflict. Among its many targets, the NVA’s surprise attack included an attempted assault on the U.S. Embassy in Saigon. On January 31, 1968, NVA regulars breeched the embassy’s outer wall with explosives in an attempt to overrun the facility’s staff and achieve a symbolic victory over the recently surging American military forces. This Izhmash-produced Soviet AK-47 was captured during the NVA’s attack on the embassy. The rifle features a milled steel receiver and the standard wood stocks of the early AK designs. According to author Jeff Zimba, who profiled the rifle’s unique history in 2013’s The AK-47 & Soviet Weapons, “The gun appears completely original as issued and does not show signs of any factory reworking.”
DS Arms Belt-Fed 7.62X39MM RPD
Leroy Thompson’s review of DS Arms’ belt-fed 7.62x39mm RPD notes the careful balance that must be struck in the overall weight of a “light” machine gun. According to Thompson, “The ‘light machine gun’ does indeed need to be light so that the gunner can move along with his squad mates during an advance. On the other hand, if the machine gun is too ‘light,’ it will not really have many advantages over the rifles carried by other infantryman.”
Among the most exciting features of this recently redesigned, belt-fed semi-automatic RPD from DS Arms is the drum mag that provides 100 shots through two interlocking 50-round belts that line the magazine. According to Thompson, “The RPD is at its best when firing prone, as ergonomics are good and the stock is very well designed to lock into the shoulder comfortably.” DS Arms also offers the RPD Carbine, which offers a lighter overall weight (13.6 pounds) and a shortened 17.5-inch barrel.
For more information, visit dsarms.com or call (847) 277-7258.
Dragunov Sniper Rifle (SVD)
Manufactured in Russia and rumored to be used by the North Vietnamese Regular Army (NVA) in Vietnam, the Dragunov sniper rifle was a Cold-War commodity whose skeletal frame still inspires a bit of mystique for Western gun enthusiasts. Featuring a 24-inch barrel, a 10-round magazine and a light overall weight of 9.48 pounds, the Dragunov was extremely portable, as noted in Leroy Thompson’s 2013 The AK-47 & Soviet Weapons profile. “One of the first things I noticed was how light and handy the Dragunov feels compared to most sniping rifles,” Thompson noted. “This rifle was meant to be carried by the long-range shooter in an infantry squad—emphasis on carried.” The semi-auto Dragunov featured in the article was also equipped a back-up iron sight that could be used by the operator even with a scope mounted above the barrel.
CSS A3 Gunfighter G4
As the AK continues to make inroads in the U.S., gun enthusiasts are witnessing a new class of AK rifles made in this country. A prime example of this is Colorado Shooting Sports’ (CSS) A3 Gunfighter G4 rifle. The A3 Gunfighter G4 features a standard polymer stock and pistol grip, with the option for an AK-100 series folding stock for compact use.
Author Todd Burgreen noted the differences in the U.S.-based design versus its AK predecessors. “The G4 I tested further breaks from standard AK-fashion by eliminating the factory handguard and going with an Ultimak railed forend,” said Burgreen. “The existence of multiple rails is beneficial for those who need to add mission-essential gear to their rifles.” Other notable CSS re-design features include a shortened, re-chromed, re-crowned barrel that is fitted with a Battlecomp muzzle brake.
For more information, visit coloradoshootingsports.com or call (970) 395-0664.
Bulgarian AK-74 5.45x39mm
Designed in response to the success of the U.S.-made M16 during the Vietnam War, the AK-74 looked to utilize intermediate cartridge technology and offer an alternative to the AK platform’s reliance on the 7.62×39 chambering. Distinguishing features for the AK-74 included a large, cylindrical muzzle brake that helped reduce felt recoil for the new 5.45×39 cartridges. As noted by Michael Humphries feature on the Bulgarian AK-74, “The final visual clue to the AK-74 is its magazine. Whereas the AK-47 and early-era AKMs employed heavy-duty steel magazines, the AK-74 employed magazines with a composite body (for resistance to the elements as well as lighter weight).”
The “Self-Loading Rifle Model 101 with Scope Rail,” or SLR-101S, is Arsenal’s attempt to provide the U.S. market with Bulgarian-patterned AKs. Chambered in 7.62x39mm, the SLR-101s includes a 16.25-inch barrel with a threaded muzzle and rail mount on the left side of the receiver for optical sights.
“As far as the SLR-101S is concerned, the bar has been set high,” said Jeff Zimba in his 2013 The AK-47 & Soviet Weapons review of the SLR-101S. “The rifle’s fit, finish and function are what shooters have come to expect from Arsenal. Even the smallest details, such as the 90-degree gas block (which in tests has improved reliability and accuracy over those with more traditional angles), reflect Arsenal’s workmanship….”
For more information on Arsenal, visit arsenalinc.com or call (702) 643-2220.
Kushnapup Saiga-12 Gauge
Kushnapup has made transitioning your Saiga-12 into a bullpup design a simple process. Through a drop-in conversion kit that includes a trigger bar, a lever, trigger and other small operating parts, the Saiga-12 is quickly transformed into a functioning bullpup 12 gauge.
According to David Bahde, who profiled the Kushnapup conversion of his Saiga-12 in 2013’s The AK-47 & Soviet Weapons: “The bullpup design has some significant advantages, the most obvious being the ability to field a standard-length barrel while significantly shortening the overall length. Moving the grip forward of the magazine and the buttstock just behind the receiver provides for a very compact package. Having used this in a precision rifle, as well as a conversion for a shotgun, it is very handy. It also moves the bulk of the weight to the rear, placing weight far less forward on the gun.”
To learn more, visit www.tactical-life.com/subscribe/ak-47-soviet-weapons/. For more information on Kushnapup, visit kushnapup.com or call (877) 492-3316.
Makarov PM 9×19
The Makarov PM 9×19 was a premiere sidearm of Cold War-era Russian police and Spestnaz groups. The Makarov PM’s 6.3-inch length and 26-ounce weight make it extremely portable and concealable.
In his review of the 9x18mm pistol for 2013’s The AK-47 & Soviet Weapons, Leroy Thompson noted another influence on the Makarov PM: “Many features of the Makarov are based on the Walther PP, while the 9x18mm round was based on the 9mm Ultra, which was developed to make the PP more powerful. The 9x18mm Makarov round is more powerful than the 9x17mm (.380) cartridge and is usually accepted as the most powerful practical round for a compact blowback pistol.”
To learn more, visit www.tactical-life.com/subscribe/ak-47-soviet-weapons/.