A Briefer Overview of AK Magazine Patterns, from Forgotten Weapons

Back in September, TFB reader Brandon took us through the history and variations of Russian Kalashnikov magazine patterns in a two part article that’s well worth reading if you haven’t already. Having said that, if you don’t have the patience for articles or if you can’t get enough on AK magazine patterns, Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons has released a brief video overview on the subject:

One of the points that Ian makes in the video is that the magazines in use with Russian forces during the 7.62mm AK’s heyday are a little different than the popular idea of ribbed steel AK magazines that most Americans associate with the rifles. While the ribbed steel pattern was used in large quantities, this pattern only became the overwhelmingly iconic “AK pattern” through foreign production that lasted several decades. In Russia, these magazines were just one step in a long line of magazine development that for the 7.62x39mm lasted through the end of the 1960s. Western intelligence of Soviet forces was often informed by the lesser states of the Communist bloc, which has resulted in an particular image of the AKM-plus-ribbed-steel-mag wielding Soviet trooper, even though in reality Soviet forces would have been using a mix of slab-sided, ribbed, aluminum waffle, and a large number of 7.62×39 resin magazines, as well.



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • guest

    Hipster Soviet Union started using composite mags before it became mainstream. Russia stronk!

  • Warren Ellis

    What are the modern black mags for AKs (both 47s and 74s/newer version) made of? Is it the same as the uh “Bakelite” mag but just painted black?

    • guest

      polyamide mags, if I am not mistaken. The furniture is polyamide, of that I am sure.

    • Igniz

      Played with new 7.62*39 ak mag. Feels like glass reinforced abs or some sort of.