Meet the AKS-74K – The 10.5″ AK You Always Wanted

    Colorado gunsmith (and my good friend) Adam Schefter has completed the first working example of his modified short barreled AK, which he dubs the “AKS-74K” – “K” for “karabin”, naturally. According to Adam, the project was inspired by the AK-105, which is intended to supplant the AKS-74U through having much more in common with the basic AK-74M, and thus being much cheaper to make. “It was conceived as a project to see how short an AK-74 could be made while still using most of the original parts of the AK-74,” Adam writes to me in an email detailing the weapon’s construction. The original AKS-74U, though based on the AK, has many unique parts and components, though even it was considered conservative relative to its competition. Adam intended to make a rifle with more in common with the AK-74M, but that was shorter than the AK-105.


    Adam’s original AutoCAD render of the AKS-74K. Note the standard AK handguards.

    Adam transitioned to SolidWorks in his renders of what was originally just an AutoCAD skills-building exercise, but was so enamored with the concept that he decided to build his own firing example of the rifle.


    A transparent render of the AKS-74K, made in SolidWorks.

    AKS-74K Pistol

    The completed AKS-74K pistol, awaiting conversion to an SBR.

    This past week, he took his finished product out to the range to do chronograph tests, and shared the results with me:

    So, first up, climate. It was about 45-50 degrees F during the test, 100% humidity, and moderate, small droplet precipitation. Elevation at the range was approx. 5800 ft above sea level.
    I fired a 20 round string (well, more than 20 rounds because the chronograph wasn’t measuring ever shot, so really I just got 20 measurements) from each firearm, here are the average velocities, and min/max velocities. Chronograph was 8 feet from the muzzle for both test.

    MK-18 alike, aka, my short barreled AR, with 4-5k rounds through the tube

    Make: LMT (upper assembly)
    Barrel length: 10.5 inches
    Ammunition: PMC X-TAC 5.56K
    Bullet: 62 grains M855 clone.
    Average velocity: 2475 fps
    Maximum measured velocity: 2515 fps
    Minimum measured velocity: 2404 fps
    Make: Bulgarian “Circle 10” (barrel is also Bulgarian military production, but source is unknown)
    Barrel length: 10.5 inches
    Ammunition: 7n6, 1981 production date, plant 539.
    Bullet: 53 grains
    Average velocity: 2617 fps
    Maximum velocity: 2702 fps

    Minimum velocity: 2482 fps

    Adam also had this to say about the rifle:

    It was decided to use the CR type gas block instead of the AKS-74U gas block because the 74U has a taller sight base than the standard AK, and the rear sight block was not being changed in the development of the AKS-74K. In addition to the change of gas blocks, the gas tube had to be shortened, and a shorter gas piston had to be fabricated as well. The gas tube was successfully shortened through the use of a custom swaging die that was used remove the ribs from the end of the gas tube. The front housing for the gas tube cover was cut off in the process, and the front flange was cut down to match the front of the gas tube. The housing was then TIG spot welded in place from the backside, so the welds would be covered by the gas tube cover when it was installed. A new piston was turned from a bar of 440C stainless steel, and is 49.9mm (1.965inches) shorter than the original gas piston. The AKS-74K is currently in pistol form, and has a custom made QD sling mount plate where the stock would go, if it was a short barreled rifle. This is a temporary measure, and the AKS-74K will be fitted with the skeletal, triangle side fold stock upon successful completion of the appropriate NFA paperwork.

    The AKS-74K might not be your cup of tea, but, for me, it sounds like a dream come true.

    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. He can be reached via email at [email protected]