Kalashnikov Media Show Off an Early AK Prototype

    Pre-production underfolder Kalashnikov Prototype (Kalashnikov Media)

    Kalashnikov Media continue their fascinating series looking at rare Russian small arms, the latest video brings us a look at an early, pre-production prototype AKS.

    Kalashnikov Media helpfully provide a short history of the AK-47’s design and development to give the video some context, concluding (courtesy of google translate):

    The production of new automatic devices was decided at the factory in Izhevsk, where Kalashnikov was sent from Kovrov at the end of 1947. The first batches of new submachine guns were assembled in Izhevsk in the middle of 1948, and at the end of 1949, according to the results of the military tests, the new submachine gun was adopted by the Soviet Army in two variants under the designations “7.62mm AK Kalashnikov assault rifle” and “7.62mm Kalashnikov assault rifle with folding butt AKS “(for the airborne troops).

    This early AK has a number of features that would change in production models including a knurled tube metal charging handle and an integral muzzle break. The folding stock design would later be seen on production AKS’s which were first fielded in the early 1950s.

    Check out the short video below:


    The prototype shown in the video has an early stamped, rather than milled, receiver – these were manufactured between 1948 and 1951 before production moved to milled receivers between 1951 and the introduction of the improved stamped AKM in 1959. The video’s annotations explain that just 1,500 of this pattern AKS were made before the design evolved further.

    Kalashnikov Media have also posted some detail photos of the AKS prototype:

    View of the top of the rifle’s receiver and rear sight (Kalashnikov Media)

    Close up of the prototype’s integral muzzle break rather than the later threaded muzzle and slanted compensator of the AKM (Kalashnikov Media)

    A detail shot of the proto-AKS’ folding stock pivot point and selector lever (Kalashnikov Media)

    Close up of the proto-AKS’ tube steel charging handle, note also the steel trunion insert used in early stamped AKs (Kalashnikov Media)

    Matthew Moss


    TheFirearmBlog.com – Managing Editor
    OvertDefense.com – Managing Editor

    Matt is a British historian specialising in small arms development and military history. He has written several books and for a variety of publications in both the US and UK. He also runs Historical Firearms, a blog that explores the history, development and use of firearms. Matt is also co-founder of The Armourer’s Bench, a video series on historically significant small arms.

    Here on TFB he covers product and current military small arms news.

    Reach Matt at: [email protected]