Alexey Sudayev's AS-44 Rifle

Hrachya H
by Hrachya H
Alexey Sudayev’s AS-44 AK’s Contender in Trials (1)

Alexey Sudayev, a designer mostly known for creating the PPS-43 submachine gun, was also participating in the assault rifle trials which ultimately resulted in the adoption of the AK rifle. Recently, Kalashnikov Gun Magazine published a video showing and telling about Sudayev’s entry into the trials – the AS-44 rifle. Let’s take a look.

Alexey Sudayev's AS-44 AK's Contender in Trials (16)

AS-44 is a gas operated select fire rifle chambered in 7.62x39mm. It utilizes a long stroke gas piston. The lockup of the action is accomplished via a tilting bolt. The rifle fires from an open bolt and the bolt carrier is the part that hits the firing pin after closing the action. Such a solution is normally seen in machine guns.

Note the sear of the open bolt system

The receiver of the rifle is covered by a wooden stock. The trigger mechanism along with the trigger guard and the pistol grip are a separate removable assembly. The disassembly of the latter and the wood stock is not a part of the field stripping procedure and requires using a screwdriver and a pin punch. The top cover of this rifle is hinged at the rear sight block and in order to pivot it open the user must push the button located behind the top cover.

Alexey Sudayev's AS-44 AK's Contender in Trials (10)
Alexey Sudayev's AS-44 AK's Contender in Trials (11)
Alexey Sudayev's AS-44 AK's Contender in Trials (12)

Apparently, the gas tube of the rifle is a captive part, however, it can be moved back when the BCG is disassembled to allow access to the gas block for cleaning it. The gun also has an RPK-style folding bipod mounted at the muzzle of the rifle.

Alexey Sudayev's AS-44 AK's Contender in Trials (5)
Alexey Sudayev's AS-44 AK's Contender in Trials (14)

The fire mode selector is located on the left side of the gun, above the trigger guard. The separate cross bolt safety is located above the pistol grip. The gun also has a dust cover which covers the charging handle slot. In order to close that slot, the user needs to manually close the dust cover and it will automatically open once the BCG is cycled.

Alexey Sudayev's AS-44 AK's Contender in Trials (4)

During the trials, this rifle proved to be quite a promising design. Reportedly, Sudayev later introduced the improved (lightened) version of the rifle called OAS. However, in 1946 Alexey Sudayev passed away and the further development of these weapon systems was stopped.

Alexey Sudayev's AS-44 AK's Contender in Trials (2)

This particular AS-44 rifle was made in Tula Arms Plant. It is currently kept in the vault of Military Historical Museum of Artillery, Engineers and Signal Corps in Saint Petersburg, Russia.


Degtyaryov M. (2018, July 10). “Автомат Судаева АС-44. Видеообзор”. Kalashnikov Gun Magazine. Retrieved from:

Hrachya H
Hrachya H

Managing Editor Being a lifelong firearms enthusiast, Hrachya always enjoys studying the history and design of guns and ammunition. Should you need to contact him, feel free to shoot him a message at

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  • Kaban Kaban on Jul 16, 2018

    Pity there is no reliable public data on those trials.

    There are vague and unreliable claims that As-44 was grouping "significantly worser than 91/30 rifle" in semi-auto. Which is not much: we do know that 91/30 is supposed to put 4 shots at 100m in 15cm circle or better (a standard requirement for Soviet infantry weapon shooting rifle or intermediate cartridge), but how much is "significantly worser"? 25% more? 50% more? No telling.

    • XT6Wagon XT6Wagon on Jul 17, 2018

      @Kaban Open bolt semi auto is going to really suck in accuracy tests, full auto you get a chance to walk the fire back and have a consistent motion of the gun. Semi auto the bolt slams closed at the exact moment you need the most stable platform.

  • 792 792 on Jul 16, 2018

    Hey , it is better than RPk , just need thicker barrel

    • Spike1984 Spike1984 on Jul 18, 2018

      @792 The AS-1944 came close to replacing the Fedorov Avtomat but Sudayev's death led to it never entering quantity production though the saving throw of it was that the 7.62x39 cartridge was adopted for the legacy AK series including the RPK.