Finnish RK62M Sako/Valmet Rifle – A Closer Look At Long Anticipated Upgrade

    When it comes to the improvement of the main service rifle of the Armed Forces, different countries demonstrate various approaches. Some decide to completely replace the existing stock of weapons, like France, that replaced the venerable FAMAS with HK416. Other countries prefer to go a different route, modernizing the existing weapon instead of replacing it. And that is exactly what Finland did with RK62M.

    RK62 have been the primary weapon of Finnish Defense Forces for over 50 years. Being an AK variant, it has a lot of unique features and a pretty interesting history.

    Most people don’t know that Finland never received any official license or transfer of technology from the Soviet Union, instead, they bought some “Type 3” AKs in Poland in 1956 and reversed engineered the weapon adding features like aperture rear sight, tubular stock, and three-prong flash hider. The first version of the Finnish AK was called RK60 and its successor, RK62, became a primary service rifle of Finland.

    RK60 from the museum in Hamina, Finland.

    RK60 from the museum in Hamina, Finland.

    Now, RK62 was finally modernized, here is a detailed technical description of three variants of RK62M from Finnish “Ilta-Sanomat” (“Evening News”) article:

    M1:

    • Telescopic adjusting stock 
    • Renewed fire selector
    • Optical sight mount
    • Adapter for mounting accessories
    • New tactical sling

    M2: Optimized version for combat in built-up areas

    RK62M2. Picture courtesy of JOONAS SALO

    RK62M2. Picture courtesy of JOONAS SALO

    • Telescopic adjusting stock 
    • Renewed fire selector
    • Optical sight mount
    • Handguard for mounting accessories
    • Flash suppressor that allows for mounting a breach muzzle brake and a silencer.
    • The breach muzzle brake enables breaking, for instance, concrete steel by firing
    • New tactical sling
    • Accessories include, among others, a forward pistol grip

    M3: Similar to M2, but the coating is green, equipped with a silencer and a breach muzzle brake:

    RK62M3. Picture courtesy of JOONAS SALO

    RK62M3. Picture courtesy of JOONAS SALO

    Technical specifications:

    • Calibre: 7.62 x 39 mm
    • Length: stock fully extended 95cm, stock short 86.5 cm
    • Weight: without a magazine inserted 4.1 kg, magazine fully loaded 0.8 kg (30 rds)
    • Rate of fire, semi-automatic: from 20 to 30 aimed shots per minute
    • Rate of fire, full-automatic: theoretical 700 rds/min, including magazine changes 120–180 rds/min
    • Bullet muzzle velocity: 715 m/s
    • Effective firing range: up to 300 m
    • Country of Manufacture: Finland, Sako/Valmet

    You can also take a closer look at the rife in this video:

    Back in the day, I was very lucky to spend a lot of time in Finland, teach a few shooting courses there and test different Finnish AK variants. Personally, I think this modernization approach is very rational and makes way more sense than replacing trusty RK62s with any modern design.

    Vladimir Onokoy is a Russian defense industry specialist and firearms instructor. Over the years he worked in 15 different countries as a security contractor, armorer, firearms industry sales representative, product manager, and consultant.

    His articles were published in the Recoil magazine, Small Arms Review, Small Arms Defence Journal, and Silah Report, he also created several video series such as “Gun myths”, “Kalashnikov: around the world”, “Larry Vickers in Russia” and “Kalashnikov: evolution” that are available on YouTube.
    ► Email: machaksilver at gmail dot com.
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