Kalashnikov Media continues their series of videos telling about some of the rarest experimental and prototype firearms created by Mikhail Kalashnikov and we at TFB make sure to deliver the most interesting stories to our readers. Today we are taking a look at one of Mikhail Kalashnikov’s experimental firearms called Avtomat-Karabin.
As Ruslan Chumak, the host of Kalashnikov Media’s video tells, the name Avtomat-Karabin, which loosely translates assault rifle-carbine, is a bit confusing because normally the semi-auto SKS was referred to as carbine and the select-fire AK-47 was called avtomat. That being said, its name seems to be a bit unintuitive and one may ask why didn’t they call this firearm an avtomat too because it is a select-fire gun chambered in the 7.62x39mm intermediate cartridge. It turns out, that the reason for calling it Avtomat-Karbin is to point out that it is sort of an accurized assault rifle.
This rifle was developed in the ’50s after the AK-47 was adopted and before its modernized version, AKM was introduced. As mentioned above, the Avtomat-Karbin was an attempt to create an accurized version of the AK-47. To achieve this goal, Mikhail Kalashnikov made some design changes.
One of the differences from AK is the barrel length – it is longer on this rifle compared to AK-47. The rifle is still gas-operated but utilizes a short-stroke piston as opposed to the long-stroke piston of AK rifles. There are also some other design changes that probably have nothing to do with making the rifle more accurate. For example, the top cover of the receiver leaves the BCG uncovered similar to Vz. 58 rifles. The design of the safety selector is changed and the rear sight is simplified. And lastly, the gun has this long slim wooden handguard.
Although this rifle proofed to work well, its further development was halted and in 1959 the Soviets eventually adopted the AKM, improved version of AK-47, which was to replace both the AK-47s and SKS carbines.
This is the only sample of Kalashnikov’s Avtomat-Karabin that survives to our days. It’s kept in the Military Historical Museum of Artillery, Engineers and Signal Corps in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
Images by Kalashnikov Media, retrieved from: https://kalashnikov.media/video/weapons/kalashnikov100-avtomat-karabin-kalashnikova