East Germany AKs - The Best In The World? Part 3: Less Known Variants

In Part 1 of this article, I talked about the history of AK rifle production in East Germany, and  Part 2 was dedicated to my personal experiences with East Germany AKs. In Part 3, I want to talk about less-known variants of DDR AKs and their destiny after the Berlin Wall fell and communism in East Europe collapsed.

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East German / DDR AKs – The Best In The World? Part 2: Quality

In part one of this series, I wrote about the history of DDR AKs which by many are regarded as the best in the world. In this part of the article, I will describe some experiences I had when I repaired those guns in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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East German AKs – The Best In The World? Part 1: History

AK rifle is often thought of as something crude and easy to produce with shabby craftsmanship performed by slave laborers in dystopian socialist factories. So many times I heard: “Oh, what do you expect, it is an AK”. That is why it is ever more interesting to look at East German AKs, produced in a country that for the last 100 years has been thought of as the synonym of quality products.

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Berlin Crisis, 1961: The Beginning of The End of The M14

In 1957, the T44E4 rifle was formally adopted by the United States Armed Forces as the United States Rifle, 7.62mm, M14, but this only marked the beginning of the rifle’s troubles. After numerous delays and production crises – including the rejection in December of 1960 of 1,784 of H&R receivers (about ten percent of the receivers that had been made up to that time) that could not withstand the pressure of firing due to a steel mix-up – Robert McNamara made a famous speech on the rifle program in June of 1961, stating: “I think it is a disgrace the way the project was handled. I don’t mean particularly by the Army, but I mean by the nation. This is a relatively simple job, building a rifle, compared to building a satellite or a lunar lander or a missile system.” At that time, there existed a grand total of only 133,386 M14 rifles, despite the type having been adopted four years prior.

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