3D Animation Showing How the AK-47 Mechanism Works

Matt Rittman, a 3D motion designer from Waukee, Iowa, has recently published a beautiful 3D animation demonstrating how the mechanism of a typical AK rifle works. Animations of the AK mechanism has been around for a while. Nevertheless, this one is rather well executed. Without further ado, let’s watch the video.

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The Vaunted PKM Machine Gun – A Closer Look, from Forgotten Weapons

The Russian PKM: Arguably the best general purpose machine gun in the world, it combines a robust reliability with best-in-class light weight. Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons recently released two video overviews of the weapon, giving us a good enough excuse as any to spend some time with the Soviet showstopper:

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What Sets Glocks Apart – Is Your Gun REALLY Safe?

The recent controversy regarding the drop safety characteristics of SIG’s P320 handgun has some taking a closer look at their handguns. Drop safety is something that – in theory – is so mature in modern handguns that it should be a non-issue, but with so many different variations on the same theme ( that theme being “Glock”) in the market today, how do we know these guns are really as safe as they could be? With that in mind, it’s worth taking a closer look at what makes a modern striker-fired handgun drop safe, and that’s just what Tom Jones of Pistol-Training.com has given us in a recent forum post. Jones lays out what makes a Glock a “Glock”, in other words, the carefully designed safety features of the company’s handguns which make them as difficult to accidentally discharge as possible:

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Firearm Showcase: The Heckler & Koch G11 ACR, The US Army's Lost Opportunity? - HIGH RES PICS!

In May of this year, I got the rare opportunity to travel to Heckler & Koch’s headquarters in Ashburn, VA, to take a look at some of the experimental and prototype firearms they have located there in their famous “Grey Room”. It wouldn’t be worth as much for me to just tell you about it and to snap a few foggy cell phone pictures, though, so I brought along Othais of C&Rsenal to help me take high resolution light box photos of these unique and rare firearms.

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Operating Systems 301: What Is Underlug?

Note: In this article, I call this mechanical feature “underlug”. However, this is an error. Several friends of mine and I have been discussing the mechanics of firearms operation for close to a decade now, and we misremembered the term “underslide” from a book by Brassey’s as “underlug”. More details on the error are available in the comments. Regardless, “underslide” is the proper term for this principle, not “underlug”.

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Taking a Closer Look at the Cycle: Firing (Operating Systems 201)

In the first post of the 101 level series on firearms operating systems, we briefly described what the word cycle means in terms of the operation of automatic firearms. However, there’s a lot more to the cycle of an automatic firearm than just the completion of one round of firing, so let’s take the time to explore the concept a little more deeply.

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Operating Systems 301: Introduction to Advanced Concepts

So far we’ve looked at the most basic concepts in firearms operating mechanisms as part of the 101 series of posts, and some more advanced concepts like locking and bolt configuration in the 201 level entries. However, there is a whole lot more depth to the subject, so much that the advanced 301 level discussions will really only be able to scratch the surface. Before we start talking about these subjects though, be forewarned: So far I have avoided including any serious math in the 101 and 201 level posts, but we will have to tackle some math as we delve deeper into how these weapons really work.

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Operating Systems Omnibus 1: Tilting, Trapping, Recoiling

So far in our exploration of firearms operating systems, we’ve covered ten different mechanisms for locking and actuating an automatic firearm, with two supplementary introduction posts. There’s still a lot more to talk about, but at the request of our readers, I have decided to periodically collect posts together into an omnibus post, so that you the reader can easily access and share them!

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Operating Systems 201: Intro to Locking Mechanisms

In the second of our 101-level discussions on firearms operating mechanisms, we mentioned that firearms may have what’s called a locking mechanism, which prevents the separation of the breech and barrel during the high pressure ignition of a round of ammunition. For 101-level posts, we’ll mostly note whether locking occurs or not and nothing more, but today’s 201 post will begin to talk about locking mechanisms in detail. First, we need to understand that there are two different things meant by the term locking. The first is the more proper understanding of a fully locked breech which must be opened by some external force, but the second is often referred to as “locked” as well, even in some professional literature. This second use is more properly called half- or semi-locked, and describes locking elements that are used in retarded-blowback mechanisms.

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Operating Systems 201: Bang vs. Gas Trap

Now, based on the four previous articles on gun operating mechanisms, some of my readers may be thinking “jeeze, Nathaniel, we already know all this stuff! Why are you telling us this?” Don’t worry! I haven’t forgotten about you, and that’s why I am sprinkling in more advanced topics as we talk about the more basic ones. We just spoke about the principle of gas operation, so let’s jump up a grade to 201 level, and talk about two of the most conceptually obvious incarnations of gas operation. I’m writing, of course, about the Bang, and gas-trap methods of tapping propellant gases.

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Operating Systems 101: Short-Recoil

Two basic mechanisms dominate the field of handguns today: The aforementioned straight blowback system, and short-recoil operation. The latter of two is a mechanism as clever as it is old; the first short-recoil weapons date back to the latter half of the 19th Century!

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Operating Systems 101: Straight Blowback

The first entry in our coverage of automatic weapon operating mechanisms will be the humble straight blowback method. Conceptually simple, it is one of the most common systems, being applied almost universally to .22 caliber rimfire autoloaders the world over, as well as being very commonly applied to budget centerfire handgun and rifle designs.

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Operating Systems 101: Introduction and Foundation

What makes an automatic (or semiautomatic) weapon work? How do these weapons accomplish being able to fire round after round through a single barrel with no interference from the operator? That’s what I aim to explain in this series, which hopefully will give my readers a brief and readily accessible foundation on firearms operating mechanisms. For some of you, many of these articles will not tell you anything you don’t already know, but be patient: I plan to be very thorough in my coverage of different operating mechanisms. The scope of this series will be the operating mechanisms of single-barreled firearms, minus their feeding mechanisms (which I will cover separately).

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