AK-47 vs. AK-74


The AK-47 and AK-74 are both Russian-made assault rifles designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov. The AK in the name refers to Kalashnikov (K) automatic (A) rifles and the numbers refer to the year in which they were designed (1947 and 1974). In 1978, the Soviet Union began replacing their AK-47 and AKM rifles with a newer design, the AK-74.

Comparison chart

Edit this comparison chart


User Rating (478):


User Rating (285):
Type Assault rifle (semi-automatic, full-auto available in US to certain federal licensees) Sport utility rifle (semiautomatic only; no imported fully automatic examples)
Cartridge 7.62x39mm 5.45x39mm
Designer Mikhail Kalashnikov Mikhail Kalashnikov
Weight 4.3 kg (9.5 lb) with empty magazine AK-74: 3.03 kg (6.7 lb), AKS-74: 2.97 kg (6.5 lb), AKS-74U: 2.5 kg (5.5 lb), AK-74M: 3.4 kg (7.5 lb)
Action Gas-operated, rotating bolt (Long Stroke Gas Piston) Gas-operated, rotating bolt
Sights Adjustable iron sights, 100–800 metre adjustments, 378 mm (14.9 in) sight radius Adjustable iron sights, front post and rear notch on a scaled tangent, Flip-up sight and front cylindrical post (AKS-74U)
Effective range 300 metres (330 yd) full automatic, 400 metres (440 yd) semi-automatic 600 m, 100–1,000 m sight adjustments, 350–500 m sight adjustments (AKS-74U)
Manufacturer Manufacturer Kalashnikov Concern (formerly Izhmash) Izhevsk Mechanical Works
Muzzle velocity 715 m/s (2,346 ft/s) 900 m/s (2,953 ft/s) (AK-74, AKS-74, AK-74M), 735 m/s (2,411.4 ft/s) (AKS-74U)
Variants AK-47 1948–51, AK-47 1952, AKS-47, RPK, AKM (most ubiquitous variant), AKMS AKS-74, AKS-74U, AKS-74UB, AK-74M, AK-101, AK-102, AK-103, AK-104, AK-105
Place of origin Soviet Union Soviet Union
Designed 1947 (Originally designed in '44-46, but it gets its name from the new 1947 model) 1974
Feed system 20 or 30-round detachable box magazine, also compatible with 40-round box or 75-round drum magazines from the RPK 30-round or 45-round RPK-74 detachable box magazine
Rate of Fire 600 rounds/min cyclic 650 rounds/min (AK-74, AKS-74, AK-74M), 650-735 rounds/min (AKS-74U)
Barrel Length 415 mm (16.3 in) AK-74, AKS-74, AK-74M: 415 mm (16.3 in), AKS-74U: 210 mm (8.3 in)
In service 1949–present 1974–present
General Purpose Many applications Many applications
About AK-47 stands for Kalashnikov automatic rifle model of 1947. It is a selective fire, gas operated 7.62x39mm assault rifle. Most 47's are actually the 1959 AKM. AK-74 is a 1974 update of the AKM.
Length 870 mm (34.3 in) fixed wooden stock, 875 mm (34.4 in) folding stock extended, 645 mm (25.4 in) stock folded AK-74: 943 mm (37.1 in), AKS-74 (stock extended): 943 mm (37.1 in), AKS-74 (stock folded): 690 mm (27.2 in), AKS-74U (stock extended): 735 mm (28.9 in), AKS-74U (stock folded): 490 mm (19.3 in), AK-74M (stock extended): 943 mm (37.1 in), AK-74M (stoc
Price $350-$700 $400-$800
Restrictions No federal restrictions on semi-auto variant ownership in the US. Full-auto restricted in the US. No federal restrictions on semiautomatic variants. No transferable fully automatic examples exist.
Number built approximately 75 million AK-47, 100 million AK-type rifles 5 million+
Accuracy (16" barrel) 2-6 MOA 1-4 MOA
History Developed in the USSR by Mikhail Kalashnikov in the late 1940s. Developed in the 1970's due to Soviet fears that the American 5.56 cartridge was a breakthrough that needed to be imitated.
Wars It's easier to name the wars this hasn't been in. Soviet-Afghan War, various other conflicts in Asia and the Middle East
Dependability Functions well under any conditions Same extreme reliability
Recoil Type Mild, but easily managed in semiautomatic Barely noticeable; lighter than 5.56 recoil.
Produced 1947-present 1974–present

Contents: AK-47 vs AK-74

An AK-74 assault rifle
An AK-74 assault rifle
An AK-47 assault rifle
An AK-47 assault rifle

edit Design comparison

The AK-74 featured a new stock, handguard and gas cylinder. The stock has a different, rubber shoulder pad that is serrated for increased traction. There are weight-reducing lightening cuts on each side of the buttstock.

The AK-74 gas tube has a spring washer attached to its rear end designed to retain the gas tube more securely. The lower handguard is fitted with a leaf spring that reduces play in the rifle's lateral axis by keeping the wood tensioned between the receiver and the handguard retainer. All external metal surfaces are coated with a glossy black enamel.

edit Cartridge

The 5.45x39mm cartridge of the AK-74 makes it a more accurate and reliable rifle compared to the AK-47, which uses a 7.62x39mm cartridge.

edit Barrel

The barrel length of the AK-47 is 415 mm (16.3 inches) and is similar for the AK-74 except for the AKS-74U model which is 210 mm (8.3 inches).

The AK-74 barrel has a chrome-lined bore and 4 right-hand grooves at a 200 mm (1:8 in) rifling twist rate. The front sight base and gas block were redesigned. The gas block contains a gas channel that is installed at a 90° angle in relation to the bore axis. The forward section of the front sight base features a threaded collar that is used to screw in a newly-designed multifunction muzzle device (performing the role of a muzzle brake, recoil compensator and flash suppressor) or a blank-firing adaptor. The distinctive muzzle brake features a large expansion chamber, two symmetrical vertical cuts at the forward end of the brake and three vent holes positioned to prevent muzzle climb and lateral shift to the right (for right-handed shooters).

edit Magazines

Magazines for both rifles are similar except for the minor changes in dimensions to accommodate different size cartridges. AK-74 magazines are polymer, and have a raised horizontal rib on each side of the rear lug to prevent their use in a 7.62x39mm AK.

edit Weight

At 3.03 kg (6.7 lb), the AK-74 is lighter than the AK-47 which weighed 4.3 kg. The lightest variant of the AK-74 was the AKS-74U that weighed only 2.5 kg.

edit Cost

The AK-74 is cheaper to manufacture for mass production than the AK-47.

edit Where to buy

Accessories for these rifles, as well as the Airsoft versions, can be purchased on Amazon or other gunshot accessories retailers.

edit Popularity

As both the AK-47 and the AK-74 were designed by the Soviet Union, they were never controlled by copyright law or patents. This enabled any country or manufacturer to produce versions of the assault rifles (some better than others). Between this fact and the nature of the assault rifles' design—that they were easy to manufacture and use, reliable, and inexpensive to replace—the AK-47 and the AK-74 are ubiquitous in many nations around the world. It's even roughly estimated that nearly 100 million AK-47s are in circulation.

edit References

Share this comparison:

If you read this far, you should follow us:

"AK-47 vs AK-74." Diffen.com. Diffen LLC, n.d. Web. 21 May 2015. < >

Related Comparisons Follow Diffen
Top 5 Comparisons
Make Diffen Smarter.

Log in to edit comparisons or create new comparisons in your area of expertise!

Sign up »

Comments: AK-47 vs AK-74

Anonymous comments (7)

April 7, 2014, 8:20am

good thing about AK 47\74 is that it can handle all kinds of terrain and can be completely submerged in salt water and it will still be reliable. the M4\16 is more accurate but it wont last long if it gets wet or if any mud goes in it

— 85.✗.✗.83

June 14, 2013, 8:33am

Seems to me that because this rifle (AK47) is made in so many countries, and with
many design modifications, when you couple in the AK74 also made in many countries
with numerous design mods, it is rather fruitless to argue the finer points of the
differences of the two weapons. In addition, if you check out the sourcing of the info f
or the comparisons, you might note that perhaps there is much newer data as well as
much newer ammo from different mfgs. making all the arguements even less relative
especially regarding accuracy. There is much that can be done with the origianl '47'
design to make it much more accurate than the original. Does that mean it is not an
AK47? Hardly! When you reference a gun/weapon by a name such as AK47 which
has copies numbering in the millions, it does become a reference name that
encompasses many design changes in terms of finer points while sticking to the "basic"
concept of the weapon. IF I have a new gun, manufactured in the U.S. with much
tighter tolerances on certain parts while sticking to the bsic design, I can drastically
imporve the accuracy and still basically have an AK47. It is like arguing about the
diffeences in size between a frog hair and a blonde pubic hair. What's the point?
If it looks like an AK47, then to 99% of the population, it is an AK47. However, if
the overall design has been changed radically so that now it looks like a Henry
Golden Boy, then it is no longer an AK47.
The best way to measure accuracy is to ask the guy that was just shot how accurate
the weapon is. It is like a .22LR lever action gun I have. The sight is off, but I know
how much and which way and adjust for it and have shot it that way for so long if I
corrected the sights, I would not be able to hit the broad side of a barn. I also have a
very old hammer that has a bent handle shaft. If that shaft was straightened, I would
not be able to hit a nail on the head no matter the importance nor can I use a new
hammer and hit the nail on the head. It is all in the head, everything. Arguing about
minute, nano details is worthless, a waste of time better spent admiring weapons or

— 75.✗.✗.212

March 9, 2013, 6:14am

I find it funny how people are saying they want a 5.56 if they dont chose a AK 47. What people dont know is that the AK 74 round is amazing. The 74 round makes 5.56 look like crap. The 74 round isnt called the Poison bullet for nothing, it is made to tumble as soon as it hits someone, its known to do more body damage than the 47. Plus the twist rate, and better range, less recoil. Is like taking a AK 47 killing power and adding the best a Ar has to offer.

— 108.✗.✗.126

February 5, 2013, 6:21pm

Pretty good review, until i read about the ergonomics.. "while the trigger is operated by the middle finger or the ring finger." Trolling or just being dumb? Operating the trigger with anything but your index finger would result in twisting your hand and not getting a good "squeezing motion" on the trigger. In other words, you wouldn't hit anything.

— 88.✗.✗.1

November 26, 2012, 5:32am

If you have an AK-74, then it's chambered in 5.45x39mm... period. Seems to me the confusion here has to do with the Century series i.e. rifles that follow the AK-74M design but are chambered in 7.62x39mm or 5.56x45mm, such as AK-103 or AK-101. Those are different models, not re-chambered AK-74's.

— 66.✗.✗.4

October 12, 2012, 8:17pm

i don't like to correct someone but i have the aks74 in the 7.62-39 it was made in china by polytech

— 50.✗.✗.123

December 14, 2011, 12:46am

In reference to the top comment about a 7.62x39 AK-74. There is not an AK-74 chambered for that cartridge. The AK-74 was built around the 5.45 round in an attempt to mimic the M-16's excellent performance with the 5.56 cartridge. There is however the AKM, which is a modernized AK-47 which shares many of the same characteristics of the AK-74. Not trying to be a troll, but the AKM and AK-74 are completely different firearms. AK-74's are exclusively chambered for 5.45x39.

— 70.✗.✗.22


Up next

AK-47 vs. M16 Rifle