The AK family of automatic rifles was developed in the Soviet Union post WWII. Originally designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov, the AK family is officially known in Russia as “Avtomat Kalashnikova” or “Kalashnikov’s Automatic Gun”. The Kalashnikov family remains one of the most popular automatic rifles in the modern era with over 100 million built.
The AK-74 served as a replacement for the AKM, a simplified version of the Ak-47. It uses a smaller 5.45x39mm cartridge rather than the 7.62x39mm cartridge of earlier Kalashnikov weapons. Because of the smaller caliber, the AK-74 has a better effective range, firing accuracy, and reliability. The AK-74u is a fully automatic, gas-operated carbine version of the AK-74. It uses a shorter, 8.1 in (206.5 mm), barrel making it more maneuverable in tight quarters.