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The AK-74 is a 5.45mm assault rifle of Soviet origin. It was developed in the early 1970's as a response to the US 5.56mm M16. The design is based on the successful Soviet Kalashnikov AKM assault rifle. The AK-74 replaced the AKM as standard assault rifle with the Soviet forces and remains in use today.
The AK-74 is a modification of the AKM assault rifle. The layout and design principle remain the same, but the caliber and muzzle are different. The 5.45x39mm round was specifically designed for the AK-74. In the folding stock version the underfolding stock of the AKM has been replaced by a side folding stock that provides better stability. The RPK-74 is a 5.45mm light machine gun that was derived from the AK-74 assault rifle in a similar way the RPK as derived from the AKM.
The AK-74 fires the 5.45x39mm round from a 30 round magazine. The RPK-74 light support weapon uses 45 round magazines and can use standard 30 round magazines as well. The AK-74 is a select-fire rifle with a cyclic rate of fire of 650 rpm. The maximum effective range is about 400 meters. The shorter barreled AKS-74U sub machine gun has an effective range of 200 meters.