Mounting straps for night sights and night vision devices on 5.45 mm AK74N, AKS74N, AKS74UN, AK74M assault rifles and RPKL, RPKN, RPKSN, RPK74N, RPKS74N and RPK74M machine guns, device and placement features, overview.

In conjunction with installed night sights, be it NSPU, NSPUM or NSPU-3, 5.45 mm AK74 Kalashnikov assault rifles under the low-pulse cartridge had updated indices of the form AK74N2, AKS74N1 and so on. But the mounting straps for the weapons themselves did not differ in appearance and were designed for any of the sights. Therefore, we will add the “H” index to all AK74 assault rifles with slats abstractly.

Mounting straps for night sights and night vision devices on 5.45 mm AK74N, AKS74N, AKS74UN, AK74M assault rifles and RPKL, RPKN, RPKSN, RPK74N, RPKS74N and RPK74M machine guns, device and placement features, overview.

In accordance with the established sights, numbers (11) were applied to the bar by analogy with AKM assault rifles. For clarity and understanding of the name of the Kalashnikov assault rifles and machine guns in accordance with the sights used are shown in the table below.

Mounting straps for night sights and night vision devices on 5.45 mm AK74N, AKS74N, AKS74UN, AK74M assault rifles and RPKL, RPKN, RPKSN, RPK74N, RPKS74N and RPK74M machine guns, device and placement features, overview.

In parallel with the main production of 7.62 mm AKM assault rifles, IZHMASH smoothly reassigned itself to production in 5.45 caliber. On pilot machines A3 (the forerunner of the future AK74) of 1972, mounting brackets from night versions of AKM were still installed. And since 1973, the mounting strips already had the appearance that would become common for the early AK74N and AKS74N submachine guns (Fig. 7).

Mounting straps for night sights and night vision devices on 5.45 mm AK74N, AKS74N, AKS74UN, AK74M assault rifles and RPKL, RPKN, RPKSN, RPK74N, RPKS74N and RPK74M machine guns, device and placement features, overview.

Such fixing strips were placed on serial machines until 1978. In addition, there was an intermediate version of the bar (Fig. 8), characteristic of the AKS74U assault rifles of 1978 manufactured by IZHMASH. It was distinguished by a cut bottom edge of plumage (12). Since 1978, the bar of all “night” machines acquired a different appearance (Fig. 9). Round Neckline (13).

Mounting straps for night sights and night vision devices on 5.45 mm AK74N, AKS74N, AKS74UN, AK74M assault rifles and RPKL, RPKN, RPKSN, RPK74N, RPKS74N and RPK74M machine guns, device and placement features, overview.

In addition, it was shorter than the previous bar. Since since 1978, the rear liners have been replaced on all AK74 assault rifles, which had an increased distance between the rivets. Accordingly, for the strips for symmetry, the central hole for the rivet (14) was shifted. This version of the bar was installed until 1989. From 1990 to 1991, the bar was simplified (Fig. 10). The final year 1992 of the production of AK74N assault rifles was marked by another variation of the bar (Fig. 11), which has angular outlines (15).

Mounting straps for night sights and night vision devices on 5.45 mm AK74N, AKS74N, AKS74UN, AK74M assault rifles and RPKL, RPKN, RPKSN, RPK74N, RPKS74N and RPK74M machine guns, device and placement features, overview.

Mounting plates for night sights and night vision devices on AK74M assault rifles, device and placement features.

After that went AK74M assault rifles of the unified complex of the 100 series. Incorporating the signs of the entire family of machine guns of 5.45 mm caliber of the previous period. Including folding stocks and mounting brackets for night sights and night vision devices. From that moment on, there was no need for special suffixes “H” in the names. Since each of the machines in the standard configuration “by default” had these mounting brackets.

The first AK74M of 1993-1994 had fixing strips (Fig. 12), which differ from the strips of 1992 with a straight diagonal lower edge (16). In the same 1994, the most massive variety of planks appeared. It is produced to the present (Fig. 13). This bar in many respects repeated the bar of 1990-1991, but had a rectangular selection of the lower part (17).

Mounting straps for night sights and night vision devices on 7.62 mm Kalashnikov light machine guns RPKL, RPKN, RPKSN, device and placement features.

Kalashnikov light machine guns were also used with night shooting sights and night vision devices. And in the same way, their names depended on the sights with which they were equipped. The first were 7.62 mm RPKL machine guns with a two-piece bar (Fig. 14). Very reminiscent of the bar AKML.

The differences were in the location and number of centering pins (18). And also in the spherical head of the jumper rivet, which on the AKML variant did not protrude beyond the base plane, being polished flush. The spherical head of the rivet of the bridge over the base (19) is the “visiting card” of the strips manufactured by VPMZ Molot and their distinguishing feature from the Izhmash strips. The base was marked with the number of the sight (20). This version of the bar was installed on the receiver of RPK machine guns from 1962 to 1966.

Mounting straps for night sights and night vision devices on 5.45 mm AK74N, AKS74N, AKS74UN, AK74M assault rifles and RPKL, RPKN, RPKSN, RPK74N, RPKS74N and RPK74M machine guns, device and placement features, overview.

The earliest encountered RPKS folding machine guns with a bar (Fig. 15) was dated 1965, and had the number VA-0620. It has not been reliably established whether this is a serial machine gun or a test copy, and whether it should be called the RPKSL or not. His bar had a figured cutout (21) for the butt latch and was shifted forward (22) compared to the level for the RPKL.

Under the scope of the NSPU, the RPKN and RPKSN machine guns received the same type of mounting straps (Fig. 16) with a central notch (23). Designed primarily for folding machine guns. Since they had a cutout for the butt latch (24).

It was decided to install these mounting rails on awkward RPKs primarily for economic reasons, in order to eliminate the production of special rails with minimal differences. The numbers of the fixed sights were applied on the back of the base diagonally (25). Such mounting plates were installed on RPKN and RPKSN machine guns from 1967 to 1975.

Mounting straps for night sights and night vision devices on 5.45 mm Kalashnikov light machine guns RPK74N, RPKS74N and RPK74M, device and placement features.

5.45 mm light machine guns from 1978 received new fastening straps (Fig. 7). Which did not consist of a base and a bracket with screws, but were machined as a single piece and fixed on the receiver with three rivets (26). Structurally, the new bar completely repeated the analogue adopted for AK74 assault rifles. In this form, it was installed on weapons until 1981.

From 1984 to 1987, a cutout (27) appears on the updated bar (Fig. 18). From 1989 to 1994, a plank with an abolished oval neckline (28), a spherical rivet and a pronounced angle between the faces of the plank (29) was set on the RPK74N. The same bar was set in 1994 on standardized machine guns, which were already produced under the name RPK74M. They always had folding stocks and mounting strips for sights and night vision devices. Numbers of sights could be applied in different places (30).

Note that from 1981 to 1984 and from 1987 to 1989, RPK74N machine guns (RPKS74N) were certainly produced, but the author was unable to find reliable data for these periods.

From the mid-90s, the oval cut (31) returned to the once again updated bar (Fig. 19). But its outlines had more smoothed shapes (32) than on the previous version with a neckline. Modern RPK machine guns of the 200 series of all calibres are equipped with a cheaper version of the bar (Fig. 19). Not even having a central rivet (33), fixing the bar on the receiver of machine guns.

According to the magazine “Weapon”.
Konstantin Podgornov.

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