AK 47 Sniper & M4A1 Sniper
AK 47 Sniper & M4A1 Sniper
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The AK-47, or AK as it is officially known (also known as the Kalashnikov or in Russian slang, Kalash) is a selective-fire (semi-automatic and automatic), gas-operated 7.62×39 mm assault rifle, developed in the Soviet Union by Mikhail Kalashnikov. It is officially known in the Soviet documentation as Avtomat Kalashnikova (Russian: Автомат Калашникова).
Design work on the AK-47 began in the last year of World War II (1945). In 1946, the AK-47 was presented for official military trials, and in 1948, the fixed-stock version was introduced into active service with selected units of the Soviet Army. An early development of the design was the AKS (S—Skladnoy or “folding”), which was equipped with an underfolding metal shoulder stock. In the spring of 1949, the AK-47 was officially accepted by the Soviet Armed Forces and used by the majority of the member states of the Warsaw Pact.
Even after almost seven decades, the model and its variants remain the most popular and widely used assault rifles in the world because of their substantial reliability under harsh conditions, low production costs compared to contemporary Western weapons, availability in virtually every geographic region and ease of use. The AK-47 has been manufactured in many countries and has seen service with armed forces as well as irregular forces worldwide, and was the basis for developing many other types of individual and crew-served firearms. As of 2004, “Of the estimated 500 million firearms worldwide, approximately 100 million belong to the Kalashnikov family, three-quarters of which are AK-47s
During World War II, the Sturmgewehr 44 assault rifle used by German forces made a deep impression on their Soviet counterparts. The select-fire rifle was chambered for a new intermediate cartridge, the 7.92×33mm Kurz, and combined the firepower of a submachine gun with the range and accuracy of a rifle. On 15 July 1943, an earlier model of the Sturmgewehr was demonstrated before the People’s Commissariat of Arms of the USSR. The Soviets were impressed with the weapon and immediately set about developing an intermediate caliber automatic rifle of their own, to replace the PPSh-41 submachine guns and outdated Mosin–Nagant bolt-action rifles that armed most of the Soviet Army.
The Soviets soon developed the 7.62×39mm M43 cartridge, the semi-automatic SKS carbine and the RPD light machine gun. Shortly after World War II, the Soviets developed the AK-47 assault rifle, which would quickly replace the SKS in Soviet service. In the 1960s, the Soviets introduced the RPK light machine gun, an AK-47 type weapon with a stronger receiver, a longer heavy barrel, and a bipod, that would eventually replace the RPD light machine gun
Following the adoption of the M16 rifle, carbine variants were also adopted for close quarters operations. The CAR-15 family of weapons served through the Vietnam War. However, these carbines had design issues, as “the barrel length was halved” to 10 inches which “upset the ballistics”, reducing its range and accuracy and “led to considerable muzzle flash and blast, so that a large flash suppressor had to be fitted”. “Nevertheless, as a short-range weapon it is quite adequate and thus, (despite) its caliber, (the XM177 “Commando”) is classed as a submachine gun.” In 1988, Colt began work on a new carbine design called the XM4 combining the best features of the Colt Commando and M16A2 rifles.
The XM4 was given a longer 14.5-inch barrel with the M16A2’s 1:7 inch rifle twist, to use the heavier 62-grain M855 rounds. The extended barrel improved the XM4’s ballistics, reduced muzzle blast and gave the XM4 the ability to mount a bayonet and the M203 grenade launcher. The XM4 was also given the M16A2’s improved rear sight and cartridge deflector, as well as other minor refinements. In 1994, the U.S. military officially accepted the XM4 into service as the M4 carbine to replace M16A2s in certain roles. The M4 carbine has also replaced most submachine guns and selected handguns in U.S. military service, as it fires more effective rifle ammunition that offers superior stopping power and is better able to penetrate modern body armor.
The United States Marine Corps has ordered its officers (up to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel) and staff non-commissioned officers to carry the M4 carbine instead of the M9 handgun. This is in keeping with the Marine Corps doctrine, “Every Marine a rifleman”. The Marine Corps, however, chose the full-sized M16A4 over the M4 as its standard infantry rifle. United States Navy corpsmen E5 and below are also issued M4s instead of the M9. While ordinary riflemen in the Marine Corps are armed with M16A4s, M4s are fielded by troops in positions where a full-length rifle would be too bulky, including vehicle operators and fireteam and squad leaders. As of 2013, the U.S. Marine Corps had 80,000 M4 carbines in their inventory.
By July 2015, major Marine Corps commands were endorsing switching to the M4 over the M16A4 as the standard infantry rifle, just as the Army had done. This is because of the carbine’s lighter weight, compact length, and ability to address modern combat situations that happen mostly within close quarters; if a squad needs to engage at longer ranges, the M27 IAR can be used as a designated marksman rifle. Approval of the change would move the M16 to support personnel, while armories already have the 17,000 M4s in the inventory needed to outfit all infantrymen who need one. In October 2015, Commandant Robert Neller formally approved of making the M4 carbine the primary weapon for all infantry battalions, security forces, and supporting schools in the U.S. Marine Corps. The switch is to begin in early 2016 and be completed by September 2016.