Hungar y was par t of the Warsaw Pact until 1991, and in a world full of similar-looking AK variants, the Hungarian AMD-65 definitely stands out. It not only features the distinctively Hungarian-shaped pistol grip, it has two of them, plus a unique sidefolding stock, sheetmetal front handguard, shor t barrel, and massive muzzle brake.
The AMD-65 stems from mechanized troops’ difficulty carr ying and using the full-length AKM-63. Vehicle crews, airborne troops, helicopter crews, and infantr y in armored personnel carriers found the length of the standard rifle inconvenient. Designed by Károly Zala, the first prototypes were made in 1965, with serial production star ting in 1967. The AMD-65 featured a 12.6-inch barrel and an austere side-folding stock. A large muzzle brake helped with recoil generated by the lightened rifle, though its blast and concussion are substantial. A shortened 20-round magazine was also provided. Special versions with optics rails were produced, and some Hungarian units used it with the Soviet PBS-1 suppressor.
While the piston and gas tube were trimmed along with the barrel, the AMD-65 uses a standard AKM bolt carrier, gas block, and front sight tower. This simplified production, avoiding the need for a new combined gas block /sight tower (seen on other short AKs) and minimizing changes to the operating system. It has the vertical front grip often used on other Hungarian AKs, the exact same part as the rear pistol grip, rotated 180 degrees and bolted to the handguard. With no shielding around the gas tube and a perforated sheetmetal lower handguard, the foregrip is essential — the whole assembly becomes quite hot when putting rounds downrange.
Although some design choices may have degraded the shooting experience, the AMD-65 was perhaps the first truly compact AK model, predating AKSUtype weapons by many years. For its intended end users, its compactness was more important to daily duty than actual shooting, and the AMD-65 was very successful. It would go on to become the most prolific Hungarian AK variant. It’s widely issued with the Afghan National Army, and large numbers hit civilian markets in Europe and the United States, where their awkward look with a 16-inch barrel made them unpopular compared to other surplus AKs.