Recoil - - From Russia With Lav - Com­men­tary by Ian McCol­lum

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.

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