Mikhail Kalashnikov will forever be synonymous with the AK-47, for obvious reasons.
The rifle is truly one of the triumphs of 20th-Century small arms design, marrying economical production with performance in the field. The ubiquitous AK, however, is not the only brainchild of the now deceased Russian Lieutenant General.
Kalashnikov had a number of firearm designs to his name and one is making its way back into one manufacturer’s roster. Arsenal recently announced the limited release of a RPK variants — the SA RPK-5 Series.
This variation of the RPK-74 has not been available for a number of years from the company. And is presently being produced in the Bulgarian/American gun maker’s Stateside operation.
The rifle has many of the original features found on the Soviet model, but there is one major historic break — its caliber. The rifle is chambered for 5.56×45 NATO, instead of its 5.45×39. As a side note, Arsenal has made 5.45 variants of the RPK, as well as 7.62×39 models. The larger caliber was what the rifle first fired when it was developed in the early 1960s.
Like the original, the SA RPK-5 series has a nearly identical operating system as an AK-47. The rifle cycles through the robust long-stroke piston operation, which has become renown for its ability to function in nearly any conditions.
Where the RPK differs from the AK, however, is its barrel length. The rifle was outfitted with a 23.2-inch barrel, meant to enhance its range, accuracy and rate of fire. Arsenal has kept the barrel dimensions the same as the Soviet iteration. However, at 40-inches in overall length, the SA RPK-5 is a hair smaller than the RPK-74.
The barrel has a 14mm muzzle thread, the most common found on AKs. This should open the options for those who shoot to customize their rifle with a preferred muzzle break or flash suppressor. Until then, the threads are protected with a factory installed muzzle nut.
The 10-pound SA RPK-5 has a number of other features, including: blond wood furniture, folding bi-pod, cleaning rod, scope rail and paddle-style butt stock. The rifle ships with one 30-round magazine, sling, oil bottle and cleaning kit.
Presently rifle is being sold at K-Var for $2,295.