The original uploader was Gusbenz at English Wikipedia. [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
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An AKS-74U, commonly called a “Krinkov.” The original uploader was Gusbenz at English Wikipedia. [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
A “Krinkov” is a short-barrel variant of the AK-74. Specifically, it’s the AKS-74U. You’ll see either the specific gun or any SBR AK being referred to as a Krinkov on occasion, as it’s a colloquial term that came about sometime in the 1980s.

Now that the question is answered, we can talk about something else, like how the Raiders are finally going to turn it around this ye…just kidding. We’re going to go over it more, and I’d be shocked if they do better than 8-8.

There’s a practical use for a gun that fits somewhere between a submachine gun (spray and pray up close and personal) and a fully-fledged battle rifle/service rifle/assault rifle/whatever term you feel like using. It’s useful at close quarters but can be used at longer ranges than a submachine gun.

There are versions that our military uses, us civilians can turn to the burgeoning SBR and AR-pistol market, and the Soviets have the Krinkov. However, they don’t call it the “Krinkov;” the gun is properly titled the AKS-74U.

Some details are probably going to be missed for the sake of brevity so feel free to either fill them in (or complain) in the comments.

Military personnel and law enforcement who go in and out of buildings a lot have obvious need for a weapon of that sort and it’s also more practical for certain other personnel that should have a gun but maybe not a full-meal-deal service rifle.

That’s why Colt made the Commando, a short barrel AR for US forces and the Soviets felt like they’d better cook up the same thing after Soviet observers and advisers saw the Commando in action (or observed the after-effects) in the Vietnam war.

Navy SEAL with Colt Commando. JO1 (SS) Peter D. Sundberg [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A few prototype weapons were developed (such as the AO-46) in the late 1960s but the first official issue SBR/AK pistol didn’t go into production until the mid 1970s. At the time, the Soviet Union was transitioning from the AKM (a revised AK-47 still in 7.62x39mm) to the AK-74.

It had many design elements of the AK/AKM but was revised for the 5.45x39mm cartridge, which was devised to net all the same benefits that the US military found the 5.56mm round had.

In 1973, the Soviets announced a design competition for an SBR variant of the AKS-74, a folding-stock model of the AK-74. The project was called the “Modern.” They wanted it to be ultra-portable, with an overall length of less than 30 inches with the folding stock unfolded, 5 or fewer pounds of overall weight, higher profile sights than the standard model and an effective range out to about 500 meters.

Mikhail Kalashnikov (and others) created versions for consideration (including Yevgney Dragunov, the guy who invented the sniper rifle bearing his name) but ultimately Kalashnikov’s design was selected, entering production as the AKS-74U.

A pair of AKS-74Us. Photo by Roman Stepanov [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
The barrel length is 8.1 inches, and overall length is just under 29 inches with the stock unfolded and just over 19 inches with the stock folded, and it weighs about 6 lbs.

The AKS-74U was noted for handling well in close quarters and having an effective range out to 400 meters, as the shorter barrel robs bullets of velocity. (Longer tube, more spinning, bullet fly faster.)

The Soviet army basically deemed that not to be a big deal and started production at the Tula factory rather than Izhmash, and some production also occurred in Soviet satellite states as well. It has remained in service ever since.

A Ukrainan Marine (the Ukraine is not weak!) with an AKS-74U. LCpl M.A. Sunderland, U.S. Marine Corps [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Standard accessories included a plastic thigh holster and 20-round magazines, rather than the typical 30-round units. The AKS-74U lacks a bayonet lug, but models fitted with a suppressor could be used with the BS-1 grenade launcher used by the Spetsnaz. Modern production models have emerged since the death of disco, with more modern furniture and other appointments.

A “Krinkov” with modern accouterments. Vitaly V. Kuzmin [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
It first entered service in 1979, seeing action in the Soviet war in Afghanistan…and this is where the “Krinkov” name comes into play. Incidentally, the Spetsnaz and other special forces didn’t have much use for it at the time as they operated in more wide open spaces.

As a result, it was more or less issued to tank, armored vehicle and helicopter crews sort of like the M1 Carbine in the US armed forces during WWII. Paratroopers were issued the standard AKS-74, which had a folding stock but had the standard carbine-length barrel.

The Soviets never called it a “Krinkov.” According to an excellent article at The Firearm Blog, Soviet troops usually referred to it as “Kyushka” (the diminutive of the name Ksenia, like calling a Katherine “Katie” or “Kat”) “Okurok” (cigarette butt) or “Suka.” You can look that last one up.

There are a few competing theories as to where the name came from.

The first theory is that mujahideen in Afghanistan took one from a captured soldier named “Krinkov” or something along those lines. They started calling it that, and when the US government bought a few in Afghanistan for study, the name followed with it.

Another theory has to do with the import market. A certain number of deactivated Krinkov rifles found their way into the United States prior to the Clinton assault weapon ban. One of the popular suppliers was a store called “Krinks” in Naples, Fla. The owner, one Paul Mahoney, bought the deactivated rifles and restored them to working order in semi-auto only, which were called Krink kits.

However, The Firearm Blog also points out what the author believes is the most likely etymology of the word, which I tend to agree with, is that “Krinkof” and “Kalakof” are the colloquial names for “Kalashnikov” rifles, since Russian words don’t transfer well into either dialect of Pashtu since the accents and consonants are very different. (The author asserts Pashtu lacks the letter “v.” Knowing literally nothing about the Pashtu language, I must take his word for it.) Since that’s what they call it and that’s what US advisers heard them call it, the nickname followed with them.

Since the guns were rare (mujahideen had to shoot down a helicopter to get one) acquiring one was a real feat, a status symbol, and many people were willing to pay a lot of money to get one. Osama Bin Laden was known for toting one (though he probably didn’t get his the hard way) which has kept it a status symbol among modern-day mujahideen.

Anyhow, enough Americans in the service heard them referred to as “Krinkovs” or “Krinkofs” that the name stuck. It’s fallen out of use to a degree, as most of us kids these days call it an “AK Pistol” rather than a Krinkov.

Since we covered a lot of territory here, any errors or omissions were made for the sake of brevity. Feel free to expand in comments. But with that said, that’s what a Krinkov is.

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  1. It’s an AK variant. They’re reliable, but that’s about all you can say for them. If there’s a more boring line of weapons out there I wish you would tell me what it is.

    • “If there’s a more boring line of weapons out there I wish you would tell me what it is.”

      It gets instant points for being ‘Unobtainium’ over here.

      And as to your question :

      Hi-Point, or any of the Phoenix, Bryco, Lorcin, ect, ect.varients…

      • A more boring rifle?

        That would be the one that goes together like a lego set. Which is a good thing since every time you get something new its outdated by something else that is a ‘must have’ but improves nothing with the rifle, just makes old lego pieces useless and new lego pieces worthless when the next fad comes out.

        • John, AKs are reliable carbines. That’s the most important thing when it comes to saving your life. Next is human engineering. Not that great with an AK. After that, accuracy. Mediocre at best. Want an AK system that really works? Buy a Galil.

        • Engineering you say? Id say a rifle that a first grader can maintain and use without any sort of armorer being needed is a pretty neat feat of engineering, also the fact that it works all the time in any conditions would elevate it up there. Now if you’ve had an AK that was put together sloppily or incompetently that’s a different story and not an engineering issue.

          Accuracy, always love to see this fallacy come up. That is based on the AKs ultra short iron sight radius. We all know no one uses iron sights these days except as backup so toss that out the window. With a dot or LPVO the AK throws lead consistently where you want it. That is, if you have the ability to accurately fire a rifle, which is another huge factor in the ‘not accurate’ lies that are spread. I can tell you that you would be quite the rube to stand at 400 yards and not think that you are well within the realm of a non magnified red dot on that inaccurate AK.

        • John, my first experience with AKs was OPFOR training with real AKs. Blame it on the sights if you want to, but accuracy sucked. Same thing all the semi-auto versions over subsequent decades. Throw open sights out the window? Only if you’re foolish. Red dot sights, scopes, etc. You can’t buy skill. Master open sights first. As for my level of skill. Qualified expert with an M16A1. Won the top gun trophy when I graduated the academy and #1 in my LEO sniper class. I could go on, but why? The Soviet doctrine was shoot a lot, keep our heads down and over run us with armor. They didn’t give a shit about accuracy and the AK reflects that. Again, it is very reliable. That’s why a refined version is one of my favorite rifles. A Galil.

    • Got a citation on that? Sure they call it a suchka, but not sure where the overheating thing comes in. It’s no better or worse than any other AK variant.

      • The Russians all it “Ksyuha” (diminutive of the name Ksenya) or “Suchka” (little bitch) ONLY because both names sound similar to the informal abbreviation of the gun – AKSU (Ah-kah-ass-uh). It doesn’t do anything with overheating.

      • Nothing in writing, but a Russian citizen with military service told me that.

        Have you ever shot an aks74u? it’s totally different from a regular AK. I have an aks74u SBR and it heats up extremely fast, the gas system and recoil impulse are also completely different. Feels like a whole different animal.

      • Yes, I have a citation: Small Arms Review, Nov 2016. This is to confirm that it does overheat, but not that overheating lead to the name “Little Bitch.”

    • The same movie where a MAC-10 dropped down a staircase wipes out a gaggle of bad guys?


        • Not only that, it was a movie that INTENTIONALLY poked fun at the common tropes of spy/action movies popular at the time. The whole stair-falling gun scene was SUPPOSED to be ridiculous and unbelievable. That was the entire point.

  2. A friend of mine has an SBR AK variant in 7.62.X39, he say, “You can’t hit sht with it but it’s fun to shoot, you ought to see it at night.” , , , , , Off topic; I’ am hearing gun shots, sounds like a pistul caliber, About 8 real fast then two more. Wow, maybe somebody got shot?

    • I’m not sure where the “you can’t hit shit with it” comment comes from. An off the rack AK is going to be a 2-3 MOA gun, just like an off the rack M4gery that doesn’t have a pile of high speed / low drag upgrades on it. I’ve used my 7.62×39 SBR to nail steel at 200 yards all day long. I’ve long considered it the answer to 300AAC as the whole point of 300AAC was to get an AR with 7.62×39 ballistics without using the 7.62×39 cartridge. (and no, I don’t consider shooting 300AAC sub-sonic to be a good argument, you can get far better performance out of a PCC is you’re shooting pistol velocities anyway.)

      • Pwrserge,
        Your posts here are usually spot on.
        I will take issue with off the rack AK’s shooting 2 or 3 m.o.a.
        Are we talking about 5 shot groups using steel ammo from Tula, Wolf and others?
        An Arsenal or other high end AK might shoot 3 moa on a good day with steel ammo.
        I have a collection of AK’s and have shot many other examples and 4 to 6 inch groups are more like it.
        A human head is a 6 by 9 inch target and an AK will certainly do all head shots at 100 yards from a rest.
        Two inch groups with 7.62 x 39 steel ammo is unlikely.

        • Honestly, there are two things going into this discussion.

          1. The quality control on steel export ammo is crap. There’s a reason that shit is cheaper than most anything else you find out there besides .22LR. That means that your round to round variability is also going to be shit. The same cannot be said for high(er) quality lacquered mil-spec Russian / Soviet ammo. Golden Tiger and Red Army standard have both done phenomenal work for me, but Tula or Bear? Yeah, you get what you pay for. (It’s important to remember to compare like to like. Brass M193 is not equivalent to Tula garbage blaster ammo, it’s closer to your Red Army or Golden Tiger regardless of who makes it.)
          2. Issue 2 is more complicated. An off the rack Com-block AK is actually a REALLY good rifle. It’s not a tack driver, but 2-3 MOA is well within its capabilities. That comes from literally decades of R&D on the Soviet side and top tier tooling and components on the manufacturing side. (Something that only state arsenals or major corporations can really afford.) As a result, most import AKs or AKs made from import parts kits have components whose quality is far above the bargain basement trash bin price tag you see them go for. Unfortunately, when US manufacturers try to compete with these imports, they have to cut a whole lot of corners to get to the same price point because their products aren’t being indirectly subsidized by the defunct Warsaw Pact military industrial complex. This means that a $600 US made AK will not have $600 worth of parts in it while your $600 import AK will have well north of that in parts costs just because of the fact that those parts were already bought and paid for by their original owners or the guys who paid to set up the tooling to make them for their military.

          To give you an example… I own 3 AKs.
          1 WASR with the under-folding stock which has all the ergonomics of a piece of rebar.
          1 Arsenal import factory SBR.
          1 US made DDI

          Of those, the only one that has ever given me actual problems (other than the WASR which had its entire fire control group spontaneously disassemble on me) was the DDI which had a cracked extractor and a firing pin installed backwards. (Basically they jammed the firing pin retaining pin into the bolt despite it being over the flat portion of the pin and not the scallop designed for it.)

          The reality is that a proper Warsaw spec AK is just about as capable as a modern FN M4. It’s not a top-tier gamer gun, but it shoots about as well as the guy who’s expected to carry it.

      • I dunno, my cheapo stock Del-Ton 16″ shoots 1.5 MOA using M193. My Colt 20″ A2 pre-ban about 1.75 MOA.

        • That’s because even surplus M193 is a VERY good round. 2-3 MOA is a decent expectation with a decent rifle and decent ammo. The other thing is to remember the limitations of the round. 7.62×39 is a 300 meter and in round. It was designed by the Soviets as an up-sized sub-gun round because their doctrine for individual rifles was close in volume of fire. (Something carried over from the late days of WWII when their infantry squads ran PPSH sub-guns in support of their LMG component.) The 300-500 meter targets were supposed to be handled by your organic LMG or SVG guy, not your general riflemen. The US military (and to an extent, most of our NATO allies) have more of an individual rifleman focus. The brass was always huge on 500 yard KD range performance and their rifles and ammo reflect that.

    • “you can’t hit shit with it” is the line people use who have shot AKs that can’t shoot to begin with or has never fired one but his 3rd cousin on his exwifes side said it shoots bad so he’ll pass on the bad info, cause facts.

  3. It’s a fashion accessory.

    Check out pics of OBL – he’s often got such a weapon in the background. It’s effectively saying “I’m so cool, I have one of these rare guns…”

  4. I own a semi-auto version of the AKS-74U. It started life as an Arsenal SLR-104 UR. It came with a 16-inch barrel, chambered in 5.45×39. After I filed my Form 1 and waited almost a year to get my tax stamp, I chopped and crowned the barrel myself. It is a fun little SBR, and I wouldn’t sell it for anything. They’re rare enough as it is, and only going to get more rare as time goes on, as Arsenal says it will not make anything in 5.45×39 anymore. The variants in 7.62×39 are more common and look just as cool, but I had to have a real “Krinkov” in 5.45×39.

  5. Use 5.45×39 Hornady vmax I get a consistent 2.5moa at 100yd. With wolf or Tula it’s more a 3moa. Works for me I’m not looking to be able to place a bullet inside another bullet hole. I just want a bang every time and hitting body mass.

  6. Took the booster off mine and replaced it with an A2 flashhider, now it doesn’t spit a basket ball sized fireball and not much louder than a standard AK. And as far as accuracy, I would not want to be down range in a fire fight. It does what it’s meant too.

  7. Here is a very good webpage for how to properly sight in an AK, as it debunks a lot of common misconceptions in the process of increasing your understanding:
    How To Zero The Kalashnikov AK-47 & AK-74

    On that webpage is a very simple picture that makes it instantly clear how STUPID the old “AK sight radius is too short to be accurate” theme is. For the busy and/or impatient, that enlightening picture is directly located here:
    Kalashnikov vs. M-4 Sight Radius:

    READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE and invest the time it takes to download and learn to work with one of the freely available ballistic software apps or programs, such as “Point Blank” and etc.

    Anyone who can take a few seconds to view the “Kalashnikov vs. M-4 Sight Radius” picture will be instantly smarter than all the countless internet keyboard commandos and all of their typical AK hater nonsense combined. Reading the entire page on how to properly sight an AK in will put you on a near genius level in comparison, and learning and understanding the ballistic characteristics of whatever particular rifle round you are using will, in general, launch you high into the rarefied air breathed only by the few who actually understand not only HOW to sight in their rifle but also WHY the proper ways work as they do.

    But of course, most folks won’t even take the time to view the simple image linked to above, leaving YOU every advantage in your next AK versus whatever conversation. 🙂

    • I used the page you linked, some AKOU videos and a free online ballistic calculator earlier this year to zero a 16 inch VEPR 7.62×39 with both iron sights and a red dot on an ultimak. Worked exactly as you described. I’m not a fantastic rifleman but once I learned my holdovers I was able to hit a 3/4 size steel silhouette at 300 yds nearly every time bench shooting Wolf Military Classic HP. My issued M4 couldn’t do any better with ‘high quality’ M193.

    • Thank you for posting that amazing picture!
      I have both AK’s and M 4 forgeries and had no idea sight radius of a carry handle m four and a K were the same !
      It’s sort of a moot point anyway as most people I know, use red dots on both AK’s and AR’s.
      There’s no denying that AR type rifles are more accurate, but AK’s are accurate enough.
      Your talking about left eye or right with America’s rifle at 100 yards, versus head shots with the Commie gun.

  8. “Longer tube, more spinning, bullet fly faster.”
    If you only left out the spinning part, you would be right.
    The rate of spinning of a projectile depends on twist rate of the rifling and is completely independent of barrel length.


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