Khyber Armoury

A Mysterious Romanian Side-Folding AK – A Darra Special or Something Closer to Home?

What we have here is a Romanian PM md. 63/65 AKM-pattern self-loading rifle, chambered in 7.62×39mm, and dated to 1992. It looks to be in very good order, basically unused. This particular rifle is located in the United Kingdom, part of an anonymous collection and was deactivated some time between 1992 and 1994. This date range has been confirmed as the deactivation has been done to a UK specification that was phased out in mid-94 and was supplied with a certificate of deactivation. The most noteworthy thing about this rifle, which is a relatively common AK-variant to say the least, is the crude skeleton side-folding stock and mechanism that has been installed on it.

Here’s a short video looking at the rifle:

The AKM/S rifle in question, a closer look.

The work carried to create the folding stock looks a lot like some old Khyber work, it screams out of Afghanistan or out of the Middle-East due to the crudely put-together nature of it. Similar types of modification work have been documented in both regions. The rear trunnion on the rifle is a standard AKM one which has been reworked, involving significant work. The receiver has been expertly cut back to a slanted angle and a home-made folding mechanism installed along with the welding on of an ugly but functional folding hinge. The stock itself is crooked and canted off to the right plus haphazardly welded together in a makeshift fashion, spot welding attaches the triangle stock to the actual hinge strut which locks into the trunnion. The front latch differs from a standard hook latch on the Soviet pattern, it utilises a thick round wire which was bent into shape, this latch locks into a similarly sized hole in the rear of the buttstock. Lastly, the gunsmith appears to have removed the forward vertical pistol grip, sanitising the look further making it look much like the famous ‘Khyber Pass’ side-folding AK.

Right face: AKM/S rifle with stock extended

The craft-made side-folding stock appears to mimic that of the AKS-74 rather than the production Romanian underfolding stock of the PM md. 63/65 or the side-folding wire stock seen on the PM md. 80 or PM md. 90.

Left face: AKM/S rifle with stock extended

As a UK source at the Cold-War-Collectables Reference Collection stated, this piece, one of a number which have had this work done, has been linked to the movie Goldeneye as a prop gun. I as well as a few others. But it has yet to be seen on screen so it’s possible it was unused during filming or was used in scenes cut from final cut. The armourer who supplied this for filming is said to have also done the deactivation work himself also. The source also mentions that these rifles were mocked up to emulate an AKS-74. Although this was done, no examples do utilise an AK 5.45×39mm pattern magazine and neither do they have an AK74 style of muzzle brake. They adhere to standard factory specification apart from this rear folding stock work and the removal of the forward vertical grip.

Rear view: inside look at the mechanism

Top view: inside look at the mechanism

Rear view: another look at the rear from a different angle

Rear view: another look at the rear from a different angle

Even though the work looks crude, it is functional and works well as was intended. Even if this turns out to be a prop gun mocked up on a budget, it still works and is a pretty ingenious design. This would be the pinnacle of a collector’s collection it if this was indeed ‘Khyber Pass’ or ‘Middle-East’ gunsmith work however such a short span of two years or less where the rifle goes from manufacturer, to battlefield/tribal gun shop and then into the hands UK armourers is near impossible to contemplate. At least we can see this rifle in all its glory, slightly butchered from the deactivation process, yet still here and now for us to inspect.

Right face: AKM/S rifle with stock extended

Left face: AKM/S rifle with stock closed

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