The AK-74 was designed in the 1970s as an upgrade over the AK-47 and AKM rifles. The biggest difference is the change to the 5.45x39mm round, which is more accurate and has superior ballistics and less recoil in comparison to the 7.62x39mm. Otherwise, the main features between the AK-47 and the AK-74 are virtually identical.
The AK-74 quickly became the new standard service rifle for the Soviet military and was put to the test in the Afghanistan War of 1979 to 1989, and today is used by more countries than the AK-47 or AKM series of rifles. Today, the AK-74 lives on as the main service rifle of the Russian Army in the form of he AK-12.
A smaller and more compact version of the AK-74 is called the AKS-74U. It features a folding plastic stock to Mae it even more nimble in tight conditions.