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The AK-74 shares many similarities with its parent, the AK-47. Not wanting to do away with the incredibly reliable AK platform, the Soviets rechambered the barrel in 5.45, and left the cartridge length the same at 39mm so that the action could stay largely unchanged. Both rifles use the same gas piston system, as well as the same rotating bolt locking mechanism. The bolt system runs on identical rails as the AKM/AK-47, but the bolt itself is slightly smaller to accommodate the smaller cartridge. It is also lighter, making it more efficient and further reducing recoil. The AK-74 also features a larger and stronger extractor than the AKM extractor, which was prone to failure.
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Here in Carteach0 land, carry pistols have varied little over the years. In fact, they amount to three choices, depending on various factors. A Colt Combat Commander in .45ACP, a Taurus model 85 snubby in .38 Special, and a Smith & Wesson M&P 9c compact 9mm. Ninety-five percent of the time the M&P won the draw, and was in my holster as I left the house. Read this post to get all the details.
The M&P has features I approve of in a carry pistol. Ease of operation tops the list, as it has no external safeties to deal with. The only controls that need be learned are the trigger, the magazine release, and the slide release. The M&P is also as reliable as any autoloader, and better than most. It gobbles up just about any ammunition, both factory and handloads, and shoots them straight. It’s an accurate pistol—very accurate considering its size.