SAKO RK 95 TP (M95) Assault Rifle
The Finnish SAKO RK 95 TP assault rifle series is built upon the tried-and-true qualities of the fabled Soviet Kalashnikov AK-47.
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Development of a new Finnish Army service assault rifle began in 1988 though, prior to this, the Finnish Army relied on the "RK 62" series assault rifle which was adopted in 1962. The RK 62 was a modified form of the original Rk 60 series which itself was a near-direct copy of the famous Soviet Kalashnikov AK-47 system. The weapon was chambered for the 7.62x39mm Soviet cartridge unveiled during World War 2 and the selection of this cartridge was not without merit considering the proliferation of the round on the world stage and the Soviet influence in Finland during the Cold War. The gas-operated weapon was produced by the concerns of SAKO Ltd and Valmet to which over 350,000 examples were ultimately manufactured. It was the SAKO company which once again took on development of a new assault system and this produced the "M90" prototype of 1990. The M90 - a clean design with much of the same form and function of the RK 62 before it - introduced a side-folding butt, adjustable sights with standard tritium nightsights and a flash hider (this also being able to fire rifle grenades). Due to its AK-47 lineage, the M90 was essentially a highly evolved AK-47 by way of the RK 62 series. With the resulting revisions in place and a period of formal evaluations followed before adoption in the Finnish Army as the "RK 95 TP" in 1995. Approximately 20,000 have since entered production leading to limited availability as frontline service rifles go.
At its core, the RK 95 TP is a basic assault rifle system built from tried-and-true components and quality construction to suit Finnish Army requirements. The weapon makes use of a gas cylinder fitted over the barrel (as in the AK-47) and this is shrouded by a plastic forend housing. The cylinder is utilized in the gas-based operation of the firing action, "tapping" the barrel after each successive round is fired to reuse this high pressure in the next action. The action makes use of a long-stroke piston with a rotating bolt arrangement buried deep within the receiver as in most conventional full-power rifle systems (including the AK-47). Like the RK 62 before it, the RK 95 TP was also chambered for the Soviet 7.62x39mm M1943 cartridge debuted in 1943 and this made logistical sense. The weapon is fed from a 30-round detachable curved box magazine manufactured of polymers to save on both procurement cost and overall weight. There are standard front and rear iron sights for base accuracy at range.
Overall length of the weapon is 37 inches while the folding stock allows for a more compact form of 26.6 inches to be reached. This allows the weapon to be used in all manner of roles including patrolling, airborne drops and special operations. The barrel itself measures in at 16.5 inches in length. Overall weight is 8.16lbs. The weapon can achieve variable rates of fire between 600 and 750 rounds per minute with a muzzle velocity listed at 2,300 feet per second. The effective listed range of the weapon is 300 meters with aid from the iron sights. While the flash hider on the muzzle can fire rifle grenades, the RK 95 TP can also be fitted with a conventional single-shot 40mm underslung grenade launcher unit. Additionally, the weapon can be used in the fire support role with the addition of a bipod under the barrel.
The RK 95 TP has since been introduced in a fixed stock version as the M92S. SAKO has also seen fit to offer the weapon in a 5.56x45mm NATO chambering to help increase the type's marketing value. To date, no other forces outside of the Finnish Defence Force makes use of the RK 95 TP series assault arm.
The RK 95 TP is also known as the "M95".