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Simonov SKS (Samozaryadniy Karabin sistemi Simonova)

Semi-Automatic, Self-Loading Carbine (1945)

Infantry Small Arms / The Warfighter

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Right side view of an SKS rifle on display.
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SKS rifles are collected during raids in Iraq to be made inoperable
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Right side view of the SKS rifle.
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Right side view of the SKS rifle.
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Close-up view of the SKS rifle receiver showing a damaged bolt system; purposely made inoperable

Jump-to: Specifications

Approximately 15,000,000 SKS rifles have been produced.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 08/15/2021 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.
The Soviet-produced SKS, or the Samozaryadniy Karabin sistemi Simonova, was the design of Sergei Gavrilovish Simonov and is sometimes designated as the Simonov SKS. The system is a simple self-loading, short-stroke gas piston-operated, tilting bolt weapon and fires the 7.62x39mm M1943 rifle round.

The SKS was, in fact, the first Soviet weapon to be manufactured after the acceptance of the 7.62x39mm M1943 round, also referred to as an 'intermediate' cartridge. Many assume that the development of this round stemmed directly from experimentation and research of captured German MP44 guns from the Second World War - which utilized a similar 'short' round in the form of the 7.92mm.

The SKS system, in itself, is a basic weapon system with very little flair. It is a robust and well-constructed weapon that has been found to be easy to operate, though some have questioned the weight of the weapon for such a small round. The 7.62mm round can be box-fed from a standard 10-round magazine or fed by hand in single round loading. An integrated bayonet system is attached via a hinged connection underneath the barrel and can be folded out or stored at the user's discretion. Well-though out construction means that the weapon can be field-stripped in a short amount of time as well, either for repair, replacement of parts or for cleaning.

Produced in large numbers in the Soviet Union and for its satellite states, the SKS ensured itself a place in firearms history. To date, the SKS has become an increasingly popular weapon for sport or self-defense in the United States, where it is classified as an antique relic and thusly can be sold with most of the military accessories intact. The 10-round capacity of the weapon in some areas is increased to 30 rounds via secondary market magazines and slight modification to the system.

The SKS has also been produced by Yugoslavia as the M59, in China as the Type 56, in North Korea as the Type 63 and in former East Germany as the Karabiner-S, all maintaining the basic components of the base Soviet SKS.


Service Year

Soviet Union national flag graphic
Soviet Union


Semi-Automatic, Self-Loading Carbine

State Factories - Soviet Union
National flag of Afghanistan National flag of China National flag of Egypt National flag of modern Germany National flag of East Germany National flag of Indonesia National flag of Iraq National flag of Lebanon National flag of Morocco National flag of North Korea National flag of Oman National flag of Poland National flag of Russia National flag of the Soviet Union National flag of Sudan National flag of Ukraine National flag of the United States National flag of Yemen National flag of Yugoslavia Aden; Afghanistan; China; Congo; East Germany; Egypt; Indonesia; Iraq; Laos; Lebanon; Mongolia; Morocco; North Korea; Oman; Poland; Russia; Soviet Unionl; Sudan; Ukraine; United States; Yemen; Yugoslavia
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Automatic Function
Features a mechanical function to automate the firing action.

Overall Length
1,021 mm
40.20 in
Barrel Length
521 mm
20.51 in
Empty Wgt
8.51 lb
3.86 kg

Tangent Rear Notch; Hooded Front Post.


Self-Loading Short-Stroke Gas Piston

(Material presented above is for historical and entertainment value and should not be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation - always consult official manufacturer sources for such information)


7.62x39mm M1943

Sample Visuals**

Graphical image of a 7.62x39mm rifle cartridge
Rounds / Feed

10-Round Internal Box Magazine; 10-Round Stripper Clip; Individual Loading
Cartridge relative size chart
*May not represent an exhuastive list; calibers are model-specific dependent, always consult official manufacturer sources.
**Graphics not to actual size; not all cartridges may be represented visually; graphics intended for general reference only.
Max Eff.Range
1,312 ft
(400 m | 437 yd)
Muzzle Velocity
2,410 ft/sec
(735 m/sec)

SKS - Base Russian Production Model.
Type 56 - Chinese Production Model.
Type 63 - North Korean Production Model.
Karabiner-S - East Germany Production Model.
ksS - Polish Refurbished Soviet Models.
PAP M59 - Yugoslavian Production Model.
PAP M59/66 - Compatible with 22mm grenade launcher.
LKP-66 - Hunting Rifle by Zastava Arms.
July 10 Rifle - Albanian Production Model.
Type 1 - Vietnamese Production Model.

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Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns / operations.


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