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Does anyone know if early AKS-74U's were ever issued with the reddish Bakelite grip?
Thanks in advance ---
 

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This is correct, bakelite grips were never actually officially accepted for use on any folding stock AK type rifles destined for issue to the Soviet military. They went straight from using wood to polyamides. It was not until the polyamide grips were perfected (by 1976) that wood grips could be gradually but permanently removed from the assembly lines, even though they had been replaced by bakelite for use on all types of fixed stock rifles since the early 1960's. Bakelite was simply too prone to cracking to survive acceptance torture tests when fitted to rifles with folding stocks.
 
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