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Define "The West". Do you mean known to western government intelligence operatives or to the general civilian populace interested in soviet weaponry?
If the former, they probably knew about it in some capacity prior to it going into production. If the latter, probably during 1992 at the earliest. Remember that Oct 1991 was when the Soviet Union collapsed, so thats when there would have been a flood of information about a bunch of stuff in general. I'm sure the fact that the Russians had a new model of AK-74 was pretty low on most people's radar.
 

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They got first one to study from Afghanistan early when Russians were there. The Russians lost allot of weapons when convoys got attacked and mutilated.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
They got first one to study from Afghanistan early when Russians were there. The Russians lost allot of weapons when convoys got attacked and mutilated.
I meant the AK-74M, not the original AK-74. The AK-74M began production in 1991, i.e. after the Soviets left Afghanistan.
 
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