The full orange bakelite bayonet is arguably the best-designed Soviet bayonet. Luckily, it was also the most produced Soviet blade weapon. So even today, 40 years after it went out of production, it can still be found for a relatively small price. This article is part of a bigger list of all hand-held weapons used by the Soviet Army in Afghanistan.
The history of the development of 6x4 bayonet
The production of 6X3 bayonets continued until the appearance of the so-called “new model” bayonet knife, which received the 6X4 index. Later, with the adoption of 5.45 mm assault rifles (AK74 and AKS74), the 6X4 bayonet successfully migrated from AKM to the delivery set of these assault rifles. The 6X4 bayonet was the most mass-produced model of the bayonet knife for Kalashnikov assault rifles and had a large number of varieties.
This was due not only to the long period of production of bayonets of this model at two factories - Izhmash and TOZ - but also to the transition to the use of new metalworking technologies that took place during their production. During the period of production of 6X4, steel casting was mastered by weapons factories, in some cases replacing the more expensive milling technology. Some of these cast parts were introduced, including in the design of bayonets.
The blade of the 6X4 bayonet was similar in shape to the blade of its predecessor, the 6X3 bayonet, but otherwise, the design was radically different. Instead of two separate handle plates, tightened with screws, a single handle appeared from the AG-4V press material, into which the blade shank was attached with glue. For reliable fastening of the blade in the handle, its shank was fixed with a transversely mounted fiberglass rod. From the back of the handle, a massive steel tip with a bayonet latch was installed on it. This design provided the 6X4 bayonet with better electrical insulation than the 6X3 since the metal blade and the tip of the handle did not directly touch. The design of the barbed wire cutting mechanism in terms of connecting the bayonet to the scabbard of the 6X4 bayonet did not differ from that used in the 6X3 bayonet.
The production variants of the 6x4 bayonets
Type 1 (1965 - 1971) was the direct successor to the 6X3 bayonet and had exactly the same stamps as its predecessor. Namely, the stamp of the manufacturer was located on the horizontal ledge of the crosshair at the base of the ring, the numbers were applied with an electric engraver on the right side of the crosshair, on the left side of the crosshair of Izhevsk bayonets technological marks were applied: "SV" in a rhombus and "11" in an oval. There are no such stamps on Tula bayonet-knives 6X4, but in these places, there are stamps “УЧ”, which indicates that the bayonet belongs to a training rifle. A little later (approximately in 1970), the factory marks of both factories were transferred to the front right end of the crosshair.
Type 2 (1972 - 1982). The appearance of the second version of the 6X4 bayonet was due to the introduction of casting instead of the more time-consuming and expensive metal-cutting technology. On the updated 6X4, the crosshair with the ring and the tip of the handle were cast. The earliest example of a bayonet with cast parts was found on the Izhevsk AKMS assault rifle of 1972 No. RK1755. The overall construction of the second type of the 6X4 bayonet remained the same. The differences were in the rough surfaces of the cast products, the remains of the casting seams on the end of the tip, and the crosshair ring. The most obvious difference from the first 6X4 model is the pronounced round rivets on the left and right surfaces of the crosshair. On the first 6X4 model, the rivets were ground flush with the surface of the crosshair and were virtually indistinguishable visually.
Type 3 (1983 - 1986). This version of the bayonet did not differ from the previous model 6X4, with the exception of the design of the cast tip with a narrowed back. This innovation was introduced in order to simplify the threading of the strap into the appropriate hole, as well as to lighten the bayonet itself. The inner joint with the tip, in contrast to the second option, has lost the protrusion. The location of the stamps on the handles of the third model 6X4 remained the same, but instead of three places of application, only two remained.