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Why were the AK-74 stripper clips hated in the Soviet Army

What was the main problem with the AK-74 stripper clips in the Soviet Army?

What is a stripper clip?

A stripper clip is a device used to quickly and easily load cartridges into a firearm's magazine. It is a thin metal or plastic strip that holds multiple rounds of ammunition in a single row or column, which can be inserted into the magazine of a firearm.

Once the stripper clip is inserted, the user can then easily push the rounds off the clip and into the magazine. This is a faster and more efficient way to reload a magazine than inserting each round individually.

The AK-74 is a rifle that was developed in the Soviet Union in the 1970s. It is chambered in 5.45x39mm, a cartridge that is similar in size to the 5.56x45mm NATO round used in the M16 and other Western rifles. The AK-74 uses detachable box magazines that typically hold 30 rounds of ammunition (45rd for RPK-74 magazine). However, it can also be loaded using stripper clips, which is a faster method of reloading the magazine.

Problems with AK-74 stripper clips

An AK-74 stripper clip is a small metal strip used to hold 15 rounds of ammunition together in a line. They are incredibly light and basically don't add any additional weight to the loadout. In theory, two stripper clips should load a standard AK-74 Bakelite magazine within second. But on practice, they are both poorly designed and unfit for the Soviet army traditions.

To use a stripper clip with an AK-74, the shooter would place the clip onto the top of the magazine and use their thumb to push the cartridges down into the magazine. Once all the rounds have been pushed off the clip and into the magazine, the clip can be removed and discarded. This method of loading is commonly used by militaries around the world, and it allows for quicker reloading of the rifle under certain circumstances.

The first problem arises in the construction of the stripper clip itself. Stripper clips for most firearms require slot guide either on top of the magazine well or on the magazine itself. All soviet made AK-74 mags have these slot guides on top of them. Now, to actually use the stripper clip, you first have to put an adapter on the magazine.

The adapter is a really small piece of equipment, which can be easily lost under any circumstances, not to mention an active firefight.

Secondly, the ammunition does not slide down easily like it would on a SKS stripper clip, for example. In fact, in most cases you will have to slide ammo from the stripper clip to the magazine round by round, because most of the AK-74 stripper clips are just too stiff.

Another major problem actually comes from how the stripper clips are issued and the eternal traditions of the Soviet Army. Unlike for the other firearms, like bolt action rifles, 5.45 ammunition for AK-74 is supplied in zinc boxes, packed loosely in paper bags. The stripper clips are not provided with the ammunition - they are provided with the rifle itself. Each rifle is packed with 4 stripper clips and one adapter.

Every soldier is supposed to carry 4 full stripper clips in his 4-cell magazine pouch
Every soldier is supposed to carry 4 full stripper clips in his 4-cell magazine pouch

And you can already see the problem here. Adapter and stripper clips are incredibly small pieces of equipment and so soldiers were almost never trained on using them. Quartermaster simply didn't want to be responsible for any lost pieces of equipment.


It is only natural that soldiers who were not used to handling stripper clips in piece time would not use it at war. This is why you will almost never see stripper clips on photos from any conflicts that involve AK-74 rifles.

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