SKS Review

The SKS was the precursor to the AK47. Due to the AK-47’s creation, the SKS had a very short-lived life as a front line military weapon. The SKS is better known know as a civilian firearm and is typically associated with the Chinese Army. The SKS is a Russian design and even though the AK47 took the front line duties from the SKS as the battle weapon of choice, it was still in use by the rear line and other world militaries.

SKS History

Developed with the Garand in mind; the Russian army wanted a semi-automatic carbine firearm to outfit the Army with after the Second World War. Sergei Gavrilovich Simonov was a noted Russian firearm designer had been designing assault style weapons prior to even the M1 Garand. The knowledge gained from battles in WWII, led to the understanding that engagements were happening at 100 to 300 yards. The prior cartridges used were designed for long range engagements of up to 1000 yards. With the development of the 7.62x39 cartridge, Simonov began work on a more compact and versatile version of his AVS-36 (Avtomaticheskaya Vintovka Simonova 1936 model – Chambered in 7.62x51mm). In 1945 the Samozaryadniy Karabin sistemi Simonova, 1945 (Self-loading Carbine, Simonov's system, 1945) or SKS45 was adopted by the Russian military. The SKS saw limited duty in WWII but the design and round proved to both be winners. In 1949, the SKS was officially adopted by the Russian Military. The SKS was quickly phased out of front line duty with the introduction of the AK-47.

SKS Operation

The SKS is a semi-automatic Carbine and has a fixed 10 round internal magazine which is loaded from the top of the rifle either by manually inserting the ammunition one round at a time or with a 10-round stripper clip. The SKS is a gas-operated weapon that has a spring-loaded operating rod and a gas piston rod that work the action via gas pressure pushing against them.
The SKS is not an assault rifle; it is a carbine. There are a number of attributes that make different types unique. The SKS does not come standard with a detachable magazine. You can convert it to accept detachable magazines and most of the kinks in the conversation have been worked out. SKS’s are also semi-auto only and lack selective fire.
Similar to some other Soviet-era designs, the SKS trades some accuracy for ruggedness, reliability, ease of maintenance, ease of use, and low manufacturing cost. The SKS is a simple design that is highly effective and rugged.

Civilian SKS Country of Origin Variants

  • Russia
  • Yugoslavia
  • Chinese
  • Romania
  • Albania
  • East Germany
  • North Korea
  • Vietnam

SKS Rifle Accessories

  • Polymer butt stock
    • AR style collapsible stock
    • Side Folding stock
  • Optics Mounts
    • Receiver see thru Optics Rail
    • Upper Reciever replacement w/scope mounts
    • Gas Tube replacement rail
  • Fore grip Upgrades –
    •  with Picatinny rail
      • Grip
      • Flashlight
      • Bipod
      • Laser
    • Polymer Grips
  • Bayonet
  • Flash Hiders
  • Upgrade to removable magazines

Comparable Firearm Reviews

  • AK-47
  • M1 Garand
  • AR-15
  • AR-10
  • AK-74
  • FN FAL
  • Steyr AUG
  • FS2000
  • Bushmaster ACR


  • Cheapest Semi-Auto “Assault Style” firearm available.
  • Chambered in 7.62x39mm round.
  • Cheap to manufacture, purchase and maintain.
  • 7.62x39mm ammunition is typically 50% cheaper than 5.56/.223.
  • Magazines are cheap and many different capacities are available.
  • Easily made compliant for restricted states and hunting purposes.
  • Accuracy is better than AK.


  • Accuracy is not near as good as its modern counterparts.
  • Rapid fire can cause the wooden handguns to ignite on fire.
  • Sharper felt recoil than the M16/AR-15.
  • Aftermarket offerings not as robust as AR15/AK47.
  • Military Surplus the only firearms available (new production hunting version available but many changes have been made).
  • Free floating firing pins can lead to slam firing.