The Case for the Hungarian AMD65

August 29, 2022Uncategorized

In this article, we will take a closer objective look at the infamous Hungarian Dwarf, outlining its strengths, weaknesses, and potential upgrades, making it into an excellent, all-around carbine, specifically for urban operations in overseas environments.

I had originally considered the AMD65 as a suitable weapon for CONUS and OCONUS, but after an awesome phone conversation with Felix from Redbeard, during which he pointed out the availability of more common and modular platforms in the USA, I realized that I would be doing my US friends a disservice if I touted it as the Holy Grail. It’s still a kickass carbine though so get one 😛

Often considered the ugly duckling of the AK world, mostly because of some non-standard parts, the AMD65 is not without its charms. (Picture courtesy of the U.S Marine Corps National Museum, Quantico, Virginia, taken from the book “AK-47: The Grim Reaper, Second Edition” by Frank Iannamico).

History and design:
The Automata Modositott Deszant-65 (AMD65, Automatic Modernized Paratrooper model of 1965) is a shortened version of the 1963 modernized Hungarian Kalashnikov pattern rifle (AMM/AK63), itself a relatively close copy of the Soviet AKM.

Noteworthy is that the AMD65 was developed and fielded before all other Eastern Bloc Personal Defense Weapons, namely the PM98 (Top) and the AKS74U (Bottom). Even the fabled East German MPi K S series (Both in 7.62×39 and in 5.45×39) came at least a decade later and took a page from the Magyars’ book.

Touting a shorter bolt carrier, shortened rimless exposed gas tube, a non-standard sheet metal handguard with the infamous vertical grip, and a proprietary tubular wire side folding stock, the AMD65 was designed for and issued to paratroopers as well as tankers, whose mission requirements and working environments required a more compact package.

The AMD65’s older sister, the AMM/AK63, was the Hungarian infantry’ standard issued rifle. A dead giveaway is its exposed gas tube and sheet metal ventilated handguard with inverted grip (Photo courtesy of Rob Stott, taken from the book “AK-47: The Grim Reaper, Second Edition” by Frank Iannamico).

Manufactured for 24 years (From 1965 until 1989) and in official Hungarian service from 1967 to 2006, this carbine is still very much in use today by numerous actors in a variety of conflicts across the globe.

The AMD65 touts an interesting combination of pros and cons, which we will cover in depth, prior to outlining simple as well as sophisticated solutions to drastically improve the carbine’s performance depending on your Mission, Environment, and Context (MEC).

Please note that if residing in CONUS, you MUST abide by all US Laws pertaining to 922r compliance, select-fire components, as well as all Short-Barreled Rifle (SBR) regulations, among other things, even if said laws are ridiculous, immoral, illogical, and / or unconstitutional. We cannot be held liable nor will we visit you in prison if you do stupid things, at stupid times, with stupid people so consider yourself forewarned.

Diamond in the Rough or Fool’s Gold?

Let us first begin with a view of the platform’ strengths:

Compactness: Total Garand Thumb length (Tip to butt) with the extended wire stock is 33.34 inches (847mm) and 25.5 inches (648mm) with its stock folded. It’s even more compact if you remove the brake, reducing its size by 3 inches/75mm (Might not be legal in your location). Not exactly AKS74U sized perfection but close enough. It can be carried relatively discreetly, using a proper sling, under a cover garment or coat, for specialized offensive and protective engagements. This is the same size as the AK104 loved by the Russian SVR Zaslon Special Units in Syria

Accuracy: Despite a shorter barrel of 11.88 inches (303mm, sans its unique muzzle device), the AMD65 remains as accurate as a full-size AK at 300 meters, only suffering minor loss of accuracy above 550 meters. Before naysayers bombard me with “Please bro, AKs are inaccurate past xyz distance, my dad’s favorite cousin’s driver’s neighbor who was a Black Ops ninja operator in schmuckistan told me so! Bro believe me…” please remember that the only issue with 7.62x39 accuracy is due to it being affected by wind and gravity past 300 meters. With a proper Bullet Drop Compensator (BDC) scope calibrated for the round, such as the excellent ACSS 1-6x scopes or prismatic optics by Primary Arms, you WILL have combat accurate hits up to 600 yards (Slightly less than 550 meters)

Potency: One of the best things about 7.62x39 is that it is a beefy intermediate round, with excellent penetrating potential against barriers. Cars? Fridges? Crowd of zombies? It will zip right through all of it, creating nasty temporary as well as permanent wound cavities, dropping down most two-legged predators fast and hard. Unlike the beloved Krink (Which, in our humble opinion, while decent, is overhyped, overpriced, and suffers from issues of its own), the original AK Hungarian SBR doesn’t compromise ballistically, especially in urban theaters

Relatively Commonplace: Without access to state-controlled FEG production line data, one can only approximate the total number of AMD65s, safely estimated in the tens of thousands, across most continents. It is not by all means as common as other Kalashnikovs but can be found rather easily. Moreover, because of its caliber, magazines and ammunition are plentiful, unlike the Russian AKS74U and its Teutonic cousin the MPi-AKS74NK

Enlarged Safety Lever Tab: One thing that sets the AMD apart from other AKMs is the larger tab on its safety lever, making it a lot easier to manipulate, with or without gloves. Shifting from safe to select to single is a breeze…

Lightweight: The AMD65 was the lightest stamped Kalashnikov produced at that time (7.1 pounds/3. Kilograms empty), closely followed with the East German AKM.

In summary, although not for direct action personnel, the AMD65 has plenty of good stuff going for it. But is it perfect? Sadly not right out of the (Cosmoline packed) box…

And now time for the bad and the ugly:

  • Horrendous Folding Stock: Hey kids! Do you like a cheek weld while firing your rifle? Well, JAST FUGHET ABAAT IT! The tubular steel folding stock will only allow for a chin weld, and shooting it accurately and well becomes an exercise in frustration. Not impossible mind you, just annoying. Additionally, the wire stock is hollow, which means it can have structural integrity issues: Many tales of those bending out of shape or breaking in the field during the Lebanese Civil War. Moreover, the folder is proprietary and not replaceable with other AK wire folders. Lastly, the rubber padding on the stock hardens with time and doesn’t really help reduce recoil properly. So, in a nutshell, if you gotta hate something about the AMD65, hate its folder with gusto
  • Uncommon Furniture: The Hungarian design team probably had a lot of commie bootlegged Unicum, convincing them that a ventilated sheet metal handguard will stay cool when doing mag dumps in the direction of evil capitalist pigs. Like Communism, it did not survive reality, and becomes HOT after that second or third magazine, burning your hand and fingers. Those engineers do get bonus points for imagination though, reversing and adding a pistol grip after waking up from their ethylic coma was a good save. Sadly, the indigenous furniture makes quick handguard replacement difficult
  • Traitorous Firing Pin: Unknown to most, Hungarian Kalashnikovs have an interesting firing pin, which is flat-headed instead of rounded/oval-shaped. I heard this particularly rare tidbit of information directly from my gunsmith S.A.N, who used the AMD65 in combat during the Lebanese Civil War whilst also working as an armorer for a well-known Christian militia. According to him, this firing pin head design seems to have been done purposely to function perfectly with Hungarian manufactured ammunition but break/chip off with other Eastern Bloc ammo. Logically, this wouldn’t make any sense, as the Hungarians were part of Team Iron Curtain and (Supposedly) loyal servants of the Soviet Politburo. My unproven theory here is that someone remembered the 1956 uprising and could have decided to sabotage another Soviet takeover by rendering indigenous specialty weapons such as the AMD65 seem unreliable and thus unattractive to the invaders. Unless someone still alive from the design team came forward to corroborate or refute this hypothesis, we will never know…

Despite those shortcomings, it is our (as well as that of countless real-world users) that the AMD65’ pluses overweight its minuses, and, can, with some alterations, be quite a formidable platform.

User-friendly AMD65 modifications

In this section, we will look at minimizing the platform’s three main weaknesses through simple Do-It-Yourself:

  1. Cheeky Breeki time: Using tennis racket tape or anything similar on the wire folder will allow you to create enough of a cheek rest to actually send accurate rounds downrange. To facilitate your facial point of contact, place the abomination (Common name for the AMD65 stock) on your shoulder, stabilize the handguard on something, and use your support hand’s balled fist around the folder so that it allows you’re an approximate cheek weld. Then wrap or tape this location and make it as high as needed. Stop once you’ve reached the proper height. Voila! Please note that the material used has to be malleable enough to allow you to close the folding stock and not interfere with the charging handle/ bolt carrier/Safety. If you’re interested in more expensive options, you can buy a AMD65 Cheek Riser that bolts on, or get the AMD65 stock replacement drop-in part from JMAC Customs, allowing you to install a Sig MCX style stock (May not be legal in your location so thread accordingly)
While still prone to bending/breaking relatively easily, this inexpensive wire folder mod makes a HUGE difference in utilizing the AMD65 accurately.
  • I can’t fit it in: Get your mind out of the gutter, and look at that ugly handguard. Remove it and toss it in the garbage. Now look at the handguard retaining unit. It’s different from regular AKM ones. See those 2 weird-shaped pins located at the inner top part of the unit? Insert an appropriately sized punch from behind and get those suckers out. Now, with a small file, eat away at the top corners of any handguard you want to use, making sure you check for fitment every once in a while. There, now you have a lower handguard that’s tightly fitted for your AMD65. While wood is inexpensive and works fine, the best thing to do is to find an old Galil handguard and get to work, as it’s fairly high and thus covers the soon-to-be red-hot gas tube. If your handguard has an upper that can be screwed in the lower, then perfect. If not, then your rifle will look weird but still not burn your hand
Also relatively inexpensive is to slightly file a Magpul AK handguard and install it, giving it a more modern look, without the risk of burning your hand. Note the FAB Defense AK Rubberized pistol grip, nicely complementing the look.
  • Fire that firing pin: Field strip that rifle, disassemble the bolt, and replace that 5th column of a firing pin with that of any other AK. Done, cost you less than your life and allows you to shoot all types of ammo with peace of mind
  • Get Shorty: That muzzle brake sure is loud isn’t it? Doesn’t make you any friends at the range and makes teammates wish you’d step on an anti-personnel mine on your way back from a mission. The good news is that you can dump that ugly thing and replace it with a standard AK47 thread cover, an AKM slant brake, or anything else you fancy. We personally use the thread cover as it keeps the carbine as short as possible (May not be legal in your country/state)
  • Get a grip: Dump that vomit-colored feeble pistol grip and replace it with anything you’d like. Minor fitting might be necessary, due to the folder mechanism push button. We recommend using a classic black Yugo AK pistol grip or a FAB Defense/DLG Tactical one to keep you from messing with that dremel
The classic AK47 thread cover nut makes a compact rifle even shorter, and looks great in combination with the DLG Tactical handguard. The FAB Defense AK pistol, unlike the Magpul one, requires no filing to install on an OEM AMD65 with wire stock. The Galil-style aftermarket folding stock is shown here as reference.
  • Yes Master: Get and install the awesome AK Master Mount side rail on your rifle. You now have the opportunity to mount optics such as scopes and prisms and red dots. Remember that while it has a shorter barrel, the weapon is still quite capable to deliver accurate hits at medium range. An important detail here is that you will have to remove the rear sling swivel that is located on the left side of the receiver
Removal of that rear sling swivel is easily done with a pair of pliers.
  • Here’s Whitey: Can’t see those pesky iron sights clearly? Use a dab of white nail polish on it, then stabilize it with nail polish hardener. Check out our Instagram post about it if you need more detailed instructions
Contrasting the front and rear sight allows for a quicker sight picture and target acquisition.

That’s all fine and dandy, but let’s say one wants to transform the Hungarian Dwarf into something awesome. Enter the gunsmith:

  1. Make it pointy! (Well, not quite…): Have your gunsmith taper that firing pin tip into something more AK-like. Now you can indiscriminately shoot all types of 7.62×39 ammo through your gun with no worries
  2. Brazilian Butt lift: This requires your gunsmith to completely remove the rear trunion, riveting an AKM one instead or doing the necessary cuts to make it like an AKS74 side folder. Cheap? Definitely not, but absolutely worth it
  3. One beats Two: Replace the gas block and front sight with a front sight gas block combo, the polish WBP ones are affordable and get the job done. Make sure to properly zero it afterwards though. Is it a necessary upgrade? Not at all, but it looks awesome
  4. Drill it: You might want to have a more permanent optic mounting solution than the above mentioned AK Master Mount. Don’t mess around with a drill press, let a competent AKsmith do it for you, you’ll be glad you did and your rifle will thank you
  5. ты миллионер?: If you are filthy rich, or live in Mother Russia and/or its sphere of influence, then nothing prevents you from buying awesome Zenitco rails to completely pimp out your AMD65. In which case, we are insanely jealous.
In Lebanon, we need to improvise due to the lack of options and limited gunsmithing tools and expertise. This AMD65 (Bottom) has had its wire stock and accompanying mechanism completely removed, then a plug was handcrafted and welded in place. A Galil-style side folder was then bolted in the welded plug with three screws for stability. Not too shabby, especially with a modified Romanian Dong handguard and a Yugo pistol grip… Recoil is almost non-existent. Chinese Type 56-1 AKM on top for size comparison.

In conclusion, despite its odd appearance and minor shortcomings, we firmly believe that the AMD65 is a hidden gem, quite capable of holding its own against other sexier, more modern platforms, especially after enhancements. Future conflicts, from wars to insurrections to unrests, are likelier to occur in urban areas. Thus, having a deniable, relatively common jack-of-all-trades Kalashnikov carbine in commonly found 7.62×39 is a huge advantage.

We went out in the wilderness and tested the gunsmith modified AMD65 with regular and API 7.62×39, at close as well as at longer ranges (400 meters or so). Even on select fire, it performed flawlessly with minimal recoil, and heat was acceptable after 6-7 mags. The Chinesium handguard didn’t survive the test though, as it was already wobbly. It stayed cool though.
The AMD65 in its final configuration is hotter than a kinky redhead in a sauna, and is our new mascot carbine.

For those interested, we offer Kalashnikov specific courses, such as the Combat Shooting with the Kalashnikov seminar and the Kalashnikov armorer course. We also consult on how to improve the rifle, from the cosmetic (Furniture etc.) to combat enhancements. Contact us for more details.