The SKS is a military rifle that was introduced at a time where the Soviet Union was also working on another rifle that quickly superseded it, the AK47. Similarly to how the United States had adopted the M-14 rifle and then quickly replaced it with the M-16 (although not removing it entirely from their arsenals). What was the SKS and is it still relevant in today’s world?
From a quick overview the SKS is a 10 round semi-automatic rifle chambered in the 7.62x39. It was produced initially by the Soviet Union, then subsequently the majority of if not all of the communist countries. Introduced in 1945, though missing out in World War II, the SKS was meant to replace the Mosin Nagant , the Soviet Union’s main serving rifle since 1891, which it did but not for long. As mentioned before the AK had been adopted shortly after and went past its initial role of replacing the Soviet’s supply of submachine guns. Where did this leave the SKS in the Cold War World, seemingly being phased out as adopted from the Soviet Union.
The Soviets were quick to set up production plants for the SKS in all the various communist countries of the time. Some countries embraced the rifle, like China in particular who was using the rifle in the more traditional Soviet role as the main service rifle up until the late 1970’s. China’s experiences against the Vietnamese in the Sino-Vietnamese War had highlighted why the AK platform was superior to the SKS at the time.