The Self-Loading Rifle that Came too Late
The SKS was the Soviet answer to an improved SVT-40( a WWII pattern self loading rifle). The rifle was a main contender to the M-14, being produced and implemented around the same time. It was first designed in 1943 by Sergei Gavrilovich Simonov as the Samozaryadny Karabin sistemy Simonova-45 (Self-loading carbine of the Simonov system). It was manufactured at the Tula and Izhevsk Arsenals for ten years combined. The most predominant feature of the rifle would be its attached folding bayonet at the end of the barrel. The rifle fed from a ten round box magazine that was non-detachable. It had to be fed with stripper clips of the 7.62x39R cartridge. It had an overall weight of eight and a half pounds, which was pretty common for semi-automatic wooden rifles of this era. The rifle was about 40 inches long as well. It had an effective range of 440 yards. By the early 1950s, the Soviets had perfected the AK and its system and slowly began to weed out the SKS from frontline combat. It truly was a rifle that came too late in the development of firearms in the middle 20th century.
In Vietnam, it saw use of course by the NVA and VC. However, it was not as preferable as the AK because of the length of the rifle and average height of the Vietnamese. It was therefore used rather sporadically, often with rear-echelon troops or women cadres. The Chinese made their own versions of the rifle calling them the Type 56. The SKS was then ported to other Com-Bloc nations, Vietnam, as well as: The Congolese, Ethipoians, and Myanmar.