Q. I’m a collector of military rifles and keep a close eye on the Internet for unique deals. I was looking at Aim Surplus’ website, aimsurplus.com, and noticed it had an SKS variant of which I am totally unfamiliar—an Albanian SKS. Could you tell me anything about it?
A. The Albanian SKS is a rather rare variant of the SKS rifle. Very little is known about its background, as compared to other versions. Although the Albanian SKS is, at its heart, a pretty straightforward SKS rifle, it does have some interesting features that set it apart.
The most obvious visual difference is the Albanian’s full-length wooden upper handguard. Unlike other SKS rifles, this handguard extends the full length of the gas tube. The profile of the rifle also reveals an oddly shaped magazine body extending below the rifle. Unlike the gentle upward sweep of other SKS magazine bodies, this one has an abrupt, upward angle on its forward face.
A closer look at the rifle reveals three more unique features. One is the bolt carrier handle, which is more like that of an AK-47 than other SKS rifles. Another is dual storage compartment doors, rather than one—presumably for both the cleaning kit and an oiler bottle. And the final is a rear sling swivel mounted on the left side of the stock; a feature nice for lefties but quite unpleasant for a right-hand cheek weld.
This variant of the Simonov design, offered by Aim Surplus, would represent an interesting addition to any SKS collection.
—Michael O. Humphries
This “Questions & Answers” was featured in the October 2004 issue of American Rifleman. At time of publication, "Questions & Answers" was compiled by Staff, Ballistics Editor William C. Davis, Jr., and Contributing Editors: David Andrews, Hugh C. Birnbaum, Bruce N. Canfield, O. Reid Coffield, Charles Q. Cutshaw, Charles M. Fagg, Angus Laidlaw, Evan P. Marshall, Charles E. Petty, Robert B. Pomeranz, O.D., Jon R. Sundra, Jim Supica, A.W.F. Taylerson, John M. Taylor and John Treakle.
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