"One man with a gun, can control 100 without one."
Today I will be reviewing the Norinco SKS, and providing you with the history, statistics, and my opinion of this Russian/Chinese firearm.
You know it, you love it, it's a piece of Communist history: The Norinco SKS, a 7.62 x 39 auto-loader that runs on a short-stroke gas piston, unlike the AKM, which runs on a long-stroke gas piston. It was originally invented during the end of WWII, when most intermediate cartridges were getting their start. Sadly, the SKS didn't get far before the AK-47 was invented, and the Kalashnikov beat out it's predecessor by offering faster reloads, due to it's removable magazine.
It wasn't until about 30 years later, around the 1970s, that the Chinese company “NORth INdustries COrporation” or NORINCO, began importing copies of the rifle into the US by the masses. They were popular, being cheap to buy, and to shoot, and some worked very well (others, like the one I used, did not). Alright, that's enough history, let's get into the gun.
So, what is my relationship with this gun? Well, my dad has a rather poorly made model with a polymer folding-stock, and this I have shot on multiple occasions. I have also shot my friend's SKS, which had a traditional wooden stock, and was more akin to what you'd most commonly see. Now, this gun is not one I particularly admire, sure, it's a cool part of The Motherland's history, but it's not super iconic in that regard, and between that and it's reliablity, I'm not specifically into it, if you know what I mean.
As I mentioned before, the SKS is a 7.62 x 39 semi-auto rifle, which feeds from a 10 round internal magazine. From a technical perspective, it's short-stroke piston-driven operation is very interesting, as this is what now dominates the world of modern assault rifle design, and this certainly makes this gun seem ahead of it's time. It has a considerable 20” barrel, but 16” barreled AR-15s (that take the same cartridge) are more accurate, maybe it's the sights, or maybe I can't aim. As far as recoil is concerned, it's pretty standard for a 7.62 x 39 rifle, noticeably softer than some, but overall standard.
In terms of reliability, my experience hasn't been great. Both models I've shot had quite a few malfunctions, such as failure to feed the last round in the mag, or the internal magazine flew open while I was firing. Of course, There are Norinco SKSs that have cycled hundreds of rounds with no problem, but buying an SKS is like a box of chocolates, you don't know what you're going to get, a good one, or a cheap one.
In essence, the Norinco SKS is a great first gun, the 7.62 x 39 it uses is cheap, and plenty powerful to put big holes in stuff, most of the time it'll shoot, and for most people, what more do you need? The price is very attractive, as is it's history, and I would certainly recommend it. Thank you for your time, and have a nice day.
Want to learn more about the gun mentioned in this article? I'd like to encourage you to check out this video, and maybe even research for yourself!