(army accepted as ‘ATK’)
Development year: 1961
Developer: Tula Design Bureau (TKB)
Weight: 4,3 kg (3,5 kg)
Sight: Iron sights
Firing rate: 1400-1800 shots per minute (1000-1300 shots per minute)
Feed: 90 rounds triplex magazine (2 x 30 round clips).
See ATKM assault rifle specifications in brackets.
Three-barreled bullpup assault rifle TKB-059, developed in the Tula Design Bureau under the supervision of lead constructor G.A. Korobov, entered field testing in 1961. Its concept was based on an idea of achieving an ultra-fast firing rate so recoil wouldn’t have enough time to recoil the weapon off target resulting in a good grouping of shots. Moreover, all three barrels shared the same gun carriage and the same automatic firing system, allowing firing a three bullet volley in addition to a normal burst. Some parts and units of the weapon were unified with the AK.
Testing showed that the weapon indeed had a very good grouping and firing rate of up to 1800 shots per minute. This greatly increased the firepower of an infantry squad, while good grouping meant that even weakly performing shooters could hit their targets accurately. However this assault rifle had a complex and one-of-a-kind construction, while there was no immediate need to swap the AK for something else (and it was impossible to substitute an AK with some new weapon in the light of looming conflict with NATO), so it was never adopted.
Decades passed since the Great Nuclear War, and the Soviet state faced new dangers, revealing the need for the new weapon types. G.A. Korobov has been asked to continue the work on TKB-059 project, and the new prototype was ready quickly. It was made suitable for mass production and eventually was adopted in the military under the ATK designation.
Military personnel received the new weapon with enthusiasm – its high firepower, firing rate and accuracy made short work of an enemy, especially in the case of a sudden contact. It had several drawbacks though, it was difficult to maintain the weapon, and reloading triplex magazines took time, especially for inexperienced soldiers, while the high firing rate meant a high ammunition consumption (it was expected however).
Live testing led to the updated modification of the weapon designated the ATKM: one barrel was removed to simplify the mechanism and to allow usage of standard AK magazines, while the weight decrease made attaching an underbarrel grenade launcher feasible. In addition, both newly produced (ATK and ATKM) modifications received an optical scope and flashlight mount.