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The Albanian SKS bayonet-fronted 10+1 capacity semi-automatic wooden stock carbine proves time travel is possible. Or at least you might feel that way sporting a WWII-era designed gun firing Soviet designed 7.62×39mm ammo.

Like most great products, the iconic original SKS rifles were designed to achieve short-sprint goals to make best use of available resources at a time when there was a paucity of the same after the German invasion of the Soviet Union in the summer of 1941. It was a terrible time for the Soviets. They lost countless battles, men and materiel. Factories had to be relocated hundreds of miles to keep them out of German hands and to maintain wartime production. Fortunately, Soviet forests were endless and almost no one could produce vast piles of steel like they did back in the USSR. When designing guns, simplicity, ease of maintenance and ruggedness were paramount. Hand to hand combat, street fighting and extraordinary latitude of weather were all expected.

The stage was set. Soviet innovator Sergei Gavrilovich Simonov started design in 1943 and production started in 1945 as the SKS-45 (Samozaryadny Karabin sistemy Simonova, or Simonov System semi-automatic carbine) as Soviets pushed across Eastern Europe and further west to crush the Nazis in Berlin.

The SKS harnessed a 20” long barrel, included a permanently attached bayonet that folded back under the barrel, and a non-detachable magazine that hinged open for loading 10 rounds of 7.62x39mm ammo and used a short-stroke gas piston. Sighting was simple but effective and done via a hooded post front sight and a tangent notch rear sight.

The SKS was superseded after several years by the venerable AK-47, but it remained in production in China (as the Type 56), in Albania and in other countries friendly to the USSR.

The Albanian SKS is largely the same as the original. It was actually developed with Chinese help and thus evolved from the Type 56. Albanian SKS carbines were made in the late 1960s and much of the 1970s.

Looking at the SKS, we see the barrel and receiver are blued. Length of pull is 12.5”. A key difference compared to the Soviet SKS is the Albanian SKS’ upper handguard has been lengthened to cover the entire gas tube, and its three bridge vents are larger. The lower handguard has been extended to match the length of the upper one. Both extensions decrease chances of hand burns. The magazine has a slightly larger profile. The charging handle eschews the “bolt” look on other SKS carbines in favor of a smoother fin-like protuberance. The barrel has three vent holes per side versus the original SKS, which has only one. The folding bayonet practically disappears into the lengthened lower handguard. These differences and the rarity of the Albanian guns helps the Albanian SKS command a worthy premium.

That the hardy SKS has been around seemingly forever coupled with wide global popularity even outside of Communist or former Communist nations means it has spawned a good variety of accessories and upgrades.

Do you have a Albanian SK for sale? click here.


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