Russian 6X3 & 6X4 Hilt Strap Evolution

Russian AK Bayonets
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Mr. B.
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Russian 6X3 & 6X4 Hilt Strap Evolution

Post by Mr. B. » Fri Oct 19, 2018 2:53 am

Ever since the Russians introduced the AKM 6X3 Type I bayonet and scabbard there has been a lot of speculation about the hole in the pommel and the hook on the crossguard. Was it to attach, hook or tie, a lanyard of some kind? Was it really designed for attachment of a short strap and why? The earliest illustrations I've found in Russian AKM manuals show a very rudimentary leather that looks like an after thought. The most common theory is that is was added to provide a more secure grip under adverse conditions. The smooth synthetic grip panels could be slick when wet or cold. The first strap appears to have been a simple leather strap with slots on both ends to form a loop at the pommel and hook on the crossguard hook. Below are a copy of a bayonet illustrated in an early AKM manual. The next pictures is of a replica I made from an original one. It was on an early 6X3 type I, but it was stiff, dried up and disintegrating. Since then I have found several other partial and damaged ones in shipping containers of reworked bayonets from Russia and Bulgaria. I have also had a Romanian 6X3 with a complete but hardened similar strap in place. Mike
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Mr. B.
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Re: Russian 6X3 & 6X4 Hilt Strap Evolution

Post by Mr. B. » Fri Oct 19, 2018 3:10 am

The original slotted leather strap was not very durable or well attached. The next strap design is found illustrated in a 1976 Russian AKM manual. It shows a strap with two metal buckles. A small two hole buckle to form a loop at the pommel and a larger three hole buckle to hook onto the crossguard hook. These can occasionally be found on early AKM 6X3 bayonets. These two buckle strap were soon replaced a simplified strap with a riveted pommel loop and a single three hole buckle. These first two versions were usually removed and replaced during inspections and rework. The two buckle straps in my collection are both on early Tula bayonets. Mike
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Mr. B.
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Re: Russian 6X3 & 6X4 Hilt Strap Evolution

Post by Mr. B. » Fri Oct 19, 2018 3:27 am

The riveted leather loop strap replaced the first two variations. and is found on most of the original and reworked Russian 6X3 bayonets. it can be found in a variety of leather textures and colors from natural tan to black and also grey and green shades. They also vary in width and thickness. Some can occasionally be found with the black buckles. Some people believe these are early ones, but yet the earlier two buckle straps appear to have had bright metal buckles. Below are couple of mine with black buckles. Mike
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Mr. B.
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Re: Russian 6X3 & 6X4 Hilt Strap Evolution

Post by Mr. B. » Fri Oct 19, 2018 4:01 am

The next step in hilt strap evolution replaces the leather strap with one made of woven cotton canvas material. This fabric was much more durable and longer lasting the previous leather ones. The canvas straps vary in weave, width and color. They are various shades of khaki and the colors also change with usage and exposure to the elements. Some people believe the change to canvas was made with the introduction of the AKM 6X4 Type II bayonets. I question this in that I have two original late issue Izhevsk 6x3 bayonets that came with the canvas straps. On the other hand I also have an original early issue Tula 6X4 bayonet that came with a tan leather strap. Regardless to when the change was made most of the 6X4 bayonets seem to have come with canvas straps. Many of the 6X3 bayonets found with canvas straps are a result of being replaced during inspection and rework. Most of the Russian strap and hanger rivets have washers, (usually black), on the back side. Some are without washers, but have glue/sealer around the rivet hole. similar to the sealant on the ends. Mike
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Mr. B.
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Re: Russian 6X3 & 6X4 Hilt Strap Evolution

Post by Mr. B. » Fri Oct 19, 2018 4:06 am

Here is an exception of finding a leather hilt strap on a AKM 6X4 type II bayonet. This is an early Tula 6X4 with the arsenal mark on the flat behind the muzzle ring. It came with a matching leather hanger and strap both of which have metal work with a gold tint. Mike
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Mr. B.
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Re: Russian 6X3 & 6X4 Hilt Strap Evolution

Post by Mr. B. » Fri Oct 19, 2018 4:31 am

Here are a few different versions of the hilt straps that are somewhat uncommon and perhaps not general issue. The first one is a standard canvas strap but in black. It came on this unissued, un-numbered 6X4 along with a black leather hanger. Supposedly it was a special issue for a special unit similar to an honor guard. There is also a corresponding with strap and hanger issued for parade and dress occasions.


The next two are unusual in material, perhaps for testing or trials. One is made of heavy folded and sewn cloth fabric on a 6X3 bayonet. supposedly these were very early before they went to the canvas straps. The second one is more recent and found on a late issue Izhevsk 6X4 bayonet. the fabric appears to be a woven synthetic material, pehaps to upgrade from the canvas, but not needed on the new 6X5 bayonets without straps? Mike
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Mr. B.
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Re: Russian 6X3 & 6X4 Hilt Strap Evolution

Post by Mr. B. » Fri Oct 19, 2018 4:35 am

The next two hilt strap variations are included here as the were found on Russian bayonets. These bayonets were supplied to Lithuania by Russia, however the different hangers are made in Lithuania and the hilt straps may be theirs as well. Very light tan canvas that matches the hanger and smooth narrow black leather again matching the hanger. Mike
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Dragur2791
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Re: Russian 6X3 & 6X4 Hilt Strap Evolution

Post by Dragur2791 » Fri Oct 19, 2018 9:03 am

Detailed and very usefull information! Thanks Mike!

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Mr. B.
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Re: Russian 6X3 & 6X4 Hilt Strap Evolution

Post by Mr. B. » Fri Oct 19, 2018 2:31 pm

I need to make a correction on the post about the AKM 6X4 Type II bayonet and scabbard with the black canvas hilt strap. There is also o a WHITE version of the hilt strap and hanger for parade or dress use. Mike

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Mr. B.
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Re: Russian 6X3 & 6X4 Hilt Strap Evolution

Post by Mr. B. » Fri Oct 19, 2018 2:47 pm

Here are borrowed pictures of a Russian AKM 6X4 Type II bayonet with a white hilt strap and hanger. I have never seen this personally . However I have seen pictures from several sources over the years. The bayonet and scabbard appear to be from Tula due to the light color proof / inspection marks. Bothe the hanger and strap appear to be made of leather. Mike
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Mr. B.
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Re: Russian 6X3 & 6X4 Hilt Strap Evolution

Post by Mr. B. » Fri Nov 30, 2018 5:01 pm

I was looking for something else, but found these pictures of an original early all leather hilt strap. It was hard and brittle but all there. Mike
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ilian
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Re: Russian 6X3 & 6X4 Hilt Strap Evolution

Post by ilian » Sat Dec 01, 2018 9:32 am

thanks Mike

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