Yugo-Albanian “Marksman’s” Mystery AK

This rifle was brought back to France from the Balkans (probably Kosovo) by a French military team in the late 1990s. It’s a neat example of a mix-master build (what is “bubba” in Albanian?), with several cool elements. The base gun is an Albanian AKM, with its bayonet missing. The front sight block has been replaced by a Yugoslav M70 or M72 type, and a Yugo M72 bipod added. To allow the bipod to fit on the short barrel when folded, the handguard has been relieved to accommodate the bipod feet. The rear sight is a windage-adjustable PRK type, but this is not useful thanks tot he taller integral rear sight on the top cover. That top cover is from a long-action Finnish Valmet, made with a Weaver scope mount rail. The scope used on this rifle is a ZRAK ON-76, a 4x optic form an M76 rifle, and it still has the 8mm Mauser BDC cam installed.

Many thanks to the French IRCGN (Criminal Research Institute of the National Gendarmerie) for generously giving me access to film this unique specimen for you! They maintain an extensive firearms reference collection as part of their mission to fight crime and international terrorism.


  1. How do you define the quickest route to complete weapons system limited usefulness? This video has all the answers. there is such a parts mishmash that it resembles a complete lack of usefulness in combat applications.

  2. Nothing is ever actually as horrible to shoot as it looks (excepting the Liberator pistol). This was clearly some visionary’s dream gun, and he worked hard to get it juuuuust right. I bet it’s ready for anything.

  3. It was some KLA bigshot’s show-off weapon, real usefulness was never intended goal there. There were also some AKs outfitted with PU scopes from Mosins and even some large power hunting scopes captured, all with very limited usefulness.

  4. It makes more sense if you think of the Valmet top cover being installed later than the other mods. Guy tricks out his AKM with a bipod and new sights. Sometime later, he has a chance to pick up a Valmet top end with an optic. He slaps it on and, since he’s not planning to use the iron sights (if he’s using any sights at all), he just leaves both rear sights in place.

  5. You can never, ever underestimate the potential for sheer random “PFC Schmedlap does his own thing” with a weapon.

    When the Army started issuing all the SOPMOD crap to the line units, and there were all these fancy accessories available to trick out everyone’s M4… Oh, dear God, but the sheer stupid you’d observe. If you went into a random DFAC anywhere in Iraq, and actually looked at a lot of the weapons that guys were carrying…? The sights? The sheer random stupidity displayed with how they’d be set up? The amount of Gucci gear attached to the rails in random locations…?

    Some of it made idiosyncratic sense. I knew a guy whose astigmatism screwed with using a standard M68 red dot, so he got himself something that did work for him, but which was entirely non-standard and highly random. Which was a surplus military version of a Steiner long-eye relief scope that I’d only ever seen in magazine articles and on the internet. Nobody knew what the hell it was, and hardly anyone ever queried him on why his M68 “looked funny”.

  6. Personally I dont buy their story of being brought from Kosovo/Albania, first, where would you find civilian Valmet parts there, in general there arent any Valmets encountered in Balkans in the 90s.
    Most likely this was confiscated by french police from some “bubba”, or maybe a smuggler assembling it from various parts, who tried to sell it off as genuine curious war relic.

    • Never say never, Balkan always surprises – one RK-62 was captured from KLA. There were even bigger exotics, like Vietnamese K-50M SMG, L85A1s, very early M16s, inch pattern FALs (so not Argentinian ones) etc. North Korean Type 58 AK and Type 73 LMG were captured (those were also spotted in Bosnia, probably came from Iran) as well as North Korean made RPD.
      But your idea of some French bubba making gun from black market parts also has merit. Unless detailed paper trail of “who brought that rifle to the museum” exists I doubt we can ever really know.

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