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Well originally they were there to catch the brass since Swedes didn’t have protecting glasses when the AK4 was standard issue and brass shards/dust would fly up in the eyes on the shooter so the catcher caught everything leaving the gun to prevent damage as such.
Nowadays the Homeguard (on the picture i linked) still use the catcher and also issued protecting glasses. I’d imagine that the catcher is there so that the brass can be recycled and to prevent loitering. If the Homeguard is in need in combat then that situation would require all resources available, including re-using brass (just my guess).