Analyzes factors which influence stress distribution in the NK-4 shearer-loader picks during coal cutting. The AFT optically active cover, 0.0015 mm thick, was used. The pick with the AFT cover was loaded using a force of 33 kN. Isoclinic lines showing stress distribution were photographed. Effects of pick design and its holder type on stress distribution were investigated. Investigations showed that distribution of normal stresses in a pick shaft has a non-linear character. The hole in a pick shaft increased stress concentration in that shaft section. Eliminating the hole reduced stress concentration. Reducing shaft length by about 20 mm did not increase stresses in that shaft zone. 15 refs.