AK-12 in my Basement? Part VI Final Product
May 31, 2012
By Marco Vorobiev
Photos by Brendan Vorobiev
Marco Vorobiev was a member of the elite Soviet Spetsnaz in Afghanistan in the 1980s. He's a U.S. citizen now and conducts training courses that draw on his special forces training. He'll have a new installment every Wednesday.
My two-week experiment to transform a "plain Jane" I.O., Inc. AK-74 into a close replica of new Russian AK-12 rifle is finally at an end. So what did I wind up with? It was clear from the beginning of this project that it would be impossible to replicate the AK-12 completely, but as I've said earlier, I would try and come as close as possible at least in the functionality department. Well, did I? Let's see.
Just as Izhmash had to do with the new AK-12, I had to address the same concerns that demanding "Western" shooters usually place on AKs. Mainly the ergonomics and modularity. So, I replaced handguards, stock and pistol grip on my AK-74, which is your regular modification on any AK nowadays.
Then I installed railed top cover and added a couple of components to finish up a mod.
All of the components came from the open market and are available to everyone at relatively low cost. I came close to replicating the AK-12's features and functions.
Unfortunately, not all of them. The features that I could not replicate included the skinnier and longer compensator designed to accept a grenade launcher, ambidextrous charging handle and thumb safety/selector lever.
I wasn't concerned with the compensator, as I wasn't going to use any underbarrel grenade launchers any time soon. Although a couple of options are available for a left-side charging handle right now, I consider them cumbersome and underdeveloped. Plus I have couple of ides of my own. As far as the safety is concerned, there simply was nothing to be done without "deep" gun modification. The Krebs Enhanced lever worked well enough.
At the end I've got a 5.45X39 gun that would accept most of the modern sighting implements that can be operated as a "Western" style fighting carbine. Although I was not able to replicate the new AK-12 to the last small detail, I believe I managed to come pretty damn close and capture the spirit of the new gun.