Skip to main content

AK-12 in my Basement? Part VI Final Product

AK-12 in my Basement? Part VI Final Product

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.

Russia's new AK-12

Russia's new AK-12 is no more than a modernized AK-74 with few well thought out modifications to bring the gun into the 21st century.


Though Vorobiev was unable to come up with an exact copy of the AK-12, he came pretty close, using commercially available components from SGN.


Though Vorobiev was unable to come up with an exact copy of the AK-12, he came pretty close, using commercially available components from SGN.

Folding Buttstock

The folding buttstock Vorobiev used on his rifle would probably be more familiar and pleasing to U.S. users than the original Russian model.

Practical fighting carbine

At the end, Vorobiev put together a practical fighting carbine; he's sure that was the ultimate goal of the Izhmash designers behind the new AK-12.

Reversible Charging Handle

The reversible charging handle was one feature he couldn't duplicate, though he would welcome that modification to the AK-74 with open arms.

Muzzle Device

The AK-12's muzzle device is longer and slimmer, but functions similarly to the original AK-74 brake. So Vorobiev left that part as-issued.

Krebs Enhanced Unit

Recreating the AK-12 safety lever (top) would have required a lot more engineering than Vorobiev had on tap. The Krebs enhanced unit worked well.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

Patrick Sweeney gives some history on this interesting pistol.

Radom Pistol

Patrick Sweeney shows off Springfield Armory's latest offering, the 1911 DS Prodigy.

Springfield Armory Prodigy

James Tarr is at Roundtable 2022 with Mike Humphreys of Springfield Armory to get a look at their highly-anticipated 1911 DS Prodigy.

Springfield Armory 1911 DS Prodigy

Dr. Dabbs shares some history on a war classic, The Wild Geese and the film's featured guns.

The Wild Geese

Patrick Sweeney gives us all the details on this Taurus Optic Ready Option micro-compact 9mm.

Taurus GX4 T.O.R.O.

Take a look at Patrick Sweeney's review of this reliable carry pistol from Beretta's APX line.

Beretta APX A1 Carry

Patrick Sweeney gives us a good look at this well equipped compact 10mm from Springfield Armory.

Springfield Armory XD-M OSP 10mm

Patrick Sweeney reviews the SilencerCo Harvester EVO.

SilencerCo Harvester EVO

The Mossberg MC2sc subcompact 9mm striker-fired pistol is put through its paces by Patrick Sweeney.

Mossberg MC2sc Subcompact Pistol (VIDEO)

Firearms News Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Firearms News App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Firearms News stories delivered right to your inbox.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Firearms News subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now