January 12, 2012
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.
Last month's statement by Gen. Nikolai Yegorovich Makarov about all but abandoning the AK rifle did not go unnoticed by the Russian firearms manufacturers. In fact, there was another statement that followed the original "bomb." A week later OAO "Concern Izhmash" announced the introduction of a newly redesigned AK-12 that they would reveal and submit for military testing at the beginning of December.
The new gun was supposed to be based on the Kalashnikov rifle, but at the same time completely redesigned. It would be modular, with the ability to accept a variety of optical and collimator sights. It would feature numerous rails and a quick replaceable barrel. The gun's top cover will be strengthened and serve as an upper receiver rather then just a dust cover. The rifle would be ambidextrous and could be operated by one hand in case the soldier is wounded or has his other arm occupied.
Though the designers could not fully get away from the standard AK gas system, they made its function smoother. The new gun will also have some of the features "boprrowed" from the AK-107's balanced automatics.
Attempts have been to modernize AK rifle in the past. Last year same Izhmash arsenal introduced developed on its own initiative AK-200 rifle. Basically, it was the same old AK with a few "tacticool" add-ons: something that any AK owner in the USA could do in his living room with help from TAPCO and a screwdriver. The military did not want it and civilians couldn't have it. The project was dead before it was even born.
Is the new AK-12 another AK-200 or something really new and exciting? Is it just a modification of old rifle or something that has innovative ideas and solutions? That remains to be seen.
The AK-107 was designed to meet the "Abakan" tender's main requirement-1.5 time improvement of automatic fire accuracy without diminishing reliability.
Though the winner of the "Abakan" tender was the AN-94 Nikonov's rifle, the AK-107 was still being pushed by the Izhmash for sale in other markets.
This may be the first glimpse of a new AK-12 in the hands of Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev or on the other hand, it could be just another "mystery" gun.