Today one of my sources from Concern Kalashnikov messaged me some very very hot new. Apparently the Russian MOD plans to introduce the AK-12 and AK-15 for general service. They currently are still negotiating about the exact conditions, but it looks like a closed deal.
Many of you might be a bit surprised now, as you probably remember both rifles in a very different configuration.
This is due the recent revision made by Concern Kalashnikov to both as a result of the Ratnik trials.
So what happened?
Most likely (note: this is my theory – no solid proof) the AK-12 and AK-15 were to expensive to manufacture in their original form.
As you can tell by the photos of the the current pattern, it is once again an AK based directly based on the AK-74M. This means Izhmash (now Concern Kalashnikov) will be able to produce them on the same machinery – at least the steel parts, which are the most expensive. It further appears that the AK-400 series made a significant impact on the new AK-12/15 (like the buttstock, pistolgrip, topcover, gas regulator…)
While this step back seems somewhat disappoint it somewhat makes sense. They did keep important design features, such as the long sight radius, and made sure they will actually be able to deploy them on a large scale. Also there is nothing wrong with AK-74M per se, but the older rifles will need to be replaced anyways.
Another interesting point is the adaptation of a rifle in the 7.62×39 caliber. In the last centuries it looked like the Russians completely abandoned it, yet now they field a brand new rifle in such an old caliber? How is that?
Probably (note: again my theory) it is due to the collected experiences in recent conflicts.
Russian Special Forces like Alfa and SOBR have never really abandoned the caliber like the regular forces did, for a very good reason:
Within 200m it outclasses most assault rifle calibers today, even the 5.45×39 (which is arguably the best there is – as a general purpose military caliber.
The inferior ballistic trajectory does not come in effect at those close CQB fights, however the better stopping power and penetration does.
This is was very common to see the odd picture of Russian SF with those old AKMs in urban scenarios.
Another major factor: Russians fetish suppressors.
AS-VAL, VSS, PMM, PSM, VSSK, SR-3M, OTS-14, 9a91, VSK…. there is an endless list of Russian rifles that are designed to be suppressed from the start.
Yet a round like 5.45×39 (or western equivalent 5.56×45) is too small to allow for good subsonic round. However 7.62×39 does! In fact it is so good, that is has been ‘copied’ as the very popular .300 Blackout in the west.
So will the new Russian assault rifle finally make it in the form of the AK-12 and AK-15?Or will they end like the AN-94, which has officially been adopted, yet never actually deployed?
I assume and hope that they will in fact make it. It is a simple and cost-saving solution to a long overdue problem of the Russian Armed Forces. For a regular soldier the AK-12 and AK-15 are good enough while the Russian SF will probably continue to get their special weapons anyway.
21.12.2017 – by netsplit for Gruppa L