Shooting Illustrated has published a detailed account of the fascinating AN-94 “Abakan” rifle.
In 1993, a mysterious rifle appeared at an arms display at the elite Taman Guards Division outside Moscow. The strange new rifle was labeled “ASN”—a Russian acronym for Avtomat Spetsialnyi Nikonov. The soldiers at the show could give no meaningful information about it beyond the basic information on the placard. Shortly thereafter, data began to emerge indicating it was an advanced combat rifle, but its status remained a mystery. The Russian Ministry of Defense cleared up the mystery in 1995 by announcing that the ASN had passed all its troop trials and that it had been type classified as the “Avtomat Nikonova-94” (AN-94). The number “94” is the year the rifle was officially type classified and adopted for military service to replace the Kalashnikov-designed AK-47/AKM/AK-74-series rifles.