Tricked out AKs at St. Petersburg Open Championship

wayfaerer320 posted photos of the St. Petersburg Open Championship. The police and counter-terrorism officers are carrying some really tricked out AK-style rifles with plenty of AR-15 accessories added. Magpul stocks are popular (with an AK stock adapter) as are EOTech scopes.

More photos at arfcom.

I can see why Izhmash is bankrupt. Their local law enforcement customers are demanding AR-15 rifles and AKs compatible with AR accessories. Yet they continue to do their own thing ignoring customers. The AK-12 is nice, but I suspect their local police customers want either a AK-74/1xx with a nice quad rail and AR-style stock or an AR-15.

[ Many thanks to jdun1911 for emailing me the link. ]





Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • nick

    Does anybody know what type of ak’s are those? i am having difficulties identifying them.

    • Johannes

      Almost exclusively AK-74M with that one AK-104 in the mix. FSB and some others use muzzle brakes from Survival Corps, custom made stock tubes and rails from TDI and Leapers. Stocks from Magpul seem popular too. Gear comes mostly from Sposn SSO, Survival Corps and Fort. Some comercial US stuff and some Splav, but mostly the above mentioned. Helmets are mostly Russian stuff, except some RBR improved PASGT and other US helmets seen on FSB guys.

      http://www.srvv.org/en/
      http://sso-mil.ru/
      http://www.splav.ru/
      http://fort.ru/eng

  • Wraith

    AK-100 series, notably AK-104’s and AK-105’s that are the modern compact varients in 7.62 and 5.45.

  • cpl.malashenko

    They are all ak-101s and 104s. And yes if author of this site can read this the main problem we are having with the ak type rifle is its inability to be modular some of our units in the mvd are outfitted with aek-971 or 107 have rails attached. Aek-971s is popular to me because of it has retractable skeleton stock and improve fire select capabilities.

    • Lemming

      AK-101 is 5.56, the Russians aren’t using it.

      • cpl.malashenko

        It is used in certain units in special tasks similar to the a91

    • Lemming

      I’m pretty sure both the AK-101 and the 5.56 version of the A-91 are only offered for export.

      • cpl.malashenko

        Actually several units in the mvd utilize the 5.56 round due to its superior wounding stability one unit that will remain classified uses tavor rifle.

    • Lemming

      Hm, well I’m gonna go ahead and call BS on that until I see some proof. No offense I just find your info a little hard to believe.

      • cpl.malashenko

        i understand why you will doubt this statement but surely your military must own some of our rifles also for your special forces when it comes to cross border engagements. the reason why these units own such is both because of that and another more classified reason. i would be arrested if i would take photographs of any of the current equipment and armor so for now it is all just rumor. i will say personally i am upset that the ak-107 system was not chosen for mass deployment in the military.

      • Lemming

        I will agree the AK-107 is an outstanding rifle.

      • cpl.malashenko

        oh and greetings from alfa

    • Lemming

      Eh, you know that I’m gonna have to be sceptical about you being Alfa.
      If you are then thank you for your service. Alfa’s my favorite Special ops unit on the planet.

  • Kav

    Izhmash is bankrupt for two reasons.
    1. They’re a Soviet-style business trying to operate in what is, at least for the most part, a modern business climate.
    2. The Russian military is actually overstocked on rifles.

    I can’t say I have first hand experience, from what I’ve seen of most MVD and related AKs around the web, what’s pictured here is more on the “three gun” side of accessorization. Most of the time you see a good degree of tacticooling, but not quite to the extent here. To say that Izhmash is bankrupt because they don’t make AKs with buffer tube adapters is headed in the right direction but again, it’s more that the market is just so diluted with existing stock that there’s no demand. It’s not like once you buy one of these things you can use it up or burn it out. A lack of export potential is probably a big source of the problem, at least as much as I’d guess.

    Anyway, just my $0.02.

  • sceptic

    The short one with the forward grip is a ak-105 chambered in 5,45 calibre (http://world.guns.ru/assault/rus/ak-102104105-r.html) all the other ones are standart issue ak-74m heavily modified. In Russia officers do not have the opportunity to buy their own weapons but can modify stock ones.

    • MK

      Are you sure? That mag looks a lot like a 7.62 mag to me, indicating the gun would be an AK-104.

      • sceptic

        Yep you’r right. I didn’t look to close.

  • Seb

    Izmash is bankrupt because they were stuck with the idea of planned economy, like many other ex soviet companys they’ve never fully grasped the concept of damand and supply.
    Russian le and mil are overstocked with outdated equipment and often have no or limited resources to procure new systems. And even if they weren’t, they are unlikely to buy foreign equipment so your average russian operetor has to dig in his own pocket to buy these nice tacticool stuff. And might I add, most of these accessories ad up to a month’s worth payment of door-kicking. Sorry little Ivan, no new toys this month, daddy’s got to buy an EOTech 🙂

  • Nater

    I never thought the EOTech would be a great optic for the AK. You’d be shooting with more of a chin weld instead of a cheek weld. An Aimpoint T1 mounted on a railed gas tube (re Ultimak) seems to be the best solution.

    • Lemming

      The operators up there seem to disagree.

    • Nater

      Or they just like the reticle so much they put up with the poor mounting height.

  • charles222

    Ehhh, I’ve always vastly preferred plain vanilla AKs, especially the 74. Yeah, they’re not as capable or even especially user friendly, but it’s just such an iconic look with the front sight post, gas tube, and muzzle brake. The 74’s old composite mag looks pretty sharp as well. The AK-12/etc are vastly better rifles, but the old AK is like a classic car: sure it’s not even in the ballpark of what makes a good rifle anymore, but it’s still rad, I guess. :p

  • charles222

    5.45 is vastly superior to 7.62×39. Yeah, the 7.62 packs a wallop against an unarmored target in the open, but it’s basically limited to submachine gun ranges (under 200m) and has nothing for barrier/armor penetration. 5.45 and 5.56 are both significantly better rounds; there’s dozens of AAR reports from the early fielding of the M16 with test units in Vietnam about just how lethal M193 out of an M16 was. One is basically a complaint that M193 was TOO lethal because ‘even seemingly minor injuries resulted in death’ which made it difficult to take prisoners for interrogation.

    • Stella

      So 5.56 is a better at defeating barriers than 7.62×39? You really want to go with that? Hitting things at beyond 200m with 7.62×39 is also pretty easy. The “m193 being too lethal thing” is also a myth: the round is designed to kill and was from the get go. Project Agile what Colt PR at its finest. Is this a troll?

      5.56 is is a good round as are other .22 high velocity rounds, but lets not be crazy here: the .30 will have different properties as a result of greater mass, including the ability to shoot through things.

    • W

      The 5.45 isn’t “vastly” superior to the 7.62. It is superior in some ways, but there are tradeoffs in others.

      5.45 has advantages in flatter trajectory, higher velocity, more consistent accuracy, lower recoil, and lighter ammunition. It is also effective at slightly longer ranges.

      The 7.62×39 has advantages in more surface area (more useful against unarmored targets), abudance, and is less adversely affected by brush, foliage, and other environmental variables.

      Undoubtedly, the 7.62×39 was far ahead of its time; it was born in a era of full sized rifle and lower comparive power pistol cartridges. it was perfect for a “assault rifle” cartridge; far superior to the .30 caliber used in the M1.

      Regardless of the myths, 5.56 is a effective man stopper. One shouldnt demerit the entire caliber based on the SS109/M855 green tip, which was designed for use against soviet soldiers wearing body armor (the primary, perceived threat when the cartridge was adopted). The newer line of military 5.56 cartridges are very effective against man targets, while being consistently effective up to the 5-700 meter range.

    • Nater

      You can engage targets with 7.62×39 out to 500m or more. Is it as easy shooting 7.62×39 at those ranges as it is 5.56 or 5.45? No. Can it be done? Yes. Even a non-magnified optic like an Aimpoint or EOTech will make this substantially easier than irons as you can hold over and still see your target.

      7.62×39 is a lot better than 5.45×39 against intermediate barriers, it’s also less prone to ricochet when it hits hard surfaces. The projectiles used in Soviet/Russian 5.45 cartridges are not going to fragment inside a human body like M193 and M855 can. They are designed for early upset, but so is every modern 7.62×39 FMJ bullet in military service.

  • Winston Smith

    Those EOTech optics are sitting too high, and why is the tactical kitchen sink hanging off them?

    Folks in the US have done a much better job with this, namely Gabe Suarez.

    http://tsdcombatsystems.com/kalashnikov-rifles/

    • vtb

      Try to put on a “sfera” armor helmet and shoot with bulletproff eyeshield on – you’ll quickly realize that high-mounted eotech is your only option.

  • What a lovely camo blouse, sir.

    • Sid

      Does anyone else notice that a few of the soldiers have defeated the camo they are wearing by choosing contrasting equipment?

  • Yoni

    The way I see it, if I was Russian I’d be trying to copy current US (and US Eastern European allies) tactical gear as much as possible. After all, it has 10 years of combat experience behind it and that’s nothing to sneeze at.

    • charles222

      Or…they could stop pretending the Cold War is still going on and just you know, buy the things they’re trying to copy. 😛

    • W

      russians are known for their resourcefulness. one shouldnt be surprised to see clothing and equipment (especially MOLLE) being used by the Russians. remember, they fielded digital-pattern camouflage and even regular camouflage earlier than anybody else.

      • Bob Barker

        Except for the Canadians with CADPAT…

      • W

        Nope, the soviets had a pattern that was “digital patterned” in 1944. http://www.kamouflage.net/country/00164.php

        CADPAT was not the first “digital patterned” camo

      • Bob Barker

        I think you’re confusing the digital method of creating “micro patterns” with a camo pattern that makes use of “squares” (I’m refraining from calling them pixels) in the design. Computer technology in 1944 was akin to boxes the size of rooms that took punch cards and printed its output on paper. I don’t see how you could do any graphical design in that era.

  • AR

    Izhmash should just let Molot design the modern models customers really want.

  • RocketScientist

    Man, i got all excited when i saw this headline, thinking there was an awesome competition in my backyard (I live in St. Petersburg FL). Did not take me long to realize this was NOT florida (I assume SPB Russia?). Oh well… still some nice eye candy.

  • Lance

    Not surprised the Russian LE have ditched older Soviet style gun systems. I see CAA and UTG rails and AK accessories are poplar in Russia. Well the same the GP-443 pistol failed in the pistol world Russian LE is now buying Beretta-92FS and Glock-17s to supplement the Makarov PM. Same for AK layouts. Don’t worry sure the Russian army will keep traditional AK layouts for years to come.

    By the way this prove AR wins AKs lose in ergonomics.

    • W

      it doesnt prove anything. the “proof” would be the non-existance of the Ak platform, which is clearly not the case here. with the new rail systems and other innovations, the AK is becoming more and more ergonomic.

      Unless you are Russian and live in Russia serving as a LEO or soldier, how could you judge the success of their new line of handguns? that seems like a rediculous assumption.

      • Lance

        As you can see in the middel pic one of the sidearms on the Russians hips is a Glock 17.

      • JMD

        More rails can’t fix the inherent ergonomic flaws of the system. Adding a rail can’t fix the safety that can’t be operated with the firing hand still on the grip. The magazines still have to be rocked in and out, which is sturdy but slow. Adding an AR stock doesn’t fix the fact there rear sight is at the wrong end of the receiver, etc., I could go on. The AK system is great, and it has it’s place, but the underlying design is so far behind the times, and its inherent lack of modularity makes major upgrades so difficult and expensive , that it is quickly being eclipsed by other designs that better fit the requirements of modern shooters. The AK still works fine, but it isn’t what people are looking for, and no amount of bolt-on accessories can make it become what people are looking for.

    • Lance

      Im going buy what the Russian say in there articles about LEO in Russia the Grach was one lousy handgun and so they bought new ones from US and Europe. Overall im saying the AR design is better than the AK and the Russian making there AK more ARish is prof.

      • Lemming

        Actually Lance, it still proves nothing. Wanting a more ergonomic AK doesn’t mean Russians want AR’s, or that AR’s are better. They just want their firearms to be ergonomic and user friendly, while still keeping the base platform as reliable and simple as possible.

        AK does have some problems with ergonomics, nobody’s saying otherwise, but the advantages it has over other firearms FAR outweigh it’s disadvantages.

      • W

        and how would you know about the grach? they dont sell them in the united states.

        “Overall im saying the AR design is better than the AK and the Russian making there AK more ARish is prof.”

        the AR design is not “better”. each platform has its strengths and weaknesses. for the russian army, it is wise to stick with the AK platform since they are most familiar with it. The Ar15 design never had a molopoly on ergonomics. There are plenty of other platforms that are just as ergonomic if more so. Like all armies, the world is beginning to realize the importance of rails so that lasers, flashlights and optics can be mounted…all critically important for 21st century military forces due to the paradigm shift away from large conscripted armies to small, highly mobile professional forces.

      • Nater

        He just makes stuff up to suit his own ridiculous view of things. He doesn’t like the Grach for whatever reason, he’ll make up some “evidence” to support his views. Reality? It’s probably not a bad pistol, but looking at it, it probably wouldn’t be my first choice. Or my fourth.

        This is the same guy who said the G3 was weak because it had a stamped receiver and that SOF units hate the SCAR-H.

      • Lance

        Sorry Nater going to personal attack is prof your single mindedness. I admit the SCAR H did well and it was the L which was fell out of place. It was your attack saying the M-4 was the worst gun in history that made this debate over stuff this post has nothing about proving your just making stuff up too.

        The Fact the Russian LEO are buying Glock and Berettas is showing the state Grach Pistol also in 9mm Luger caliber isn’t doing well fact too that more Makarovs are still in service too.

        I like AKs I admit I was goofing off I like ARs. There so many AR haters who think the AK is some dram gun, that I was messing with. But the AKM and AK-74 are great weapons and marrying some AR features with AK action is great and makes for cool shooting pics. I hope and wish well for Russian Police and Military AT units they face the same barbaric Ismanlic Nazis as we do let them kick but too.

        Nater you can dream on in your world. To W which dose show civility on here I admit your right on the AK vs AR issue but I do say both guns work very well.

      • Nater

        When did I state the M4 was the worst gun in history? Oh, that’s right, I didn’t. The M4 is a fantastic weapon.

        I can’t imagine why Maks are still in service, maybe it’s because there are MILLIONS of them? I also can’t speak the the performance merits of the Grach, but neither can you. You’ve never handled one much less shot one. Various Army Special Forces Groups are deploying with Glock 17s and Glock 19s, does that make the M9 a piece of crap? I don’t think we’ll be seeing you arguing that point.

  • “gunner”

    minor side note, it looks like at least some russian troops are getting a u.s. style helmet, or a close copy of it. asking any russian members, is this standard russian issue or private purchase by special units?

  • Esh325

    I don’t think that means they want an AR15 rifle,it means they want a rifle with better ergonomics. The AR wasn’t the first rifle to offer the type of ergonomics expected today. The FAL came before it.

  • Benjamin

    Some EOTech fetish over there…

  • Doesitmatter?

    Are you surprised? AK is rather crude weapon destined primatily for ground army units. It is not “sissy” enough for police work. In my view the weakest part on AK system is lack of modularity or capability to become modular. That includes last effort called AK12; I think they missed big time with it.

  • love adolp

    AK-12 should address their needs.

    • Doesitmatter?

      By adhering to old concept they can’t. The thing is kept like fetish, like some stone of wise man, yet it is well aged and becoming obsolescent. This is not classic, wood-clad Mosin. This is different category!

      Same applies for AR15. Also, boxed-in, it cannot be further developed or changed. All new stuff is mostly cosmetics; the only real alteration being piston intead of direct gas. That’s not enough. The design is relic by now.

      I understand the mental block from side of gun-lovers. But people who use them for living&dieing are not that sentimental – they need the right package for given job e.i. quick convertability and modularity (such as AUG). But the gun as it is just cannot do it.

      • Lemming

        Doesitmatter, The AK-12 is especially designed for better ergonomics, quick conversion, and greater modularity. I don’t see the problem with it.

      • Doesitmatter?

        I appreciate your view Lemming. However could you lead me to understanding where are those qualities you talk about? Where is for example a provision to quick changeover from carbine to DMR? Or where is provision to change carbine to LSW with open bolt fire capability? I would like to know. Thanks.

      • W

        “I appreciate your view Lemming. However could you lead me to understanding where are those qualities you talk about?”

        his point was that the AK12 has these capabilities and the m4 has these capabilities. For once, the 1940’s design of the AK was brought to the level playing field as the 1990’s M4. Comparing the ergonomics of two weapons systems with some 40 years of development time between them is rather unfair.

        “Where is for example a provision to quick changeover from carbine to DMR? Or where is provision to change carbine to LSW with open bolt fire capability? I would like to know. Thanks.”

        There is no reason for such provisions in the Russian military. The SVD is their DMR, the LSW, better coined as a automatic rifle, is the RPK, and the general purpose machine gun is the PKM. Different doctrines. The AK and the RPK actually are very similar and the belt-fed automatic rifle i guess would be the retired RPD.

        I can see your point though.

      • Lemming

        http://www.russiadefence.net/t870-russia-to-test-new-model-of-kalashnikov-assault-rifle-in-2011

        This link pretty much contains all the released info on the AK-12. It should answer most of your questions.

      • Doesitmatter?

        Thanks “W” and “Lemming”!
        It is great to discuss with respectful people as you are. I may seem to drive my point to extremity, but that’s my style; no offence meant. Same to other guys if I missed someone.

      • Lemming

        No problem, I always enjoy a good discussion.

      • W

        take it for what it is. i dont intend on changing opinions, but rather just expressing mine. no need to apologize, i completely understand where your coming from.

    • W

      the AK12 can more and suit the needs of a military or police force needing a modernized rifle. It incorporates newer concepts of improved ergonomics to compete with western rifles while retaining the rugged and reliable concepts of the AK.

      no design is truly new or innovative. There will be “breakthroughs” unless caseless or telescopic ammunition is developed…or phase disruptors 😉

      • Doesitmatter?

        Why do you think that caseless or telescoping ammo is a magic wand? As far as I recall on G11 it was used for sole purpose and that was extremely high rate of fire which in turn was supposed to increase hit probability. Caseless is therefore means NOT the objective. It has huge issue, by the way, with gas seal not to mention preponderance to cook-off.

      • W

        no i dont think theyre the magic wand, thats not the point. the point is that something will evolve small arms from metal cartridges to something else.

  • charles222

    Yes Stella, I’ll totally stand by the statement that 5.56 is a vastly better *armor* penetrator than 7.62×39 could ever be. 1) DOJ still refuses to rate any kind of armor against SS109; 2) 7.62×39 has been defeated by the exact sort of armor DOJ tests with (AKA ESAPI and XSAPI hard plates) and 3) the wonderful world of physics. Armor penetration isn’t accomplished well by a relatively slow-moving round like 7.62×39; the smaller-caliber rounds do it much better and always have because they’re applying more velocity against a smaller area. This is why the current crop of PDWs use tiny-ass bullets at screaming velocities: They were originally designed for rear-area personnel to defend themselves against Soviet troops wearing body armor. 7.62R is deficient as an armor penetrator and that’s all there is to it, angry non-fact-based replies notwithstanding.

    As for M193’s super-lethality being a myth, American Rifle tells us you’re wrong as well, unless you’re seriously accusing a Cambridge PhD of lying about AARs from 40 years ago. But hey, you’re from the internet so you must know better, right?

    • Lemming

      Regarding your comments about bullet velocities in relation to armor penetration, the subsonic 9×39 bullets fired by rifles like the AS VAL and the VSS have been known to be relatively good armor penetrators.

    • Stella

      You moved the goal posts. I never said anything about armor but was rather addressing your claims regarding barrier performance that are frankly absurd. You are arguing against no one. Both rounds will be stopped by class IV armor and defeat anything without trauma plates.

      I don’t even know what “super-lethal” is: how can an adjective be modified to be more extreme than lethal? Awful grammar aside, if you look at a 5.56 bullet does your head explode or something?

    • neblogenso

      7.62 penetrates through 33 kevlar layers, 5.56 through 31. But 5.56 is dependent on barrel lenght – “This fragmentation effect is highly dependent on velocity, and therefore barrel length: short-barreled carbines generate less muzzle velocity and therefore lose wounding effectiveness at much shorter ranges than longer-barreled rifles”. 7.62 also penetrates much better through walls, trees, etc. I also believe 7.62 is better in causing hydrostatic shock.

    • jdun1911

      The old SAPI that the US were using was rate to defeat at least 1 7.62x54R AP. The ESAPI (Enhanced Small Arms Protective Insert) that our troops are current using is an improvement over it.

      If SAPI can defeat 7.62x54R AP than it will have no trouble against SS109. Right?

      • Nater

        Right. I’ve seen informal testing where an ESAPI plate took three rounds of .30-06 AP inside a 1″ radius, then took ten rounds of M855 spaced evenly across the strike face. Nothing penetrated.

        I would have liked to have seen what M995 would do. I’d guess the performance of M993 (7.62x51mm AP) would have performed better than the old .30-06 AP (better bullet design), but the small cross section and very high velocity of the M995 makes it an interesting test. Supposedly these rounds can penetrate the armor on a BDRM-2. I don’t know what part of the vehicle, I would guess side and rear armor.

  • Nicks87

    Right now M4 style rifles are superior to AK style rifles because of modularity.

    Will the AK-12 fix this issue? Maybe but will it ever get to see the field of battle? Can Russia afford to re-equip it’s military with a new rifle? Does the world really need a new small arms race?

    I think the AK vs AR argument is kind of a waste of time because training trumps weapon platform any day of the week just as shot placement trumps caliber as well.

    If you prefer AKs over ARs thats fine and vice-versa but learning to shoot well with what you have is the key. There is no magic wand or silver bullet when it comes to killing things.

  • WhoAmI

    Is that Multi Cam?

  • Anonymous

    It’s interesting that you call them “AR Accessories” when such accessories are used on virtually all types of weapons from pistols to grenade launchers. Yes they’re AR-style adjustable stocks, but the rest is pretty well universal.

  • Noren

    “I can see why Izhmash is bankrupt”
    Сorrection, bankrupt of Ishmash made for ​​easier process of absorption by Russian Technologies State Corporation. Now all military companies under control of this state mega-corporation