Putin Inspects Kalashnikov AK-12, Transparent Russian AK Magazines, Latest AK-74M

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Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the Kalashnikov factory and inspected the new AK-12, AS-1 and the latest version of the AK-74M. What is really interesting is that Kalashnikov appear to be making transparent magazines.

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AK-74M (left)

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AK-12 (green)

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AK-12 Black (center), with transparent magazines, a selection of chromed rifles (left).

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Russian soldiers with “Ratnik” (Future Solider Program) AK rifles.

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10008Many thanks to Александр for the photos.

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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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  • BWJones

    Trigger discipline Putin, Trigger discipline.

    • milo

      the boss intends on shooting the cameraman catching his bad side.

    • Doom

      that’s called Russian trigger discipline, they don’t fret over having their finger on the trigger of a gun. safety is in between ears, not in finger.

    • Steve (TFB Editor)

      I am pretty sure Putin does whatever he wants!

      He might be testing the trigger. I know I would if given an AK-12.

      • Snusmumr

        You are right, actually.
        In some articles it’s specifically stated, that he examined the weapons’ handling and how smoothly bolt and trigger work.

      • Hunter57dor

        speaking of which, i wonder how the new ak-12′s trigger is? i know if i was rebuilding the ole ak platform, that would be top of the list for me.

  • Nicholas Mew

    Not sure if I approve of where the AK-12 is currently going.

    • Paul Epstein

      It’s getting more complicated, sure, but the conscripts for whom the AK was originally designed won’t be receiving it. If the Russian military orders them at all, it will be for elite units where the additional flexibility is sorely needed.

      Right now, those troops are buying aftermarket parts, knockoffs of western equipment, and other kludges to deal with the fact that they are NOT the people for whom the rifle was designed. The AK-12 gives them what they’ve been getting on the side as an official package from a company they already trust. At the same time, it doesn’t add in any experimental stuff than can go wrong like the balanced recoil system or a new bullpup layout they wouldn’t be familiar with.

      Kalashnikov is still making the AK-74 in various iterations, and they will be probably for a long time. There’s certainly the potential for it to be the new Mosin- often replaced, often updated, but not going anywhere.

    • Steve (TFB Editor)

      Where is it going? Only Russian troops (although I will believe it when I see them equipped with it)

      • Lance

        I agree the Russian Army leadership said NO to any new rifle period last year doubt they changed there minds. Especially when you got millions of AK-74s stockpiled.

    • dp

      Probably nowhere else but to Russia herself. Times when they were supplying (under old regime) whoever elsewhere in the world is long over. All one time European Com-block allies have their own industries and cover their own needs. Rest of the world is fed by quartet HK, Beretta, FN, SIG and American production.

  • 11b

    That poor guy with the parachute :(

    • CaptainSlaughterboard

      lol. btw, anyone can identify what he equips behind his chute?(looks like very very big tactical light to me…

      • 501.502.503

        it usually AK74s or something of its size that goes behide the secondary chute, the stock is folded and barrel goes in the pouch, i think he has same new ak as other guys its just that it has a collapsing stock instead or folding one so it looks kind of odd, if its something longer like svd or rpg it goes along the side of the body and gets strapped to the lag, you dont want to be that guy, its almost impossible to sit in plane with it )))

        • CaptainSlaughterboard

          It looks like having “polygonal” end, so hard to think it’s rifle imho…
          But still I have no idea what is it.

          And here is another btw,I suddenly realized that there is a female soldier in same pic(upper, left) and she got surrounded by male MVPs lol.

          I think I got why other soldier guys seem awkward…

      • Snusmumr

        Newer variant of AEK-971S/973S with its stock folded in? I already posted the image here, but this one has a better resolution:

        • Snusmumr

          That “future soldier” near the “past soldier” also holds an AEK, btw.

        • Kyle Sarver

          Sweet thanks for the post.

  • Chris

    I love the ak12u. A modern, 5.45 short ak. What could possibly be wrong with that?

    • Joshua

      Reduced parts life? Though thats just par for the course with short weapons that fire rounds like 5.45 and 5.56.

      • DiverEngrSL17K

        Good point. On the other hand, that lifespan would be relative, anyway. In actual practice, it might not make that much of a difference, depending on the individual design.

        • Joshua

          It happens with every system. Our CQBR’s required more maintenance than our M4A1′s, I know Swedens AK5D’s are less reliable and parts life suffers compared to their AK5C’s. Even the AKS-74U is less reliable and also has worse parts life than a comparable AK-74.

          Compact rifles definitely have a purpose but they also have their downsides.

          • DiverEngrSL17K

            In general, I agree. As they say, it is advisable to have “the right tool for the right job”.

  • Caelumsky

    Noob question, that bullpup in the last photo, never seen it before, what’s it called?

    • Steve (TFB Editor)

      Thats the AS-1 (or AS-2, not sure what the difference is)

      • Demize99

        AS1 is 5.45 and AS2 is 7.62×39. Otherwise the same rifle.

  • LCON

    In Russia its up to trigger to stay away from finger

  • martinairsoftmegastore

    The AK-12 assault rifles are supposed to replace the AK 72 and AK 100
    series for domestic use. How are they going to help anyways?

    • Lance

      No some Russian lawmakers want that but the Russian Army still saying NO. And the fact there looking and making AK-74Ms is another clue.

  • Lance

    The fact there making AK-74s still and Putin still playing with them too makes me think the 74 is staying for grunts. Though the AK-12 may be used for Sec Ops units. SO the AK stays in Russia.

    • Frank

      This thing is made for export, why else would it have a 1913 style rail? They want to churn out as many of these as they can.

  • Axel

    Still no bolt hold open, right?

    • andy

      wrong, bolt hold is there.

      • Axel

        I googled some and it seems as you’re right. Very cool!

      • andy

        also, theres some pimp at mag release – if i understood correctly, insertion of new mag releases bolt catch. of course, you can do it just pushing mag lock, which is now accessible with trigger finger.

  • ducky

    Charging handle can be switched to either side?
    In most pics there is none at the right side.
    In the first pic and the one with Putin it looks as if something sticks out to the left.
    Would that make another opening (slot) in the top cover?
    Sadly no pics of the left side and why moving the charging handle upwards – closer to the knuckle-”friendly” rail?

    • milo

      yes, the charging handle and ejection ports are now ambidextrous though i do believe that you need disassemble it to move it. as for the rearranging i dont quite remember the reason.

  • Blake

    The guy standing behind him looks a bit like M.K. himself, but I guess he’s older than that…

  • Snusmumr

    “Russian soldiers with “Ratnik” (Future Solider Program) AK rifles”

    Only two notes:
    1) the second from the right (standing) represents a standart equipment of infantrimen before “Barmitsa”/”Ratnik” program;
    2) the one sitting in center is armed with a new variant of AEK, not AK.

    • insertjjs

      Notice the telescoping Stock on the AEK? AEK-971S?

      • Snusmumr

        Looks like it. It’s actually interesting. Trials of assault rifles that will be incorporated into the final “Ratnik” gear are still ongoing. And, according to some rumours, “balanced” AEKs and AK-107 are being tested as well. But whether they are used as a “control group”, merely for comparison, or as competitors to AK-12 is unknown.
        I’m sure this image was posted before on this site, but still… I just love how AEK-971S/-973S looks:

        • CaptainSlaughterboard

          Hooah. Fucking great combination of HK and AK…I love it too!

        • milo

          the AEK and its derivative the 107/ 108 is actually used by certain spetznaz units, im not sure if they’re given it for field evaluation or if it was that they requisitioned it but its found its niche. also nice photo, how recent was it? the person i talked to never mentioned a rear diopter but i approve.

        • Suburban

          that looks really muzzle heavy

          • Nicholas Mew

            Well the GP-25 sure adds weight.

          • Suburban

            Actually, I meant the sliding-stock AEK-971S posted above. But yeah, that too.

        • Nicholas Mew

          I would just go with the standard AEK-971 but with peep sights and a heavier polygonal rifling barrel.

    • http://dukeleto.deviantart.com/ Dukeleto77

      love the expression on that guy with the standard kit :-p

  • jamezb

    Wow …A Factory Pimp Chrome AK wearing a bakelite slabside mag, and a matching Dragunov. Wonder who the intended market for those is?

    • J.T.

      Third world dictators and African warlords.

      • hami

        Also, me

        • jamezb

          It would make a practical gun to keep in a boat…particularly if the gas system, barrel and internals are also plated.

  • dp

    To understand Russian way of doing things, let me say this. In spite of premise that only capitalist system knows competition, the Russians since beginning (meaning well back into their socialist experiment), as far as defence industries are concerned, were practising and fostering COMPETITION. That is competition between design teams and even whole plants. The ‘looser’ was doing some other necessary job, never went “out of business”. If was a matter of pride and challenged what moved the people involved in it.
    Of course now, in time of privatised economy it is so much more reality. That way the customer – Defence Forces of Russia will receive best equipment possible.
    Also perhaps it is due to mention and correct conventional view thru Western eyes; the cost issue is not necessarily the priority, IF the goal is met. I hope this helps.

    • DiverEngrSL17K

      That is absolutely correct. The intense rivalries among the various design bureaus, whether they be for small arms, armored vehicles, aircraft, helicopters, naval vessels or submarines, etc., is a well-documented fact. The West would do well to fully understand this and not subscribe to conventional and ultimately false perceptions about how weapons systems are designed and fostered in Russia ( and, formerly, the Soviet Union ).

    • Greg Yudenko

      Ahh, so this is why all Russian Antonov’s were copeies of American planes and Soviet assult rifles are so uncomfortable to use! Now I understand why RUssia adpted T90 instead of T80 as its MBT, it’s all because of honest competation where the cost is not an issue!

      Dude, you’re just a Russian fanboy and this new AK12 is not a significant breakthrough one way or another, as matter of fact all these “fantastic” had to be present on AK74M in early 90s. Heck, as far as I’m concerned the cost of Russian military equipment was and still is far lower (as well as quality)than of its Western counterparts.

      • milo

        I don’t quite think anyone is fanboying, more so they were giving insight into how industry worked over there. The T90 did show a significant enough improvement and did square off against several other prototypes including the black eagle MBT. As for the antonov planes I’d love to see citations, since the airframes look quite different.
        The rifle quality is comparable to most gov’t acquired rifles, same for cost. i honestly see no reason people think one is better than the other when they’re comparable.

  • zem

    Those are slick when are they coming over here ?

  • RobGR

    In FDE want! Now!

  • Clint Notestine

    hey Russia… welcome to the year 2000

  • stump

    Did anybody notice the trigger guard/mag release for the black ak-12? I’ve never handled an AK but would something like that make a difference? The mags have to be tilted in correct? (as opposed to pushed in)

    • RobGR

      Excellent spot, not sure how it functions, but I assume it has to do with the clearance in relation to the GP-30 launcher. An AK operator will rock the mag in from front to back, the launcher could potentially interfere with a (fast) reload, so, yeah… wonder what they’ve cooked up, if anything. Anyone have any insight on this?

      • DiverEngrSL17K

        Hi, RobGR :

        There appears to be sufficient fore-and-aft clearance between the grip on the GP-30 grenade launcher and the front edge of the magazine to preclude interference during fast reloads under pressure ( as on the battlefield ). For what it’s worth, I simulated that same amount and angle of clearance on my AK-74 by mounting an FAB Defense TF-7 folding grip on the Picatinny rail on the underside of the hand guard. I then locked the TF-7 at the correct angle ( it has seven adjustable positions ) and ran repeated “rock and lock” magazine reloading drills. There did not seem to be any interference issues although clearances were a bit tight.

        That broad paddle-type magazine catch appears to be designed mainly for ambidextrous use, assuming the firer is using one hand to support the rifle ( either at the hand guard or at the pistol grip ) while changing magazines with the other. It definitely does not appear to be of the type designed to be operated by the trigger finger as well while the firing hand is still grasping the pistol grip.

        Hope this helps a bit.

    • DiverEngrSL17K

      Hi, Stump :

      Please see my reply to RobGR below.

      Thanks.

  • LT

    First photo shows what looks like an Elcan SpectreDR; is it, or is it a Russian copy?
    I’m also curious about the durability of those mags–I’ve always heard clear plastic is not as tough.

    • DiverEngrSL17K

      The sight on the all-black AK-12 is a new-generation NPZ Rakurs-PM collimating red-dot sight equipped with a prismatic lens system, and is not a copy or spin-off of any Western ( or other ) sight. The very superficial external resemblance to an Elcan Spectre DR is merely coincidental. The Rakurs-PM icombines the advantages of the traditional red-dot sight ( wide FOV, fast both eyes open acquisition for CQB, etc. ) with a modified German Post range finding reticle for accurate aimed fire out to 500 meters. It is in use with units such as the Spetznaz, MVD special service units and OMON. Functionally, the closest device in Western inventories would be the Trijicon ACOG, although there are several differences. If anyone is interested in modern as well as traditional Russian military optics, you can go to http://www.kalinkaoptics.com and view the available products and on-line specifications. The variety of types is very broad, with an optical device for almost every possible application.

      As far as the Russian-made transparent magazines are concerned, if they are anything like the ones designed for some models of the Czech vz.58 rifle, they should be able to withstand any amount of extreme battlefield abuse.

      Hope this helps a little.

  • Bill Peach

    god they are ugly guns, but my wang is so hard….

  • Frosty_The_White_Man

    How does one remove the dust cover? IIRC, previous versions of the AK-12 had a hinged section of rail that flipped up.

  • Miško

    Putin visits the factory and Kalashnikov himself (0:29)

    another picker of transparent magazines
    http://www.mycity-military.com/slika.php?slika=111895_98542139_n5QUO.jpg

    • dp

      Good material to see! It sounded to me that they plan to make a new pistol in Izhevsk, besides of artillery and rockets type of ordnance. I presume your knowledge of Russian language is better than mine; could you confirm?
      Its also interesting to see what command Putin raises among young people…. well times are better for Russia, as it seems. Hopefully for Izhevsk and others in business too.

      • Zugunder

        If you talking about video above – they nothing say about pistols. Talking about renaming izhmash to concern kalashnikov. Then putin visited Kalashnikov at home, due Kalashnikovs sickness. Then talking about new generation of kalashnukov sistem (assault rifles, sniper rifles, machineguns etc) but most of samples(?) still secret, only ak-12 was shown. Then about new ceramic armor that can handle 10 straight shots (nothing about caliber) Then about social politics blah-blah-blah…
        Sorry my english.

  • Gunluvr

    They are some of the best rifles ever manufactured. I use one for deer hunting every now and then. It’s good to see they’re improving on the basic model including the Dragonuv. Putin knows what he’s looking for too in quality, unlike the present day cadre occupying the White House.

  • DiverEngrSL17K

    You’ve got to hand it to President Putin, though — he’s definitely not afraid to be shown handling and enjoying firearms regardless of what anyone else may think.

  • sam

    am i wrong or is the magazine on the bullpups slightly canted, to allow for rock-in reloads? clever workaround.

    • sam

      and i ofcourse meant the magazine well.

  • SP mclaughlin

    Anyone seen the Kenyan special forces guys with the Mk.17 in the Nairobi mall attack?
    sorry, off topic though.

  • Ripley

    I know about someone that might be shopping for a chromed Dragunov ;) Does it come in gold plated?
    http://www.vice.com/Fringes/portrait-of-a-russian-oligarch

  • MP

    Interesting, but I’d like to see what he’s supposedly doing with these new so-called “psychotronic” guns I’ve seen articles on lately.

  • MP

    Wait ’til Obama finds out…

  • http://www.advanced-armament.com/ Kyle Sarver

  • Goran Sablic

    Russians are in modern mainstreams of military -police technology and West most not underestimate their capability and Know-How in this sensitive and responsible branche.

  • Goran Sablic

    Looks excellent and i believe they are made on top quality level-

  • mike d

    Russians make great weapons systems by utilizing their resources to the fullest potential possible. They have a totally different way of looking at things compared to the west. America still utilizes a battle rifle that has been proven to be ineffective in many situations and even some of our Rep. in congress are trying to get the m4 replaced at this time. My Ak 74 shoots 1.5-2.0 MOA and can be frozen, filled with sand, thrown in mud and submerged in water but still fires when the trigger is pulled.

  • Opinion420

    WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT IN THE LAST PIC. BULLPUP STYLE AK? *DROOOOL