AK-12 To Be Produced in 6.5 Grendel?

Will the AK-12 be produced in 6.5 Grendel? It certainly seems that way, based on this graphic at RIA.ru. It’s possible their information comes from Wikipedia, the English version of which cites a broken link (Russian Wikipedia makes the same claim, with no citation at all), but it’s also possible the information comes from an official source.



Also interesting is the weight of the AK-12, a quite reasonable 3.2 kg (about 7lbs). Previously, I had been concerned that the “tactical” features of the AK-12 would bring with them excessive weight, but it seems like this might not be the case.

Wolf began production of steel-cased 6.5 Grendel ammunition not too long ago, so a 6.5mm AK-12 certainly wouldn’t go hungry.

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


  • jay

    I’m surprised the Russians didn’t come up with a 6.5mm round based on the 7.62x39mm case all this years.
    I still think ak12 looks like a shovel.

    • guest

      It is a commonly known factor in all military equipment design that it must look good, especially cater to individual taste, in order to function as intended.

    • Timothy G. Yan

      They did in the 1970s.

      • Maiek Wagu

        Interesting, what was it called?

        • iksnilol

          I would presume 6.5x39mm, same as the Grendel just without the taper.

          Necking up/down is common with the Russian cartridges. They have made 6.5x54mmR, 9.3x54mmR and some others.

          • Max Glazer

            There was a 6×49 they made too for small arms. Apparently had great flat trajectory and good penetration.

          • iksnilol

            Wouldn’t surprise me that it had good trajectory and penetration. 6×49 would probably surpass 6.5×55 if used with modern powders and casings.

  • Alex Nicolin

    It’s easy, since the bolt head is the same, One would only need to change the barrel and less curved magazine, There are plenty of good ones already floating around.

  • toms

    This is very likely. The most important part for the Russians is that they can claim that the grendel was “developed in Russia for Russia by Russia as a round superior to the 5.56” since it was loosely based on the .220 Russian and 7.62x39mm. When we say no Bill Alexander developed the cartridge while working blah blah……..they of course will say it was old carttridge than Americans stole from Russia. You have to think Russian Man! Mark my words you will hear it called a Russian Cartridge forsure!

    • Ethan

      All I can picture is the dinner scene from Undiscovered Country:
      “You have not experienced Shakespeare until you have read him in the original Klingon.”

      • LCON

        Some Where in Russia.

        Mikhail: Vaat iz this 6.5x39mm Grendel?

        Yuri: I don’t know Komrad Never heard of it.
        Vladimir: It ends in x39mm Must be Russian.
        Mikhail: You sure?
        Petrov: Dah uses Russian 7.62x39mm Case.
        Mikhail: Then Is As Russian as Vodka
        * all clink Vodka glasses. *
        Yuri: Then AK12 will Shoot It!
        * all Clink Vodka Glasses.

        • Yellow Devil

          I figured they just swilled it straight from the bottle and didn’t even bother with the glass…

          • Max Glazer

            Russians used to drink 96% alcohol from metal cups back in days of WW2 😀

    • dp

      Why do you need to be “first” in everything? Who can make that claim securely, btw? Is it of any practical importance? Too many questions?

    • Zugunder

      “Hurt durr, I hate %NationName%! Herpy derpy derp…”

    • Anonymoose

      The problem with this is that the 6.5 Grendel can’t function correctly in any standard AK mags (47 or 74) since its taper was changed dramatically for use in STANAG mags.

  • Zugunder

    Picture says AK-12 already adopted by Russian army. I’m missing some news?

    • I’ve seen several articles claiming that; I asked Maxim Popenker and he says it’s not true, so I haven’t reported it yet. Further, he says the AEK-971 variant is beating it in trials.

      • Zugunder

        Interesting, I’ll honestly be surprised if they choose more complicated AEK-971 over AK-12. But hell, who knows…

      • I am quite interested to see which rifle will come out on top as I find the AEK-971 quite an interesting design. That said, perhaps it would be more efficient to just issue more magnified rifle optics (1p29 or acog style optics) to their troops for their ak-74’s than buy completely new weapon systems and issue them with iron sights. After all, perhaps the greatest advances in small arms tech over the past few decades has been the wider introduction of magnified optics for troops.

      • noguncontrol

        doesnt matter if the russian army uses tha ak-12 or not , as long as civilians can get it at reasonable prices, so impeach obama and get rid of these stupid import bans, let russia flood the civilian market with cheap ak-12 rifles!!!

  • echelon

    I’ve written this before but it bears repeating…I peed a little when I read this.

    Please make an importable version of this and some reliable mags. I would love to have a Grendel firing AK…it’s like peanut butter and jelly to me…

  • Doop

    If this is true (and evidence of even MOLOT planning a 6.5G Vepr model in a product catalog scan at Vepr.org supports this), I will curse the Obama administration for the KC-and-friends import ban until my dying day.

    I’ve been waiting and hoping for Russia to start homegrown models chambered in 6.5G for 2 years now, and when it finally happens, it’s behind the Iron Curtain (from our side, no less).

    • n0truscotsman

      I gave those in charge the benefit of the doubt when it came to the import ban and have previously argued that it was legal and credible given recent geopolitical problems going on in the Ukraine.

      But, funny thing. I keep reading about Russian AKs being sold in certain markets in Europe, but im unsure if they were pre-ban supplied guns or new ones. Either way, the entire thing is starting to lose credibility even with me.

      • Kurt Akemann

        The fact that the US and Canada sanctioned Kalashnikov Concern does not mean that nations like Germany followed suit. They are much less willing to annoy Russia and more eager to trade with Russia.

  • Lance

    Wouldn’t support some of these Russian web sites. They made wild predictions before. The AK-12 will still be a 5.45mm rifle, if its made in 6.5mm it be for export only. AK-12 is a AK no one uses, Russia still has many many AK-74s and most of the world still loves AKMs.

  • What are the benefits of 6.5mm grendel over say the existing 5.45mm cartridge that the ak74 uses or a western style 5.56mm cartridge? Is it trying to be an intermediate cartridge between a 5and something mm cartridge and a 308 style rifle cartridge?

    • I guess it depends who you ask. For me, I get what Bill Alexander is getting at with the 6.5 Grendel, but I don’t tend to agree with it being terribly useful in the military application.

    • ClintTorres

      The Grendel was conceived as a vehicle to enable the AR platform to fire high-BC projectiles. This improves the long-range performance of the platform. AFAIK it was not designed to be a military cartridge.

      • So would an export model 6.5mm ak12 be more intended as a novelty rifle for enthusiasts? If you wanted a sharpshooter platform, surely there are other options?

        • ClintTorres

          Seems so. Maybe “niche” is a more succinct term than “novelty”. “AKs” and “sharpshooting” are typically used in the same sentence but the benefits of high-BC bullets are undeniable. I suppose it’s a welcome addition for the AK enthusiast as it adds another dimension to the platform’s pros.

          • Max Glazer

            Russian national team that participates in tactical shooting competitions loved it. They recon it is a whole lot easier to make accurate shots with AK-12. So I guess it is fair bit more precise then already-accurate AK-74

  • ColaBox

    So excuse my ignorance, but why the banana mags? If this isn’t chambered primarily in 7.62×39, then why not go with a normal magazine design?

    • Almost all metallic rifle cartridges have some taper. A properly designed magazine for a tapered rifle cartridge will often exhibit a curvature, due to the way rounds stack inside it.

  • noguncontrol

    if they want it to sell like hotcakes, they should make it in 9×39!!!

    • Zugunder

      Dunno, AS VAL/VSS Vintorez/9A-91 would be much more interesting to have for 9×39. What so interesting in 9×39 AK? I mean, you can have AK chambered in .300 BLK.

      • iksnilol

        AK in 300 BLK is pointless (from a ballistics/handloading perspective) unless you use 300 BLK in other guns and want to share ammo and mags.

    • Max Glazer