POTD: The AK’s Almost Forgotten Replacement

The AN-94 was developed in the late 1980s and early 1990s to replace the AK-74M. Like all contenders for Russia’s next-generation assault rifle it has faded into obscurity. It features a novel delayed recoil mechanism called “blowback shifted pulse.”. I have never read a satisfactory explanation of how the “blowback shifted pulse” works, but from what I understand the entire barrel action moves inside the stock and somehow a pulley system is employed during recoil. In the photo you can see the barreled action and pulley.

Kalashnikov still exhibits the AN-94. The above photo from taken by Giorgio last week at IDEX. But to my knowledge no country has ever adopted it.


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.


  • Darkpr0

    The Nikonov has a small shuttle between the bolt carrier and the magazine that is responsible for chambering rounds. The cable is connected to it and the bolt so that when the bolt moves back, the cartridge shuttle moves forward and chambers a round. When the first round is fired, the barrel travels back slowly, and the bolt carrier travels back quickly. While the bolt is going back, the shuttle is going forward and meeting the barrel, chambering the second cartridge of the 2-round burst. The bolt carrier reverses its motion and locks onto the barrel, fires the second cart, and the whole moving mass bottoms out. The shooter feels two bullets of recoil, but both are out of the barrel before that happens. If the action doesn’t flex too much, this makes for a very accurate 2-round burst.

    • DiBs

      Finally, a thorough explanation has been delivered.

    • For a number of years now, work has been proceeding in order to bring perfection to the crudely conceived idea of a transmission that would not only supply inverse reactive current for use in unilateral phase detractors, but would also be capable of automatically synchronizing cardinal grammeters. Such an instrument is the turbo encabulator.

      Now basically the only new principle involved is that instead of power being generated by the relative motion of conductors and fluxes, it is produced by the modial interaction of magneto-reluctance and capacitive diractance.

      • Darkpr0

        Google Translate didn’t work on this one. Hopefully my explanation made some sort of sense.

        Postnote: I don’t know if the second cart is fired before, or at the same time as the bolt-barrel mass hits the back end of the receiver. I’ve been told that the trigger mechanism is horribly complicated, so that is why I believe it’s before. I had always thought the smart way to go would be to have a nub at the back of the receiver that the firing pin backs onto, but I’m a lowly rocket scientist and not too bright.

        • Look up how a turbo encabulator works 🙂

        • It’s before.

        • sam

          Made sense to me, you know, as far as it goes.

      • Don’t be ridiculous, Alex; you need to read more DTIC, and then you would know that inverse reactive current phase detractors don’t actually improve the graphine ratios of a transmission’s velotramminators. In fact, transverse nonreactive current phase detractors work just as well – despite being a bit less elegant – and cost two to three times less. Turbo-encabulators essentially serve to provide more marketing vibelangs for the sellmaster executives of embodimations. There’s no measurable gain in preventing side fumbling!

        • By god, youre right. Everything I knew about encabulators and their application within kinetic ordnance delivery systems has been knocked off axis.

          • Blake

            you guys rock 🙂

          • Y-man

            I guess all my belief in the matriculation of the top-tree discombulation is out of the window then.
            Damn! I thought I had it!

      • ghost

        I’ll just stay with my old fashioned fan.

  • On TFB you mean? If so you can use the search function in the top right corner.

  • Jon

    I think this weapon bullpup converted and chambered in 9x39mm, would be a perfect entry weapon for SWAT style forces.

    • CommonSense23


      • Zugunder

        To double tap those terrorist elephants with heavy tungsten-cored 9×39’s maybe? Lol

    • Mazryonh

      The Russians have already made something like what you describe, the bullpup OTs-14 Groza rifle in 9x39mm. No “hyperburst” function though.

  • ant1248

    If you have played any modern type FPS this gun isn’t “almost forgotten”.

    • forrest1985

      Agreed, although i notice that the AK12 seems to have appeared in place of the AN94 more recently.

  • Snobby

    Various places sell demilled AN-94s in Europe. As the barrels are drilled they’re apparently easy enough to buy over there, and surprisingly cheap. And with the US and Europe being on good terms, theoretically you could get one that has been demilled to US specs (chopped receiver and all) then rebuild it with enough US made parts and semi-only to have a legal AN-94.
    Or if you purchased one piece by piece with no single part being over $100, I think that is legal too provided it’s not a major part like barrel or receiver. I saw someone get ahold of most of a bizon that way, then some bending and fabricating and they have quite the rare gun.

    • Lance

      There was no point in getting a semi auto AN-94 because its whole firing control was buiolt around full auto. No point in semi a AK-74 was better for a civilian shooters needs.

  • toms

    I know where a few fully functioning ones are available outside of Russia for sale. Too bad it would take a lot of juice to import it.

    • Marcus Toroian

      With the CLEO demo letter, could a post sample not be imported by a C3 dealer?

  • The Firearm Blog itself recently posted a thorough explanation of how exactly the rifle works. Described in detail, with video schematics. Including detailed full takedown in the comments, spanning about 1,5 hours. What the hell? Is this news?

  • Jose

    I doubt any country will adopt that weapon. The inventor died twelve years ago, and without him, there’s no possibility of improving or re-design it for mass production. At the end, the Kalashnikov system remains supreme. Proof of that is the new AK-12 weapon systems; the AK-107 system; and the Saiga line of sporting rifles and shotguns. (Ironically, Mr. Nikonov designed the Saiga shotguns, based on the AK design.)

    • Lance

      I’d say the fact most CIS nations around Russia still use none M versions of AK-74 is proof how good the AK-74 still is.

  • ghost

    I think I see what the problem is, but I ain’t telling.

  • kev

    Hopefully the AEK 971 wont follow the same path. I say this because new reports from Russia say it and the AK 12 are being trialed till march, contradicting reports that the AK 12 was selected.

    • kev

      Slight error meant end of 2015 not march.

  • Mario AK

    Almost forgotten, what the hell TFB???

  • Lance

    Still in use by Russian Special Forces so its not totally obscure. It failed because it had too many parts and was thought to be too complex for Russian infantry. But still a cool rifle.

  • forrest1985

    Agreed, although i notice that the AK12 seems to have appeared in place of the AN94 more recently

  • guest

    If a DI AR “s***s where it eats” then the AN-94 “steps on its own d***”.
    IMHO here are the reasons:
    too complicated to maintain and clear in case of a jam

    completely wrong muzzle break makes the barrel wobble horribly as it has an AKM like effect of pushing the barrel down, multiplied by 10.
    Awkward layout with the slightely sideways canted mag, and the archaic handguard
    2 shot burst not such a big deal vs the complexity, and does not help much against full auto shake

    I think the balanced mechanics systems are way more promising, much less complex, and actually offer a clear and undeniable benefit of mitigating absolutely all impulses except for actual recoil. Now that’s a system to capitalize on, especially in the LMG replacement role for RPK and the like.

  • Mazryonh

    Is the AN-94’s strange-looking muzzle configuration actually effective at making a substantial amount of the rifle’s firing sound inaudible? I would think that if it was, it would have been replicated on later models of Russian rifles. It looks to me like it would keep a user from mounting a suppressor on the rifle as well.

    Also, if the supposedly-enhanced armour-piercing ability of the AN-94’s “hyperburst” function worked as advertised, then why have the Russians developed the 9x39mm armour-piercing round and a few weapons for it already instead of rolling out more “hyperburst” weapons in 5.45x39mm?