AK-12 Adoption Pushed Back To 2016; Rifle To Be Improved

An AK-12 rifle at IWA 2015

The AK-12 rifle, slated to be adopted by the Russian Army in some capacity late this year, has been delayed in production until 2016. According to Russian news media sources, the rifle will undergo a series of improvements of an unspecified type. From military-informant.com:

Latest AK-12 Russian military will have only one year – Adopt the machine is delayed due to the need to refine its design, according to “Rossiyskaya Gazeta”. 

According to the deputy chairman of the board of the Military-Industrial Commission Oleg Bochkarev, in 2015 will only begin troop operation, and the first production batch of AK-12, you should reap the army only a year later.
However, Bochkarev assured that the machine has received preliminary tests on non-critical comments and shortly after the improvements, it tests continue.”

It’s unclear whether the new Kalashnikov is being delayed because problems have cropped up in testing, or whether further improvements are being incorporated into the rifle. The AK-12 brings the Kalashnikov rifle family essentially up to par with Western developments like the M4 and SCAR, so there’s a nontrivial chance that Russian engineers are seeking to include improvements that could make it more competitive than those Western platforms, or even that they may be seeking to leapfrog the Western rifle designs in capability.

The Military-Informant article mentions that the AK-12 will be chambered for 6.5 Grendel; this may not be the case, as there exists a different Russian caliber also designated 6.5×39 that may be the fifth chambering of the rifle mentioned in certain literature, after the 5.45×39, 7.62×39, 5.56×45, and 7.62x51mm. As far as this author knows, all mentions of the 6.5 Grendel specifically as the fifth chambering cite a source that is no longer available for verification.

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.


  • guest

    its not really needed in russian army. there is nothing ak12 can do that 74 series can not, and there around 17 million of them in storage

    • Sergey

      I can name 3. Out of the box the AK74 isn’t:

      Does not have a QD suppressor.
      Does not have rail room for night and targeting optics.

      • Hokum

        + finally the bolt catch
        But I can’t share Nathaniel’s optimism about the leapfrogging other modern rifles. Version about some flaws discovered in first batches sound more realistic. But time will tell.

        • Jay

          AK12 is something put together in a hurry, on the cheap, by izhmash, when the army said it’s not going to buy anymore ak74s. Very little thought went into the design. It’s basicallt an ak with rails and better safety, something, small aftermarket shops could do and in some cases did for a long time.
          It had problems during the trials. Most testers liked the competing rifle better, but I think AK12 is cheaper and izhmash is “too big to fail”.

          • Slim934

            What was the competing rifle?

          • pbla4024


        • Jay

          So yeah. I agree with you. It’s most likely something that needs to be fixed.

        • I am sure there were flaws (there always are with new rifles), but I wouldn’t be surprised if Russian engineers were seeking further improvements.

      • Riot

        It does have a side rail for night and targeting optics.

      • morocco

        1. Actually vanilla AK is quite left hand user friendly, albeit it was done unintentionally. And 10 percent of users is the number that does not count much in military calculations when it comes to outfitting army based on mass conscription.

        2. If you are average soldier from say, mechanized infantry, then why would you need the quick detachment of muzzle devices? It is not that you country will issue you with all the latest gizmos seen on 3 gun matches or CoD: Advanced Warfare anyway.

        3. AK-74M has the side rail mount. Certain older models labelled “N” also feature side mounts. Again, its not that the country will waste resources to outfit every conscript with optics. Those who are trained with the use of optics and whose deployment requires it, are issued with adequate rifle.

        My guess is that AK-12 will be adopted in limited numbers with the special units and then it will slowly trickle down to certain “model” units of their army, but it will never supplant AK-74 variants entirely, as long as RF armed forces are based on conscription – that means indefinitely, conscription being a political matter and a perceived as tool for patriotic education. Adoption of military small arms is always firstly a matter of economical compromise and only secondly – performance and ergonomics.

  • Nicholas Mew

    Makes sense.

  • Tassiebush

    This prompted me to read over the previous AK12 articles and it definitely seems like a great improvement on the existing platform. It’s solved the mag change speed ergonomics and full auto control and seems modern sight compatible. I wonder what these final fixes are for?

    • iksnilol

      From what I have seen the mag changes are just as fast if you are keeping the magazine. If not keeping the magazine, then the AR with push button mag release and drop free mag is faster by about a 1-1.5 seconds.

      What interests me about it is the last round hold open, switchable ejection side and of course the reduced weight (while still having all those rails).

  • MPWS

    Is it the long rumoured re-calibration; it’s about time, isn’t it? Starting with new round would add the final push to justify the project.

  • buzzman1

    I’m betting it will be 7.62 x 39 in the end. The cost of rebuilding the huge russian infrastructure needed to produce the new round would be both cost prohibitive but also take much more than a year. It would leave them unable to produce enough ammunition fast enough to support the fielding to no one other than special forces types. Additionally their combat doctrine hasnt changes significantly in the last 60 years which negates the need for a different round. Improvements to the AKM platform has extended its max effective range out to about 500m which would be the about the 6.5’s effective range. The 7.62 x 39 bullet weight is already light so they would (guessing) go to a 90 – 95 grain bullet which would not serve any real purpose (my opinion) but lets see. Russians are good at coming up with interesting tings and building garbage.

    • Do you mean the 5.45×39 round? That is currently standard issue.

      • All the Raindrops

        I know, right? Lol this guy is clueless. I don’t even wanna start.

  • Green Hell

    I’m Russian and trust me, don’t let the loud word “adopted” fool you, since about 90’s it means literally nothing. There were a lot of firears, military vehicles, aircrafts “adopted” in Russian military and draged to every parade, tradeshow and exibition, but witch you will probably never see in the hands of a regular military because like less then 100 are made. My guess is AK-74M’s, T-72, Mi-24 and Mig-29 are not going anywhere to being fully replaced any time soon.

    • Brian M

      Да да да, конечно.

      You are correct.

      Nat, thanks for this article. Great showing as of late. 🙂

    • Esh325

      This does seem to be unfortunately true. The AN-94 was actually officially adopted by the Russian military, even though it wasn’t in actuality adopted in any significant numbers. I even remember a Russian army recruiting video that featured the AN-94 even though they weren’t even used.

  • some_guy


  • mechamaster

    What really they need to improve it’s caliber conversion, and easy to use iron sight design like H&K or galil diopter sight style.

    • All the Raindrops

      You’re not going to be doing any caliber conversions on an AK without a workshop.

      if you look at the pics, the sight radius is massively long, and it looks to have a new kind of rear sight that is right up against the eyeball.

      In 6.5 grendel, with ak reliability and lighter weight and increased modularity, it pretty much is leapfrogging most western designs. Maybe not a revolution, but certainly an evolution.

      • Esh325

        I believe the AK-12 uses a peep sight. You can move the sight to any position on the flat top rail that you want. Yes, the current models of the AK-12 do not appear to be conversion friendly. Perhaps the final version will be, or they’ll make a separate version that’s capable of it.

  • Esh325

    There has been so much contradictory evidence reports from the Russian media. Years ago you heard they had no interest in the AK-12 because of too many AK-74s in stocks, then you hear AEK is the prefered rifle to the AK-12 then later on for some reason they just give up trialing the AEK all together against the AK-12 and choose the AK-12 without any giving reason. I won’t believe the AK-12 is adopted until I see it being used in Russian hands.

  • Grindstone50k

    “Latest AK-12 Russian military will have only one year – Adopt the machine is delayed due to the need to refine its design, according to “Rossiyskaya Gazeta”.

    I read that in a Russian accent.

  • I’m curious about what the standard ball projectile of the 6.5×39 will be. If has the same velocity independent tumbling of the 5.45×39, combined with an inexpensive but modern rifle in the form of the AK12, that could be a great leap forward in evolution.

  • Sar Freeman

    f uck the russia

    • Zugunder

      Leave it to yourself, brah

  • Max Glazer

    AK-12 will not “bring AK family up to par with M-4”. Accessories mounting notwithstanding (already rectified by Zenitco anyway) it was on par with M-4 since AK-74M in 1994.