New Photos of AK-74 Upgrade Package For Russian Army (Courtesy Larry Vickers)

Via his Facebook page, Larry Vickers shares with us some photos of a prototype upgraded AK-74 rifle, made by Kalashnikov Concern and adopted by the Russian Army:



Kalashnikov’s upgrades are designed for both the AK-74M and the more common fixed-stock AK-74 rifle. Here, an AK-74 is modified with a 74M-style folding butt, similar to retrofit kits that have been available on the US market for years. The top cover is similar to but distinct from the Texas Weapons System top cover, and the modified safety lever is extremely similar to a Kreb’s lever.






The new top cover/rear sight design offers a Texas Weapons Systems-type mount with a two-position flip up back up rear sight.



Unlike the TWS top cover, the new AK-74 upgrade package has a claw that probably acts to tension the top cover.



The new front handguard pattern slides and locks onto this bracket mounted to the barrel.




The handguard on this particular rifle appears to be a 3D-printed prototype. The design offers additional rail space, but appears to delete the heat shield of the old AK handguards.



AK top handguards have the freedom to rotate about the axis of the gas tube, a characteristic that makes them obviously unsuited to a Picatinny-type rail installment. KC has opted to fix this through a spring loaded locking lever that sits flush within the rail.



The new top handguard incorporates KeyMod slots, or something very much like them. The mounting system seems well thought out and solid.



The new muzzle brake appears to combine the functions of the AK-74 muzzle brake and a sound moderator. Without these parts attached, it functions identically to the old brake, but installing them most likely gives it sound moderation properties. The machined ridges on the external sleeve suggest it is sized for grenade launching, though I am unaware of what grenades would fit that very wide diameter.



The new pattern grip sports what may be a more comfortable contour and a compartment for what appears to be an oil reservoir.



The insides of the moderator when assembled. The standard AK brake or something like it is inside, and the device fits at the muzzle. There are no visible threads and it most likely is held on by the external sleeve.




A new Western-looking multi-position stock completes the modernization package.


The modernization package offers the Russian Army the option to retrofit existing rifles to a newer standard, most likely with a significant cost-savings versus buying new AK-12s which are expected to cost the equivalent of about $1,000 per. I suspect the Russian Army will pursue both strategies, retrofitting AK-74s to the new standard and adopting the AK-12 or A545 in more limited numbers, slowly replacing existing and worn-out rifles with the new type.

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


  • I like the oil can grip.

    • Giolli Joker

      It’s clearly for vodka.

      • iksnilol

        You would need some strong liquor in such a small bottle.

        • Absinthe?

          • iksnilol

            I dunno, I don’t drink. I would probably use it for Skittles.

          • Anon

            That’s how you get candy into movie theaters, right?

          • iksnilol

            That was dark… :O

            Still funny, though.

          • milesfortis


        • Core

          In Russia the vodka drinks you..

      • Joshua

        Everyone know the AK need no oil, clearly for vodka.

      • USMC03Vet

        Scuttlebutt is that it’s Putin musk cologne. Emergency mainly scent for if a bear attacks or better yet spineless world leaders suddenly appear.

        • TheNotoriousIUD

          Probably a ninja smoke bomb that makes your shirt disappear.

      • Yallan

        Probably graphite powder for subzero temperatures.

    • Jimmy D

      Stupid idea. Oil always leaches into cracks and other areas and the grip is the last place I’d want this happening.

    • It looks more like a hollow plastic part with a leaf spring that holds the standard cleaning and maintenance kit – cylindrical thingie with a cap. Besides, why should we suddenly start lugging oil inside AKs after 50 years?

      • iksnilol

        Isn’t the cleaning kit a bit big to be stored in the grip?

      • John

        Because despite the AK’s legendary reputation, machines still need lubrication to run well.

        If you don’t like it, fill it with vodka. Or water. Or a water-based lube. Use your imagination, people!

        • Lubricating agents are indispensable, but they have always been supplied in separate oil containers. MEANWHILE, all army AKs have a cylindrical cleaning kit container in them – mandatory to have at all times and included as a part in the takedown procedure. Now, it was always kept in the stock, and the stock is now skeleton, and the rifle is meant to be issued to troops, so…

          …why the smirk?

  • Anon

    Inb4 RIDF shows up cause reasons

  • Joshua

    I don’t know if those are keymod or just how the rail fits together.

    • I agree, the pictures don’t make it obvious.

  • iksnilol

    I wonder how Larry Vickers got his Russian contacts? I mean, he has all the inside scoops on Russian arms industry.

    Not complaining, it’s nice to say the least.

    • toms

      The Russians have been actively courting our gun industry people for several years. It’s part of their propaganda and sympathetic outreach program. Nothing involving firearms, defense, or politics is done ad hoc in Russia anymore. It all has some purpose.They are also partially funding separatist, environmental, and anti establishment coalitions in many states/countries including the US. Nothing new just a new face on an old game. I sure they milk Mr. Vickers for information whenever he does visit Moscow or pick his mind for new ideas. Their news agencies pump out articles whenever famous foreigners visit.

      • mud

        Did you just call the LAV a “commie spy?”

        • G0rdon_Fr33man

          No, just a useful idiot. “toms” is 100% correct. This has not changed since good ol´ KGB.

          • Yallan

            Russian hotties may be a factor and should not to be underestimated.

          • G0rdon_Fr33man

            Russian hotties may or may not be FSB honeypots 😛

          • n0truscotsman

            Toms is correct about nothing. It is a word salad of dumbassery that equals or surpasses the nonsense being peddled by the conspiracy industry.

            If the FSB wanted to acquire intelligence via elicitation from foreigners entering the country, then a former SFOD-D operator would probably be the *worst* choice. Just sayin.

            I swear, some people can turn the most innocuous things into elaborate conspiracies.

          • G0rdon_Fr33man

            Not even what toms said. It is not about solicitation of information.

          • n0truscotsman

            Not even?

            Because this is what was said above, ” I sure they milk Mr. Vickers for information whenever he does visit Moscow or pick his mind for new ideas. ”

            Sounds like “elicitation” to me.

          • G0rdon_Fr33man

            You got too much time on your hand.

      • Core

        The truth is it’s good practice to collaborate and learn from others in the know. I’m sure they don’t view Larry Vickers as overt intelligence asset. It’s likely just part of the effort to market Kalashkinov products to support the struggling economy.

      • Giolli Joker

        “Nothing involving firearms, defense, or politics is done ad hoc in Russia anymore. It all has some purpose.”

        Quite contradictory… I don’t think you really meant to use “ad hoc”…

        • ostiariusalpha

          I think he meant it is done for purposes exterior to the scope of a product release. In that sense it is not ad hoc.

        • toms

          Without planning and purpose= Ad Hoc although it has many different uses this was my intended one

          • Giolli Joker

            Ad hoc means for a specific purpose… something like a customized, bespoke solution…
            That’s what gave me the doubt.
            (In Italy we get to study Latin, something, a little, sticks…)

          • ostiariusalpha

            Ad hoc = per questo.
            Ma via, è ovvio.

      • Wolfgar

        Unlike our own government which has nothing but disdain for our gun industry except when it tries to illegally sell guns to the Mexican drug cartels.

      • n0truscotsman

        Lots of conspiracy theory nonsense, with the bit about them funding anti-establishment groups in the US being corporatist propaganda (recently published in the scum bathroom wall that is politico).

        I swear some people act just as ridiculous as RT and Pravda.

        I would also think a former SFOD-D operator would understand the concept behind intelligence elicitation…

        • toms

          Whatever dude, All that I said is true. It’s a Well know fact Russia is supporting Texas separatists, European “clean energy initiatives” ect. The Russians view the American gun owner as more than just a source of revenue. They see us as a potentially sympathetic audience willing to except their narrative on world events. Yes it is business but almost anything good for Russia is bad for us.

          • n0truscotsman

            Yeah, whatever yourself right back, ‘dude’. I know where you sourced that information from. The politico article than was pure speculation that resorted to a lot of ass pulling for information. Business as usual for a MSM mouthpiece wanting to perpetuate the idea that Russia is another cold war rival and similar in theme to the right wing bullshit about communists infiltrating green party/environmentalist movements in the US.

            The idea that you could equate that ridiculous conspiracy to increased Russian exposure to small arms is ridiculous

            “Yes it is business but almost anything good for Russia is bad for us”

            The opposite, in fact, is true, because of simple economics. Even discounting that for a second, more exposure of their firearms industry is not bad for anybody.

  • Esh325

    While the AK-12 is most likely a better rifle, it’s more practical to just upgrade existing rifles that are still perfectly relevant to today’s battlefield. Like suggested, the AK12 will likely be a sf and police rifle for Russia.

    • John

      This upgrade kit actually seems to address a lot of modern problems. The grip is the first thing most AK owners in the U.S. change out, followed by some kind of rail system. I like it; Russia always tried to be practical and realistic about their small arms, which is why the Kalashnikov series looks like it does; function over form and the soldier makes the gun, not the other way around.

      That said, the stock is an odd choice. I wonder why they couldn’t use the AK-12 version with a cheek riser.

      • mechamaster

        Maybe, it can be used with commonly available AR stock. So it’s add more wide option for the user.

        • roguetechie

          More options is only a good thing when said options are actually better than just getting economies of scale going by having the Chinese make AK-12 stocks en masse and manufacturing whatever hardware and trunnion modifications in Russia. Plus doing it that way means that most likely someone in China would offer them to U.S. buyers… Lord knows I’d be in for one up front to test it then at least half a dozen more if it’s acceptable.

      • Esh325

        It’s possible they could add a cheek riser down the road

  • USMC03Vet

    No thanks. Gimme dat magpul Zhukov-s furniture and RS side rail.

  • Yallan

    Nice on the sound moderator, I also expect it to eliminate most of the flash for night use. In effect a micro suppressor. It also solves the dust kicked up by the muzzle brake when sniping. Very impressive, hope western armies license it.

    • mechamaster

      Maybe something like FERFRANS CRD muzzle device system for AK ? ( looks similar in concept, and maybe Russian take a hint from this. )

      • Giolli Joker

        Well, I’d rather say that all of those devices took a hint from the muzzle device of the AK74SU, improperly named “krinkov” in the U.S.
        It’s not by chance that one of the first of those American devices, by Noveske, was named Krink.
        This new iteration however might actually have some sound moderating effect, that is not present in the others.

  • 6.5x55Swedish

    Does anyone know the function of the “funnel”? It is used often by MGs but I’ve never quite gotten why they use it over a normal muzzle brake.

    • NDS

      Some of the earliest flash hiders were actually called “flash cones”, and while not as effective as a modern birdcage design they did help lessen muzzle flash. Some designs like the AKS-74U are there to add backpressure to increase reliability or in the case of the MG42 boost recoil at the muzzle for the same purpose.

      This looks like a combination flash hider and muzzle booster; all wrapped up functioning as a basic suppressor core. Smart.

  • That sounds a bit expensive for a furniture upgrade.

  • Kivaari

    It looks like it could use some cleaning and oiling. AKs are in need of product improvement. Finland and Israel made great variants. The Russians could use help in improving them.

    • jcl

      They already taking notes, AK 12 and A-545 have many feature that originally from Galil and Valmet

      • Tritro29

        Such as? There’s one thing the Russians should take from the RK family. That’s the raw material. Everything else was done before. I’d rather hope Russians would look at SIG rather than Valmet.

        • jcl

          – AK 12 gas tube now locked in place by dust cover instead of rear sight trunnion, just like Galil and Valmet.
          – AK 12 and A-545 rear sight moved to dust cover just like Galil and Valmet.
          – AK 12 has ambidextrous selector like Galil Ace.
          – AK 12 has one piece front handguard like Galil.
          – AK 12 front sight moved to gas block just like Galil and Valmet.
          – A-545 lower receiver resemble Micro Galil’s receiver. But the polymer trigger group unit, pistol grip and retractable stock resemble MP5A3.

          • Tritro29

            You missed the 60’s bonanza of modifications. There are many things you ignore about Soviet small arms. Including many things you attribute to Valmet or Galil.

            °Ambidextrous selector? Check former Dragunov Carbine work. °Rear sights on back or “dust cover”? Same, look at Simonov Assault rifles.
            °Selector? Done by both Simonov and Ceska Zbrojka.
            °A545 ressembles nothing like G’lilion. Look at the initial prototype (. They Ressemble the Cetme LC whick looks like the MP5. But that’s the cosmetic part. The interesting part is the Drum type dioptre straight out of SIG 550 series.
            °One piece handguard? Lel? You sure about that sonny?
            °Gasblock front post? You sure know anything about the AL series or AO series of weapons?

  • Lance

    Like the new pistol grip and addons for the muzzle break but stock is only thing that looks like crap on the rifle.

    I did say the AK-74 will solder on while AK-12 is another special rifle like the AN-94 was.

  • mosinman

    it’s probably been tested…. hence the dirt and wear

    • Giolli Joker

      In the mean time in the US you can pay a premium for the “battle worn” cerakote finish…

      • mosinman


  • SlippedThroughTheCracks

    Russia = turd
    America = Turd with coat of paint

  • Don Ward

    I don’t know of any good Russkie commercial products…


  • G0rdon_Fr33man

    He´s got the biggest mouth known to man, and likely a inversely proportional sized di*k

    • Giolli Joker

      Why the hate?
      His videos are cool and often uncover stuff that is hard to find elsewhere, at least on English language sources.

  • andrey kireev

    Likely reason for rust is the fact that Russians are using that old corrosive surplus ammo… muzzle brake on my Bulgie 74 has some rust on it as well.

  • Blake

    It appears that you can use the iron sights by simply removing whatever’s on the rail. If this is the case, it’s certainly preferable to flip-up BUIS.

    Very good example of form-follows-function. If you like your AKs good & ugly, then this one is the queen…

    • ostiariusalpha

      No co-witness though. I’m not a big fan of flip sights, but they deploy faster than trying to remove a failed optic.

  • SP mclaughlin

    Merlin holosight?

    • Tritro29


  • Max Glazer

    I disagree with some of these features.

    There is no need to delete side rail and change the top cover to one with the rail. All one needs to do is add a side-rail-to-picattini low-sitting adapter to the soldiers kit. Done. If soldier has money for the sight, or the sight is provided, he can easily install it. And that means BOTH types of sight, either one for Picattini and Weaver rail, or for the side rail.

    That stock is a shocker. AK-12 one is a MUCH better design being smooth which doesn’t catch onto clothing. This one would grab onto everything.

    That flip-up rear sight is pathetic. Gone is the range adjustment and also its clarity. Its design implies that AK that is modernized in this manner will have a collimator or a red-dot sight as a primary targeting system. Knowing Russian military and how well-off (or not-so-well-off) Russian conscripts are, this will not be the case and the soldiers will be left with this abomination of a sight where one also has to look THROUGH that rail to see the backup iron sights. And THAT would be a total pain.

  • guest

    Note that this is a PROTOTYPE! NOT an issued kit!

    And no surprise there: screwed-on instead of pinned-on clamp with very long bolts, quad rail under the barrel that is seen fitted with a handgrip (not a necessity), which most certainly won’t allow the tube to be mounted there… the whole kit has a very “commercial” look about it TBH, except for the discrete little moderator, now that is the single part that can actually give an advantage.

    • That example is a prototype, yes, but apparently deliveries have already begun of the final kit.

      • guest

        Apparently the AN-94 was accepted. Apparently.

  • Sianmink

    Why does the pistol grip look like it came off a NERF N-Strike gun?

    • patrickiv

      I thought the same thing. Whatever works I guess.

  • Uncle Webkins

    What kind of glass are we looking at here?

    • Tritro29

      Krechet Collimator. Poor choice with Obzor and Rakurs being available.

  • crackedlenses

    Overall, I like it. Reminds me of our efforts to upgrade the M4 carbine here in the US.

    I would venture that the M4’s upgrades are more game-changing; alternately, perhaps the AK-74 does not need the level of improvement that the M4 requires.

  • Vitsaus

    Looks heinous.

  • roguetechie

    That 3 piece muzzle device kit is awesome, and what I’m betting the XM177 muzzle brake should have evolved into. Looking at the individual pieces reminds me instantly of the flash suppressor & muzzle brake accessories sarco etc sold for m1 carbines which could be mounted individually or combined.

    Now add in a version of the finnish

  • jcl

    Like I said in my previous post, I never said Soviet doesn’t have any weapon with dust cover rear sight, ambidextrous selector or gasblock front sight, it just they never standardized it on their AK; “Dragunov” MA mean it’s not an AK. So I think Galil is the first AK variant to standardized all of those features in their rifle, carbine, and machine gun variant.

    I consider the top picatinny rail to be part of the dust cover not the handguard, look at this comparison:
    The handguard of both rifles cover both the barrel and gas piston area, the different is Galil Ace’s picatinny rail is attached to the tube while AK 12’s rail is part of the dust cover with hooks in the gas tube to attach it.

    Btw, thanks for sharing me the info about the Dragunov MA, it seems to be an interesting design. It seems to use hinged barrel trunnion with rail in lower receiver just like PPSh-41:

  • Tritro29

    You said features that originally come from Valmet or Galil. I provided you many refutal points. You didn’t said standardized or any such implication. You said the AK was incorporating features that came from foreign designs. Well, they weren’t. AT ALL.

    There’s also something you just avowed. You don’t know who Dragunov worked for…He worked for Izhmash. Yup, sonny Dragunov worked at the same place with Mikey K. The features retained for the AKM/S/AKS-74 etc were mostly economically thought. That has nothing to do with being standardized. It had to do with the horrible Log Train of the Red Army. Dust cover rear sight? Israeli AK’s? From 1960’s, Lel you know something about the Rk 60? Or the AKM variants proposed?

    Yo mean the “magwell”? See Dragunov rifle again and AEK initial prototype. They have same same half assed “magwell”.

    Now Israeli AK’s? Do you mean Galils or Ak’s? Most Israeli AK’s were captured and almost not modified. It is because of the mass capture of these rifles from 1967 onwards that Israel decided to give the RK62 and 70 a try. They half-assed the job initially with weaker guns structurally than the Valmets. That led to a gradually heavier Galil.
    There’s been almost no ambidextrous rifle fielded (bar the AUG and SAR).

    After all this, NO current design of both competing service rifles doesn’t stem from Rk’s or Galils. It stems from CK’s infatuation with making the AK12 look like a foreign gun. In the same manner ZID has made the A545 look like a retarded looking German from the Volga. I rest my case.

    • jcl

      I already posted several replies but my comments always in pending or not appearing, so here’s the short version:
      – I already posted a reply admitting the wording of my original post could be miscontrued as Russia copying Israeli and Finnish design, this is not my intention and for this I am sorry.
      – I know there are other Russian weapon that posses features like dust cover sight, ambi selector and gasblock front sight, but I was talking about standard issue AK not prototype or proposed variants. I agree the reasons they weren’t standardized are the logistical burden to change manufacturing tools, the already existing spare parts of the ol designs, and because the existing design work fine for that time.
      – When i said Israeli AK, i meant Galil, not any captured AK. Finnish Rk already have the modifed front and rear sight although most of them don’t have ambi selector. So Galil and Rk are the first mass produced AK variant with those features. Russia also had modified AK with unconventional features for limited uses by special forces but AK 12 is the first mass produced Russian AK which standardized those features. So when I said “originally” I meant Galil and Rk are the first AK to adopt those features, not that their engineers invented it and Russia only knowing it now. So I admit it was a poor choice of word.
      – When you said Russia taking note from SIG because of diopter sight in A-545 is that because you 100% sure Russia never design such optic before and the current one is inspired by SIG?
      – When I said ambidextrous I meant ambidextrous selector, not ambidextrous ejection. AK 12 main advantage over previous AK design is its charging handle is ambidextrous and could be switched easily.
      – As for A-545 and Micro Galil receiver, they both seems to have weight reducing cuts on front receiver that I never saw on any Russian made milled receiver weapon, so I assume it was at least partly inspire by it. But if you have information about any Russian weapon that A-545 receiver more likely to be based on feel free to share it.
      – It seems we could both agree they make A-545 look like german weapon with that polymer unit and retractable stock.
      – The Dragunov MA seems to be a unique weapon, it has hinged barrel trunnion like PPSh-41, thanks for sharing it, btw.

      • Tritro29

        Ok, I’ll issue my own set of apologies and reckon I got carried away. Two quick notes as I need to work now. The dioptre is straight out of SIG because while the HK-version is clamped,the current SIG goes with a whole length rail. And the Dioptre is larger than both HK and SIG. There are Russian rifles with Dioptres, but they’re mostly biathlon, performance shooting rifles. Let now be peace. Cheers.

        • jcl

          Thank you for your explanations. Cheers.

  • Stephen Beat

    I’m a bit disappointed in this package. But I suppose it’s the easy and cheapest route…Would have preferred a package done by Zenitco.

  • SD

    Still looks like a ghetto prototype. I doubt it’ll see widespread adoption, if at all. The Russians have no money.

  • whamprod

    A question and an observation….

    A) is their rail the same M1913 picatinny standard as ours?

    B) am I the only one who thinks that the rail looks like it was designed for use on farm equipment?

  • Ananth Murugael

    Russian ak 12 is awesome. but current model Ak74m , ak 100 series still doing well their jobs. kalashnikov concern should bring an intermediate solutions between ak 12 and exciting ak 100 series . I mean an hybrid version of classical ak platform (bolt group, receiver, safety selector) with new ak 12 barrel group (fore-end, improved barrel grooves , extended picatinny rail upper receiver ).it would make sense at classical aks with latest features, like as American / bulgarian arsenal gun makers developing at their ak s for their customers. same as , kalashnikov concern also could bring it’s earlier proto type with these ergonomic features to world market as new rifle the so called Ak 200.