Vickers Goes to Russia to Play With AK-12

Color me insanely jealous. Russia is one of the few countries I did not have the pleasure to travel extensively during my tenure in defense sales. While I got to play with rifles in India, the Middle-East and SE Asia, I was never fortunate enough to play direct with the Russians.

Larry is able to showcase a few of the rifles new features compared to a standard AK-47 and AK-74. Unfortunately, it does not include the slow-motion footage seen in other videos by him (or another from Jerry Miculek):

  • The safety / selector is now ambidextrous and has four positions:
    • Safe
    • Two shot burst
    • Full auto
    • Semi-automatic (which the user has to run through all the others to get to, like the standard AK
  • Ambidextrous, reversible charging handle placed slightly forward on the left-hand side of the rifle.
  • Sprung magazine catch to kick-out magazines for faster reloads.
  • Fully adjustable and foldable stock.
  • New muzzle brake

The rifle on full-auto looks to be one sweet-shooter. The aggressive brake tames the rifle (and per Larry, is so aggressive it sends some blast back at the shooter).

I, for one, cannot wait for the new rifle to be released here in the United States, even if it cannot be manufactured in Mother Russia. I hope that it will create enough demand to keep 5.45 ammunition in plentiful supply (even though it is still inexpensive).

Nathan S

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


  • Vitsaus

    Ugly looking rifle, but seems like an interesting combination of features. Nothing too innovative, but its something. Will be interesting to see how it performs.

  • Dracon1201

    Released in the US? What are you talking about?

  • E.D. Sartin

    Nice rifle, did he give it the Vickers Crisco treatment first 🙂

    • Don Ward

      I thought the joke stopped being funny a couple weeks ago. I thought wrong!

  • tony

    that ejection port is massive
    Good stuff

    • Green Hell

      Probably a setup for every possible caliber, including future 12 gauge Saiga version.

      • tony

        Good point

  • Scott P

    This will never be made in the U.S., sorry.

    RWC LLC (aka “Kalashnikov USA”) has nothing to do with the real arsenal. All they are doing are sub-standard, cast part builds and slapping the Kalashnikov brand name to the side of their rifles charging a premium to ignorant gun owners who don’t know crap about AK’s.

    Plenty of U.S. companies struggle to just make a milspec, standard AK; I can only imagine how much harder it would be for them to make an AK-12 or AK-107 clone.

  • Green Hell

    Looks like most of the gun’s features are basicly built around a standart AK-74 lower. I don’t see why something like this can’t be made in US.

    • BrandonAKsALot

      Is AK. Has no lower. Just receiver.

      It’s quite a bit different. Having to iron out all the kinks in the design, since there won’t be one to reverse engineer, would be very costly. Continuously machining and redesigning stamping dies is a lot of work and cost.

      • Patriot Gunner

        And at the end of the day it wouldn’t be a reproduction, it would be a replica.

  • Nicholas Mew

    It has certainly gown on me for sure. 🙂

  • USMC03Vet

    Dat 2 round burst.

    In my dreams. O_O

  • Esh325

    Would it not be better to have semi as the first position? I wonder how much utility burst fire actually has in a rifle? My understanding is that burst fire usually requires a bit more complexity added to the trigger mechanism. The original AK-12 prototype did have a 3 round burst, they must have figured out the 2 round burst was more effective. It would be nice if they added an extended handguard rail with a detachable front sight. A cheek riser would also be nice. Overall the AK-12 looks really impressive, it seems to solve almost all the issues traditionally associated with the AKM/AK-74.

    • Green Hell

      Russian military training is different from American, automatic short burst fire is primary way of shooting, semi is reserved for long distances, and as far as i know, in US military semi is a primary and auto/burst is for supressive fire and emergencies only.

      • Esh325

        Yes. that could be the reason/

      • iksnilol

        Not really, it’s because of the safety. In a stressfull situation you slam down the safety which puts it on semi. While full auto demands more deliberate action.

  • SP mclaughlin

    Maybe we’ll reopen military relations with Russia after recent events in Paris and the Sinai Peninsula..gets my cheer up….

  • Patriot Gunner

    I like the AK platform as much as the next guy but there’s no way a halfway decent clone of this gun would ever be built here in the states, it would be too damn expensive. One of the AK’s downsides is in how it’s manufactured, its way too labor intensive and labor in the US ain’t cheap. That’s why a really nice AK costs upwards of 3K such as one from Rifle Dynamics, which at that point (IMHO) makes the gun not attractive. Headspacing and pinning an AK barrel takes an inordinate amount of time and is a giant pain the arse. This is just conjecture but I think the real reason why the Russians have spent so much time, energy and resources into updating the AK when they could have just developed a new gun from scratch is all the national pride associated with the AK. It is quintessentially Russian!

    • Esh325

      Why design a totally new rifle when you can update an existing one to meet your needs? It would appear the way the AK-12 is manufacturered isn’t much different from the AKM/AK-74. Still has a stamped sheet meta framel and maybe a press and pinned barrel, unless they went to back to threading the barrel into the receiver perhaps with the AK-12.

    • guest

      Wrong again. Both in USSR and in RF there is a HUGE amount of guns at state trials. Variations in design and function are also huge. But when US for example selects a rifle for general use, it does the exact same thing as Russia: is it familiar? Will it require re-traing? If yes, how much? Calibre change? Magazine change? Hence the M16 with all mods and M-4 with all mods is still in service and still being upgraded.
      And while US does like to play around with more designs that end up being adopted, Russia does not. For the same reason that the R-7 rocket laid out a very effective means of launching (whatever payload) into orbit, the “need” to design something from scratch never existed. There was however a need to improve the existing design, which is always less expensive than making something new as there are associated costs. It’s simple rationale – if it works, don’t change it. If there is an advantage its cost must be less than the upgrade, or the upgrade is so significant that it mitigates the cost.

      So when you say Russia spent too much time and energy for what is essentially a deep modernization of the 100 series AK, you are dead wrong. Having entire Izhmash convert to AN-94 production… or production of whatever else that is really different, and having the entire armed forces accept a completely different rifle would be a huge investment, and it would also be a gamle. AK based rifles are however rarely if ever a gamble.

      • Patriot Gunner

        Ok we’re getting closer to agreeing on something…spooky territory. Conjecture:an opinion or conclusion formed on the basis of incomplete information. I’m not Russian, do not live in Russia nor do any procurement for Russia’s armed forces, hence the “This is just conjecture,,,,” I am not one of the original 12 Apostles so please do not accept my word as God breathed. While your assessment of how procurement in the US is analyzed is accurate, the US is in NATO and procurement of new toys gets ugly when 27 other governments have to be factored into the equation, Russia doesn’t have that problem which does allow them more flexibility in that regard. And while your correct in that Russia does have various amounts of guns at state trials, the overwhelming vast majority of them are AK pattern based or share many similarities with the AK. My original point was that the AK is a great rifle, however, since Russia is at a junction point right now, IMHO (probably adds up to 2 cents) it would have been better to develop a new gun which took advantage of modern manufacturing processes to streamline logistics while at the same time fix some inherent design issues related to the AK. Again, you can’t argue the fact that building an AK is by design less efficient that building an AR or another similar modern modular rifle, like the SCAR for example.

  • Lance

    Larry got to play Spetz naz for a day…. Lucky guy. I agree we need to keep 5.45mm ammo cheap. Though I like Hornady or Winchester to make brass cased reloadable ammo in that caliber.

  • Esh325

    They actually said it’s impossible to bring the AK-12 to the USA due to sanctions.

    • nadnerbus

      I’m not sure of the specifics of the current Administration’s sanctions, but for normal importation of “assault weapons”, they can set up a factory to make the receiver in the US, and import and assemble all the other parts to that receiver.

      • Tritro29

        It’s a politically related sanction, IE when mya Rodina stops pummeling Ukraine and returns Krym, then you can entertain the idea of a semi auto AK-12E/SE. In other words, Net Ak-12 for you guys. Because CK is a “sponsor of Agression”.

        • RushinBearspray

          > stops pummeling Ukraine

          Done! …not that we were really pummeling it in the first place. You see the combined air strikes on the daesh two days ago? Now, that was pummeling! Too bad there’s really not much to pummel over there, other than sand. Now, if we pummeled the ukies like that, there would be some real damage. We like the ukies too much though.

          >returns Krym

          Never then. Would be political suicide for even the most liberal of Russian politicians who will never come to power. The ukies would best forget about Khrushchev ever gifting them Crimea and move on. It was never really theirs. Speaking as someone who is from Crimea…

          • guest

            Give up Crimea… LOL

            Just as that one time when US offered to “protect” russian ICBM silos from “terrorists” stealing nukes. Not even a russian hobo in a drunken stupor will accept this.

          • Tritro29

            Yeah, well their traktorists (and our MRB’s) put out of commission about roughly 25% of Ukraine’s AFV inventory (with about 40% of the tank force). When their guys were given the bilet, voenkomands were emptied or families started protesting, the war has halved the damn GPD. We pummelled them good, don’t worry.
            And yes Krym Nash, never going back etc. So that’s it, no AK-12 for the US, until every itsy bitsy rebel/terrorist has one.

        • nadnerbus

          I understand that, but I don’t believe there is anything they can do about the importation of parts, and the assembling of rifles on US built receivers. According to US law, that is a domestically built gun. It would piss off the administration, but Putin doesn’t seem too concerned with that.

          Though maybe there is some additional level to the sanctions that I don’t know about.

          • Tritro29

            Maybe, the problem is that the rifle needs to be channelled to the Russian Armed Forces first, then maybe, maybe CK will look at exports in SDK or completely separate pieces. I think given the political nature, even those SDK’s will get flaged as well.

    • Rocketman

      The national embarrassment will only be in office another year and perhaps President Trump will be more understanding to shooters.

  • BrandonAKsALot

    And my pants are ruined.

  • mechamaster

    I think someone can made “Pseudo AK-12” with Valmet / Galil-style upper AK ( especially in the gas tube ) or slightly modified the existing AK trunnion, combined with Saiga MK107 full monolithic rail, and some magpul furniture. ( maybe Krebbs can do the job )

  • Esh325

    Conventional wisdom would say that the the AK-12 is still cheaper and quicker to fabricate because of the metal stampings, but some would suggest that manufacturing processes for the AR15 have improven so much that there is little advantage in terms of costs and the amount of time it takes with a stamped sheet metal receiver. I’m not sure what the real answer is though. It’s possible they could have made the AK-12 out of polymer,magnisum, and aluminim and have an upper and lower receiver, but for what ever reason they decided to stick with the same sheet metal receiver.

    • Patriot Gunner

      Yeah your right about the receiver, but keep in mind that unlike an AR the AK does require a lot of hand fitting, riveting, welding, barrel pinning, sight alignment etc. It’s all these processes that can’t be automated that add to the time of manufacture and time = money. The AR platform has really taken advantage of modern CNC’s and robotic automation. It really hit me how labor intensive it is to build an AK when I saw one made from a flat to a functioning rifle. It really made me appreciate the AR that much more.

  • guest

    Cool story bro about “knowing people at Izhmash”, but USSR did not make rifles for the sake of making rifles. It never did. Nothing in a planned economy (which USSR had) ever was this way. There were blunders, huge ones as far as supply and demand go, but never did it do anything just for the sake of doing it.
    And the people at Izhmash would be just as clueless to the use of their products as an AT&T helpdesk operator in the states would be clueless as to what NSA is doing to their phone lines and how. The two worlds simply do not collide, and very rigorous “need to know basis” was modus operandi of every single defence manufacturer and their employees.

  • jcitizen

    But can you hit anything with it at 300 meters? That is my question. The only AK variant I’ve ever had that could was a Valmet!

    • iksnilol

      Did you try zeroing the sights? Maybe sliding the tangent thingy to the “300” marking?

      • jcitizen

        Of the twelve or thirteen variants I tried over the years, you were lucky to get groups that a dinner plate could cover at 75 meters. So expecting hits at any greater distance wasn’t even worth trying. I sold all of my AKs but the Krinkov copy cat pistol I had, as I don’t expect long range accuracy in a pistol anyway. My Valmet could hit wild dogs, almost without error with iron sights at 600 meters. I really do regret selling it, but I’m thinking of negotiating it back from the dearly departed dealer’s family.

        • iksnilol

          What was the Valmet chambered for? 600 meters seems like 5.56 territory.

          • jcitizen

            Believe it or not it was 7.62 x 39mm, but all those shots were downhill also, so I did have a slight advantage that way. Where I live in wide open country, you get good at Kentucky windage – but I had a case of the ammo and did a LOT of offhand shooting with it, I enjoyed it so much so, that it became an extension of my arm, in a way. I had it slung over my shoulder every where I went. Probably 75% of the kills were within 175 meters. One thing about wild dogs – when they spot you they don’t mess around, they know they are dead meat if they don’t run their tails off. Getting a first shot at them while they are unsuspecting is critical or they will simply outrun you. I had a powerful CCW two cylinder two stroke ATV that could out run cars on the highway running in a pasture; but I could not catch up to a wild dog with a head start; they were just too wily and fast. Hunting them is more sport than any regular game animal could ever be! They do a lot of damage to cattle, and that hits my pocket book, so they become enemy number one. I don’t even bother hunting coyotes that much. Coyotes are too easy to fool, and set ambush for. Besides they help keep the rabbit and prairie dog population in check