LAV Goes Hands-On With Pre-Production AK-400

Larry Vickers is a lucky guy. Heading over to Russia, he was able to go hands-on with the latest iterations of the Kalashnikov platform. Dubbed the “AK-400” the rifle is one of the latest versions to come from Mother Russia.

The pre-production AK400 is a relatively tame (but welcome) update to the venerable AK platform. Weapons manipulation is identical to previous iterations.  It features a folding stock that moves the latch button from the side of the gun to the rear, a pistol grip that features removable storage, and adds a picatinny rail with the iron sights moved to the very rear of the gun.

The picatinny is a welcome change. Unlike common aftermarket kits which simply add the rail to the exisiting top cover and suffer a wandering zero, the AK 400 solves that by sliding the top cover off the base receiver and locking it into place. As such, the rail is near uninterrupted.

The gas system is changed to a two-position gas block and changes the operation from long to short-stoke operation (OK, some may not call this update “tame”…). with the front iron sight built into the gas block. Then, the handguard is mounted directly to the receiver, which free-floats the barrel.

Check out the video with LAV below:

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.


  • Swarf

    From all I’ve heard about how he teaches his classes, a more accurate descriptor would be “inattentive cheesedick money-sponge”, but sure, let’s go with yours.

    • Drake

      I like your depiction of him better than my own Swarf.

  • Vitor Roma

    Short stroke AK…DI AK next?

    • Major Tom

      No. The Russians know better than to build that kind of junk.

      • toms

        Are you serious? When the Russians build a 5lb sub moa rifle as reliable as the AR, get back to us.

        • nanmme

          Russians could do that in a lunch break, if they had the same budget as an AR.

          • Paul Epstein

            Are you serious?

            The AR wasn’t designed by a huge team of US government scientists. It was created by a small team of very smart guys using what materials and tools their parent company wasn’t using at the moment.

            I would bet my life that the Russian *Government* spent far more developing this from the AK-74 than Armalite did developing the AR-10 and 15 from scratch.

          • Uniform223

            “I would bet my life that the Russian *Government* spent far more developing this from the AK-74 than Armalite did developing the AR-10 and 15 from scratch”

            > we have to think about the Ruble to Dollar exchange ratio 🙂

          • Tritro29

            Haha…too bad it’s a M43 rifle…you should watch the footage before talking.

        • iksnilol

          I doubt an AR that weighs under 2.3 kg is going to be sub moa capable. At least not for 5 or 10 shot groups.

        • Tritro29

          It’s called the A545 it shoots submoa with Match Grade amo and the Kalashnikov Mafia doesn’t want it to exist. Yeah…Also you should watch your wording, Iszhmash target rifles are all basically 5pounds, shoot submoa and reliably…

      • RickOAA .

        Armalite designed a good rifle. The US gubment went and screwed it all up. The AR-15/M-16/M4 series of rifles have set the standard since. Piston drive is not magic sauce.

        • Shocked_and_Amazed✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

          But piston drive do make magic circle of discussion like they have on liberal campuses

    • mechamaster

      I prefer the Tavor-style gas piston or Holloway Arms HAC-7 ( semi D.I / Long-stroke hybrid design ) for AK.

    • Tritro29

      Nope that’s a Dragunov Rifle made smaller.

  • LG

    How about “more smoke, less carbon”?

    • Must have used Fireclean in it.

      • Major Tom

        Are you trying to get sued?

        • My counter suit would have them closing the company for good.
          Or changing to the food services industry where they belong.

      • Cynic

        Of course Lavoratory uses fireclean it means he can pack his range and snack with less weight coz he only needs one bottle for both keeping his guns firing and pans fryin

  • Anonymoose

    Woah, woah…what happened to the AK-300? 🙁

    • Jay

      AK-300 is the MIG-28 of the AK platform. :p

  • KestrelBike

    The number of AK derivatives makes my head hurt.

    • Jonathan Ferguson

      Likewise. Really hoping Max P does us a breakdown soon!

      AK-74 (still some of these about)
      AKS-74 (possibly?)
      AK-74M (rebuilt/modified from AK and AKS-74 stocks)
      AK-74MR (interim/green army/reserve supplement for AK-12, but with no apparent fixed standard; everything from a pic siderail only to new furniture, new muzzle devices, other upgrades)
      AK-200 (binned entirely – failed attempt at replacing older AKs, replaced by AK-12)
      AK-103 (seemingly trialled for possible adoption)
      AK-107 (apparently binned from Ratnik but not sure)
      AK-300 (???)
      AK-400 (came out of nowhere seemingly, is this a commercial variant or is it too being considered by the Russian military?)
      AK-12 1st version (binned)
      AK-12 2nd version (seemingly selected for Ratnik but configuration still not finalised?)

      That may not even be all of them. Then you have the non-AKs, the AN-94 and AEK, the first having been issued to some extent but further procurement halted, the AEK having lost out (I think?!) to the AK-12.

      It’s utterly confusing.

      • Austin

        The AN-94 is fascinating

      • bollan

        Actually didn’t come out of nowhere. AK-400 is the production model of the accessory kit for the AK-74. So new rifles manufactured will be AK-400, and will functionality wise be identical.
        This is basically the successor to the AK-47, which ironically happened without any fanfare or even noticing. Good show Russia.
        I know this cause it’s clear the manufacturing differences are very small, to reduce cost, but inline with their accessory update.
        China needs to get on this quick and update their Norinco Aks.

        • Scott P

          What Norinco AK’s?

          You are way behind the curve here. China hasn’t used AK’s for decades. Even their internal security forces use old Type 81’s which are not AK’s by the way.

          The only AK’s they make now are for export.

        • Paul Joly

          The successor of the AK47 type 3 is the AKM, the successor of the AKM is the AK103.

        • Jonathan Ferguson

          This is clearly more than an accessory kit (which I thought was AK-74MR?) – it has a short-stroke gas system.

  • Austin

    About time they extended the sight radius.

  • iksnilol

    That’s cool, sign me up for one with a 10 inch barrel :p

  • import to amerixa plx

  • Malthrak

    A…short stroke AK…from Russia?

    Odd. Not that there’s anything really wrong with that…but thats unexpected

    • Major Tom

      The SVD is derived from the AK pattern and is short stroke piston.

      • Riot

        It’s not, it looks a little bit like it because both use the soviet top cover/side mount for optics and the dust cover is similar.

  • Can we get a Decoder Ring on all the AK Variants? I’ve completely lost track.

    • Major Tom

      It’s a shorter list than the list of AR variants.

  • Samael527

    So what happened to the AK-12?

    • Green Hell

      Unnecessary gun. Redesigning the weapon from scratch just for build in rails, better fire selector and ambidextrous charging handle is not too much of a good idea.

      • Squirreltakular

        So by that logic, every new gun is unnecessary because improvements don’t matter.

      • Tritro29

        Actually the gun is pretty much on. It’s a totally different rifle this one…

  • Edward

    Why even keep it on the AK platform at this point

    It doesn’t work like an AK but it retains all the worst features of the AK

    • ballan

      Best feature of AK = cost
      No biggy, China’s Norinco continues the tradition of the AK, with it’s low cost but reliable AK’s. (1.5mm receiver instead of 1mm)
      This also stops Russians from buying overseas rifle accessories, probably illegally imported too.

      • Tritro29

        Yeah Norinco makes RPK’s…with AK barrels and even crappier sights. Success.

    • Tritro29

      Because it costs nothing more in the bigger scheme. And Izhmash still makes the SVD, so basically it’s nothing more than parts bin exchange.

    • Michael.g

      Probably for Russian pride. Kalashnikov is revered as a hero of the Federation.

  • gunsandrockets

    Interesting. Reasonable and modest adjustments from the AK-74. I have to say I was pretty impressed with the recoil control when firing full-auto 7.62x39mm.

  • Tormund Giantsbane

    Seems pretty tame compared to what the 12 and 107 have to offer. I’d way rather see the Ruskys work on the 107/AEK style actions some more.

  • guest

    12 > the rest

  • SLi-Fox

    Well that’s just great for people in Russia, but if I were corporate America I would also still be milking the Wasr 10, building uber expensive regular AKs, or parts to turn my AK into a ricer as well. Still plenty of milk in those breeds of bovine! No need to innovate here. Nope. No need. Here.

  • Bob

    Hmmmm… That’s interesting, but ultimately worthless info. We have no idea if the free floating barrel has greater accuracy, how reliable it is, etc. I’d like to see exactly how they did the rail and back sight. Curious to know if it is something that could be duplicated on other AKs in an aftermarket fashion.

  • Uniform223

    I find it ironic that the AK is getting more “western” features.

  • Drunk Possum

    Sweet AK, but I don’t give a flying fecal matter what Vickers thinks. Dude’s a whiny pansy with an ego problem. Sorry guy, but this guy’s opinion means as much to me about this AK as Hillary’s would on the same subject.

    • GordonTrenchard

      You are aware of where he’s been and what he used to do right? This guy talks about a gun he is probably right.

      • Drunk Possum

        Uh huh. Still don’t care. Guy’s a D-bag. No amount of training or whining is gonna change that. It’s a sweet AK, but whether he likes it or not means nothing to me.

    • Pansy—-12 years in Delta and you say that:-)

      • Drunk Possum

        The attitude makes the man. Maybe he’s super cool, maybe he’s a total badass. I dunno, never met the guy. All I can go off of is the way he portrays himself via the interwebs, and he comes off as a pansy little whiny beotch. 12 years in Delta makes him no less of a pansy.

  • ddd

    so it’s bassicaly svd assault rifle

  • myndbender

    If nothing else, Vickers gets access to some cool hardware from Russia to demo, even though it’s never gonna see American shores. I was impressed by the lack of any muzzle rise, especially on full auto. Who needs an overly complicated pulley counter RECOIL system like the an-94/AK-107 when a redesigned muzzle brake, FF barrel, tweaked adjustable gas system & a solid railed dust cover are the right upgrades for AK to be a true 21st century rifle & the only AK that would be worth $1k!

    • A Fascist Corgi

      Most soldiers don’t wear hearing protection. So, those types of muzzle brakes aren’t really viable for military use. Every single soldier would go deaf if they used those things.

  • John John Slade

    Hmmm…. it’s kinda mix with AK-12, Aek-971, and…… AN-94?

    • mechamaster

      More of AK-12 dominant pattern I see.

      • John John Slade

        Yeah. Must be trying to replace an ageing Soviet Era Kalashnikov.

  • mechamaster

    I see that modernized AK-400 is following the Sako / Valmet Rk-series or Galil.
    What really interesting if the dust cover and the gas system is slighly easy to fieldstrip without gas-tube lever, and still maintain the dust cover rigidity for more stable optic mounting.

    • Tritro29

      Nope, this dwells on the solutions of Dragunov with the appearance of an AK receiver.

  • stephens

    I’m so tired of Larry Vickers – it seems all he does is shoot stuff on a slow motion camera these days.

  • Uniform223

    ” Larry Vickers Youtube shell like ever thing that any one pay him shoot say good thing about every thing he reviews on channel ”

    Nice going with the broken sentence. He’s had disparaging remarks about weapons he’s fired.

    (Listen to what he says about the G36… skip to time index 8:40. The man has history with H&K)

    • Drake

      That dumb where any in two videos you post does he say any disparaging remarks on firearms he shoot in them. If gone post stuff from Youtube watch what post before for post them here.

      • Uniform223

        English language must be a second language for you because your grammar is almost atrocious.

        maybe you should actually watch the videos before you say something.

        He calls the Uzi which is a very widely and successful SMG, “overrated” and he gives his opinion as to why. Than he talks about some features on the G36 to be less than optimal… but if you actually watched the videos (which I highly doubt); you would know that wouldn’t you?

        • Drake

          Where doe he say that any those two videos you post watch them both I did see him make any such statements in both videos. I did see where he state he had no issue take both those weapons in combat as is. He state many other videos he no issue at all take G36 in combat just way is. Have no interest watch Larry I do not care how many years he spent in Delta Force. I had friends spent just about many years in US Marine Force Recon do not go round remind ever one they where in Marine Force Recon ever where they go. They where just happy do there job best they could service there country as best could as reward. I well stand buy what said if you do not like piss off troll some one else with your comments.

          • Paul Joly

            As Jon said : “Go home internet, you’re drunk.”

          • iksnilol

            “Go home internet, your drunk”

            Fixed for you.

          • Curious_G

            This made my head hurt. I literally cannot make sense of it. It is like a game of boggle threw up.

        • Shocked_and_Amazed✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

          So English isn’t his first language. Big deal.
          I deal with products of our educational system everyday and he is light years ahead of them

  • Devil_Doc

    Still no last shot bolt hold? No push button mag release?

  • LazyReader

    Larry Vickers is a drama queen who used his image to trash the name of Ruger, just for making him wait and failure to recognize him at last years SHOT SHOW.
    “So Ruger didn’t roll out the red carpet for him, boo hoo”
    That’s the comment that got me kicked off Vicker’s Facebook, apparently now I cant comment there anymore. Someone needs to go crawl in his safe space.

  • Korbin Dallas

    This weapon is now in limited production for Russian law enforcement as AK103-4 (as tritro29 mentioned) It will not be used for Department of Defense, they get AK74M upgrade for now, then later AK-12 if we are not at war !

  • Saxonist Sealclubber

    An AK I wouldn’t feel like an idiot owning??? What is this miracle?!?!?!?