Kalashnikov Concern has announced about a new upgrade/modernization kit for AK style rifles. It is a drop-in kit which allows converting any stock AK-47/AKM or AK-74 rifle into a bit more modern weapon making it more adjustable and suitable for accessorizing.
As seen in the video, this kit consists of a number of new parts, including a new muzzle device, pistol grip (housing the cleaning kit) and safety selector lever. It also features a new handguard set which adds top and bottom permanently attached Picatinny rails and allows mounting rail sections on its either side.
The upgrade kit also includes a railed dust cover which seems to be hinged much like that of AKS-74U (Krinkov) rifles. It also looks to have a more rigid dust cover locking mechanism. As you know, the dust cover on an AK is not the most stable part and simply equipping it with a rail makes it not the best platform to mount a scope on. However, this solution from Kalashnikov should be a much more rigid construction. It also retains a rather minimalistic rear iron sight. The new telescoping folding stock should also be a nice addition to the good old AK platform.
Although this kit makes the rifle look like the latest version of AK-12, it doesn’t convert the gun into an AK-12. The latter has a number of factory-made improvements whereas this kit is a pretty much user installable drop-in upgrade package. Judging from the video, it should require very basic skills and tools to install the kit on AK rifles.
Right now, this kit is available for the military market only. In fact, some Russian military units already use it. However, according to Russian news website Lenta.Ru, Kalashnikov Concern officials told that it will be available for the civilian market in August 2017.
All these changes and improvements are pretty much something that was present on the civilian market for a long time. You can find similar accessories from a dozen of manufacturers. What makes this upgrade kit desirable is that it is made by the original manufacturer of AK rifles and it is primarily designed for the military use, which means it must be made to meet higher standards and requirements.