AK-12 Trials are Over. Has Russia Adopted It?

According to Russian news agency TASS, the Kalashnikov Concern officials have informed them that the AK-12 has successfully passed all the government tests and trials and it is planned to be adopted by the Russian armed forces. The key phrase is “planned to”, which means it is not quite official yet. The Kalashnikov Concern also released a video showing some design details of their newest firearms like the AK-12, AK-15, RPK-16 etc.

As you can see in the video, this is not the original AK-12 which was initially introduced. The gun that will possibly be adopted is rather a heavily modified AK-74. It is chambered in 5.45x39mm (as expected) and comes with a number of improvements. The new magazine has “windows” for visual reference of the remaining amount of ammunition. The magazine is also said to be modified to be used as a monopod. I assume they mean the angled shape of the baseplate area of the magazines, which should make the gun more stable when rested on the magazine.

The quick-detach muzzle brake also has a slightly different shape than that of the AK-74. I think the crown shaped front portion of the muzzle device is to aid the flash suppression. Note that the front sight is now located on the gas block. The gas block also must be an adjustable one judging by its protrusion.

They also moved the rear sight back, just like it is on Galil rifles. Also, the dust cover fixation mechanism is pretty interesting. It is hooked at the rear portion and fixed in place by the gas tube locking lever axis. Pretty Kalashnikov-style simple solution! That should make a much more rigid dust cover which in turn will make a good optics mounting surface.

AK-15 is basically the same gun but chambered in 7.62x39mm. The RPK-16 is the new light machine gun which features a removable barrel and a new 96-round drum magazine.

Other, more common improvements are the ergonomic pistol grips, adjustable stocks, Krebs-style safety selector levers and Picatinny rails all over the new guns.

Hrachya H

Being a lifelong firearms enthusiast, Hrachya always enjoys studying design, technology and history of guns and ammunition. His knowledge of Russian allows him to translate and make Russian/Soviet/Combloc small arms related information available for the English speaking audience.
Should you need to contact him, feel free to shoot him a message at TFBHrachyaH@gmail.com


  • Giolli Joker

    As soon as sanctions started, KC decided to troll American customers with an unprecedented marketing campaign…
    (Seriously, speaking to KC reps in IDEX 2017, they know they have cool new products and they’re itching to release them on their most lucrative commercial market: USA…)

  • Mauva Malhar

    Buy Ak 7.62
    Buy Krebs parts
    Paint it
    Name it AK12

  • derpmaster

    If these get adopted, we’ll be looking at very limited numbers. The 74 is still good enough and the Russian special forces build their guns up similar to this thing anyhow. The only real advantage I see is the rail setup.

    • Róbert Pagáčik

      Or better said, there is not much “better” from the old one ewer since the original AK-12 designwas scrapped … the new one is a no-brainer too, as the modifications are also basically a new gun, only by very few parts interchangeable. So the idea of scraping the original for “having enough of AK-74Ms” is basically also scraping any plans for these and potentially, there be only the modernization-kits aviable for the army, also in limited manner. … Id say it was a wasted oportunity to make a great gun white the original AK-12. Now, nor the new one, nor the competitor AEK be really full-fledgedly adapted.

  • Pete Sheppard

    Like the Americans with the M4, tinkering with the bits, but is this rifle *that* much of an improvement over the AK74?

    • Green Hell

      Collapsible stock for body armor and sturdy enough top rails to use modern optics is basicly all the critical improvements AK’s for regular russian army needs to catch up to NATO armies, where rifle optics already became a standart in the 2000’s.

    • Chris22lr

      Not really, that’s why Kalashnikov Concern got interested in the AK-74 modernization program (as shown in the video at 1:56). Universal Upgrade Kit was initially developed by some Russian R&D centre (TsNIITochMash if I recall correctly) and only after first AK-12 model (the one with all cool features) failed state tests, KC decided to get involved in what is the most promising (at least in terms of actual adoption) Russian small arms development. Wise decision since new AK-12 passing state tests doesn’t mean it will be adopted (ZiD’s competing design have already passed tests), but Upgrade Kit is already getting into the hands of soldiers.

      • Sermon 7.62


        That hinged receiver cover and telescopic buttstock is what’s needed and the rest is a bonus.

  • Vitor Roma

    So, hum, after all those years they come up with an 74 with a gas regulator?

  • Brett baker


  • Grunt

    Most russian grunts will be happy to finally eventually get optics…

    The AK12 program was such a joke, every ultra pro russian übermensch hyped it like crazy, and now its literally just … a basic AK74+

  • BigFatBubba

    Because of the sanctions against Russia, the actual Kalashnikov concern can’t enforce their trademarks in the US.

    That’s why Kalashnikov USA (which has no connections to the actual Kalashnikov concern) can exist without getting sued into the ground.

    • Green Hell

      I’m not an expert, but i highly doubt things like sanctions affect intetnational copyright, trademark and patent laws. Even chinese doesn’t do it, having enough desency to create faux brands when they copy stuff. Also, wasn’t that during WW1 when Mauser sucsessfuly sued Springfield for copying their bolt action design?

      • Sermon 7.62

        The Russians make AR-10, but as far as I know it’s licensed. So, perhaps these Saigas are also licensed.


        • Green Hell

          Those are basicly Armalite AR’s assembled on Orsis plant in Russia, they have all their original markings in place.

          • Sermon 7.62

            All parts are imported except barrels. These rifles shoot 0.6 moa.

          • nicholashorianopoulos@gmail.co

            Oh, good grief. No Kalashnikov has ever shot better than about 1.5 MOA, and most shoot more like 5-8 MOA. The barrels wobble, they’re thin, and the trunions aren’t strong enough to hold the barrel without tons of flex. Unless I see it at the range, I won’t believe it.

          • Sermon 7.62

            It’s not AK, it’s AR-10 National Match made in Russia by Orsis, with Orsis-made barrels.

            Plus, normal AK’s shoot 2 moa. The barrels don’t wobble, the barrels flex.

      • Kivaari

        IIRC Springfield was paying royalties to Mauser prior to the war. Once the war started SA stopped payments.

  • Halz

    And still no magwell similar to that of the AR-15? If Krebs Customs can make magwells for AKs, I’m not sure why the Russians can’t.

    • Sermon 7.62

      Because it sucks. Magazines freeze and stick to that stupid magwell in the cold.

      • Halz

        Really? Didn’t really know this!

        • Sermon 7.62


          In the cold, AR-15 needs to be carried in pairs. One rifle on a sling, and a spare one in a hard case.

          • Just my opinion

            Best comment of the day!

          • nicholashorianopoulos@gmail.co

            Best comment of the day, spoken by someone who has utterly no experience with the AR platform. Honestly, it’s the best semi-auto rifle ever designed.

    • Green Hell

      What Sermon said, plus it would require a magazine redisign and it wouldn’t be compatable with an existing stock of millions of AK magazines.

  • Sermon 7.62


    Don’t like the receiver cover on AK-12. Doubt it can hold zero if a night scope is mounted on it. I hoped the new design should be something like this:


    Don’t like the pistol grip. Don’t think it’s ergonomic. Don’t like the look of it. Replace it, please!

    Like the buttstock. Like the receiver cover on the modernization kit. Like the gas regulator. Think that there is no need to put a rail on the gas tube cover. That’s moronic. I’d prefer a regular handguard and small sections of rails on the sides.

    • Green Hell

      Reciever cover is actualy now mounted rock solid with this little lever like on SVD, it should hold zero fine now.

      • Sermon 7.62

        It should hold zero but I’d prefer it fixed on hinges.

        • Max Glazer

          The best way to mount an optical sight onto AK is via its side rail either through the adaptor or using a Russian/Belorusian sight specifically made for that mount. The whole Picattini rail on the dust cover is idiocy.

          • Sermon 7.62

            Yes, in principle there is no real problem here. That’s what I am telling people here all the time. AK-74M and the earlier AKS-74 can do all the same things a modern rifle is supposed to do.

            Plus, it has a vintage charm of its own kind no other rifle has.

          • Max Glazer

            Problems that people talk about aren’t real problems. Solutions that don’t require almost any changes to the basic rifle exist and are available.

            My personal “AK update” would use original AK-12 stock, normal front grip with a short rails on sides, detachable rail that can attach to the bottom of the front grip, adaptor rail and a bunch of loose pistol grips of different sizes. That’s all AK ever needs for mounting of stuff. That’s all ARs get too. It’s just that AR has the top one built into its upper receiver.

          • Sermon 7.62

            I agree.

    • mechamaster

      Actually it’s similar hinged dust cover in AK-74 modernized ( in same video ), and they added push-pin in the rear portion of too.

      • Sermon 7.62

        Yes I like the cover of the modernized 74.

  • Brett baker

    Like AT I Skorpion pistol grip.

  • Gus Butts

    A 96-round drum and removable barrel on the AK-15? F**king YES, please and thank you.

    • Sermon 7.62

      On the RPK-16

      • Gus Butts

        Woops indeed.

  • Ed

    Doubt the AK-12 will be adopted in any great numbers since regular Russian Army already is updating the AK-74M in use. Think maybe Alfa or other elite units may buy some but regular infantry won’t.

  • USMC03Vet

    ugh m4 stocks and EO Tech?

    Bro, you can keep them.

    • Sermon 7.62

      It’s a folding stock.

      • LCON

        It’s a buffer tube adaptor with a M4 Style Stock module on it. Nothing more nothing less. They adapted the same solution FAB Defences did for Aftermarket AK builds. And IWI did the same for the ACE

        • Ivan

          But it’s still a folding stock

          • LCON

            oh no denial of that. but hardly something to get worked up for a number of modernized rifles use the same set up.

        • Sermon 7.62

          To be honest, this is a folding mechanism taken from the AKS-74 and modified a little bit (so that it locks in the rear part of the receiver now, instead of the front lock, as before).

          I can see no reason to prefer this to the older AK-12 stock that was all original and looked much better. The same I feel about the grip. The old one was better.


  • int19h

    On some other designs, at least, the “crown” of the flash suppressor / compensator is intended to be used as a wire cutting device – basically, it lets you firmly stick the muzzle against the wire and pull the trigger. Perhaps that was also the thinking here.

  • Audie Bakerson

    Are the new magazines compatible with existing AK-74s (and vice versa)?

    • Sermon 7.62

      Yes, but the new magazines hold bolt open on AK-12 and do not on 74.

  • borekfk

    The Duke Nukem Forever of firearms.

  • BrandonAKsALot

    So it’s been adopted probably maybe not, but yes kind of sometime in the future possibly.

  • Ike

    I’m more interested to see what the trials and adoption process provided as far as changes to the A545/6P67 version of the AEK-971 that was also adopted for the borderguards and special forces. That’s likely where the interesting developments are going to have been focused

  • Rogertc1

    Plastic furniture and a paintjob…?

  • Sermon 7.62

    Yes I agree. Just speaking of the stock as I said I agree as well, not the best idea. Might be better to adopt the “200” model stock instead of making this one that is indeed a bit alien for AK.

    In general I am rather disappointed with it. But still think AKS74 is great 🙂

  • LazyReader


  • Paulo Romero

    Regardless of whether they adopt this rifle en-masse’ or upgrade their standing fleet of Ak74M’s with improvements from this rifle, they are in a better position than the US military. The Russians have tested since 2012 , they have modified and they have accepted. They now have the manufacturing , tooling and data-sheets to start mass production in the near-future or in a time of war. This is far more than can be said for the US military . It is still saddled with the M4 , looking for an interim rifle in 7.62mm and waiting for the next Star-Wars super-gun. That’s after wasting millions if not billions on various failed small arms programs over the last 30 years. So if a World War started today , the US military would buy more M4’s , or rush to buy a half-baked 7.62mm rifle or send out an SOS to Heckler&Koch. The Russians would simply start mass-producing the tested and accepted Ak12 , Ak15 and RPK16. Who’s smarter here????

    • Cmex

      The thing about Russia is that it actually gives a damn about ground forces, especially infantry. Guess who was the first to have widespread camo? The USSR. Guess who was the first to have a widespread assault rifle? USSR. The first APC mobile infantry? USSR. The first dedicated heliborne war helicopter? USSR. The first MANPADS? USSR. The first tactical LBV’s? USSR. First widespread body armor? USSR. First widespread electronic optics? USSR. First widespread accessory rails? USSR. First SAW? USSR. Inventor of MOUT? USSR. Inventor of the modern FOB? USSR. While we were fapping over thousand yard accuracy and 63mm case traditions, they were inventing the fundamentals of modern urban warfare and combined arms doctrine.The Russians also give a lot more responsibility to the infantry. American infantry just holds the enemy until bigger guns show up. Russian infantry is the heart of the army. It also has a far better optimized tooth to tail ratio — 85% of NATO troops are POGs. 75% of Russian troops are grunts. A thousand Russians vs a thousand NATO is going to have a much different assortment of equipment and jobs. Russian infantry is equipped for air, helo, armor, and almost anything else. NATO infantry just isn’t used in the same way. AA and AAFV assets are just endemic to Russian infantry. With Americans, you’d have to put the war on hold to get something tougher over to help.

      The gear and usage isn’t the same. Russian tanks are meant mostly for aiding infantry and destroying infrastructure and supplies. Helicopters are artillery are for killing tanks in their book. Infantry in their book can take care of air power. Their air power is for stopping strategic and ground attack crafts. About the only thing we agree on is that infantry is for fighting infantry, and the faster you can move your infantry, the better. And you can see how a handful of Russian divisions routed the entire Georgian military now, can’t you? Georgia played the NATO way. Russia didn’t.

      They design a lot of stuff that they adopt but don’t mass produce. Why? Because it keeps them sharp, and it keeps a metric tons of options open. And it saves money to just have stuff in need of only production to have instead of keeping bogus competitions going forever. Their kit is newer. It’s more refined. It’s made with infantry soldier feedback instead of what a 61 year old POG thinks ought to be done, or what a corporate CEO thinks will get him a bit more money. They don’t release prematurely. Their guns come out when they’re done — not when a CEO wants a pay raise by the end of that quarter, not when the general is getting bored, not when the minister is looking to make himself famous, not when Putin raises an eyebrow, but when they are actually done. They develop relentlessly, but then they release, and then they modernize with feedback.

      • Paulo Romero

        Well said Cmex.

  • RickOAA .

    Looks like a factory TapF**k job.