21st Century Vintorez: Kalashnikov’s New AMB-17 Silenced Assault Rifle at ARMY 2017

On display at the recent Russian Army 2017 expo was Kalashnikov’s new AM-17 and AMB-17 compact assault rifles. The AM-17 is a 5.45x39mm caliber improved version of the MA assault rifle introduced last year, designed to fill the same role as the AKS-74U compact assault rifle/personal defense weapon. The AMB-17 is an integrally suppressed variant of the same, firing the 9x39mm dedicated subsonic round first introduced with the AS Val and VSS Vintorez in the 1980s. Pictures of the new rifles have been posted on various social media outlets, such as TFB contributor and small arms expert Max Popenker’s blog.

AMB-17 (top) and AM-17 (bottom) assault rifles. Image credit: Maxim Popenker, used with permission

The introduction of the AMB-17 in the 9x39mm caliber seems to imply that it will complement or replace the Kalashnikov AK-9 in the company’s lineup, in direct competition against Tula’s more successful AS Val, VSS Vintorez, and SR-3 rifles in the same caliber. Likewise, the AM-17 is likely intended by Kalashnikov to replace the Tula-made AKS-74U in Russian service.

The degree of interest on the part of the Russian government in the new AM-17 and AMB-17 rifles is yet unknown, but the weapons do seem to be strong contenders for modernization of the roles currently filled by the AKS-74U and VSS/AS platforms. A lightweight rifle with modern controls and accessory mounting provisions, that is common between both the compact assault rifle and silenced assault rifle roles sounds like an attractive upgrade.

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 nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


  • Johannes von’ Strauch

    Could you do a subsonic .300blk vs 9×39 comperasion article? Would be interesting for sure.

    • Easy. One blows up in a chamber of its parent case and the Russian one doesn’t.

      • Bean Guy

        Boy, haven’t seen that one before. How about a comparison that doesn’t involve bubba?

        • MeaCulpa

          Well it is a rather glaring design “feature” of the blk, and, IMO, makes the blk less then optimal for general issue.

        • PK

          Quick summary – they’re nearly identical in performance with similar bullets. The 300 BLK has the option of supersonic rounds.

          Realistically, I have no reason for wanting either, but I love both.

        • You haven’t seen all the ARs kB’ed by .300 Blackout? Where have you been, the Moon?

    • I wasn’t planning on it. The short answer is that their performance is almost identical, but 9x39mm can use heavy steel cored projectiles (.300 Blackout does not have enough space to fire 200+ grain steel cored projectiles).

      Also .300 Blackout blows up guns and 9×39 doesn’t.

      • Giolli Joker

        Maybe we can add that .300 BLK can shoot bullets with higher BC.
        IDK if there is an actual operational advantage coming from that, though.

        • There isn’t. The higher BC doesn’t count for very much at all in the subsonic flight regime. Mass is the primary determining characteristic.

      • iksnilol

        if it’s powerful enough to blow up your own gun, just imagine what it does to targets tho?

  • Brett baker

    Really hope Vlad gets out of Ukraine so we can import these.

    • Foma Klimov

      Just as soon as Donnie gets out of Tejas. That scenario (US returning Tejas to Mexico), is just as realistic and practical as Russia giving Crimea to Ukraine again. Read: Never going to happen. Either way, Russia couldn’t export military weapons to the US before any sanctions, due to the existing laws, executive orders and agreements. Only hunting long-guns were allowed. Kalashnikov AKs came in in the neutered (Saiga) form, but that was a stretch already. They had to be converted into something resembling a military AK in the US, using US parts. Would be much harder to pull something like that off with these.

      • Brett baker

        I figured we’d let you guys keep Crimea. Actually, we need to get together and solve the “China Issue.”

        • int19h

          US doesn’t have a “China issue” anymore so than it has a “Russia issue” – it’s only an issue because these countries threaten our allies, not because they threaten us directly. We’ve got two oceans for natural borders.

          And from that perspective, there’s no difference whatsoever between Ukraine and, say, Taiwan.

          • iksnilol

            Y’know that… that both China and Russia have boats, and airplanes?

            Both go over oceans.

  • Mazryonh

    I get the feeling that the AMB-17 was made so as to allow a suppressed rifle/carbine in 9x39mm a shorter overall length with the AMB-17’s integral suppressor than what you could achieve with older 9x39mm rifles, such as the Russian 9A91, the AS VAL, and the VSK-94. Those last three rifles are pretty long when they have the suppressor attached.

    But if they wanted a shorter overall length, I think the Russians could have modified the older Groza bullpup rifle which was also available in 9x39mm with an integral suppressor.

  • guest

    Not sure the AM-17 has a niche to fill, given that the AKS-74u has already been all-but-replaced in service (outside of Naval Infantry) by the AK-74m.
    The Naval Infantry still have a fair number of AKS-74u’s in service, but that makes sense given they sometimes have to do boarding actions and similar.