The Russian small arms firm Kalashnikov Concern has announced several new weapons during the International Military-Technical Forum “ARMY 2016” held by the Russian government in Moscow, the first of which is a new take on a promising 20th Century experimental design. The new Kalashnikov MA (Малогабаритный автомат, loosely translated to “Micro Assault Rifle”) is based on a 1970s-era design by Yevgeny Dragunov, which was also called “MA”. The original MA competed against designs from the Soviet Union’s best small arms engineers and showed substantial promise, but was passed over in favor of the AKS-74U, which shared much of its design with the already-in-service AK-74. Now, the MA is getting a makeover, and another shot – Kalashnikov Concern has adapted the basic design for 21st Century requirements and manufacturing techniques, resulting in a very modern-looking weapon.
Both MA carbines use similar receiver designs, where the “upper” receiver is extremely reduced in size, acting as a structural spine for the weapon, and providing guide rails for the operating group. In the new MA, the upper receiver is made of
aluminum instead of steel steel reinforced polymer (I was corrected, oops!), and features an integrated Picatinny-type optics rail, as well. The rest of the duties of a normal receiver are performed by the much larger (in proportion), polymer lower receiver, which houses the trigger pack, stock mount, magazine well, and which protects the operating group from the elements.
This design allows for a very strong, very light weapon, so we can expect the new MA to possess those characteristics as well. However, Kalashnikov has not yet released a press sheet for the new MA, so we do not know any details yet.