IDEX 2017: Kalashnikov Concern’s New Saiga-MK Balanced Recoil Competition Rifle, and Improved SVD-M Dragunov

    The Firearm Blog would like to extend its thanks to reader and contributor Giorgio, who lent his journalistic services to us at this years IDEX conference in Abu Dhabi in February. Thanks, Giorgio!

    The Kalashnikov Concern booth at IDEX 2017 was reportedly packed with weapons, with most leaning towards the Concern’s new focus on civilian and competition weapons sales. TFB’s correspondent noted two most interesting weapons on display were the Saiga-MK, the civilian competition version of the AK-107, and the SVD-M, an improved version of the famous SVD Dragunov sniper rifle. The SVD-M features a new railed top cover and thicker barrel, and is reportedly significantly more accurate than the original SVD, especially during sustained fire.

    In this lineup: Leading, a modernized SV-99 .22 LR sniper rifle, SVD-M, SVD (Upgraded), SV-98M

    The Saiga-MK was formerly branded the Saiga 107, and uses the balanced action developed in the 1980s during the Abakan project. The balanced action system uses a forward moving counterweight driven by the gas system of the rifle to cancel out the “jolt” caused by the rear-moving bolt carrier group, thereby smoothing recoil. This system does not eliminate the rifle’s recoil, and in fact the recoil impulse of the a weapon using this action should be more similar to that of a bolt action rifle in the same caliber than a semiautomatic, which is beneficial for weapons shooting small calibers like the 5.45x39mm.

    The Saiga-MK, along with a short-barreled AK-9:

    Interestingly, the Concern’s newest products, the RPK-16 automatic rifle, SVK sniper rifle, and MA compact assault rifle, did not appear to be present.

    About IDEX: The International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) is the largest defence and firearms exhibition in the Middle East. It has been held bi-annually since 1993, and boasted an attendance over 100,000 in 2017 (for comparison, the 2017 SHOT Show had an attendance of about 65,000). IDEX is a general defense show rather than firearms-specific, but due to its huge size and regional importance it is often the scene for many small arms-related announcements.

    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. He can be reached via email at [email protected]