Larry Vickers Takes a Look at Kalashnikov’s Latest: The AM-17

    LAV with the AM-17

    Larry Vickers fires Kalashnikov's new AM-17 (Kalashnikov Media)

    Kalashnikov Concerns Media site have shared a video of Larry Vickers testing out their latest carbine, the AM-17. Vickers recently visited Kalashnikov’s production facilities in Izhevsk, Russia and had the chance to handle and shoot some of their latest products.

    In the video Vickers puts a couple of magazines through the new carbine and discusses his thoughts. There are two versions of the video available over on Kalashnikov Concern’s Media page, you can check them out in Russian or English.

    The AM-17 is the latest incarnation of the Dragunov MA, a 5.45x39mm carbine designed to replace the AKS-74U. The new weapon is based on Yevgeny Dragunov’s entry into the Soviet Union’s carbine trials of the late 1970s which Mikhail Kalashnikov’s AKS-74U won. The MA was reportedly Dragunov’s last major design project before he retired, he died in 1991, aged 71.

    LAV with the MA

    Larry Vickers firing the Dragunov MA prototype back in 2016

    In the video Vladimir Onokoy, one of Kalashnikov Media’s technical advisers and fellow TFB writer, explains that with the end of AKS-74U production at Tula in the early 1990s there is a growing need for a modern replacement for the iconic Cold War Soviet carbine. With support and rear echelon troops as well as vehicle crews, law enforcement agencies and special forces needing a new small, lightweight personal defence weapon Kalashnikov Concern hope that the AM-17 will be the answer.

    Here’s Larry’s Vickers Tactical video from a couple of years ago featuring the prototype Dragunov MA, it appears substantial ergonomic and aesthetic improvements have been made:

    Weighing just 2.5kg / 5.5 lbs and with an overall length of 75cm / 30 inches, which reduces to just 50cm /19.7 inches with its stock folded, the AM-17 makes extensive use of modern polymers – replacing the original MA’s bakelite. The entire lower receiver is made from polymers (with steel reinforcements) while the upper receiver has a full length picatinny rail, with back up iron sights mounted, for optics.

    Kalashnikov Concern were kind enough to share some photos of the new carbine with me:

    Kalashnikov AM-17

    Left quarter view of the AM-17 (Kalashnikov Group)

    AM-17 (Kalashnikov Group)

    Right side view of the AM-17 (Kalashnikov Group)

    As we can see the weapon’s controls are ambidextrous, with the charging handle switchable, and the lower receiver appears to be extremely ergonomic. In the video Larry Vickers gives his first impressions:

    “Very lightweight, I think its a good path forward for Kalashnikov, because you can only do so much with an AK… I think it has a lot of promise”

    There is also a suppressed version of the weapon, developed from the Dragunov MA, the AMB-17, chambered in the sub-sonic 9×39 SP-5 or SP-6 round. Vickers also had a chance to handle and fire this weapon, you can check out Kalashnikov Media’s video on that here.

    LAV with the AMB-17

    Larry Vickers fired the suppressed AMB-17 (Kalashnikov Media)

    It seems that Dragunov’s carbine from the 70s entry may see adoption after all, albeit in a more modern guise. Kalashnikov Media have some more footage of the AM-17 in action here and for more information you can check out Max Popenker’s entry on the carbine here. Also stay tuned for an upcoming article from Vladimir which will discuss the AM-17’s history in more detail!

    Matthew Moss

    _________________________________________________________________________ – Managing Editor – Managing Editor

    Matt is a British historian specialising in small arms development and military history. He has written several books and for a variety of publications in both the US and UK. He also runs Historical Firearms, a blog that explores the history, development and use of firearms. Matt is also co-founder of The Armourer’s Bench, a video series on historically significant small arms.

    Here on TFB he covers product and current military small arms news.

    Reach Matt at: [email protected]