Kalashnikov Concern first showed the prototype of AKV-521 rifle in November 2020. During the ARMY-2021 exhibition, the company unveiled the final version of this rifle that has passed factory endurance testing and is ready for mass production. The main design difference from AK rifles is that AKV-521 utilizes a two-receiver layout.
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The upper and lower receivers of the AKV-521 rifle are attached to each other via two captive pins. One of the advantages of having a separate upper receiver is that the top Picatinny rail is permanently attached to the barrel making it a strong and reliable optics mounting platform. Another advantage is the ability to easily change the calibers or barrel lengths of the gun by swapping the uppers. The rifle was shown with upper receivers equipped with 415mm and 315mm barrels. The initial caliber options will be 5.45x39mm, 7.62x39mm, and .223 Remington.
The lower receiver of the AKV-521 rifle contains the takedown pins and the trigger mechanism which has a new safety selector design. The magazine well is part of the lower receiver and the rifle is fed from standard AK magazines. The folding stock is attached to the lower receiver.
The bolt carrier group runs on rails inside the stamped steel upper receiver. The removable charging handle is located on the left side of the BCG. The charging handle slot is covered by a Galil ACE style spring-loaded dust cover. The rifle also features a free-floated lower handguard.
While the AKV-521 should be interesting to many Russian military and LE units, it is currently marketed as a civilian rifle. The reason why this weapon system is expected to be attractive to Russian civilian customers is the local restrictive gun legislation. Civilians can own no more than five rifles in Russia. The AKV-521 will allow them to have access to multiple calibers and configurations (by acquiring different uppers) yet having the entire system legally count as one rifle.
The AKV-521 rifle is designed by Valentin Vlasenko, the Director of Civilian Firearms R&D at Kalashnikov Group, and the owner of Sureshot Armament Group. Vlasenko is what V stands for in the model name.
Pictures by Kalashnikov Media, www.kalashnikov.media