The AK-12 Model of 2023

Hrachya H
by Hrachya H
AK-12 Model of 2023

Adopted by the Russian military in 2018, the AK-12 rifle has since gone through several revisions that resulted in some design changes such as the replacement of the AR15-style stock and the introduction of the one-piece polymer pistol grip/trigger guard. Kalashnikov Concern recently published information about the latest 2023 upgrades of the AK-12 rifle that were requested by the Russian military based on the feedback from the Russo-Ukrainian War. These design changes are apparently not significant enough to give the rifle a new model name, so it’s referred to as the AK-12 model of 2023.

Kalashnikov Concern @ TFB:

Sergey Urzhumtsev, Head Designer of Kalashnikov Concern, explaining the design improvements of the AK-12 model of 2023 rifle in a media event.

Going from the buttstock to the muzzle, the first upgrade is the adjustable cheekpiece added to the stock for a more comfortable cheek weld when shooting with optics.

2023 model AK-12 (6)

Next, they ditched the two-round burst firing mode as it proved to have very little combat effectiveness and made the trigger mechanism too complicated. The safety selector is now an ambidextrous thumb lever and what looks like a classic AK safety lever is just a dust cover for the charging handle slot. To extend the service life of certain parts when the rifle is dropped or an under-barrel grenade launcher is used, they redesigned the trigger mechanism and now in the safe mode, the bolt carrier group can not move back at all (in all previous AK models, the BCG can move back by about an inch and a quarter when the gun is on safe).

2023 model AK-12 (13)
2023 model AK-12 (3)

The receiver top cover is now attached to the rifle via a cross pin instead of a rotating lever. The adjustable rear peep sight is of the new drum pattern but it now has a flip aperture of two sizes: 1.8mm (.070″) for more precise and longer-range firing and 4.5mm (.177″) for use in closer ranges as well as in adverse and low-light conditions.

2023 model AK-12 (12)
2023 model AK-12 (9)

The lower handguard has been beefed up and now Picatinny rail sections can be added to its sides. The design of the upper handguard is also improved and a front attachment point to the lower handguard is added.

2023 model AK-12 (5)
2023 model AK-12 (7)

Last but not least, the Russian military decided to retire the detachable muzzle device in favor of a permanently attached one that has a QD suppressor mounting interface. The performance of the new muzzle device is claimed to be better than the previous muzzle devices of 5.45 AKs.

2023 model AK-12 (8)

In addition to the above-described upgrades, there are also some non-visible improvements like changes in manufacturing techniques and tolerances of some parts. According to Kalashnikov Concern, one hundred AK-12 model of 2023 rifles are sent to the Russian military for final field testing.

2023 model AK-12 (10)

Pictures by Kalashnikov Media,

Hrachya H
Hrachya H

Managing Editor Being a lifelong firearms enthusiast, Hrachya always enjoys studying the history and design of guns and ammunition. Should you need to contact him, feel free to shoot him a message at

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7 of 112 comments
  • Social_Artifice Social_Artifice on Jun 22, 2023

    Not really an AK guy, I own a PSL and SKS.

    This gun looks to me like an Airsoft version of how to modernize an AK 20 years ago.

    It still appears to be missing design considerations worked into the Galil 50 years ago. Drop the dust cover pic rail. Not worth trying to make work, just never gonna be reliable enough. And focus on getting a good trunnion or scout mount for a modern minimalist red dot. Free float the hand guard seems like too much to ask isn't it?

    Perma Muzzle device... what a bad solution to a completely different issue, non concentric threads.

    How about... making a safety that lets you lock open the bolt with the safety on... or an improved charging handle.

    This looks like a gun designed to be the best cold war rifle ever... but otherwise about 40 years out of date in so many regards.

    • See 3 previous
    • Max G Max G on Jul 13, 2023

      @Alex You're paid per line or character?

  • Pete Zeem Pete Zeem on Jun 28, 2023

    Sooooo in 2023 russian managed to make a Beryl in 5.45?


    • Max G Max G on Jul 13, 2023

      @Pete Zeem Beryl is just the old pattern AK with a pic rail crusely attached. This solution is far nicer