Hot on the heels of Kalashnikov Concern’s brand new 5.56x45mm-chambered AK-19, Russia’s leading small arms company have introduced a new and improved AK-12. The new rifle includes a number of slightly tweaked ergonomic features that were developed in light of feedback from Russian service personnel.
It seems that the new features seen first on the new 5.56x45mm AK-19 rifle are set to be introduced on the other weapons in Kalashnikov’s premier rifle line soon. As Russia’s new service rifle we, over on our sister site TFB, have followed the AK-12’s adoption and roll out closely. Check out some of our earlier coverage here.
The new rifle was showcased at Russia’s Army-2020 military exposition and Kalashnikov Media have also shared a new video of the rifle in action. Check out the video on Kalashnikov Media’s site here.
Firstly, lets remind our selves what the first generation of the AK-12 looked like. The above photograph, released a few years ago, shows the initial form of the AK-12 with the early pattern rear sight, pistol grip, trigger guard and butt-stock. We broke down the features of the first generation of the AK-12 and AK-15 in an earlier article.
From the image above we can see that a number of small but significant changes have been made to the rifle. All of these were also seen on the AK-19, it is likely that the entire AK-12 patterned family will see these upgrades.
Firstly, one of the most prominent ergonomic changes is to the pistol grip assembly. The profile of the pistol grip has been completely redesigned with a narrower circumference and the contouring and finger cutouts have been abandoned.
The new pistol grip assembly also has an integrated polymer trigger guard replacing the classic spring steel trigger guard seen on the previous generation of the AK-12. The release for the oil bottle, held in the grip, has also been moved from the centre of the grip to in line with the shooter’s thumb in a position reminiscent of a pistol’s magazine release.
The most striking change is to the butstock, a new lower profile, lightweight stock has been developed, not unlike that seen the the AM-17 and AMB-17. While still side-folding it has an adjustable length of pull (with 6 positions) and is narrower, with a textured rubber butt pad. Below, for comparison, is the bulkier, AR-patterned buttstock.
Another new feature is the redesigned rear sight. Lower profile with a heavily knurled diopter/drum sight with a peep aperture. It also appears to be windage adjustable. This is a departure from the tangent style seen on the first pattern of rear sights. This new sight appears to be better suited to the mounting of magnifiers for use with reflex optics.
The upgraded weapon’s basic specs are listed as:
- Length – 34.6- 35.4in (88cm-90cm)
- Barrel length – 16.3in (41.5cm)
- Ammunition– 5.54x39mm
- Feed – 30 round box magazine
- Weight – 7.7lbs (3.5kg)
Dmitry Tarasov, General Director of the Kalashnikov Group of Companies, told Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency that:
“In the near future, the troops will receive AK-12 assault rifles in a new design. The improvement of any new model of small arms is an ongoing process for any manufacturer, which usually takes years. Our company will continue to be extremely attentive to the wishes of ordering agencies.”