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The New Kalashnikov – AK-12

The world’s most popular rifle now has a replacement.  The AK-12 is the modern replacement for the Cold War era AK-47 and AKM rifles.  Although similar to the venerable AK platform, the AK-12 is actually a completely new ground up design.

The engineers at Izmash kept everything that makes the AK great but went back to the drawing board to address deficiencies that traditional AK platforms have.  The long stroke gas piston action stays but many control features have changed.  If you’ve ever shot an AK variant, you will know that other than its magazine release, it lacks ambidextrous controls.

The AK-12 is fitted an ambidextrous selector switch that is 4-position switchable from safe to single, 3-round burst, and full auto fire.  The selector switch is located towards the rear of the receiver and can be thumb actuated.  This is a much improved design over the older AK’s safety.  The charging handle is still reciprocating but can reportedly be installed on either side of the gun making it friendly for both right and left handed shooters.

Mounting choices for optics and accessories on the AK-12 are much improved compared to the AK-47 thanks tot the full-length accessories rail on a hinged top cover.  The Picatinny spec rail allows room for optics, lights, and lasers which were difficult to fit on the AK-47/AKM.  The top cover is also beefed up and is made with thicker material than the stamped cover of the previous AK.  The more secure top cover latch is now located on the right side, just behind the safety selector switch.  Picatinny rails are now found on the hand guard as well at the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions.

Other improvements include a new more comfortable grip and a folding & telescoping length adjustable buttstock.  The AK-12 will be chambered in the traditional 7.62x39mm and 5.45x39mm calibers and available in NATO’s 5.56x45mm as well.  It has been reported that all AK-47/AKM magazines will work with the AK-12.  An exciting prospect is that there is a quad-stack 60 round capacity magazine is in the works.

The reported weight is 3.3 kilograms or 7 pounds, 4 ounces and is on par with the weight of many of its competitor’s rifles.  The jury is still out on its looks.  Some say it doesn’t matter, but we think it doesn’t hurt morale to have a good-looking gun.  Although we’ve learned to love the brutish looks of the original AK series, the AK-12 will still take some getting used to.  Regardless, we’re sure that we would have big grins if we got the chance to shoot this thing.

Source and Photos from:

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14 responses to “The New Kalashnikov – AK-12”

  1. Mathew Lengyel says:

    This firearm really reminds me off the Bushmaster M-4 ORC (Optics Ready Carbine) – they’ve tweaked a solid firearm with a lot of modern accessories and made it customizable for the general public. Good idea – but to say your replacing one thing with some thing better, that’s false. Let me tell you something – we Americans pride ourselves on our fire arms but the fact is the Russian designed AK-47 is the best firearm on the market for the money. That’s why well over 400 million of them have been produced and sold. The M-4 (and I own one) is a fine weapon but it does have it’s faults. The AK-47 is a descendant of a proud tradition of Combat weapons. It is an amalgamation of the German Strumgewehr 44 and the Russian Tokarev Series of rifles. After world war two, Russian generals convened a project with captured German and Russian rifle makers to standardize a rifle which retained the short “Kurz” 30-round mag in a reliable semi/full-auto design. The Russians were quick to realize the power the STG 44 provided German soldiers as they were often on the recieving end of such weapons during the last year and a half of the second world war. The Russians ultimately selected the .30 inch (7.62×39) round because many of their weapons used this type of ammunition (the STG used 7.92x33mm which was found to be under-powered and too heavy a slug for this type of platform). This rifle was mass-produced, beginning in 1946 and finally accepted into wide-spread service (after several alterations) in 1949. It has been used by all sides of almost every conflict on earth ever since. The impact of such a design is clear – the Israeli’s, following a war in which their enemies had been equipped with this fine weapon, were quick to copy the AK 47 design and even improved the firing mechanism (additionally making it ambidextrous) culminating in the successful Galil design. This is a very basic “law of the universe:” anything that can stand the test of time and remain in service 50 years after it’s introduction is a damn good design. The AK 12 isn’t a new design – it’s a copy of the AKM with rails, that’s all. The only thing IZMASH did was to introduce a three-round burst option and some cosmetic (usable but still – cosmetic) alterations that any other person could have achieved by shopping on Amazon for aftermarket parts. It’s insulting to think IZMASH can say they “went back to the drawing board” – no they didn’t, they stood on the shoulders of great men and pronounced credit for a copy, nothing more.

  2. N. Phil Trader says:

    It should just be Kalashnikov. Kalashnikova is the genitive case of the surname Kalashnikov. Used in Avtomat Kalashnikova, meaning Kalashnikov’s Automatic Rifle. Unless, of course, Mikhail Timofeyevich’s wife has started producing arms, in which case Kalashnikova would be correct.

  3. RECOIL Staff says:

    Thanks for catching the typo, it’s been fixed

  4. action jackson says:

    Mathew in my mind is right, but it is nice to see finally some rear sight and safty improvements. I too own a bushmaster and when it has a bolt override malfunction or what ever else is slightly off causes me to stop making the dirt turn to powder. I know i can go to my arsenol slp ak stick a 75 round drum under it and as many times as i want, squease off and NEVER EVER have a hikup. Makes me think why only the GALIL is the only ak platform that has come out with these changes the “AK-12” said they invented???? GOOD JOB MATHEW for telling it like it is. THE AK47 IS THE BEST SUBMACHINE GUN FOR THE MONEY HANDS DOWN……

  5. action jackson says:

    Besides its bad enough they tried to change it over to the ak74 now some yaahoo’s are going to call it a ak12. They sould fire the pr. department over at IZMASH so Mathew and i probably wont take so offense to the write up!!

    • Corrine says:

      Uglier than AK’s?AK’s are stamped, with very ttlile attention paid to finish or ergonomic. And they have that unsightly safety lever. Vz.58 looks somewhat better..Considering how thick the barrel is, it’s possible that they’re more accurate than some of the more sloppily constructed AKs.It’s an assault rifle.. accuracy is only so-so. I’ve read on czech web’s that the desgin requirement was 5 MOA.

    • Boostman says:

      AK-47: developed in 1947. AK-74: developed in 1974. AK-12: developed in 2012. That is the reason for the change in designation, my friend.

  6. Chris says:

    While i agree with both aj and mathews posts i work in car dealership and its the same idea’ people dont want to buy the same car over and over. The concept behind the design change is nice and in my opinion much needed, the hype of the aks is probably beginning to wear off so why is it wrong of them to bring out a newer more efficient model? The world rotates in a vicious cycle and unfortunately there is nothing out there that doesnt grow old and lose peoples interests. Personally the design looks pretty cool, the new buttstock looks pretty sweet.

  7. JLA says:

    Looks almost like the took a standard AKM, slapped on some parts from Texas Weapon Systems, Midwest Industries, MAKO and a few others & then decided to just build one with all that stuff built into it at the factory. Not to sound to nationalistic or anything, but the AK12 is little more than an Americanized AK!!! It should be a good gun!

  8. chuck says:

    this is nothing more then a AKM with a few fancy parts on it,no big deal. 10 years ago, i met a guy who was in the russian army. i asked him if they still used the AK-47. he said that they were obsolete,and only found in a museum, they were useing the AK-74 in 5.45×39.when Colt comes out with a AR in 5.45×39 , like the 901, i’ll buy that,not this piece of crap.

  9. Max says:

    AK was created by a large team of engeniers… and surprise surprise, with assistance of Hugo Schmeisser – creator of Stg44… So, with respect to my fellow countryman M.Kalashnikov, it’s time to admit that without H.Schmeisser there wouldn’t be an AK… Schmeisser went back to Germany in 1952 and died a year later… I am surprised he was let go at all… but his quick death probobly was not an accident. Keep in mind that prior to AK – a young Sergant M. Kalashnikov did not create a single successfull weapon…

    Galil is not the only take on the AK platform
    There is also a Valmet M76- Made in Finland AK – which is Awesome.
    There is also a SIG 556 – a “close enough” take on AK – which is AWESOME.

    Absolutely correct – It’s hard to find an AK-47 in Russia. It was replaced back in the 70s and all you see in service are the AKMs. I didn’t see an AK-47 until I came to US… I was a trained shooter in USSR since mid to late 80s…

    Based on the photos, the finishing on the AK-12 is pretty nasty, but not surprising.
    Can’t dissagree – not much new here… although it’s great to finally see a hinged rail, using a “blas from the past” rear sight is just so bad… Honestly, we have seen some good quality modified AKs here in the US that could rival this one… But then again, AK is made for mass consumption for 18 year old conscripts…

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