Country of origin

Soviet Union


Kovrov Mechanical Plant


Stanislav Ivanovich Koksharov

Year(s) designed


Weapon type

Assault rifle


Gas-operated, rotating bolt (Balanced Recoil System)

Overall length

965 mm

Barrel length

420 mm


3.3 kg (without ammo)

Magazine/Cylinder capacity

30-round detachable box magazine

Cyclic rate

900 RPM

Maximum effective range

500m (effective), 1000m maximum

Muzzle velocity
  • 850 m/s (AEK-971)
  • 880 m/s (AEK-972)
  • 700 m/s (AEK-973)

The AEK-971 is a select-fire assault rifle, chambered in the 5.45×39mm round, designed by the Kovrov mechanical plant under the direction of Stanislav Ivanovich Koksharov, based on the Konstantinov SA-006 assault rifle that participated in the competition in 1974.


AEK 971

Early model of AEK-971 with an unfolding buttstock.

AEK-971 has been developed for the competition announced by the Ministry of Defence of the USSR, during which the preference was given to the Nikonov assault rifle rifle (AN-94 "Abakan"). The original version seriously differs from modern designs, as many innovations were perceived as excessive by the Ministry of Defence, which has led to a simplification of the assault rifle. In 1990 the assault rifle was modified again and produced in small batches up to 2006for various law enforcement agencies of Russia, after that, production was moved to the Degtyarev plant. Production of assault rifles at the new location is not conducted, because the deployment required significant investments that will not pay off without receiving large orders.


AEK-971 is made by the traditional assembly scheme (magazine front position) and structurally largely repeats the Kalashnikov assault rifle - rotating bolt and recharging automatics, based on a gas engine, which is driven by powder gases discharged through the vapor tube above the barrel. Assault rifle is designed for the 5.45×39mm round, there are also variants of this assault rifle chambered with 5.56×45mm (AEK-972) and 7.62×39mm (AEK-973). To supply the stores to use standard AK-74 (6L20 and 6L23 indexes) or AKM, depending on caliber.

Automation scheme redesigned to eliminate one of the disadvantages of Kalashnikov assault rifles - not high enough accuracy of automatic fire, caused by a shaking from movement of the bolt from the rifle group while reloading. To this goal AEK-971 recieved a balanced scheme of automation, based on the the gas engine (the same scheme used in the later assault rifles AK-107 and AK-108). The automatics unit now has a balancer, corresponding to the mass of the bolt group. Bolt carrier and balancer are connected via toothed racks and pinion axis, that is enhanced in the receiver. Pistons of the frame and balancer, play the role of front and back walls of the gas chamber. At the time of the shot under the pressure of powder gases, they begin to move simultaneously in opposite directions with equal velocities, and momentums of their movings compensate each other. As a result the shift of the weapon caused by the automatic operation is minimized. Accuracy of fire bursts from unstable positions significantly improved.

AEK-971 has a metal case. Forearm, pistol grip and the receiver are made of high strength plastic. Safe-fire switcher is displayed on both sides of the receiver (no safe-mode on the left side). The trigger mechanism provides three modes of fire: single, full-automatic bursts and bursts with a cutoff of 3 shots (early versions had a 2-shot cut-off). The assault rifle has slots for mounting a bayonet-knife 6x4 and grenade launcher (GP-25 Kostyor, GP-30 Obuvka or GP-34). The sectored sight is similar to the sight of AK-74, aiming block is on the cover of the receiverb. Buttstock on the original version was folding to the left, then it was replaced by a permanent stock, and in the modern version it became folding to the right. The first model of the assault rifle had a muzzle brake-compensator with adjustable apertures (increase or decrease in the firing from stable and unstable positions, respectively), in a later version, used an AK-74M compensator.


Comparing with AK-74, AEK-971 has 1.5 times better single-fire accuracy and 2.5 times better bursts accuracy. Comparing with AN-94, AEK-971's accuracy of the second hit of short bursts is worse, but the accuracy of long bursts is better.

The guaranteed like of AEK-871 is to that of the AK-74, and of 10000 shots. Combat rate of fire is 40 rounds per minute, when firing single shots and 100 rounds per minute, when firing bursts. Rate of fire is 800-900 rounds per minute (early version had about 1,500 rounds per minute) in both automatic modes (unlike the AN-94 "Abakan", which short burst rate of fire is higher - 1800 rounds per minute). Muzzle energy of AEK-971 is 1,500 Joules, AEK-973 - about 2200 Joules at an initial speed of the bullet 880 m/s and 730 m/s, respectively.



AEK-971 - base model, chambered with 5.45×39mm round.


AEK-971S - AEK-971 with a telescopic buttstock and modified form and angle of the pistol grip.


AEK-972 - model, chambered with 5.56×45mm round.


AEK-973 - model, chambered with 7.62×39mm round, uses AK magazines.


AEK-973S - AEK-973 with a telescopic buttstock and modified form and angle of the pistol grip.


Successor variant of the AEK-971 line (GRAU designation: 6P67), chambered in 5.45×39mm, with internal and external improvements.


Successor variant of the AEK-973 line (GRAU designation: 6P68), chambered in 7.62×39mm, similar to A-545.

References Edit