The AK-12 (GRAU index 6P70) is a Russian assault rifle and is the newest derivative of AK pattern-rifles produced by the Kalashnikov Concern. It has been proposed to the military to be the new service rifle of the Russian military, along with potentially replacing other older AK-pattern designs in use with various military forces around the world.
In 2010, a statement was issued by the Russian Defense Ministry that this rifle was to be trialed in 2011. A working prototype of the AK-12 was shown to Russian President Vladimir Putin on his visit to the Kalashnikov Concern that same year.
The AK-12 project was started by 2011 as a private venture in an attempt to participate in the “Ratnik” trials held by the Russian military. Throughout its development, the AK-12 has received various modifications and changes to meet the standards of the Russian military, and to address various issues as seen with earlier prototypes.
The weapon competed with the A-545, a modernized AEK-971, in various trials. In late 2014, the Russian Military announced that both the AK-12 and A-545 had passed state tests and would be slowly drafted into operational service trials some time in 2015.
A final production version of the AK-12 was shown off in September 2016, along with a few variants of the AK-12, the AK-15 chambered for 7.62×39mm, and the RPK-16, a squad automatic weapon variant of the AK-12 meant to fill a similar niche the RPK did back when the AK-74 was first manufactured.
The AK-12 is currently being evaluated for export and civilian models are currently being produced.
The more famous pre-production AK-12, formerly known as the AK-200, has a very similar operation to most Kalashnikovs, but is very heavily modernized when compared to other rifles in its family, such as its controls being completely ambidextrous and the ability to switch calibers by just changing its barrel. Along with various other accessory rails attached to the AK-12, it is able to accept a wide variety of calibers, from 7.62×39mm to 5.56×45mm NATO, is able to fit a GP-34 grenade launcher underneath the barrel and can also accept rifle grenades due to threading on the muzzle brake.
The production AK-12 is radically different when compared to the prototype, with various features such as the ambidextrous charging handle removed. While the AK-12 is still a Kalashnikov design, it unarguably shares more in common with older AK designs than the prototype, but it is claimed that this production version of the AK-12 is not a retrofitted AK-74 or something of the like. The production AK-12 also has the ability to fit an underbarrel grenade launcher to the bottom rail.
Both the pre-production and production AK-12 have a four-position selector switch. The pre-production AK-12 has four settings for safe, semi-automatic, three-round burst and fully automatic; the production AK-12 has the same settings, except that the three-round burst setting was replaced by a two-round burst setting.
AK-103, the AK-15 is an AK-12 chambered for the 7.62×39mm that was very famously used by the AK-47. Despite the similar names, the AK-15 is in no way related to the Saiga Mk-107, also called the AK-15 by some sources, despite both being of a Kalashnikov design.
This squad automatic weapon variant of the AK-12 is meant to fill the niche that the well-known RPK filled back when it was introduced. Interestingly enough, the RPK-16 is a modernization of the well-known RPK. The RPK-16 uses an all-new 96-round detachable drum magazine; most AK drum magazines usually had a capacity of 75 rounds. Chambered in 5.45×39mm, the RPK-16 is operationally also very similar to its smaller brothers.
- The AK-12 was the very last weapon that Mikhail Kalashnikov designed.
- Putin praises new Kalashnikov assault rifle—Voice of Russia
- Putin shown up-to-date Kalashnikov assault rifles—RIA Novosti
- Оружейникам придется перевооружаться
- Modern Firearms Page
- Kalashnikov 5: Brand-new AK-12 rifle unveiled
- Kalashnikov AK-12 rifle information
- Kalashnikov Concern discontinues the old AK-12 (Prototype Variants) and replaced them with new AK-12 Model (Final Production Variants)