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Assault rifle


The AEK-971 is based on Kalashnikov design but uses a "balancing action" to reduce recoil

Country of origin Russia
Entered service ?
Caliber 5.45x39 mm
Weight (without magazine) 3.3 kg
Length 960 mm
Length (with folded stock) 720 mm
Barrel length 420 mm
Muzzle velocity 880 m/s
Cyclic rate of fire 900 rpm
Practical rate of fire 40 - 100 rpm
Magazine capacity 30 rounds
Sighting range 1 000 m
Range of effective fire 500 m


   The AEK-971 assault rifle was designed as a possible replacement for the AK-74. Its development began in the Soviet Union in the early 1980s. This assault rifle was first publicly revealed in the early 1990s. The AEK-971 competed against the AN-94 and some other new designs. Eventually it lost competition to the AN-94, that was selected due to a slight accuracy edge and was officially adopted by the Russian Army and Ministry of Internal Affairs in 1994. Only a few small batches of the AEK-971 have been produced to this day. These were issued to selected Russian army and law enforcement units for trials and evaluation. The main reason why the AEK-971 was never adopted is its insufficient advantages over the AK-74.

   The AEK-971 is a gas-operated, selective fire weapon. It is based on the AK-74 design, but uses a so called "balancing action" to counter recoil. As a result in full-auto mode the AEK-971 has 15-20% more accurate than the AK-74. This weapon is also capable of 3-round burst firing. Early prototypes of this assault rifle had a cyclic rate of fire of a whooping 1 500 rounds per minute. On later models it was decreased to 900 rounds per minute. Design of this assault rifle differs from the AK-74 design, though some parts are interchangeable. This weapon is simple in design and is cheap to manufacture. Balanced recoil system was also applied in AK-107, AK-108 and AK-109 assault rifles.

   This assault rifle is chambered in 5.45x39 mm ammunition. Though there are its versions chambered in 7.62x39 mm (AEK-973) and standard NATO 5.56x45 mm ammunition (AEK-972).

   The main advantage of the AEK-971 is its 3-round burst mode. This assault rifle is capable of single shots, 3-round burst and full-auto firing. A safety/fire mode selector is located above the pistol grip. It is improvement over the AK-style safety/fire mode selector lever.

   Weapon is fed from standard 30-round magazines, used by the AK-74. It is also compatible with 45 round capacity magazines of the RPK-74 light machine gun. Different variants of the AEK-971 can be easily recognized by their magazines, as these have different curvatures.

   The AEK-971 has a skeletal side-folding metal stock and polymer housing.

   This assault rifle comes with iron sights and has a sighting range of 1 000 m. Range of effective fire is around 500 meters. This weapon has a side-mounting rail, that can mount scopes and night vision sights. Recent versions of this assault rifle have standard Picatinny-type scope and accessory rails.

   The AEK-971 can mount bayonet, or 40-mm underbarel grenade launcher.




   AEK-971S is a version with a collapsible telescopic stock.

   AEK-972 is an export version version, chambered in standard NATO 5.56x45 mm ammunition. This weapon is also compatible with standard NATO (M16-type) magazines.

   AEK-973 is a version, chambered in 7.62x39 mm ammunition. It is compatible with all standard AK-47, AKM assault rifle and RPK light machine gun magazines. This weapon has a side-folding skeletal metal stock.

   AEK-973S is a 7.62x39 mm version, with a collapsible telescopic stock.

   A545 is an updated version of the AEK-971. Number in the designation denotes 5.45 mm caliber. It has an ambidextrous fire mode selector. This weapon has a diopter-type sights with rear rotary drum. It comes with a standard Picatinny-type scope rail. This assault rifle was tested by the Russian army.

   A762 is an updated version of the AEK-973. Number in the designation denotes 7.62 mm caliber. It has an ambidextrous fire mode selector. This weapon has a diopter-type sights with rear rotary drum. It comes with a standard Picatinny-type scope rail.









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