The Kalashnikov Group, the Russian gun-making giant best known for its Soviet-era AK-47 assault rifle, has unveiled upgrades to its AK-12 assault rifle to better suit Russia in its war on Ukraine, according to Russian state media. Photo courtesy of Kalashnikov Group
May 27 (UPI) -- The Kalashnikov Group, the Russian gun-making giant best known for its Soviet-era AK-47 assault rifle, has unveiled upgrades to its AK-12 assault rifle to better suit Russia in its war on Ukraine, according to Russian state media.
Kalashnikov Group chief designer Sergey Urzhumtsev told Russia's state media agency TASS on Saturday that the design of the AK-12 assault rifle was considered based on feedback and suggestions from Russia's troops in Ukraine.
"The first AK-12s arrived for the troops in 2019. Over the period of their operation, certain feedback and suggestions were received, which the group promptly introduced," Urzhumtsev said.
"The input pool was [gathered] following the results of the experience of the gun's use in the special operation."
Kalashnikov Group CEO Vladimir Lepin told TASS that the first shipments of the weapons have already reached the front lines to receive further feedback to modify the design.
According to the gunmaker's website, the weapon takes 5.45 caliber bullets in 30-round magazines, has a barrel length of 41.5 centimeters and weighs about 8 pounds.
"This model is the pinnacle of AK system development, different from the previous generations by its elaborate ergonomics, all-day usability and increased accuracy and precision," the website reads.
"Since 2018, Russian military has been undergoing reequipment with AK-12 rifles."
Travis Pike, a U.S. Marine veteran who often writes about weapons, has referred to the AK-12 as "Russia's answer to the M4," the weapon used by the U.S. military, in a blog posted by the company Sandboxx.
"The AK-12 represents the Russian military entrance into the realm of the modern carbine. Think of the AK-12 as a modernized variant of the AK-74 rifle," Pike wrote.
"It's very much a modern variant of the classic AK series, while adopting some of the modularity of the M4 to push the old design forward."
Pike added that, at its core, the AK-12 is "still just another AK series rifle" which is "great for Russian forces" because the training would be identical to what they already receive.
In his review of the weapon, Pike said that the AK-12 comes with options for semi-automatic firing, full auto and a two-round burst option.
Kalashnikov, according to TASS, has reportedly removed the two-round burst feature in its latest update of the weapon "because this design did not increase the weapon's efficiency significantly and only complicated its layout."