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AN-94"Abakan"+ AEK 971

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Published on Nov 28, 2007

The AN-94 assault rifle had been officially adopted by the Russian Army and the Ministry of Internal Affairs in 1994 as a possible replacement for the venerable Kalashnikov AK-74 series assault rifles. The AN index means "Avtomat Nikonova", or Nikonov Assault rifle. This rifle had been designed by the Gennady Nikonov, a Russian arms designer, at the IZHMASH state factories, during the late 1980s and early 1990s. This rifle, initially known as the ASN prototype, had been developed for and submitted to the Russian Army trial contest, held in the early 1990s. This contest, known under the code name "Abakan" (a small city in Russia), was intended to develop the more effective replacement for the AK-74 assault rifles. The ASN was tested among the many other prototypes and eventually won the trials, and was consequently adopted. At the present time the AN-94 is considered as the "professionals' choice", and is used in limited numbers by the elite forces of the Russian Army, police and Internal Affairs Ministry.

AEK971 is being developed at Kovrov Machinebuilding Plant (formerly known as Kovrov Machineguns Plant) by chief designer S.I.Koksharov.
Key feature of the AEK971 is gas driven, balanced action with rotating bolt barrel locking. Balancing mean that AEK971 gas drive has two gas chambers and two gas pistons. First gas piston is linked wia gas rod to the bolt carrier an moves as usual. Second gas piston is linked to the balancing msteel weight and moves in opposite (to main gas piston) direction. This design is implemented to eliminate 3 of 4 total impulces of the movement that affect rifle during the full-auto fire. 1st impulse rifle received when bullet moves along the barrel - this is recoil itself. Second impulse rifle received when heavy bolt carrier/bolt group moves along the receiver back and forth. Third impulse is received when bolt carrier/bolt group stops in the rear position and fourth - when this group stops in forward position after new cartridge is chambered. Synchronous and opposite movement of the balancing weight eliminates all except the recoil impulse, so rifle becomes far more stable during full-auto fire.
The gain of accuracy in full auto is whole 15-20%, when compared to AK-74 asault rifle in the same kaliber. The newly adopted by Russian army AN-94 assault rifle has slight edge over the AEK974 only in short burst (2 rounds only) mode. In full-auto medium or long bursrt fire mode (3-5 or 7-10 rounds per burst) AEK974 wins hands down, being also some 0.5kg lighter than AN-94, simplier and cheaper to manufacture.
At the present time AEK971 in both 5.45x39mm and 7.62x39mm chamberings is being tested by Russain army in some quantities (my sources said that at least one hundred of AEK971s in 7.62mm was aquired by Russian army for field testing).
AEK971 has folding metall buttsock with plastic coating (to protect shooter in extremely hot or cold conditions), plastic forearm and fire control grip, and uses standart AK-47 or AK-74 30rds magazines (depending on chamberings). It also features safety switch/fire mode selector of diferent appearance (when compared to Kalashnikow design). Fire selector allows 2 modes of fire - single shots semi-auto and full auto. At some 800-900 rounds per second it's not impossible to manually control lenght of the fire bursrts, and this weapon is more stable during the fire than ordinal design rifles, so 2 or 3 rounds mode is not implemented (at least, at this time).

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