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AK-74 dismissed by the Russian army

RIA Novosti


RIA Novosti military commentator Konstantin Bogdanov

Russia's Chief of the General Staff Nikolai Makarov has reported that the country's military have stopped buying the Kalashnikov. In the near future, they will do away with their old firearm inventories and wait for a new rifle's adoption. However, it will not be an easy choice.

AK-74 Renounced


Commenting on the purchase of AK-74 rifles, Makarov said they have renounced them. The reason is simple: the Defense Ministry must partially reduce the vast stocks of war reserve weapons and equipment that it inherited from the Soviet era. The amount of weapons in the country's reserve depots is enough to arm almost all the adults in the country.

Now the ministry has decided to get rid of excessive arms. Explaining the decision to give up the purchase of Kalashnikov rifles, Makarov said: "First of all, it was caused by the fact that the country's mobilization reserve stocks,including those of assault rifles, exceed the requirements by dozens of times."

Several major structural changes have taken place in the course of the army reform carried out under Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov since 2009. The so-called"cadre units" have been practically eliminated. Produced by the Soviet mass mobilization approach, these units represented a kind of skeleton of a normal army unit.

As a rule, such a unit had depots of partially mothballed equipment and arms and a reduced personnel (sometimes 8-10 times less than the normal strength of aregular unit). During wartime, cadre units received conscripts and prepared them for combat.

The country's military leaders have decided to dismiss this system as archaic and clumsy and announced the transition to a network of smaller brigades that are mobile and always maintained at higher combat-readiness and full war strength.

In addition, the army underwent one more reduction since 1991.

To sum up, now the army does not need to purchase AK-74s. In theory, enterprises can receive from the military either an order for upgrading the existing assault rifles or take part in a tender for the new ones designed for the new army.

Upgrading the Legend

The most interesting point in modernization is that it can involve a host of private ordnance-producing companies on a tender basis. A one-time contract to purchase hundreds of thousands of "new old" automatic rifles from their producer (Izhmash - the Izhevsk plant) is the same as buying from a monopoly. Meanwhile, a tender for an upgraded rifle with state contract guarantees can be won by virtually any company that comes up with a good offer.

After all, there are plenty of firms in the West that are involved in gun tuning under contracts with private military corporations. Interestingly, a typical AKM (7.62x39) is the favorite of mercenaries and one of the most popular guns among private military companies in Iraq and Afghanistan. Russia also has a number of companies involved in tuning Kalashnikov rifles.

A typical AKM (7.62x39)

Russia has been adopting a new state defense order practice recently. The Defense Ministry has become very sensitive to prices and has fallen out with defense monopolies. It is now not too difficult for small firms to take part in an upgrading tender, which can lead to the emergence of a highly competitive environment and, consequently, to prices that are attractive for the military.

The Line of Heirs

The modernization of old weapons is good as a transitional measure or a means to maintain combat effectiveness. According to some sources, the Defense Ministryis directly interested in adopting new firearms and no longer intends to buy old ones.

The Soviet army was equipped with AK-74s in the mid-1970s. Even at that time, some experts grumbled that the army had chosen far from the best option - to pleasethe renowned Izhmash.

At any rate, the AK-74 proved to be a sound rifle. Now, 40 years later, the domestic arms industry is trying to obviate the major design drawback of all Kalashnikov modifications - when the rifle is fired, its action moves sharply, which shifts the rifle from the line-of-sight and decreases fire accuracy.

Izhmash made an attempt to design a rifle with a "balanced" automatic recoil system. It presented the AN-94, designed by Gennady Nikonov since the late1970s and advertised in the 1990s as an innovation rifle to replace the legendary AK.


However, trials, including those during military operations in Chechnya, clearly revealed its weaknesses and strengths. True, the AN-94 is a good, accurate rifle for a well-trained sniper, but it is expensive, difficult to service, and wayward.

It has nothing in common with the AK-74 and AKM, which are cheap and simple rifles for massive armies. Even dragged through dirt, they will still fire without any jams or failures. Combat and testing practice shows that the AN-94 can be used by special units with some reservations, but is not suitable for regular motorized infantry troops. It does not even have a new professional look.

In the 1990s, Izhmash presented upgraded Kalashnikov rifles - the so-called AK-100 series with options for three calibers - domestic 5.45 and 7.62, and NATO's 5.56. Some were exported, and others were purchased by Russian security and law enforcement agencies. For example, the Federal Security Guard Service and the Federal Service for the Execution of Penal Sentences bought the AK-103 with a7.62 caliber. However, the army - the best customer - is not yet interested in these rifles. Incidentally, the 100 series featured recoil-balanced AK-107s that were much more accurate than the basic model (AK-74). The AK-200 is the recently developed, latest derivative of the old rifle.




The AEK-971 is one more model of a modern balanced-recoil firearm. In the late1980s, the AEK-971 lost the Defense Ministry's tender to the AN-94, although itis simpler and cheaper.


Its automatic and semi-automatic firing is not as accurate as the AN-94's, but it has a higher long range accuracy. Naysayers believe the AN-94 was chosen due to pressure on the part of the all-powerful Izhevsk lobby - the AEK-971 was designed by competitors from the Kovrov-based Degtyarev plant.

New Rifle for a New Army

None of these rifles have been chosen for the army's re-equipment. Military sources say the army is reserved about all these rifles, whether made in Izhevsk or Kovrov. They think these rifles are fine, but do not meet the modern requirements of the Russian army, which will define the performance specifications for the new gun.

International and domestic combat use of weapons has brought about a number of changes in the ways that firearms designs are viewed. Designers have given up the fantasies ofthe 1980s that often produced futuristic-looking guns at fantastic costs.

No matter how it will look, the Russian rifle must be a reliable gun and a direct heir of its predecessors. It would be best if it has the same ammunition, so it can use the reserve stocks and does not require refitting cartridge factories. It would be better if the rifle is not basic, but adjustable and allows for the easy installment of optical and infra-red sights, laser designators, and other accessories.

Izhevskdesigners have good chances of success, but Izhmash, Russia's biggest ordnance center, which is known far beyond its borders, is in terrible shape. The Russian Technologies State Corporation is now actively working on its financial recovery, although it is obvious that Mikhail Kalashnikov's home company will have a hard time without a big army contract and will do everything it can toget one.

The AK rifles will be stored at depots. The fact that the army is no longer buying them does not mean that they will disappear from the military tomorrow.

Added: Oct-3-2011 Occurred On: Oct-3-2011
By: GraveMatter-
Tags: AK-74, Russia, replacement, renounced, army
Location: Russia (load item map)
Views: 10321 | Comments: 23 | Votes: 0 | Favorites: 1 | Shared: 0 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 2
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  • Be nice if some found their way over here.............

    Posted Oct-4-2011 By 

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  • Comment of user 'ReplicantDeckard' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • The AEK-971 seemed like the obvious choice to me :/ Simple counter-weight mechanism nullifies most of the recoil... Looked relatively cheap and effective.

    Posted Oct-4-2011 By 

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  • Hopefully we will see a flood of cheap Russian AK-74 parts kits here in the US.

    Posted Oct-4-2011 By 

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    • @magna750 
      i rather pay more for a ak47 parts kit though 800 bucks is getting pathetic.
      i think 500 is the max id pay for a very good shape bulgarian or russian with a chrome lined US barrel

      i refuse to pay more than 350 for any underfolder WITH a us barrel

      Posted Feb-10-2014 By 

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  • But will they be as reliable as the ak-74? This gun can shoot after being submerged in mud, water or dirt. Nothing worse than being in combat with a jammed gun.

    Posted Oct-4-2011 By 

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    • @sok8888 Well I'm not talking about just plain penetration but also how durable and simple the gun is. Ak-74s can be cleaned with just water and it'll still shoot fine.

      Posted Oct-4-2011 By 

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  • No wonder my romanian WASR cost $500. Free bayonet too.
    The new rifle will certainly be 5.45 caliber and will not turn out to be a wonder weapon. I'm guessing optic mounts will be much improved.

    Posted Oct-4-2011 By 

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  • Typical politician,We have enough AK-74's to arm every person many times over,but we want something new,so we can spend money on things we do not need. The AK-74's they have will be far more then they will ever need. Also it is a fine weapon,and there is NO need to change.

    Posted Oct-4-2011 By 

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  • I will gladly accept one if there is too many

    Posted Oct-4-2011 By 

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  • If it's not broke, don't fix it. Arguably the most dependable rifle in the world, simple and easy to maintain with very few moving parts, thus "soldier friendly". Hell, even "kid soldiers" use them. Just like governments to screw up a good thing. If someone can build a better weapon with all the assets of the AK then let them step forward.

    Posted Mar-16-2012 By 

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    • @osok1949 

      The AK is a dead solid reliable infantry rifle.

      But it isn't perfect. A rifle with all its advantages plus better characteristics such as lower weight and greater accuracy is virtually certain to be designed.

      Cost is a huge factor though, and the AKs will in that respect be damned hard to beat.

      Posted Jan-13-2015 By 

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    • @NotJim 

      Someday it will be, but since the 1940's the AK has ruled. Yes, price has a lot to do with it. To me the trade off of accuracy and weight are null and void when the weapon one is using isn't dependable. I read an article by a Sergeant was given a new rifle to test. He said it was the worse rifle he had ever handled with tendency to jamb a lot and being "complicated" in the fact that for infantry there were too many small parts, etc. He said a few years later he went to Vi More..

      Posted Jan-14-2015 By 

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  • Problem is, as the Russians liquidate them they are unlikely to enjoy the same fate as the SKS (Simonov) rifles because they are fully automatic. They can't be sold to the general (law abiding) gun owning public. So, they will likely be sold to underdeveloped countries, facilitating civil war.

    Posted May-18-2012 By 

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  • what about ak-12?

    Posted Oct-23-2012 By 

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  • Comment of user 'TheLessYouWin' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
    • @TheLessYouWin 
      i really dont know why.
      the ak74 has all the disadvantages of the AK47 and all the disadvantages of the m16 rolled up in one under powered and inaccurate weapon.

      Posted Feb-10-2014 By 

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  • I never understood the AK74
    It fired a weaker round and was just as inaccurate.

    While the ar15 fires a .223 as well its much more accurate and has better balistics than the ak74.
    the AK47 fires a large round at a medium speed instead of high speed the power of the round makes up its lack in accuracy.

    I am building an AKM right now and thought about going 74 since the ammo is cheaper and the parts kit are cheaper. I stopped and thought about it and have no desire to own one.

    Posted Feb-10-2014 By 

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  • I suppose this means the AK-74 could possibly hit the US market in large numbers, modified for semi-auto-only. Doubtless they're sold already but perhaps a glut will lead to low prices...

    Posted Jan-13-2015 By 

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