The latest Russian developments in the field of assault rifles

(To Tiziano Ciocchetti)

In recent years, Russian small arms companies have produced several models of assault rifles, many of which are adopted by different departments of both their own armed forces and the FSB.

An example is the new series of compact rifles (PDW) AM-17 (opening photo) and AMB-17 (with integrated sound suppression), respectively in caliber 5,45x39 mm and 9x39 mm SP-5/6, produced by JSC Kalashnikov Concern of Izhmash.

The AM-17s and AMB-17s (video at the bottom) are small arms, in the creation of which advanced technologies are used.

As stated in the company's group, the AM-17 and AMB-17 rifles were designed making extensive use of polymers. Thanks to this, the AM-17 assault rifle weighs, unloaded, only 2,5 kg (the AMB-17 model weighs 2,9 kg), which is one kilogram less than the AK-74 (following photo) and also less than the weight of the shortened AKS-74U assault rifle (2,7 kg) with folding stock.

The new AM-17 assault rifle made it possible to fill almost all the shortcomings inherent in the AKS-74U model.

While maintaining its compact size, a sled can be installed on the new AM-17 assault rifle Picatinny which covers the entire length of the weapon (excluding stock), allowing the installation of optics and laser designators (which is very complicated to do on the AKS-74U - photo).

An important feature is the ergonomics and ease of use by both right and left handed people. In fact, the cocking handle can be easily positioned on both sides of the rifle.

The butt of the rifle is also made of polymers. The stock can be easily adjusted in length according to the anthropometric data of the shooter. Its key element is a tubular part, which is fixed to the rifle body via a hinged device. 

The total length of the AM-17 is 740 mm, while with the stock folded the length reaches 490 mm. The barrel has a length of 230 mm. This should positively affect the ballistic characteristics of the 5,45x39 ammunition. The AM-17 is equipped with a 30-round box magazine. A distinctive feature of the magazine is the presence of transparent windows that allow you to estimate the number of remaining cartridges.

Another interesting weapon is the ShAK-12 (Battle Rifle), in 12,7x55 mm caliber, developed by TsKIB SOO, a subsidiary of KBP Instrument Design Bureau of Tula, from a requirement of the FSB. The weight of the unloaded weapon is just over 5 kg while the useful range is less than 200 meters.

This rifle is the result of the experience of the Russian anti-terrorism departments in the fight against Chechen terrorism and the need to have a weapon specially designed for urban combat with a high stopping power.

Featuring a bullpup configuration, the ShAK-12 is chambered with the 12,7x55mm caliber (same caliber as the VSSR sniper rifle), which ensures a high degree of arrest as well as the ability to penetrate any bulletproof vest on the market. A 12,7mm bullet can weigh as much as 33g (511 grains) against 4 (62 grains) of 5,45mm.

In urban counter-terrorism operations, Russian operators had noticed that a hostile element, even if wounded by small arms, could still be potentially dangerous. Hence the need for a large caliber weapon capable of also taking down a hostile sheltered behind a wall. Given the caliber it was not possible to apply a magazine with a capacity greater than 20 rounds. The weapon uses a fairly compact suppressor that does not have the primary function of "moderating" the sound of the shot but acts as a flame extinguisher, thus dampening the flash when the bullet comes out of the barrel. making it harder for the enemy to locate the shooter.

Images: Kalashnikov / Macaque123