I found this mildly interesting; Russia is now issuing the latest version of the famous Kalashnikov series of battle carbines, the AK-12. Excerpt:
“Meet the new boss, same as the old boss” could describe most AK variants. Inside the AK-12 lies the same long-stroke, gas-operated system that has long made the AK such a doll on the battlefield. It’s an effective close bolt, air-cooled system that’s not fancy, but it’s effective. The AK-12 also keeps the AK’s classic paddle magazine release, the right-side charging handle, and big safety.
At its core, it’s still just another AK series rifle. This is great for Russian forces because training between the two platforms will be identical. No one in the Russian infantry won’t know how to wield an AK-12 when they turn in their AK 74 series rifle for the latest gear. Predictably, the AK-12 also uses the same Russian 5.45x39mm ammunition as its AK 74 successor. While the rifles feature a lot of the same internals, the new AK-12 has some design changes worth noting.
One of those interesting changes was the addition of a two-shot burst mode, so the iconic big-fisted AK safety now includes Semi (pew) Burst (pew pew) and Auto (pew pew pew.) Yes, you read that right – not a three-round burst like some versions of the M16-M4 platform, but instead a sort of auto-double tap. Honestly I’m not sure what I think of that.
The original AK-47 was a singular weapon: Brutally tough, simple, easy to operate; it was a budget lead-chucker designed for use by poorly trained peasant soldiers, leading to its popularity by both military and revolutionary operators in Third World shitholes all around the planet. But the AK-12 seems to be shedding some of that in favor of more accessorization and more complication – in other words, trying to do what the M16-M4 platform does while retaining most of the AK ergonomics.
I’ve had the chance to handle a bunch of semi-auto, civilian market AKs and a couple of full-bull select-fire military versions. Not my cup of tea, but they can be fun. How will this new update play out? No idea. But it’s an interesting update on an old theme, all the same.