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An AEK-971, shown with an unfolded buttstock.
Type Assault rifle
Place of origin Soviet Union
Service history
Used by MVD, MVD Internal Troops
Wars Second Chechen war
Production history
Designer S.I. Koksharov
Designed 1980s
Manufacturer KMZ (original)
ZID (current)
Variants AEK-971
Weight 3.3 kg (7.3 lb) unloaded (AEK-971)
3.3 kg (7.3 lb) unloaded (AEK-972)
3.25 kg (7.2 lb) unloaded (AEK-973)
Length 960 mm (38 in) with stock unfolded
720 mm (28 in) with stock folded
Barrel length 420 mm (17 in)

Cartridge 5.45x39mm (AEK-971, AEK-971S)
5.56x45mm (AEK-972)
7.62x39mm (AEK-973, AEK-973S)
Action Gas-operated, rotating bolt
(balanced recoil system)
Rate of fire 900 rounds/min
Muzzle velocity 880 m/s (AEK-971, AEK-971S)
850 m/s (AEK-972)
700 m/s (AEK-973, AEK-973S)
Effective firing range 500 m
Maximum firing range 1000 m
Feed system 30-round detachable box magazine
Sights Iron sights
(hooded front post and the V-notch open rear)

The AEK-971 is a Soviet / Russian selective fire assault rifle that was developed at the Kovrov Mechanical Plant (KMZ) by chief designer S.I. Koksharov in the 1980s. The primary model, the AEK-971, uses the 5.45x39mm round fed from standard 30-round or larger magazines used by the AK-74, AK-74M, and similar weapons.

In late 2014, a version of the rifle passed state trials and will be tested operationally with Russian forces in early 2015.[1]

Design details[edit]

An early model of the AEK-971.

The AEK-971 is based on previous AK rifles in internal design and layout, but is also equipped with a recoil-balancing mechanism by way of a counter-weight that negates the impulse of the gas piston and bolt carrier, resulting in more controllable automatic fire. Though losing an initial contract for production against the AN-94, the Russian Army has begun field trials of this weapon.[citation needed] It is approximately 0.5 kg lighter than the AN-94, simpler in design and cheaper to manufacture. Accuracy is improved by 15% in comparison with the AK-74.[citation needed]

The original fire rate of the early model was 1500 rounds/min. It was decreased to 900 rounds/min as today's version.

Models and Variants[edit]

There are three different models: the AEK-971, AEK-972 and AEK-973. The different variants are most easily recognized by their respective magazine curvatures. The AEK-972 is chambered in 5.56x45mm and the AEK-973 in 7.62x39mm. The AEK-972 uses the magazines of the 5.56mm "100" series AK assault rifles and the AEK-973 all of the standard 7.62mm AK magazines.

The AEK-971 and the AEK-973 have one variant each: AEK-971S and AEK-973S. These are improved variants with a new trigger mechanism with the location of the thumb safety-selector lever on the right side, receiving additionally a three-shot burst fire mode, and an extended lightweight stock. When the stock is retracted, the shoulder rest connects with the pistol grip forming a streamlined structure which allows the weapon to be used without hampering fire capabilities.

Russian military use[edit]

On 23 December 2014, the Russian Army announced that a version of the AEK-971 designated the A545, as well as the AK-12, had passed sate trials and would be accepted into service with operational units for evaluation. It is expected that both weapons will begin being trialed operationally by Russian forces by March 2015.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b BREAKING: Russian Army Accepts Both AK-12 And AEK-971 -, 23 December 2014

External links[edit]