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An AEK-971, shown with an unfolded buttstock.
|Place of origin||Soviet Union|
|In service||1990s - Present(few)|
|Used by||MVD, MVD Internal Troops|
|Wars||Second Chechen war|
|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)
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|
(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.
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. 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.
Models and Variants
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.