|Place of origin||Russia|
|Weight||3.85 kg (8.49 lb)|
|Length||943 mm (37.1 in) stock extended
728 mm (28.7 in) stock folded
|Barrel length||405 mm (15.9 in)|
|Rate of fire||1800 (2 round burst) or 600 (full auto) rounds/min|
|Muzzle velocity||900 m/s (2,953 ft/s)|
|Effective firing range||700 m|
|Feed system||30, 45 round AK-74 compatible box magazines
60-round Casket magazines
700 mm (27.6 in) sight radius, optional optics
The AN-94 (Russian: 5,45-мм автомат Никонова обр. 1994 г. / АН-94 «Абака́н», GRAU designation 6P33) is an advanced assault rifle of Russian origin. The initials stand for Avtomat Nikonova model of 1994, after its chief designer Gennadiy Nikonov who previously worked on the Nikonov machine gun.
The AN-94 was designed as a potential replacement to the AK-74 series of rifles currently in service with Russian Armed Forces. Due to its complex design and expense its adoption has been very slow and it is in limited use; and it most likely will never become general issue. As of March 2013, the AK-74 ('M' variant) is still the general issue rifle used by the Russian Armed Forces.
The stated great advantage of the AN-94 system is its ability to delay the recoil force until the fired round/s have left the barrel. This, it is claimed, enables more 'hits' on target under the most adverse combat conditions.
The AN-94 offers a unique two-shot burst function at a stated 1800 rounds per minute rate of fire. The Nikonov mechanism fires the second shot in the burst quickly enough to allow it to escape before the recoil of the first shot is felt, thus potentially allowing the two shots to hit extremely close together, for example to aid in piercing body armor.
Design and operation
The most conspicuous identifying feature of the AN-94 is its magazine which is canted several degrees to the right of center (when viewed from a firing position). This design feature is necessary to accommodate the unique ammunition feed mechanism. The AN-94 is chambered in the same 5.45x39mm M74 cartridge as the AK-74, and it utilizes a rotating bolt to lock the action. Gennadiy Nikonov and his engineers used the Russian term смещенный импульс свободного затвора (smeshchonnyy impuls svobodnovo zatvora) to describe the rifle's method of operation, meaning "blowback shifted pulse."
When a round is fired, residual energy from the propellant charge in the cartridge acts upon the safely locked breech and bolt carrier. Simultaneously, a quantity of powder gases driving the bullet through the barrel is tapped and acts upon the piston in the gas tube located above and parallel to the barrel. The movement of the piston and its connecting rod acts upon the locking bolt, causing it to rotate and allow the breech to safely open. This initiates the extraction and ejection cycle for the spent round of ammunition.
The AN-94 is unique in that the barrel, gas tube, receiver, and bolt carrier all exist as a single component group moving back and forth along an axis parallel to the bore, suspended within what the Russian manufacturers call an Effect-Envelope—the external composite fibre/polymer stock. This configuration separates the events inside the rifle from what the person operating the weapon actually experiences (i.e. low recoil).
The motion described is also employed by design to drive the unique rotary conveyor mechanism that performs the separate ammunition pre-feeding cycle that is key to the extremely rapid two round burst function that defines the AN-94 system. This high rate of fire (1,800 rounds/min) also offers two initial shots on selected fully automatic fire, with following rounds cycling down to 600 rounds/min. This offers the operator the unique tactical advantage of trigger-controlled fire selection.
The rear peep sight is a noted improvement over the standard Kalashnikov notch and post. The muzzle brake is intended to significantly reduce weapon report and muzzle flash. The AN-94 design is stated to be vastly more accurate than the AK-74M. And unlike the AK-74M, it can mount a GP-25 family grenade launcher and bayonet simultaneously.
- Ireland: Used by the Provisional IRA during 'The Troubles'.
- Russia: Used in limited numbers by the Russian army, police, Federal Security Service and Ministry of Internal Affairs.
- Михаил Дегтярев, "Ан-94 «Абакан» – это просто", Калашников. Оружие, Боеприпасы, Снаряжение, 2007/5, pp. 6-12 (detailed explanation of the mechanism)
- Nowa Technika Wojskowa 2002-03/04. (detailed history of the development of Nikonov's gun)
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