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AK-103 Assault Rifle.JPG
The AK-103 assault rifle
Type Assault rifle
Place of origin Russia
Service history
In service 2001-Present[1]
Used by See Users
Wars First Chechen War
Second Chechen War
2008 South Ossetia war
Libyan Civil War
Syrian Civil War
2014 military intervention against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
Production history
Designer Mikhail Kalashnikov
Designed 1994
Manufacturer Izhmash
Produced 1994
Number built 100,000+
Variants AK-104
Weight 3.6 kg (7.9 lb) with empty magazine
Length 943 mm (37.1 in) stock extended / 705 mm (27.8 in) stock folded
Barrel length 415 mm (16.3 in)

Cartridge 7.62×39mm
Caliber 7.62mm
Action Gas operated, rotating bolt
Rate of fire 600 rounds/min
Muzzle velocity 715 m/s (2,346 ft/s)
Effective firing range 500 m (550 yd)
Feed system 30-round detachable box magazine
Sights Iron sights, with a dove tail side rail for mounting optical and night sights

The AK-103 assault rifle is a derivative of the AK-74M chambered for the 7.62×39mm M43 round, similar to the older AKM. The AK-103 can be fitted with a variety of sights, including night vision and telescopic sights, plus a knife-bayonet or a grenade launcher. It uses plastic components whenever possible instead of wood or metal.

Design details[edit]

AK-103 with the stock folded.

Protective coatings ensure excellent corrosion resistance of metal parts. Forearm, magazine, butt stock and pistol grip are made of high strength plastic.[2]

The AK-104 is a compact version of the AK-103. It has a muzzle brake derived from the older AKS-74U combined with a shorter barrel. It is also chambered for 7.62×39mm ammunition.


The early slab-sided steel AK-47 30-round detachable box magazines weigh .43 kg (0.95 lb) empty.[3] The later steel AKM 30-round magazines had lighter sheet-metal bodies with prominent reinforcing ribs weighing .33 kilograms (0.73 lb) empty.[3][4] To further reduce weight a light weight magazine with an aluminum body weighing .19 kg (0.42 lb) empty was introduced for the AKM that proved to be insubstantial and was quickly withdrawn from service. As a replacement steel-reinforced 30-round plastic 7.62×39mm box magazines were introduced. These rust-colored magazines weigh .24 kg (0.53 lb) empty and are often mistakenly identified as being made of Bakelite (a phenolic resin), but were actually fabricated from two-parts of AG-S4 molding compound (a glass-reinforced phenol-formaldehyde binder impregnated composite), assembled using an epoxy resin adhesive.[5][6][7] Noted for their durability, these magazines did however compromise the rifle's camouflage and lacked the small horizontal reinforcing ribs running down both sides of the magazine body near the front that were added on all later plastic magazine generations.[7] A second generation steel-reinforced dark-brown (color shades vary from maroon to plum to near black) 30-round 7.62×39mm magazine was introduced in the early 1980s, fabricated from ABS plastic. The third generation steel-reinforced 30-round 7.62×39mm magazine is similar to the second generation, but is darker colored and has a matte nonreflective surface finish. The current issue steel-reinforced matte true black nonreflective surface finished 7.62×39mm 30-round magazines, fabricated from ABS plastic weigh .25 kg (0.55 lb) empty.[8] Early steel AK-47 magazines are 9.75 in (248 mm) long, and the later ribbed steel AKM and newer plastic 7.62×39mm magazines are about 1 in (25 mm) shorter.[9][10]

The transition from steel to mainly plastic magazines yielded a significant weight reduction and allow a soldier to carry more rounds for the same weight.

Rifle Cartridge Cartridge weight Weight of empty magazine Weight of loaded magazine Max. 10.12 kg (22.3 lb) ammunition load*
AK-47 (1949) 7.62×39mm 16.3 g (252 gr) Slab-sided steel
430 g (0.95 lb)
916 g (2.019 lb)[11]
11 magazines for 330 rounds
10.12 kg (22.3 lb)
AKM (1957) 7.62×39mm 16.3 g (252 gr) Ribbed stamped-steel
330 g (0.73 lb)
819 g (1.806 lb)[4][12]
12 magazines for 360 rounds
9.84 kg (21.7 lb)
AK-103 (1994) 7.62×39mm 16.3 g (252 gr) Steel-reinforced plastic
250 g (0.55 lb)
739 g (1.629 lb)[4][12]
13 magazines for 390 rounds
9.62 kg (21.2 lb)

Note: All, 7.62×39mm AK magazines are backwards compatible with older AK variants.
Note *: 10.12 kg (22.3 lb) is the maximum amount of ammo that the average soldier can comfortably carry. It also allows for best comparison of the three most common 7.62×39mm AK platform magazines.



Standard automatic version for the military market


This is a semiautomatic version for the police and civilian market


This has a three round burst feature in place of full automatic version for police and civilian market


Has a mount for the 1PN58 night scope


Has a mount for the 1PN51 night scope


Carbine version of the AK-103.


  •  India:Used by Naval Special Forces or MARCOS .[13] The Russian arms company Izhmash is negotiating to issue a license to an Indian private arms manufacturer to produce the AK-103.[14]
  •  Libya: Seen in the hands of anti-Gaddafi forces & loyalists in numerous photos. The rifles in use are the AK-103-2 version .[15][16]
  •  Russia: Used by various special police groups, spec ops groups and civilians .[17] It is also in limited service with the Russian Army.[citation needed]
  •  Venezuela: Standard issue weapon of the Venezuelan Army .[18] Made under license by CAVIM with initial licensing fee payments made in 2006 with the transfer of Russian-made AK-103s to Venezuela in 2008.[19] CAVIM's AK-103 factories opened officially in 2012.[19][20] CAVIM-made AK-103s were delivered to the Venezuelan Army in 2013.[21]

Non-State Actors[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Presentation of the unique Kalashnikov small arms collection in the Moscow Kremlin Museum". Archived from the original on 21 February 2014. Retrieved 2015-04-11. AK-103 – Kalashnikov assault rifle, caliber 7.62 mm. It is designed for the 7.62-mm cartridge of the 1943 model. This model was included in the inventory in 2001 
  2. ^ "7.62 mm Kalashnikov assault rifles AK103, АК104". Archived from the original on 14 April 2014. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Dockery, Kevin (2007). Future Weapons. p. 102. ISBN 0425217507.
  4. ^ a b c "Ak 47 Technical Description - Manual". Scribd.com. 2010-09-30. Retrieved 2012-08-23. 
  5. ^ "Kalashnikovs 3 of the best" (PDF). "Shotgun News" magazine, Vol. 59 Issue no. 12 - May, 2005. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
  6. ^ "Elastic characteristics of AG-4S glass-reinforced plastic under short-time and long-time loads". VM Grezin - Mechanics of Composite Materials, 1966 - Springer. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
  7. ^ a b Kokalis, 49
  8. ^ "Официальный сайт группы предприятий "ИЖМАШ"". Archived from the original on September 3, 2014. Retrieved 2 October 2014. 
  9. ^ Rifle Evaluation Study, United States Army, Combat Development Command, ADA046961, 20 Dec 1962
  10. ^ "Are kalashnikov magazines as robust as their reputation? He tormented a selection of AR magazines last year, now he takes on the AK. The results you may find surprising.". Retrieved 2 October 2014. 
  11. ^ Dockery, Kevin (2007). Future Weapons. p. 102. ISBN 0-425-21750-7. 
  12. ^ a b Dockery, Kevin (2007). Future Weapons. p. 102.
  13. ^ [1]
  14. ^ Pradeep Thakur (2008-02-18). "Latest Kalashnikovs to be made in India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2010-04-01. 
  15. ^ Bryan Chan; Luis Sinco (2011-03-04). "On the revolutionary road in Libya, Photo #4". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-04-01. 
  16. ^ "Update II: AK-103 Exports to Libya". Security Scholar. Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  17. ^ "Modern Firearms". Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  18. ^ "Russia to build 2 Kalashnikov factories in Venezuela by 2010 / Sputnik international". Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  19. ^ a b John Pike. "Defense Industry". Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  20. ^ Christopher Looft. "Venezuela Set to Mass Produce Kalashnikovs, Sniper Rifles". Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  21. ^ "Cavim inicia entrega de fusiles de asalto Kalashnikov AK-103 a la Fuerza Armada de Venezuela". Infodefensa.com. 3 June 2013. Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  22. ^ Thomas Martienssen. "A rifle's journey from Belgium to Gaza". BBC. Retrieved 8 December 2015. 

External links[edit]