It has been widely reported that the Russian military has adopted the AK12 rifle for its elite forces, but there is very little info available about its other new rifle choice – the AK 103-4.
Deputy Minister of Defence Yuriy Borisov announced on Russian radio on 24 January that the Russian armed forces had selected the AK12, chambered in 5.45x39 mm, and the AK-103-4, chambered in 7.62x39mm, according to IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly.
Without question, the AK12 is the big news. Improved ergonomics is the key feature that sets the AK12 apart from the AK family, according to AK12-maker Kalashnikov Concern, formerly known as Izhmash.
“The AK-12 assault carbine also has a new ergonomic fire selector control … a person can operate the mechanical controls of the assault rifle with one hand,” Kalashnikov officials maintain. “A soldier can still do everything he needs to do with the weapon: move the safety, pull back the bolt and replace the magazine even if wounded or when using his other hand.”
But the piece of this story that has been driving me crazy is the lack of information or images of the AK103-4.
Besides its 7.62x39mm round, the AK103 design, which emerged in 2001, seems really similar to the Russian Army’s AK74M, chambered in 5.45x39mm. Its forearm, magazine, folding buttstock and pistol grip are made of high-strength plastic.
It has a dove-tail side rail for attaching optics and a 74-style muzzle brake.
The AK-12 is set to be used by only the elite Russian units equipped with Ratnik, the Russian military’s soldier modernization program, according to Jane’s.
The confusing part comes when Jane’s reports that the “remainder of the Army is expected to use an upgraded AK-74M, developed by Kalashnikov under military requirements.”
Wait is that the AK 103-4? I find it really hard to believe that the Russian military would adopt the 5.45x39mm AK12 and then replace the AK74M, also in 5.45x39mm, with the 103-4 in the older 7.62x39mm. I'm not picking on Jane's. I just want to find the answer. Anybody out there have a clue? I'll keep looking.