Modifications to the AK-12

BY Herschel Smith
12 months ago

Source.

Firearms manufacturer Kalashnikov has unveiled an upgraded AK-12 assault rifle, with modifications based on the weapon’s use in the war on Ukraine.

[ … ]

As part of the upgrade, the rifle’s two-round burst mode was excluded from the latest design, because it didn’t increase the weapon’s efficiency significantly and complicated its layout, according to TASS.

The other changes were aimed at making the rifle easier to operate.

The AK-12 has several mounting platforms that allow the installation of additional gear, such as sights, a front handle, a flashlight, a laser designator, as well as devices for noiseless and flameless fire, according to TASS.

Interesting.  They’ve added (I assume) a better flash hider, and made the rifles suppressor-capable.  They appear to have added capability for modularization with points of connection for illumination, lasers, etc., perhaps also better capability for optics mounting (although no picture is provided so I can’t be sure).

They’ve also removed the capability for two-round burst.  This isn’t surprising.  My son never used the 3-round burst capability of the M4 in Iraq.  The only time he used full auto capability was with the SAW.  Lightweight rifles with full auto capability interfere with the main function of the semi-automatic rifle, i.e., being a battle rifle.

Full auto guns are area suppression weapon systems, and need the heavier barrel to keep from melting, the open-bolt system for cooling, etc.  That runs contrary to the concept of the battle rifle and the appurtenant doctrine.


Comments

  1. On May 30, 2023 at 6:46 pm, Georgiaboy61 said:

    Re: “They’ve also removed the capability for two-round burst. This isn’t surprising. My son never used the 3-round burst capability of the M4 in Iraq. The only time he used full auto capability was with the SAW. Lightweight rifles with full auto capability interfere with the main function of the semi-automatic rifle, i.e., being a battle rifle.”

    If you look at small arms procurement by the U.S. military over the last seventy-five or so years, it seems apparent that not even they know, its members, what they really want.

    Many authorities have argued that Second World War developments such as the invention of personal defense weapons (M-1/M-2 .30-cal. Carbine) and true assault rifles (MP43/StG44) and intermediate cartridges for them (.30 Carbine, 7.92×33 Kurz, 7.62×39) made main battle rifles and the full-sized, full-power cartridges they fire, obsolete over night.

    After all, if most ground combat with small arms took place inside 300 yards, why arm the typical soldier with a weapon firing a cartridge powerful-enough to be effective at 3-4x that distance?

    Yet, what did the U.S. Army Ordnance Dept. do after the war? They developed and designed the 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge, which was/is essentially a shortened version of the long-action 30-06 M2 Ball/FMJ cartridge… and a new service rifle to fire it, the M-14. A battle rifle, not an assault rifle.

    However, when army ordnance finally got their minds wrapped around the concept of intermediate cartridges and weapons using them, they pivoted quickly and the result was – by the late 1950s/early 1960s – the select-fire AR15, otherwise known as the M-16 automatic rifle, firing the new 5.56x45mm M193 Ball/FMJ 55-grain round at over 3,000 feet per second. An assault rifle using an intermediate cartridge.

    However, “mission creep” is ever-present, and army ordnance – which had originally specified a maximum effective range of 300 meters, pushed that to 400m, and then to 500m. In other words, they wanted their new assault rifle to also do the job of a main battle rifle, even though it did not and does not today fire a cartridge strong-enough to be considered a full-power round. Not surprising, really, since 5.56x45mm was designed from the outset as an intermediate.

    In the present-day world, army ordnance has again pivoted to a cutting-edge new rifle system, this time chambered in the new high-pressure 6.8×51 cartridge, in the Sig Spear MCX rifle. This weapon is -stripped of its high-tech accessories and modern furniture – an old-school main battle rifle. It is not only accurate and powerful at long-range, it is as heavy as a main battle rifle, and has recoils as hard as one as well.

    We again see the two-faced, undecided nature of army small arms development and doctrine. After years – decades, really – of often acrimonious debate surrounding the M-16/M-4 family of weapons and the 5.56x45mm cartridge they fire, one might have expected that army ordnance might (finally) have addressed the issue by developing a new assault rifle, or at least a new cartridge for the existing platform, such as 6mm ARC or 6.5 Grendel.

    But that’s not what Big Green and the DOD actually did…. instead, they spent big bucks on a new main battle rifle. Even in this system, the schizophrenic nature of their thinking is revealed, the desire to be all things to all people all of the time. The Sig Spear MCX is a main battle rifle, but one whose 13-inch barrel is ridiculously short, given the powerful, muzzle blast and visual/aural signatures of the 80,000 psi 6.8x51mm cartridge.

    True – they wanted a suppressor permanently mounted, which would mitigate these problems somewhat, but there was really no compelling reason to make that barrel so short. Unless they expected it to function, de facto, as a close-quarters weapon, or one routinely deployed from vehicles or aircraft or other confined spaces.

    The cartridge employs risky hybrid-case tech, because the army set a high bar in terms of downrange performance against hard targets, such as body armor, and there was no way they could meet them out of a 13-inch tube without resorting to the sort of solution they finally used, i.e., ammunition loaded to extremely high pressure in comparison to legacy cartridges currently in use.

    All Big Green would have had to do, was to allow maybe 3-5″ greater barrel length, and a detachable suppressor (which is the system in use now, which works fine), and they could have met the performance metrics without such technological gymnastics. And out of a 20-inch or longer tube, they might not have needed a new cartridge at all, since modifications to existing 7.62x51mm AP might have done the job fine. Not to mention that a better intermediate such as 6mm ARC or 6.5 Grendel would also have solved many of those problems as well as the 6.8x51mm.

    Re: “Full auto guns are area suppression weapon systems, and need the heavier barrel to keep from melting, the open-bolt system for cooling, etc. That runs contrary to the concept of the battle rifle and the appurtenant doctrine.”

    Herschel, what do you mean by “appurtenant doctrine”? My search on the web does not turn up any answer which makes sense in light of this subject. Is it an engineer thing?

    Again, army ordnance and the Pentagon/DOD seem unable or unwilling to decide what they really want and then take steps to make it happen.

    At numerous battles and engagements in the so-called “global war on terror.” U.S. personnel armed predominantly with M-16 and M-4 rifles chambered in 5.56x45mm have been caught at a disadvantage due to being out-ranged (over-matched) by enemy weapons chambered in more powerful cartridges, or by not having enough true base-of-fire weapons chambered in the correct ammunition for that engagement.

    Used extremely hard and to its limits, most M-4s fail during destructive torture testing (or its equivalent in combat) with sustained fully-automatic fire by overheating the gas system and causing it to catch fire, especially the gas tube itself. Even though these weapons are capable of fully-automatic fire, they are not per se designed for use as true base-of-fire weapons. Which is to say that they cannot stand up to sustained fully-automatic fire nearly indefinitely, as can some of the more-robust general-purpose machine guns.

    Moreover, the widespread issue of such assault rifles has led to many units and individual fighters, being armed only with assault rifles and battle carbines, and thereby being caught at a serious disadvantage when engaged in a prolonged firefight against a numerically-superior enemy.

    A case in point being the men of the four-men Navy SEAL team sent on a high-risk reconnaissance mission in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, in June 2005. A mission now better-known as Operation Red Wings, during which the entire patrol was killed in action, save Petty Officer Marcus Luttrell, and during which the team’s CO, Lt. Michael Murphy, sacrificed his life for his men and in so doing, was ultimately posthumously-awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism.

    The patrol was compromised when it was discovered by two Afghan goatherds, who -when later released by the SEALS – betrayed the position of the patrol to the Taliban. However, even against that setback, the team might have made it out if it had been better-armed, in particular with some sort of area denial weapon, even something as simple as a SAW or a single M60 MG. Even more grenades or a few Claymore mines would have tilted the odds more in their favor, but I digress…

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You are currently reading "Modifications to the AK-12", entry #35039 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Firearms,Guns and was published May 28th, 2023 by Herschel Smith.

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