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Russian defense manufacturer Kalashnikov announced that the AK-12 assault rifle will become the new basic weapon for Russian troops. “The AK-12 has served as a replacement for the AK-74 since 2018 and will become the basic gun of the Russian Armed Forces in the next few years.” “The assault rifle is set to become the basic weapon of the Russian soldier for decades to come. The experience of its operation in the troops confirms that the assigned task has been accomplished in full.”

The company noted that the AK-12’s current and final design is based on feedback from field tests conducted in the lead-up to the annual military demonstration ARMY 2020. 

The AK-12 is an assault rifle chambered in 5.45×39 millimeters, utilizing a revised and enhanced gas-operated piston system. The weapon features a standard magazine capacity of thirty rounds, weighs 3.5 kilograms while unloaded, and boasts a maximum sighting range of 800m. 

The AK-12’s final production version headlines all the features standard to modern rifles in its class, including an ergonomically shaped pistol grip, picatinny rail to accommodate a wide range of optics choices including sights and mounted lights, and a folding/adjustable buttstock for added handling benefits in vehicles, buildings, and other enclosed spaces.

Derived from the reliable AK-400 platform, this newer variant fared significantly better in tests while being cheaper to produce than the previous prototype. No less importantly, the new AK-12 was found to be markedly lighter and more accurate than its AK-74 counterpart. 

The Russian military adopted the AK-12, alongside its 7.62×39 millimeter AK-15 counterpart, into service in 2018. The revision presented at ARMY 2020 added minor quality-of-life improvements, including a redesigned polymer stock and new rear sight, but did not make any core design alterations, according to nationalinterest.org.