The Kalashnikov AK-12 assault rifle has emerged as the clear favorite over the submachine gun model AEK-971 [above] in the competition to supply the Russian army with a new long gun. Deputy chairman of the Military-Industrial Commission board Oleg Bochkarev told the TASS news agency that “State trials of the Ratnik combat gear are finalised. As for these two assault rifles AK-12 and AEK-971, Kalashnikov certainly has more chances. It is easier to handle, has fewer parts, but they are close in their features.” The winner will be named by the end of the year. Or the first half of next year. Anyway, it’s definitely a key part of the Russian Army’s new five year plan . . .