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The Russian Defense Ministry has one word for the AK-74 assault rifle: outdated. The Ministry didn’t buy a single AK-74 this year—although that may have a little something to do with the fact that they’ve got several million of them smothered in Cosmoline in an Indiana Jone style warehouse somewhere. Not to worry, Izhmash fans. The storied Russian arms maker says a new version of the venerable AK is ready to replace the 1974 variant. Almost. But when it is, the new rifle will offer more accuracy. Longer range. And greater reliability. Wait. Isn’t it one of those good, fast or cheap choose any two deals? “We have some sample weapons at hand and hope that the military will like them,” Izhmash spokesman told Izvestia with characteristic humility. “In the meantime, we will focus on the export and production of sporting firearms.” [Note to the NSSF: in Russia, euphemisms own you!]

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  1. “isn’t it one of those ‘choose two out of three’ deals?”

    Maybe, but they didn’t mention relative costs between old and new. Nor do you actually quote much of anything substantive.

    Range and reliability can both be affected majorly by cartridge, and especially powder. Remember how using the wrong powder in early m16 rifles was so disasterous?

    As for accuracy (and the other two as well), the application of modern metallurgy and modern machining technology can combine to make a product with more consistent tolerances.

    Basically, the two out of three idea only really applies within generations, and not between them. In the 1860’s we were still using single shot muzzle loaded cap and ball rifles, and similar single action revolvers. Within 50 years we replaced them with Mauser 98 styled bolt action rifles, and reliable semi-auto pistols.

  2. The AK-74’s replacement was selected during the early 1990s and type classified in 1994 as the AN-94. It’s a pretty interesting weapon. Unfortunately it turned out to be too expensive and apparently too complicated for your average Russian conscript.

    I’d assume the Russians are going to adopt something like the AEK-971 or AK-107 with their ‘balanced’ operating systems. These weapons have a counter-mass that acts to counter balance the movement of the bolt carrier. From what I can tell, they work quite well.

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