Adopted by the Russian military in 2018, the AK-12 rifle has since gone through several revisions that resulted in some design changes such as the replacement of the AR15-style stock and the introduction of the one-piece polymer pistol grip/trigger guard. Kalashnikov Concern recently published information about the latest 2023 upgrades of the AK-12 rifle that were requested by the Russian military based on the feedback from the Russo-Ukrainian War. These design changes are apparently not significant enough to give the rifle a new model name, so it’s referred to as the AK-12 model of 2023.
Kalashnikov Concern @ TFB:
Going from the buttstock to the muzzle, the first upgrade is the adjustable cheekpiece added to the stock for a more comfortable cheek weld when shooting with optics.
Next, they ditched the two-round burst firing mode as it proved to have very little combat effectiveness and made the trigger mechanism too complicated. The safety selector is now an ambidextrous thumb lever and what looks like a classic AK safety lever is just a dust cover for the charging handle slot. To extend the service life of certain parts when the rifle is dropped or an under-barrel grenade launcher is used, they redesigned the trigger mechanism and now in the safe mode, the bolt carrier group can not move back at all (in all previous AK models, the BCG can move back by about an inch and a quarter when the gun is on safe).
The receiver top cover is now attached to the rifle via a cross pin instead of a rotating lever. The adjustable rear peep sight is of the new drum pattern but it now has a flip aperture of two sizes: 1.8mm (.070″) for more precise and longer-range firing and 4.5mm (.177″) for use in closer ranges as well as in adverse and low-light conditions.
The lower handguard has been beefed up and now Picatinny rail sections can be added to its sides. The design of the upper handguard is also improved and a front attachment point to the lower handguard is added.
Last but not least, the Russian military decided to retire the detachable muzzle device in favor of a permanently attached one that has a QD suppressor mounting interface. The performance of the new muzzle device is claimed to be better than the previous muzzle devices of 5.45 AKs.
In addition to the above-described upgrades, there are also some non-visible improvements like changes in manufacturing techniques and tolerances of some parts. According to Kalashnikov Concern, one hundred AK-12 model of 2023 rifles are sent to the Russian military for final field testing.
Pictures by Kalashnikov Media, www.kalashnikov.media
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