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The New Kalashnikovs Of AK-100 Series




Model AK-74M AK-101 AK-102 AK-103 AK-104 AK-105
Caliber, mm: 5.45 x 39 5.56 x 45 5.56 x 45 7.62 x 39 7.62 x 39 5.45 x 39
Rate of fire, RPM 600 600 600 600 600 600
Range of effective
sighted fire, m:
1,000 1,000 1.000 1,000 1.000 1.000
Muzzle velocity, m/sec.: 900 910 850 715 670 840
Weight of bullet, g: 3.42 4.0 4.0 7.9 7.9 3.42
Weight of rifle, empty
and without magazine, kg:
3.4 3.4 3.0 3.4 2.9 3.0
Magazine capacity, rds: 30 30 30 30 30 30

crome-lined bore and chamber, 4 RH grooves

Pitch of riflings, mm: 180 180 180 240 180 240
Length of barrel, mm: 415 415 314 415 314 314
- with buttstock folded 700 700 586 700 586 586
- with buttstock extended 943 943 824 943 824 824
Set of delivery: rifle, 4 magazines, bayonet,
cleaning kit, oiler, cleaning rod,
carrying sling, pouch, Operational Manual.
Extra accessories: optic sight, night-vision device.

People say, Izhevsk is the Mecca to the Russian gun designers. There is little to contradict to such a statement - nearly all modern small arms systems adopted by the Russian Armed Forces were engineered in Izhevsk, the city located 1,130 kilometers east of Moscow in Western Urals: AK-47, AKM, AK-74, AK-74M, Makarov pistols, SVD - the Dragunov Sniper Rifle.

Needless to say Kalashnikov Assault Rifles (avtomat Kalashnikova) have no equal competition in terms of the numbers produced. The late Edward C. Ezell, former President of the Institute for Research on Small Arms in International Security (U.S.A.), author of the "Evolution of AK-47", stated that within the period of nearly 50 years since it was adopted for production in 1948, Kalashnikov AR passed well over the mark of 50 mln pcs, while its closest competitor M-16 rifle, for example, numbers about 10 to 11 mln.

Extensively fielded in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Africa, the Middle East and dozens of other "hot spots" the Kalashnikovs once and again proved their reputation of outstanding durability, reliability, effectiveness and simplicity of construction. In my numerous meetings with the people who used AK submachine guns in various places around the world I heard such an opinion that Kalashnikov is an ideal weapon of an ideal design and it is hardly possible to alter it so as to improve its functional parameters. Yet, IZHMASH Joint Stock Company, a home of Kalashnikov weapons systems, has something new to show to the world !

  A new generation of Kalashnikov Assault Rifles designated AK-100 series are available in three chamberings: traditional 7.62 x 39 mm, modern 5.45 x 39 mm and 5.56 x 45 mm NATO calibers.

Why the new denomination, and what does it mean? AK stands for Avtomat Kalashnikova (Kalashnikov AR), while 100 is an old coded designation of the IZHMASH Armory - Production No. 100. So the combination AK-100 denotes both the model and the manufacturer. By adding the next ordinal number to the initial 100, we obtain denomination of subsequent modification: AK-101, AK-102, AK-103, AK-104 and finally AK-105. As the original prototype, AK-74M was taken. Why not AK-74? The fact is, IZHMASH produces all submachine guns with folding stocks - the feature which differs AK-74M from AK-74. It should be noted that the short and folding AKS74U (avtomat Kalashnikova skladnoy ukorochenniy, model 1974) is manufactured by the Tula Arsenal being, however, designed by the Kalashnikov Arms Design Bureau in Izhevsk. This rifle is mainly used by the Russian police. AK-74M, AK-101 and AK-103 feature barrels of standard length of 415 mm, while AK-102, AK-104 and AK-105 have 314 mm-long barrels. All rifles in this series carry a black phosphate finish and have a folding stock made from black fiberglass-reinforced polyamide.

ak102_1.gif (16860 bytes)



All submachine guns of AK-100 series have the following operational modes: safety, semi-automatic and fully automatic. Change of modes is achieved by placing a selector lever into a required position.

When placed into its uppermost position, the selector brings the weapon into safety.

The trigger is blocked and the bolt carrier could be retracted only partially - just enough to see through the opening whether there is ammunition in the magazine. The amount of travel the bolt group performs is not sufficient to cock the hammer and send the first round into chamber.

Shifted into extreme low position marked "OD" (odinochniy - single in Russian), the selector brings the systems into a semi-auto operation.

Reloading is based on utilization of the energy of propellant gases which are driven into the gas cylinder located on top the barrel. Upon firing, a portion of propellant combustion gases, pushing the bullet along the bore channel, escape into the gas cylinder, and exert pressure upon the front surface of the piston. The whole group being driven rearward, the bolt turns to the right disengaging its two locking lugs from their recesses in the receiver. The extractor claw removes an empty case from the chamber, and the ejector disposes of it through the opening in the right side of the top cover. As the bolt carrier travels farther, the single-strand recoil spring is compressed, the hammer is cocked and engaged with the auto-safety cocking cam. This cycle completed, the bolt group begins its return travel driven by the recoil spring. The mechanism goes forward, another round is stripped from the magazine and chambered, the bolt turns left to lock the chamber while the bolt carrier releases the hammer from the auto-safety sear. The hammer cocked, the bolt locked - the rifle is ready to fire. The trigger mechanism's mainspring is of multiple-strand type, which lasts longer and offers better performance under adverse conditions. After the trigger has been released, its extension moves forward. The hook in the trigger extension is held by the sear. When the trigger is pulled, its hook moves the sear and disengages it from the hammer cocking cam. The hammer, actuated by the mainspring, pivots forward and strikes the firing pin. The firing pin moves forward and impinges the primer. A shot is fired.

To fire in full-auto mode, the selector should be placed into the middle position marked "AB" (avtomaticheskiy). By doing so the sear is deactivated and does not control the hammer. In this mode the auto-safety sear holds the hammer back until the bolt carrier while moving forward releases it to fire another round.

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The mere fact of appearance of the AK-100 series is a sure indication that IZHMASH makes a vigorous attempt to regain and expand its International markets. When caliber 5.45 x 39 mm weapons were introduced into mass production to replace the rifles in 7.62 x 39 mm, it was discovered that most of the Russian traditional foreign customers would think twice before placing firm purchase orders. They merely did not trust 5.45 so well as they trusted an old and proven caliber 7.62. In addition 5.45 x 39 mm ammunition was harder to get, while 7.62 x 39 mm was easy to come by. As a result, the volume of exportation shrank considerably. In order to enhance market competitiveness IZHMASH decided to put in line the guns in three calibers: 5.45, 7.62 and 5.56. The Kalashnikovs in 5.56 x 45 mm were created exclusively for export. As a matter of fact, firing the NATO ammunition, AK-101 and AK-102 showed the results noticeably better than 5.45 x 39 mm. First, the case of a 5.56 round is by 6 mm longer and provides propulsion about 20 % greater. Second, quality of cartridge components including propellant, primer and projectile is evidently superior. The geometry of the longer NATO case with least difference between the diameter of the case body and the bullet results in better fire accuracy. Hence, the hit probability as well as the accuracy potential of AK-101 is 22 - 23 % higher than those of the AK74M. Now having the Kalashnikovs in 5.56 x 45 mm IZHMASH seems to be ready to deal with those clients who were traditionally controlled by Western arms suppliers. Anyway, if there is a demand, there must be an offer.




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