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AEK-971 Jay313.png
The primary AEK-971 model, chambered in 5.45x39mm.
Type Assault rifle
Place of origin  Russia
Production history
Designer Sergey I. Koksharov
Designed Early 1970s
Manufacturer Degtyarev plant
Weight 3.3 kg (7.28 lb)
Length 960 mm (37.8 in)
Barrel length 420 mm (16.5 in)

Cartridge 5.45x39mm (AEK-971)
7.62x39mm (AEK-973, AEK-973S)
5.56x45mm NATO (AEK-972)
Action Gas-actuated, rotating bolt, balanced recoil system
Rate of fire 900 rounds/min
Muzzle velocity 900 m/s (2,953 ft/s)
Effective range 400 m
Maximum range 1,000 m
Feed system 30-round detachable box magazine
Sights Hooded front post and the V-notch open rear
The AEK-971 is a Russian assault rifle made by the Kovrov Machinebuilding Plant (now called the Degtyarev Design Bureau) Degtyarev plant and designed by Sergey I. Koksharov in the 1970s. The AEK-971 uses the 5.45x39mm M74 round fed from standard 30-round magazines used by the AK-74. Two other members of this series—recognised by the different pistol grip angles are the AEK-972 and AEK-973—are chambered for 5.56x45mm and 7.62x39mm respectively, and are compatible with 30-round magazines from the AK-101 and AKM/AK-103. The updated AEK-973 also received a three-shot burst fire mode. The AEK-973S is a modified version with a new trigger mechanism with the location of the thumb safety-selector lever on the right side and an extended lightweight stock. When the stock is retracted, a shoulder rest connects with the pistol grip, thereby forming a streamlined structure.

Design details

The AEK-971 has two fire modes: semi-automatic and fully automatic fire. The modernised AEK-971 is also able to deliver fire with three-shot bursts. The AEK-971 is based on previous AK rifles in internal design and layout, but is also equipped with a recoil balancing mechanism. The rifle has a counter weight that negates the impulse of the gas piston and bolt carrier: this is the balancing mechanism and results in more controllable automatic fire. Though losing an initial contract for production against the AN-94, mainly due to being underdeveloped at the time, the Russian army has begun field trials of this weapon. The AN-94 assault rifle has a slight edge over the AEK-971 only in short burst (2 rounds only) mode.[1] In full-auto medium or long burst fire mode (3–5 or 7–10 rounds per burst), the AEK-971 is superior, as well as in single shot mode (while in AN-94 recoil is only delayed by a fraction of second, in AEK-971 it's effectively reduced). It's also some 0.5 kg lighter than AN-94, more simple in design and cheaper to manufacture.

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