Russia’s New AK-308 Assault Rifle Is Deadly (But Better Than an AK-47?)

Russia’s New AK-308 Assault Rifle Is Deadly (But Better Than an AK-47?)

Mark Episkopos

Security,

Another Russian weapon for sale.

Key point: Russia is looking to increase its arms exports.

Russian weapons manufacturer Kalashnikov Concern has unveiled their new AK-308 assault rifle at the “Army 2018” expo in Moscow.

At first glance, the AK-308 appears to be a rebrand of Kalashnikov’s AK-12 with some design elements from the AK-103. But its tame appearance belies what makes the AK-308 one of Kalashnikov’s most ambitious products in decades: it houses 7.62x51mm NATO rounds.

Since the Second World War, Kalashnikov has produced over twenty assault rifles. Of these, all but three have employed Soviet/Russian-made ammunition. The AK-101 and AK-102 with 5.56x45mm NATO rounds were Kalashnikov’s first foray into exporting a rifle with NATO-standard ammunition, but these made a small international splash.

The AK-108, also made for 5.56x45mm rounds, likewise generated little interest from major foreign buyers. The 108 was part of the late AK-100 series line (107-109) that was plagued by recoil inconsistencies, heaviness and needlessly complicated design.

Two decades later, Kalashnikov is trying again. The AK-308 uses a different NATO rounds— 7.62х51 as opposed to 5.56x45mm—that trades more weight and recoil for better range and penetration capability. The AK-308 is marginally longer and heavier than the AK-12 to accommodate its heavier caliber type. It incorporates many of the AK-12’s improvements, including a collapsible buttstock and redesigned gas tube. The AK-308 uses a firearm frame based off the RPK-74M, a design choice meant to increase durability.

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