Izhmash's AN-94 Assault Rifle
The AN-94 (AH-94 «Абака́н»/ 5,45-мм автомат Никонова обр. 1994 г. / AN-94 Abakan / Avtomat Nikonova Model of 1994 / 6P33)
The AN-94 was designed as a potential replacement to the AK-74 series of rifles that were in service to the Russian Armed Forces (Replaced by AK-12). Due to complex design and expense, its adoption has been very slow and it is in limited use, mainly with special forces. The AN-94 was discontinued in 2006, but is still used. The advantage of the AN-94 system is its ability to delay the recoil force until the fired round/s have left the barrel, claiming more hits on target before recoil kicks in. The AN-94 is widely known to combine its unique 2-shot burst and high fire rate of 1800 rounds per minute.
The AN-94 offers a unique 2-shot burst function at 1800 rounds per minute rate of fire, the Nikonov mechanism fires the second shot in the burst fast enough to allow it to escape the barrel before the recoil of the first shot is felt, thus allowing two shots to hit extremely close together, with the potential of aiding in piercing body armour.
The AN-94 is chambered for 5.45x39mm rounds, the same as the AK-74. This allows it to use AK-74 magazines interchangeably.
Design & Operation
The most conspicuous identifying feature of the AN-94 is its magazine which is canted several degrees to the right of center (when viewed from a firing position). This design feature is necessary to accommodate the unique ammunition feed mechanism. The AN-94 is chambered in the same 5.45x49mm M74 cartridge as the AK-74, and it utilizes a rotating bolt to lock the action. Gennadiy Nikonov and his engineers used the Russian term "смещенный импульс свободного затвора" (smeshchonnyy impuls svobodnovo zatvora) to describe the rifle's method of operation, meaning 'Blowback shifted pulse".
When a round is fired, residual energy from the propellant charge in the cartridge acts upon the safely locked breech and bolt carrier. Simulaneously, a quantity of powder gases driving the bullet through the barrel is tapped and acts upon the piston in the gas tube located above and parallel to the barrel. The movement of the piston and its connecting rod acts upon the locking bolt, causing it to rotate and allow the breech to safely open. This initiates the extraction and ejection cycle for the spent round of ammunition.
The AN-94 is unique in that the barrel, gas tube, receiver, and bolt carrier all exist as a single component group moving back and forth along an axis parallel to the bore, suspended within what the Russian manufacturers call an 'Effect-Envelope' - the external composite fibre/polymer stock. This configuration separates the events inside the rifle from what the person operation the weapon actually experiences (low recoil).
The motion described is also employed by design to drive the unique rotary conveyor mechanism that performs the separate ammunition pre-feeding cycle that is key to the extremely rapid 2-shot burst function that defines the AN-94 system. This offers the operator the unique tactical advantage of tripper-controlled fire selection.
The rear peep-sight is a noted improvement over the standard Kalashnikov notch and post. The muzzle brake is intended to significantly reduce weapon report and muzzle flash. The AN-94 design is stated to be vastly more accurate than the AK-74M, and unlike the AK-74M, it can mount a GP-25 family grenade launcher and bayonet simultaneously.
- Cartridge: 5.45x49mm
- Action: Gas-Operated, Rotating Bolt
- Rate of Fire: Varies between fire modes.
- 2-Shot Burst: 1800 rounds per minute
- Full Auto: 600 rounds per minute
- Muzzle Velocity: 900m/s (2954ft/s)
- Effective Range: 700m
- Feed System: 30, 40 round AK-74 compatible box magazines, 60 round casket magazines
- Sights: Iron Sights, 700mm (27.6in) sight radius.
- Weight: 3.85kg (8.49lb)
- Length: Varies
- Stock Extended: 943mm (37.1in)
- Stock Folded: 728mm (28.7in)
- Barrel Length: 405mm (15.9in)
- Produced: 1994-2006
- In Service: 1995-Present
- GRAU Designation: 6P33