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Infantry Weapons

Army 2018: Kalashnikov unveils latest AK assault rifle

24 August 2018
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The latest, modified iteration of the 1P87 reflex sight can be seen mounted on the AK-308 on display at Army 2018. Source: IHS Markit/Jayesh Dhingra

On 21 August, the first day of the Army 2018 defence show being held in Kubinka near Moscow until 26 August, a new Kalashnikov assault rifle chambered for the 7.62×51 mm NATO round was unveiled to the public. This most recent addition to the latest generation of the Kalashnikov family of rifles has been designated as the AK-308.

The military 7.62×51 mm round has been derived from the commercial .308 cartridge for .308 Winchester chambered AK-pattern semi-automatic rifles of the Saiga series, designated as the Saiga-308, which have been available on the civilian market for over a decade.

On 20 August, the eve of the AK-308’s official launch at Army-2018, the Kalashnikov Concern website showed a promotional video accompanied by an article on the AK-308. The AK-308 rifle featured in the video was of the AK-200 series pattern which was most likely an earlier prototype. The AK-200 series was originally designated as the AK-100M series until earlier in 2018, when it was rebranded.

The AK-308 prototype unveiled at Army 2018 is of the latest AK-12/15 family pattern, with a number of distinct features related to the heavier and more powerful 7.62×51 mm NATO cartridge it is chambered for. Unlike the AK-12 and AK-15 assault rifles, chambered for 5.45×39 mm and 7.62×39 mm rounds, respectively, the front portion of the AK-308’s receiver was modified to accommodate the heavier front barrel trunnion as per Kalashnikov’s RPK, RPK-74, and RPK-16 light machine gun series. Furthermore, the exhibited AK-308 prototype had a distinctive combined compensator and flash-hider attached to its muzzle.

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