Infantry: September 4, 1999


Russia has unveiled the new AK-107 rifle, which the manufacturer hopes will become the next standard rifle for the Russian Army, replacing the AK-74. The AK-107 is chambered for the same Soviet 5.45x39mm ammunition. (An export version, AK-108, is chambered for NATO 5.56x45mm ammo.) The AK-107 is virtually identical to the AL-7 light automatic rifle first prototyped in the early 70s. The main difference between the AK-107 and the previous AK-74, AKM, and AK-47 is the "balanced" gas counter-recoil operating system. This virtually eliminates any recoil. The selector switch (on the right side) has four positions. From top to bottom, these are safe, automatic, three-round burst, and semi-auto. This is regarded as a design flaw by some Western writers, who note that a soldier suddenly surprised in close terrain might press the selector switch too hard and take his weapon off "safe" and all the way down into "single-shot". The Russians apparently do not agree that this is a problem.--Stephen V Cole


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