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21 August, Patriot Park, Kubinka town, Moscow – At Russia’s famed Army-2018 International Military-Technical Forum, Kalashnikov Concern, iconic manufacturer of the AK-47, unveiled its newest member of the Kalashnikov assault rifle family: the AK308. Chambered in the larger 7.62x51mm round, this new rifle is still in the prototype stage and is still under evaluation and testing. According to an entry translated from the Kalashnikov Concern’s press release on its website:

The weapon is based on the AK103 submachine gun for the cartridge 7.62×51 mm with elements and components of the AK-12 automatic machine. At the moment, preparations are under way for preliminary testing of weapons… AK-308 uses a dioptric sight and a foldable, adjustable length on the butt to 4 positions.”

The rifle’s technical specifications on the website are listed as follows:

Caliber: 7.62 mm

Applied ammunition: 7.62×51 mm

Weight (with magazine, without cartridges): 4.3 kg / 9.5 lbs

Overall length / with bayonet knife: 880-940 / 1045-1105 mm or (34.6-31 inches / 41.4-43.5 inches)

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Length with folded butt: 690 mm

Barrel length: 415 mm

Height: 242 mm

Width: 72 mm Butt

type: Foldable, adjustable in length for 4 positions.

Store capacity: 20 cartridges

Type of aiming device: Dioptric

A short demonstration video of the AK-308 prototype can be viewed here. Despite this mishmash from-the-company-formerly-known-as-Izhmash appearing to be put together from AK-103 and AK-12 parts, the actual prototype is on display as of this writing (the expo runs from Aug. 21-26) and has some new and different components from its supposed “donors”. A screenshot of the prototype from the video and a picture taken from the exhibition (see below) shows marked differences; the earlier prototype in the video has an AK200 series birdcage-type flash hider which does little to reduce flash, the traditional hinged AK dust cover, and the classic aperture sight mounted forward of the dust cover.

A screenshot from the video posted by Kalashnikov Concern shows the AK308 prototype, still with the
Standard aperture sight, hinged dust cover and AK200-series birdcage flash hider (Kalashnikov.Media/video/weapons/kontsern-kalashnikov-predstavil-novyy-opytnyy-avtomat-ak-308).

AK-308 at the expo; note how the prototype displayed differs from the one in the video.
This version has the newer rearward-mounted sight aperture on the newer railed receiver cover, as well as the 1P87 red dot sight (TheFirearmBlog.com/blog/2018/08/20/breaking-news-kalashnikov-presents-new-assault-rifle-prototype-ak-308/).

The AK-308 on display has the newer flash hider, which should be more effective at reducing the weapon’s muzzle flash than the one in the video. Notice the bayonet lug just behind the flash hider (TheFirearmBlog.com/blog/2018/08/20/breaking-news-kalashnikov-presents-new-assault-rifle-prototype-ak-308/).

The handguard also seems to have been updated to a free-floating one with more rails. The prototype on the video appeared to have the standard AK103 handguard (TheFirearmBlog.com/blog/2018/08/20/breaking-news-kalashnikov-presents-new-assault-rifle-prototype-ak-308/).

The selector switch markings on the display model are in the English alphabet, while the prototype in the video is in Cyrillic. This may seem like a trivial detail, but this lends credence to the assumption that this rifle is for export only and not intended for sale to Russian forces (Kalashnikov.Media/photo/weapons/opytnyy-avtomat-ak-308-v-detalyakh).

The minute details on this prototype may seem trivial, but these are indications that the AK-308 is more of a “special request” by clients outside of Russia and is unlikely to be adopted by any of Russia’s LE agencies or military units. Other telltale signs Russia won’t use the AK-308 are that they have enough assault rifles to choose from, and the AK-308 won’t be for sale as a DMR as indicated by its red dot sights, but in the role of a more widely-used battle rifle; this, despite its being chambered in a more powerful round and being similarly in semiautomatic as another popular Russian DMR, the Dragunov SVD. There’s also no word if this rifle will ever be exported (or allowed for that matter) for sale to the US. This AK-pattern rifle will likely find its way to countries whose battle rifles use heavier rounds, such as India or Pakistan.