Russia's legendary Kalashnikov assault rifle may get a new lease on life as its designers try to improve the weapon's operational parameters and attract orders from the country's defense ministry and paramilitary agencies.The issue is that the source of the Rifle's legendary reliability, heavy parts traveling relatively long distances with lots of "wiggle" room, also adversely effect accuracy, because they shake the weapon as it fires.
The iconic, original 7.62-mm AK-47 rifle entered service in 1949 and since then has undergone several modernizations, mainly aimed at increasing accuracy. The 5.45-mm AK-74M version from the 1990s remains the primary individual weapon for the Russian armed forces. Besides the smaller caliber it differs from the basic model only in its polymer forearm and side-folding buttstock, as well as an improved muzzle-recoil compensator.
However, despite reliability and simplicity in use and maintenance, the Russian military has never been happy with the rifle, because it demonstrated poor accuracy in unstable positions. The problems are due to the AK's design—its heavy internal mechanical parts move fast when the weapon is fired, producing heavy blowback that disrupts aim . The Avtomat Kalashnikova—or “AK,” as it is officially known—has also been criticized for poor ergonomics, including a nonadjustable buttstock. And use of optical or night sights, as well as other mounted equipment, was limited by the obsolete rail on the left side of the receive
The new rifle, the AK-12, tweaks the action, while improving ergonomics and adding a Picatinny style rail to mount accessories.
What is interesting here is how they are just tweaks, as opposed to some more ambitious developments which used counter-masses to mitigate the felt recoil.