Putin Plans A Massive Makeover Of The World's Most Popular Rifle

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AK-47 Rifle assaults rifle

REUTERS

93-year old engineer Mikhail Kalashnikov who invented the rifle more than 60 years ago.

On a recent visit to Izhevsk , home of the Kalashnikov Corporation,  Russian President Vladimir Putin stated his intent to see the fielding of an adequate upgrade to the AK-47 rifle, reports The Moscow Times.

Putin demands that these weapons  "have both the required quality, and acceptable, economically justified prices."

The company makes 95 percent of the weapons afforded the Russian army, so Putin has a right to be concerned.

He also had some fiery rhetoric to justify the upgrades and motivate workers.

"Our weapons of today and tomorrow must be better than those of our potential enemy," Putin told workers of the Kalashnikov Corporation. "And what does that mean? [That means] firing range and precision."

Moscow Times made note that Putin did not specify who that "enemy" would be, though the AK-47 is the world's most popular weapon, and its only serious rival is the American M-series rifle.

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REUTERS

A Kurdish fighter showing off his weapon, and the insignia of his group.

If not a direct reference to the U.S., it could have just as likely been a nod to the proxies of the two rivals.

"To solve [their] tasks, land forces must possess a high fighting potential, mobility, coordination and, of course, be well-equipped with modern arsenals," Putin said.

The president has allocated 16 percent of Russia's defense budget for updating the Kremlin's weapons systems over the next 12 years — which comes to about 100 billion dollars.

Putin's emphasis for the upgrades — which also contain several additions to Russia's navy — has been projection and precision. 

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AK-12 Assault Rifle

Vitaly V. Kuzmin via Wikimedia Commons

The upcoming AK-12 looks more like a western creation.

Historically, firing range and precision have been problematic with the Kalashnikov series. Effective at closer range, with a high caliber (7.62 mm) and a decent spread (not unlike that of the Thompson submachine gun), it's that spread that becomes problematic when aiming at farther targets.

The whole system itself shakes as the round ignites and leaves the barrel. That shake adds to durability, but detracts from accuracy.

Notably, one of these updated rifles Putin orders may be the sleek, ultra-cool-looking AK-12 — slated to be finished testing by the end of this year.



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