Article on AK-9


August 9, 2007, 10:32 AM
Just saw this one on Yahoo news:

IZHEVSK, Russia (AFP) - Light, silent and regulation black: the AK-9 is the latest model of the famous Kalashnikov assault rifle to come off production lines at the Izhmash factory in Russia.


"It shoots virtually without a sound and it can go through a bullet-proof vest," said Alexei Dragunov, 52, one of the designers of the weapon, as he assembled the gun at a firing range in a Russian forest.

Russian special forces last year asked Izhmash, based in the city of Izhevsk, to make a rifle that combined the qualities of the Kalashnikov with the stealth required for secret missions, company officials said.

"It's for special forces for anti-terrorist operations," said Vladimir Grodetsky, 56, director of the Izhmash factory, at a briefing during a rare visit for foreign journalists to the plant.

The AK-9 is fitted with a silencer and fires large 9.0-millimeter caliber bullets intended to pierce body armour. At 3.8 kilograms (8.4 pounds) it is also slightly lighter than previous models of the Kalashnikov.

"There's no one else making it," said Richard Jones, editor of British-based Jane's Infantry Weapons, a specialist journal, referring to other rifles combining such a large caliber with a silencer.

Other guns with the same caliber, which slows down the bullet in order to silence it but can still pierce body armour, are the Russian-made VSS and the VSK rifles used by special forces, Jones said.

"There's an increasing interest in suppressor weapons for... tactical reasons," said Jones, using the specialist term for guns fitted with silencers.

The AK-9 could be of interest to other special forces in the world -- "commando-like units who have been able to engage an enemy sentry or shoot their way out of trouble and not be heard," he added.

The weapon is still being tested and, pending approval from the Russian defence ministry, it is being kept under wraps. During a visit to a shooting range outside Izhevsk, the gun was shown but could not be demonstrated.

"We think it has big export potential. We hope we can get export permission as soon as possible, said Grodetsky, explaining that arms factories now had to be "flexible," providing for regular soldiers as well as special forces.

Development of the weapon is part of a massive programme of modernisation of Russia's armed forces, ranging from hi-tech Iskander missiles to new uniforms for Russian soldiers.

"The Russian army is now receiving modern equipment, not a large part but it's a serious programme of modernisation," said Nikolai Novichkov, an arms specialist at ITAR-TASS news agency.

Izhmash is known above all for the Kalashnikov, a global brand and one of the most widely used small weapons in the world, valued by soldiers and guerrillas for its simplicity and reliability.

Izhmash makes roughly 100,000 Kalashnikov rifles every year and estimates that another 900,000 rifles similar to the Kalashnikov are being made in other countries such as Bulgaria, China and Poland as "counterfeits."

The Russia-made Kalashnikov sells for some 400 dollars (291 euros) a piece.

Celebrations are being held this week in Izhevsk for the 60th anniversary of the first AK-47 Kalashnikov rifle. The factory is also marking a 200-year history of gunmaking.

The earliest rifle models produced at the factory, some 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) east of Moscow, were used in the Russian Empire's battles against Napoleon at the beginning of the 19th century.

Dragunov, who started working at Izhmash 29 years ago, is part of that history. His father developed a gun, the Dragunov sniper rifle, that is now used by the Russian army and exported throughout the world.

"It's the same as any kind of engineering except you get to see the final product more easily," said Dragunov, whose youngest son also works at the Izhmash arms design centre.

Asked whether he feels any remorse about producing guns, Dragunov smiles and answers: "Can you imagine a world without violence? Firearms are not for killing people, they're a deterrent."

I love the last paragraph, although my firearms will be a little forceful deterring things if need be ;)

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August 9, 2007, 12:08 PM
Since when is 9mm "large", and since when does a silencer mean you "will not be heard"?

August 9, 2007, 12:09 PM
It mentioned penetrating vests - I wonder if they made a 9mm rifle round, which compared to other rifle rounds would be relatively large (as opposed to 7.62, 5.56, etc.).

August 9, 2007, 12:17 PM
It is 9x39, and in the context of rifle bullets. It is a large diamater, .355 instead of .311. (at least I think it is .355, it isn't like we see a lot of 9x39 over here). It is heavier than the standard 7.62, and a lot heavier than 5.45.

If I recall correctly, they've got two loadings, one subsonic, one supersonic. I don't know the FPS of either though.

since when does a silencer mean you "will not be heard"? The subsonic load is the same kind of idea as the US .300 Whisper. If you're shooting at somebody a hundred meters away, all they're gonna hear is a sound like somebody hitting a watermelon with a bat when the bullet impacts their buddy.

August 9, 2007, 12:28 PM
I wonder why they created this device? Surely a Vintorez which an extended magazine (30 or 40 rounds, instead of 10 or 20), or a drum mag would surely fill this niche. Of course the Vintorez has an expensive forged/milled receiver, and is not suitable for mass production. But they're still the greatest mid-range weapon I can think of (or maybe the AS VAL is, they're quite similar, though the Val needs to be able to take a PSOP, like the VSS (vintorez)!).

August 9, 2007, 01:21 PM
The shell casing in the photo in the article is definitely NOT a rifle round. Either a 9x19 NATO or 9x18 Makarov.

August 9, 2007, 01:59 PM
The rifle in the photo is a Bison, not whatever this AK-9 thing is. I got a feeling that the "AK-9" is usually called something else.

Wish Max would pop in here...

max popenker
August 9, 2007, 02:10 PM
Ok, who summoned me? :evil:

From what i know, the AK-9 is an AK-104 ( derivative chambered for 9x39 subsonic AP ammunition ( It is an attempt by IZhMASH to compete with cheaper 9A91 ( assault rifle, and i doubt that it will be able to compete with AS ( / VSS ( except for the price - it sure will be much less expensive that those "elite" weapons.

August 10, 2007, 12:51 AM
Ruger came out with a bolt action rifle in 44 mag, I remember seeing they had also developed a model with an intigrally supressed barrel, the intent being with much heavier than normally avaiable 44 cal bullets you had supressed rifle firing a subsonic round with no 'action sound' that had the starting energy and ballistic co-efficient to be a wonderful 100 yard gun. Of course a standard 44 mag in a carbine has a pretty rainbow trajectory, that thing probably was a lot closer to a shotgun slug in trajectory, but still a lot more lethal beyond 25 yards than a supressed 9mm subgun or what have you.

Of course I wondered about getting the heaviest standard 44 cal bullet with a 44 special style powder loading, and if that would be below the speed of sound

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