Photos by Brendan Vorobiev
Marco Vorobiev was a member of the elite Soviet Spetsnaz in Afghanistan in the 1980s. He’s a U.S. citizen now and conducts training courses that draw on his special forces training. He’ll have a new installment every Wednesday.
Everybody is by now blogging away about Russia’s new fifth-generation assault rifle, the AK-12. I myself am guilty of it. A couple of weeks ago, I offered my opinion of the new gun. Now that I had some time to think about it and analyze it, I wanted to see what the Russians actually produced.
As I mentioned before, the new AK-12 is nothing more than refined and truly modernized AK-74: an already sound and proven platform with upgrades that make sense today. However, I am sure that the producer of the AK-12 rifle, the Russian arsenal Izhmash, did not come up with the upgrades on its own. More likely they had to play catch up or were risking being left in a dust. So, where did they get the idea? From the same place all the operators do. Here in the USA.
With than in mind, I embarked on yet another quest: trying to replicate AK-12 or rather its features a using basic AK-74, the accessories that are widely available and as few tools as possible.
My subject for this experiment came from I.O., Inc., which just recently introduced new AK-74s built with a U.S.-made receiver and non-chromed barrel and genuine Bulgarian parts. The gun arrived in its box accompanied by owner’s manual and cleaning kit. It was dressed in Russian plum furniture, with the exception of a burnt orange Bulgarian pistol grip.
It really did not matter as most of it will have to come off for my experiment. As usual I took it apart. Everything was in its place. After reassembly I cycled the gun a few times and dry-fired it. The rifle functioned as it should. The TAPCO trigger was light and crisp. The I.O., Inc. AK-74 was good to go.
A quick trip to the range revealed that the new rifle shot well without any stoppages and I was able to produce 2.5 to 3-inch groups consistently.
So, I was set and well on my way to seek the truth.