is an advanced Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...
n assault rifle
An assault rifle is a selective fire rifle that uses an intermediate cartridge and a detachable magazine. Assault rifles are the standard infantry weapons in most modern armies...
. The initials stand for Avtomat Nikonova
(after chief designer Gennadiy Nikonov
Gennadiy Nikolayevich Nikonov was a Russian gun engineer. His most famous accomplishments were probably as the designer of the AN-94 assault rifle, and the "straight-back bolt." Nikonov held 44 Copyright Certificates, and was awarded the titles of "The Best Designer of the Company" and "The Best...
) Model of 1994.
The Russian Government formally declared the AN-94 to be the successor and replacement to the Kalashnikov
Kalashnikov is commonly used to refer to a type of rifle, but it and similar words also have other meanings:-People:*Mikhail Kalashnikov , Russian small arms designer*Maxim Kalashnikov , Russian writer and political activist...
series of rifles following the Project Abakan
Project Abakan was a Russian advanced assault rifle programme in rival to the US Advanced Combat Rifle that took place between 1980 to 1994.-History:The 1960s ushered a new generation of assault rifles with the introduction of smaller calibers. U.S...
advanced assault rifle trials in the USSR throughout the 1980s. Gennadiy Nikonov's system reportedly outperformed its many remarkable rivals significantly, proving better than the AEK-971
AEK-971 is a Soviet / Russian selective fire assault rifle that was developed at the Kovrov Mechanical Plant by chief designer S.I. Koksharov in the 1980s...
and the AKB-1 (predecessor of the AK-107). The Nikonov AN-94 was commissioned for general issue to the Soviet (now Russian) armed forces, with mass production scheduled at the traditional home of the Kalashnikov assault rifle, the historic Izhmash state factories.
The stated great advantage of the AN-94 system is its ability to delay the recoil force until the fired round/s have left the barrel, much like the AO-62
The AO-62 is a 5.45x39mm calibre assault rifle that led to the development of the AN-94 Abakan assault rifle. It is recoil operated with a special device that can resist recoil when the first three rounds are fired...
. This, it is claimed, enables more 'hits' on target under the most adverse combat conditions.
The AN-94 offers a unique two-shot burst function at a stated 1800 rounds per minute rate of fire. The Nikonov mechanism fires the second shot in the burst fast enough that it escapes before the recoil of the first shot is felt, thus potentially allowing the two shots to hit the same point, for example to aid in piercing body armour.
Design and operation
The most conspicuous identifying feature of the AN-94 is its magazine which is canted several degrees to the right of center (when viewed from a firing position). This is a necessary design function to accommodate the unique ammunition feed mechanism. The AN-94 is chambered in the same 5.45x39mm M74
The Soviet 5.45×39mm cartridge is a rimless bottlenecked rifle cartridge. It was introduced into service in 1974 for use with the new AK-74 assault rifle. It gradually supplemented then largely replaced the 7.62x39mm round in service....
cartridge as the AK-74
The AK-74 is an assault rifle developed in the early 1970s in the Soviet Union as the replacement for the earlier AKM...
, and it utilizes a rotating bolt
Rotating bolt is a method of locking originally developed by Ferdinand Ritter von Mannlicher and found in his Steyr-Mannlicher M1895 straight-pull bolt-action rifle designed for and issued to the Austro-Hungarian Army...
to lock the action. Gennadiy Nikonov and his engineers used the Russian term смещенный импульс свободного затвора
(smeshchonnyy impuls svobodnovo zatvora
) to describe the rifle's method of operation, meaning "blowback shifted pulse."
When a round is fired, residual energy from the propellant charge in the cartridge acts upon the safely locked breech and bolt carrier. Simultaneously, a quantity of powder gases driving the bullet through the barrel is tapped and acts upon the piston in the gas tube located above and parallel to the barrel. The movement of the piston and its connecting rod acts upon the locking bolt, causing it to rotate and allow the breech to safely open. This initiates the extraction and ejection cycle for the spent round of ammunition.
Unique to the AN-94, the barrel, gas tube, receiver, and bolt carrier all exist as a single component group moving back and forth along an axis parallel to the bore, suspended within what the Russian manufacturers call an Effect-Envelope
—the external composite fibre/polymer stock. Simply, this function separates the events inside the rifle from what the person operating the weapon actually experiences (i.e. low recoil).
The motion described is also employed by design to drive the unique rotary conveyor mechanism that performs the separate ammunition pre-feeding cycle that is key to the extremely rapid two round burst function that defines the AN-94 system. This high rate of fire (1,800 rounds/min) also offers two initial shots on selected fully automatic fire, with following rounds cycling down to 600 rounds/min. This offers the operator the unique tactical advantage of trigger-controlled fire selection.
The rear peep sight is a noted improvement over the standard Kalashnikov crude notch and post. The compound muzzle shroud design is intended to significantly reduce weapon report and muzzle flash. The AN-94 design is stated to be vastly more accurate than the AK-74M. And unlike the AK-74M, it can mount a GP-30 grenade launcher
A grenade launcher or grenade discharger is a weapon that launches a grenade with more accuracy, higher velocity, and to greater distances than a soldier could throw it by hand....
A bayonet is a knife, dagger, sword, or spike-shaped weapon designed to fit in, on, over or underneath the muzzle of a rifle, musket or similar weapon, effectively turning the gun into a spear...
simultaneously. Izhmash is the only manufacturer to possess this technology, but the U.S. military is looking into a similar system.
- Used in limited numbers by the Russian army
The Russian Ground Forces are the land forces of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, formed from parts of the collapsing Soviet Army in 1992. The formation of these forces posed economic challenges after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and required reforms to professionalize the force...
, police, Federal Security Service and Ministry of Internal Affairs.