The AEK-971 is a Russian assault rifle made by the Kovrov Machinebuilding Plant and designed by Sergey I. Koksharov. Variants fire the 7.62 x 39 mm round or the 5.45 x 39 mm round, from the standard 30 round magazines of the AK-47 or AK-74. The AEK-971 has two fire modes; semi- and full-automatic. The AEK-971 is based of the previous AK rifles in internal design and features but has the addition of a balancing mechanism. The rifle has a counter weight that negates the impulse of the gas piston and bolt carrier: this is the balancing mechanism and results in more controllable automatic fire. Though losing an initial contract for production against the AN-94, mainly due to being underdeveloped at the time, the Russian army has begun field trials of this weapon. The advantages of AEK-971 over the AN-94 is a lighter weight, more controllable and accurate automatic fire, cheaper, simpler construction, potentially greater reliability and fewer maintenance requirements.
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