The most significant feature of AN-94 is the variable automatic mode, which switches from the 1,800 rpm to a 600-rpm rate.
High rate of fire of the submachine gun is achieved thanks to the following:
Short travel of bolt carrier; return travel of bolt carrier is accelerated by the spring of the shock absorber located at the rear of receiver.
Construction of an integrated carrier-stock features a buffer (located above the foregrip inside the stock), which assists the return spring by giving an extra impulse and accelerates the firing unit in its return travel.
The construction of the hammer of a sliding type has a special device to minimize the time between the initial two shots.
Now about the pulley. The steel cable that runs from the bolt carrier via the pulley to the ammunition feeding mechanism is one of the smartest technical solutions. It allows performing the cycle of feeding in two stages. The first preliminary stage of feeding is in fact stripping the round from the magazine. When the bolt group begins its rearward travel after the shot, the motion is reversed by means of cable transmission so that the round is picked up from the magazine and placed into a special tray in the axis of the chamber and the bolt. As soon as the bolt carrier begins its motion forward, the bolt’s lower lug rams the cartridge into the chamber and the bolt locks the breech. This feature significantly shortens the time of the feeding cycle. Judge for yourselves. In a conventional auto-loading fire arm the bolt slides to the extreme rear point, as far as either the receiver permits it or the power of recoil throws it back. This amount of travel is required for the bolt to run over the magazine so that its face on the way back pushes the round clear from the magazine and sends it further into chamber. In the case of AN-94, with its "pulley-and-cable" array, the bolt does not remove the round from the magazine. A special device attached to the end of the cable does this part of the job for the bolt. So the function of the bolt is now limited only to ramming and locking. It mustn’t run over the magazine any more since the bolt now begins interaction with the round’s head when the cartridge is already prepared to perform the final phase of feeding! In a word, when the bolt group rushes back, the mechanism of preliminary feeding moves forward. The bolt group returns to its forward locked position, the feeding mechanism also returns to its initial position behind the head of the next round to come.