The original Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifle went on to inspire a myriad of successful firearms designs over the past half-century. Its influence is comparable to the German Mauser at the turn of the last century which laid the framework for many of the bolt-action rifle systems of the late-1800s and early-1900s. One of the major offspring of the AK-47 model became the AK-74, which succeeded the modernized AK-47 known as the AKM, and switched to the smaller 5.45x39mm intermediate rifle cartridge. The AK-47 was then used as the framework for the Vityaz-SN, an all-modern SubMachine Gun (SMG) developed by Izhmash of Russia and currently serving as the standardized SMG of the Russian armed services as well as various police groups.
Design work was in the mid-2000s with production/service introduction beginning in 2008 and continuing today (2018). Currently, only Namibia is a foreign operator (marines) of this Russian SMG.
The Vityaz-SN retains the rectangular receiver of the AK-74 with its large fire selector handled (safety, semi- and full-automatic modes of fire settings present). The pistol grip/trigger unit (similar to the one found on the modern AK-100 series) and magazine well are all positioned in their traditional places along the frame. The barrel is shorter (measuring 9.4 inches long) to better fulfill the submachine gun role. The skeletal shoulder stock (taken from the AKS-74 model) can fold off to the side over the right side of the receiver and its hollowed out shape saves on weight. Iron sights are fitted though optics and tactical accessories (flashlights, aimers, foregrip) are easily supported through Picatinny rail sections over the receiver and optional extensions along (under, over, and the sides) the forend. The muzzle brake is slotted for added control and can be replaced by a sound suppressor for clandestine operations. The result is an effective and efficient close-quarters weapons for various infantry types - overall length becoming 27.8 inches with the stock extended and just 18.9 inches with the stock folded. Overall weight is a handy 6.40lb. Two points of contact allow for a shoulder strap to be added.
One of the major departures from the traditional Kalashnikov system in the Vityaz-SN is the reliance on the ubiquitous 9x19mm Parabellum German pistol cartridge - this round favored heavily by submachine gun and pistol designs of the West. Introduced in 1901, this cartridge is a proven man-stopper and available in quantity the world over. It powers the competing classic Heckler & Koch MP5 series and its offshoots still as well as many other firearms across the globe.
Internally, the gun utilizes a proven blowback system of operation incorporating a close-bolt design (unlike the AK-74s gas-operation with rotating bolt mechanism). Rate-of-fire is 700 to 750rpm with a rated muzzle velocity of 1,245 feet-per-second and engagement ranges out to 220 yards. The weapon feeds from a 30-round detachable box magazine inserted into a well positioned just ahead of the trigger unit (a special component allows magazines to be paired, side-by-side for faster reloading). Both the trigger and safety systems are both taken from the AK-74 as is the return spring/guide rod section.
Variants of the Vityaz-SN line include the Version 10 and Version 20 models. The series is known to be actively used by SPETSNAZ Russian special forces elements.