The Kalashnikov AK-107 is another in the long line of available - and modernized - versions of the hugely successful AK-47 assault rifle of the late 1940s. Over time, the type has evolved in a myriad of ways that have worked to make the Kalashnikov brand a household name for half or a century. The AK-107 is one such version and makes use of lightweight resilient fiberglass-reinforced polymers in its construction that make for a lighter assault system as well as a cheaper product to mass-produce - qualities lacking in the wood-furniture and metal construction of the ubiquitous AK series prior (beginning with the AK-47 itself). Principally, the AK-107 is noted for its use of the "Balanced Automatic Recoil System" (BARS) that, as the name suggests, "balances" the gas operation of the firing operation and makes for a more stable gunnery platform (recoil is substantially reduced for improved accuracy). The BARS system was trialled in the developmental AL-7 series rifles. Design of the AK-107 began in the 1990s and was led by Izhmash engineer Youriy Alexandrov. Production was subsequently handled by Izhmash of Izhevsk, Russia. As of this writing, the AK-107 model assault rifle is solely in service with Russian forces.
The AK-107 features an empty weight of 8.38lbs with a running length of 37.1 inches and a barrel measuring in at 16.3 inches. As the weapon features a folding hinged solid shoulder stock, it can be compacted to a more manageable length of 27.6 inches. The base cartridge is the Soviet standard 5.45x39mm cartridge that debuted in 1974 for the new AK-74 series assault rifle. Feeding is via a 30-round spring-loaded curved detachable box magazine as well as the 60-round "casket" magazines available to the AK-74 series. The AK-107 is a gas-operated system with a rotating bolt action and offers semi- and full-automatic fire modes as well as a three-round burst selection rate. Rate-of-fire is listed at 850 rounds per minute with a muzzle velocity of 2,953 feet per second while effective range is out to approximately 500 meters. The AK-107 is sighted by way of a rear "Vee" notch and tangent with a front post fixture. Like all other Kalashnikov assault rifles, the AK-107 sports its gas cylinder over the barrel assembly, a slab-sided receiver with the cocking mechanism fitted to the right side of the body. The AK-107 is designed as something of a "modular" weapons system in that can mount a variety of available optics, aiming accessories and the 40mm GP-25 series single-shot, underslung grenade launcher.
The "AK-108" is simply a derivative of the AK-107 series assault rifle, though chambered for the 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge instead of the 5.45x39mm Soviet cartridge. This served to market the assault rifle family line to a wider NATO-minded audience.