The AK-9 assault rifle is yet another Kalashnikov-related series firearm that can trace its roots back to the original AK-47 of the 1940s. In the early 1990s, the AK series was modernized to include weight-saving features such as plastics and developed into both assault rifle and carbine forms. The AK-9 addition is related to this reimagining of the fine AK-47 but is highly differentiated from the newer AK-100 series models by use of the subsonic 9x39mm cartridge. As such, the AK-9 is an inherently suppressed weapon system intended for special forces groups and the like. The long-running fabled Soviet-Russian firm of Izhmash is primarily responsible for the design and development of the intriguing AK-9. The assault rifle was specifically developed to a Russian military requirement handed down in 2006.
Outwardly, the AK-9 actually shares much in common with the Kalashnikov family of AK assault rifles seen down the decades of history. There is a solid stock, pistol grip and rectangular receiver. The forend is decided Kalashnikov with its two-piece guard covering the over-barrel gas cylinder and low set barrel assembly. Magazines are conventionally entered in through the forward bottom side of the receiver. Optics can be affixed to the top of the receiver for accurized firing while iron sights are dutifully provided for back up purposes. The keen physical defining feature of the AK-9 is its use of an integrated silencer assembly over the barrel which makes sound suppression possible (along with its subsonic ammunition). The firing action consists of the tried and proven gas-operated, rotating bolt common to many other automatic weapons - including the whole AK family line. The AK-9 exhibits a running overall length of 34.7 inches with a barrel length of 8 inches. Weight with the suppressor installed is a manageable 8.4lb.
The heart and soul of the AK-9 system is its 9x39mm cartridge. The cartridge is essentially that of the Russian 7.62x39mm rifle caliber round though its neck is widened to fit the 9mm submachine gun/pistol round. The cartridge originated in the 1980s and has since proven vital to Russian suppressed firearms used primarily by special forces. As a whole, the 9x39 cartridge comes off with an appearance more akin to a fattened 7.62x39mm cartridge. The resulting design is a proven man-stopper with a low velocity that, while extremely limiting effectively ranges, does not produce excessive sound energy. Therefore, the 9x39mm subsonic cartridge is limited to ranges under 400 meters. Regardless, special forces will traditional operate at close ranges to begin with so the limitation - for the sake of stealth - is negligible. According to Russian engineers, the low velocity does not impede penetration capabilities. The AK-9 makes use of a 20-round detachable box magazine.
AK-9 engineers claim that the AK-9 can pierce the latest bulletproof armor and is nearly silent in its operation - allowing Russian special forces the ability to shoot their way in and out of trouble spots or dispense sentries with relatively little commotion. The AK-9 is believed to have been designed at the turn of the decade and introduced sometime in or around 2007 or later.