The Russian KMP AEK-919 is a highly compact submachine gun in the mold of the classic Israeli UZI with its pistol grip magazine and balanced hold. The weapon is compact enough to rival the size of some semi-automatic handguns with qualities akin to a machine pistol. Chambered for the Russian 9x18mm Makarov pistol cartridge, the AEK-919 is a stable firing platform with good qualities. Its design was headed by the Kovrov Mechanical Plant (KMP) and the weapon has seen combat service in the First Chechnya War (1994-1996) - its introduction was in 1995. It is in use by Russian special forces, regular army (vehicle/aircraft crews) and special police units requiring the services of a compact, high-volume weapon. The threaded barrel also allows use of a silencer for clandestine operations.
Internally, the AEK-919 utilizes a proven blowback system of operation along with an open bolt arrangement. It has a polygonal barrel and three-position selector switch (the latter near the pistol grip for three-round burst or singe-shot fire). The charging handle is set to the left side of the receiver towards the muzzle. As in the Israeli UZI or a semi-automatic pistol, the magazine (available in 20- or 30-round count) is inserted into the pistol grip which helps the design retain a contained profile. The shoulder stock at the rear of the receiver is collapsible which aids in shooting support when extended and, again, helps the weapon keep its smallish silhouette. The barrel is just 6.5 inches long. All of these qualities make the AEK-919 a valuable close-quarters weapon design. Optics over the receiver are supported for more accurized fire in the field when needed. Sling loops allow for a shoulder strap to be used.
The AEK-919 was used in active operational trials prior to its wide scale adoption and some 100 weapons were in circulation. The AEK-918 is a version chambered for the 9x19mm (7N21/7N31) cartridge while the AEK-918V makes use of the German 9x19mm Parabellum pistol cartridge through a 30-round magazine. The AEK-919K "Kashtan" is a modernized version of the original AEK-919.