The rifle’s Kalashnikov heritage, sleek looks, and surprise appearance in association with Kalashnikov’s star-cross’d former US importer led to a firestorm of views.
The rifles that were being shown off at the SHOT Show, however, were in an early stage of development, sporting 3D printed rapid prototyped receivers. After “going dark” for the better part of the year, the AK-Alfa is back in the spotlight, with a series of photos released by Russian photographer Konstantin Lazarev of the latest prototypes, which feature fully injection-molded receivers. More on the AK-Alfa later, on to the photos:
All images courtesy of Konstantin Lazarev
You can see the rest of the photos over at Konstantin’s Facebook page.
The AK-Alfa in the photos sports a Hartman MH1 red dot, and the Command Arms & Accessories pattern of polymer magazine that was being shown off with the gun at SHOT. The rifle uses a modular handguard that is compatible with additional rail segments, and which can apparently be swapped for a KeyMod version. The upper receiver is aluminum with a full-length rail, while the lower is polymer and houses the stock mount, magazine well, and Israeli-style ambidextrous selector switch. XM8-like ambidextrous magazine release paddles and a left-side charging handle (which looks to me like it might be swappable with the removal of the shell deflector) round out the package. Though the gun is very modern-looking, it still obviously incorporates many unchanged or little-changed Kalashnikov elements: Visible are a very Kalashnikov-looking bolt carrier, 90-degree gas block, and piston guide.
The AK-Alfa has been developed by Israeli firm Command Arms & Accessories (the sister company to Hartman), which makes it a direct competitor to IWI’s own modernized AK, the Galil ACE.
In a show that so far seems short on major announcements, Kalashnikov USA, the orphaned official importer of Kalashnikov Concern products to the USA, announced a brand new rifle design, based on the AK, but featuring radically updated external aesthetics and ergonomics. I was only able to drive by the booth and quickly snap a few photos – I will certainly stop by again and see what else I can learn – but some information has been released by TFB’s own Richard Johnson, writing on his website Guns Holsters And Gear, and through a video released by Kalashnikov USA:
The gun’s features include:
- An adjustable cheek rest
- An adjustable buttstock
- Modular, swappable buttpads
- Modular pistol grip contour
- Sealed, waterproof battery compartment in the grip
- Ambidextrous magazine release
- Ambidextrous, AR-15-style 90-degree throw safety
- Left/right swappable charging handle
- Interchangeable charging handle profiles
- Forearm with removable Picatinny rail sections
The rifle is named “AK-Alfa”, after the famous Russian special forces team. It comes chambered in 7.62×39, takes AK magazines, and will come in 16.338″ (415mm) and 12.362″ (314mm) barreled versions. None of the prototypes shown at the show (all of which obviously relied on rapid prototyped components) evidently featured KeyMod holes in the handguards, but that feature is shown on one of the rifles in Richard’s article.