21 August, Patriot Park, Kubinka town, Moscow – At Russia’s famed Army-2018 International Military-Technical Forum, Kalashnikov Concern, iconic manufacturer of the AK-47, unveiled its newest member of the Kalashnikov assault rifle family: the AK308. Chambered in the larger 7.62x51mm round, this new rifle is still in the prototype stage and is still under evaluation and testing. According to an entry translated from the Kalashnikov Concern’s press release on its website:
“The weapon is based on the AK103 submachine gun for the cartridge 7.62×51 mm with elements and components of the AK-12 automatic machine. At the moment, preparations are under way for preliminary testing of weapons… AK-308 uses a dioptric sight and a foldable, adjustable length on the butt to 4 positions.”
The rifle’s technical specifications on the website are listed as follows:
Caliber: 7.62 mm
Applied ammunition: 7.62×51 mm
Weight (with magazine, without cartridges): 4.3 kg / 9.5 lbs
Overall length / with bayonet knife: 880-940 / 1045-1105 mm or (34.6-31 inches / 41.4-43.5 inches)
Length with folded butt: 690 mm
Barrel length: 415 mm
Height: 242 mm
Width: 72 mm Butt
type: Foldable, adjustable in length for 4 positions.
Store capacity: 20 cartridges
Type of aiming device: Dioptric
A short demonstration video of the AK-308 prototype can be viewed here. Despite this mishmash from-the-company-formerly-known-as-Izhmash appearing to be put together from AK-103 and AK-12 parts, the actual prototype is on display as of this writing (the expo runs from Aug. 21-26) and has some new and different components from its supposed “donors”. A screenshot of the prototype from the video and a picture taken from the exhibition (see below) shows marked differences; the earlier prototype in the video has an AK200 series birdcage-type flash hider which does little to reduce flash, the traditional hinged AK dust cover, and the classic aperture sight mounted forward of the dust cover.
The minute details on this prototype may seem trivial, but these are indications that the AK-308 is more of a “special request” by clients outside of Russia and is unlikely to be adopted by any of Russia’s LE agencies or military units. Other telltale signs Russia won’t use the AK-308 are that they have enough assault rifles to choose from, and the AK-308 won’t be for sale as a DMR as indicated by its red dot sights, but in the role of a more widely-used battle rifle; this, despite its being chambered in a more powerful round and being similarly in semiautomatic as another popular Russian DMR, the Dragunov SVD. There’s also no word if this rifle will ever be exported (or allowed for that matter) for sale to the US. This AK-pattern rifle will likely find its way to countries whose battle rifles use heavier rounds, such as India or Pakistan.