Former Delta Operator and famed host of Youtube channel Vickers Tactical, Larry Vickers, recently visited the Kalashnikov production facilities in Izhevsk, Russia. He was also given the chance to try out some of their latest creations, including what could well be the heir apparent to replace Russia’s aging carbine, the AKS-74U in 5.45x39mm.
Designated the AM-17, this carbine is the company’s latest incarnation, or rather reincarnation of the Dragon MA, which is an entry that lost to Mikhail Kalashnikov’s famous AKS-74U. The AM-17 is largely based on the Dragunov MA, a runner-up to the AKS-74U, and it was reported to have been Yevgeny Dragunov’s last design project before his retirement. Dragunov passed away in 1991, at the age of 71.
To see how the Dragunov MA looked and performed, you can view a short Vickers Tactical video on it, here.
In the video, Kalashnikov Media Technical Adviser Vladimir Onokoy extols a few of the new carbine’s attributes: “… the lower receiver is made of polymer, so the weapon is extremely lightweight… I would say it feels like an MP5, if not lighter. It’s amazing… for a 5.45 it’s very controllable. You can see the handguard is very slick; the old one (referring to the Dragunov MA) was very bulky, this one is very nice, it doesn’t look like an early prototype anymore.”
Onokoy also explains that with the end of AKS-74U production in the early 1990s, there came a need for a replacement carbine; vehicle crews, support servicemen, rear echelon troops, LEOs and special forces very much needed a new small, portable, lightweight PDW, hence the creation of the AM-17.
In another video posted on the page Kalashnikov Concerns Media, we see Larry putting the new AM-17 through its paces and emptying a couple of mags downrange, after which he shares a few words about the new Russian-made carbine. Larry Vickers had this to share as his first impressions of the weapon: “Very lightweight, I think it’s a good path forward for Kalashnikov, because you can only do so much with an AK… I think it has a lot of promise.”
Larry also got to try out a suppressed version of the weapon, dubbed the AMB-17, which is chambered in 9×39 SP-5 or SP-6, the same round as the AS-VAL, famed suppressed weapon of the Spetsnaz. You can have an idea of how quiet it sounds in this video, except the soundtrack gets in the way.