The small-sized automatic machine AM-17 is a further development of the small-sized automatic machine MA, created by the designer Evgeny Fedorovich Dragunov back in the late 1970s. Forty years later, the design of the Dragunov assault rifle found a second life. Within the framework of the Army-2016 forum, the Izhevsk gunsmiths showed an updated version of the MA. The small-sized automatic machine AM-17 became a logical continuation of the previously presented model. His debut to the general public took place in 2017.
Since then, the process of fine-tuning and improving weapons has continued. It is known that the preliminary factory tests of the novelty have been completed so far. Ahead are state tests and the prospect of mass production of the machine. Many experts believe that the AM-17 will be able to replace the obsolete AKS-74U assault rifles in the troops, and it will also appeal to various Russian law enforcement agencies: the FSB, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Russian Guard, the FSO, etc.
The history of the appearance of the AM-17 machine gun
The new Izhevsk machine gun is rooted in the development of the famous Soviet weapons designer Evgeny Fedorovich Dragunov. This designer, who forever went down in the history of domestic small arms as the creator of the SVD sniper rifle, worked not only on army and sporting rifles. Back in the late 1970s, he designed the AM machine gun, which could be called unique for its time.
There is an opinion that AM was developed within the framework of the Modern competition, which ultimately won the AKS-74U assault rifle, but this is not the case. The development of the MA machine was carried out by TsNIITOCHMASH specialists within a completely separate topic. The new automatic weapon, according to the press service of the Kalashnikov group of companies, was developed as part of the creation of a “small-sized machine gun with extensive use of plastics.” For its time, it was a unique example of Soviet small arms.
Larry Vickers with an MA, summer 2016
What made the MA submachine gun stand out among all other models of the Russian weapons school? According to experts, the first important difference between the model was the design of the receiver. To put it as simply as possible, all the most important components of the assault rifle, the bolt, the bolt carrier, the barrel, the return mechanism, were “suspended” on the original form of a metal plate, which was the upper part of the receiver and the basis of the design of the new assault rifle. In turn, only the trigger mechanism remained in the lower part.
Many may rightly ask: what is so special about it? The answer to this question is quite simple. Dragunov presented the most logical and perhaps the only way to significantly reduce the weight of the machine. All samples of domestic small arms, including the SVD sniper rifle, differed in a different layout. On them, the receiver in the literal sense was somewhat reminiscent of an ordinary box. You take off the lid, and under it, as if at the “bottom” of a real box, was all the contents: the barrel mount, the bolt, the trigger. This arrangement was time-tested, but had one significant drawback: such samples of small arms were extremely difficult to lighten. The designers simply could not get away from the very “box” in which everything was located.
Traditional weapons also had another important drawback. It included the difficulty of installing various modern sights – not only optical, but also collimator. Such sights were installed from above. And it was here on the traditional models of Soviet small arms that the receiver cover was located, which was easily removed. It was on the cover that all the optics were installed. And here the question naturally arose: will not such sights constantly play and get confused during the operation of the weapon?
MA assault rifle with folded stock
The layout of the new machine gun designed by Dragunov solved this problem, since the optics were placed on the very “plate” on which the bolt and barrel were fixed, backlash was simply excluded here. At the same time, the entire lower part of the box could be made of lightweight materials: impact-resistant plastic or aluminum. The latter made it possible to significantly reduce the weight of the machine.
In the 1970s, the technical solutions proposed by Evgeny Dragunov were not appreciated at their true worth, and the MA submachine gun was recorded in the category of not the most successful samples. Already assembled models lay for more than 40 years in the storage of the design and weapons center, until they were again paid attention to. Already in the 21st century, the MA in a new reincarnation was able to find a second life.
Features of the small-sized machine AM-17
The AM-17, like its predecessor MA in its time, is a modern model of small arms, in the creation of which advanced technologies are used. As noted in the Kalashnikov group of companies, the AM-17 assault rifle was completely designed using digital technologies. The “electronic model” of the Izhevsk novelty fully corresponds to all physical components. The development of the AM-17 assault rifle was carried out in a single digital environment.
Remembering the MA machine gun, the Izhevsk gunsmiths in a short time created two new models of small arms: AM-17 and AMB-17 (for silent shooting). They managed to realize the very advantages of the design that Evgeny Fedorovich Dragunov laid in his development. Thanks to this, the AM-17 assault rifle weighs only 2.5 kg, which is a kilogram less than conventional AK and less than the weight of the well-known shortened AKS-74U assault rifle (2.7 kg) with a folding stock.
Experts note that the new AM-17 assault rifle made it possible to correct almost all the shortcomings that were inherent in the AKS-74U model. This machine gun is still a formidable and fully functional weapon, but it is already morally obsolete. While retaining its compact dimensions, the new AM-17 assault rifle can accommodate a full-length, full-length Picatinny rail. Thanks to this, the most modern optical and collimator sights can be easily installed on the model.
On the muzzle of the AM-17 barrel, as on other models of Kalashnikov assault rifles, you can see a flame arrester compensator, which makes the fighter more invisible when firing at dusk and at night. Like any Kalashnikov assault rifle, the novelty is able to fire in two modes: automatic (bursts) and single shots. An important feature of the novelty is the ergonomics and ease of use of weapons by both right-handers and left-handers. The designers made the fuse and the translator of fire modes double-sided, and the bolt handle can be easily placed on either side of the AM-17 small-sized machine gun.
The new small-sized automatic machine is made with the wide use of modern high-impact polymers, which made it possible to significantly reduce its weight. The manufacturer claims a weight of only 2.5 kg (without cartridges). In addition to the low weight, the important advantages of the new item are the intuitive ergonomics and simplicity and ease of use of the weapon in any position. The butt of the assault rifle is also made of polymers. The buttstock can be easily adjusted in length based on the shooter’s anthropometric data. Its key element is a tubular part, which is attached to the receiver of the machine by means of a hinge device. According to the AM-17 developers, the soldier will be able to fire from the weapon even with the stock folded, while the fighter will not experience any difficulties.
An early version of the AM-17 assault rifle disassembled
The total length of the new small-sized machine gun AM-17 is comparable to the AKS-74U (730 mm) and is 740 mm, with the stock folded, the length is identical – 490 mm. Both machines are designed for the 5.45×39 mm cartridge. At the same time, the novelty received a longer barrel – 230 mm versus 206.5 mm on the AKS-74U. This should have a positive effect on the ballistic characteristics of the new model. AM-17 is equipped with a traditional box magazine, designed for 30 rounds. A distinctive feature of the store is the presence of transparent windows that allow you to estimate the number of remaining cartridges.
According to Russian weapons experts, the new product from the Kalashnikov group of companies is more effective than the AKS-74U, since it is made from new materials and has great potential for combat in urban environments, including indoors. At the same time, the machine gun is a limited-action weapon; maneuverability comes to the fore when using such a weapon. In addition to the fighters of the law enforcement agencies, such weapons will be in demand by the crews of armored vehicles, as well as combat helicopters and aircraft.