The AK-100 series assault rifles evolved from the AK-74M that is widely used by the Russian Army and many other countries around the world. The AK-100 series rifles were designed in 1994. Production commenced in 1995. These assault rifles were intended for export, as well as domestic market.
Technically these assault rifles are similar to the legendary AK-47, but have some improvements, such as polymer housing, and use modern manufacturing processes.
The baseline AK-101 is basically an export version of the of the AK-74M. It is chambered for a standard NATO 5.56×45 mm ammunition, that is more powerful than Russian 5.45×39 mm ammo. The AK-101 has been exported to Cyprus, Indonesia, Iran, Pakistan, Serbia, Syria and Uruguay.
The AK-102 is a compact version of the AK-101 with a shorter barrel. It is also chambered for a standard NATO 5.56×45 mm ammunition, but is shorter. This weapon is intended for vehicle and artillery crews crews, special army and police forces and other troops, that do not need a full-size assault rifle.
The AK-103 is a full-size assault rifle. It is chambered for 7.62×39 mm ammunition. It is the original ammunition that is used by the older AK-47 and AKM assault riffles. The 7.62×39 mm ammunition has superior penetration and stopping power comparing with NATO 5.56×45 mm or Soviet 5.45×39 mm ammo. So some soldiers prefer this caliber. Some models of this weapon have a 3-round burst capability. The AK-103 is compatible with magazines of the older AK-47 and AKM assault rifles. The AK-103 has been adopted by Russian special law enforcement groups. This assault rifle has been supplied to Libya, Pakistan and Venezuela. The AK-103 is license-produced in Ethiopia, Venezuela and Vietnam.
The AK-104 is a compact version of the AK-103 with a shorter barrel. It is also chambered for 7.62×39 mm ammunition. It can be seen as a replacement for a compact AKMSU assault rifle. It is also compatible with AK-47 and AKM magazines. The AK-104 has been exported to Venezuela and is license-produced there.
The AK-105 is a compact version of the AK-74M with a shorter barrel. It is chambered of 5.45×39 mm ammunition. It is a replacement for the compact AKS-74U. It is compatible with magazines of AK-74 and AKS-74U. The AK-105 is used by the Russian Army and Ministry of Internal Affairs. It has been exported to Armenia.
All of the AK-100 series assault rifles use the same operation mechanism, developed by Kalashnikov in the mid 1940s. These weapons can withstand any misuse and abuse that soldiers can throw at them. These assault rifles are not very accurate, but will operate in worst conditions possible.
These weapons have a remarkable advantage of simplicity. Assault rifles are simple in design and are easy to maintain. Weapons are made of common materials and uses readily available machining technology. The parts can be manufactured with less precision. From an engineering standpoint it is a low-tech weapon. Production of these rifles can be established at any factory, that makes steel products. No wonder the Kalashnikov assault rifles are being produced all over the world.
All of the AK-100 series assault rifles have a side-folding stock. These weapons can be fitted with knife-bayonet or GP-30 underbarrel grenade launcher. A sound suppressor can be also fitted.
Also there are AK-107, AK-108 and AK-109 assault rifles. However these are slightly different weapons with different internal design. The AK-107 and AK-108 assault rifles appeared in the late 1990s. The AK-109 appeared recently. All of these weapons differ from each other only by the type of ammunition.
The AK-107 is chambered for 5.45×39 mm ammunition. This weapon uses a so called “balancing action” to counter recoil. Also it has a 3-round burst capability. Otherwise the AK-107 is similar to the AK-74M. In full-auto mode the AK-107 has superior accuracy to the AK-101. However it has a more complicated design. Some sources report that a limited number of these assault rifles are in service with the Russian armed forces.
The AK-108 is similar to the AK-107, but is chambered for standard NATO 5.56×45 mm ammunition and is intended for export. As far as it is known the AK-108 received no production orders.
The AK-109 is similar to the AK-107, but is chambered for 7.62×39 mm ammunition.