Kalashnikov has been quietly developing these new compact assault rifles

Russia has set its sights on revamping its ground forces in recent years with the development and adoption of a ton of new gear, including the Ratnik combat system, which is designed to be a next-generation battle suit for frontline infantry and special forces.

While the old puffed-up flak vests and the salada-bowl helmets are on their way out and due to be replaced with modernized protective gear — similar to what a number of western militaries field today — the majority of Russia’s infantry and “special purpose forces” (aka Spetsnaz) still find themselves making do with guns not yet up to par with the rigs used by foreign commandos.

So to that end, Kalashnikov Concern has been quietly developing a new compact assault rifle for Russia’s infantry, Spetsnaz and state police units, which could potentially be fielded en masse later this year.

Dubbed the AM-17, this new select-fire rifle is indeed compact, measuring 750 millimeters with the folding stock extended into position. Weighing just about 5.5 lbs, it feeds from AK-74 compatible magazines, and is chambered for the standard 5.45x39 mm cartridge.

The fully-ambidextrous AM-17 uses a gas operated rotating bolt setup with a short-stroke piston. Both the upper and lower receivers are made of steel-reinforced polymer to reduce weight without sacrificing durability, and comes with a full-length Picatinny rail which extends along the entire frame and handguard of the rifle.

The CEO of the Rostec corporation test fires the AMB-17 (Photo Kalashnikov Concern)
The CEO of the Rostec corporation test fires the AMB-17 (Photo Kalashnikov Concern)

At the moment, the goal for the AM-17 is to push it out to Spetsnaz forces in need of a smaller, more compact gun with an intermediate rifle cartridge, as well as armored units in need of personal defense weapons that can be easily stowed or retrieved for usage in the confined spaces of infantry fighting vehicles, tanks, etc.

But that’s not all.

Russia’s new compact rifle has a brother -- the AMB-17.

At a first glance, the layout, the frame and the low-profile stock of the AMB-17 are pretty much the same as the AM-17.

However, the first glaring difference is the fact that this gun is integrally suppressed. It uses subsonic 9x39 mm SP-5 and SP-6 ball armor piercing ammunition, making it incredibly quiet without sacrificing terminal ballistics.

The AMB-17 is designed almost exclusively for Spetsnaz military and law enforcement teams, and will ideally find a customer in VIP protection details as well.