On May 25, 2010, Russia’s general news media published a Russian Defence Ministry statement that the AK-12 rifle was to be tested in 2011. The AK-12 rifle demonstration model was presented to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin during his official visit to inspect the products of the Izhmash arms manufacturing plant in Izhevsk.
The rifle demonstrated to Prime Minister Putin was apparently a basic AK-74M in standard 5.45×39mm calibre, with some evidence of external modifications, most of which are consistent with the modifications favoured by Russia’s specialist, professional military units: Picatinny rails—allowing the attachment of modular accessories, including advanced optical sight combinations, laser illuminators, flashlights, vertical foregrips, bipods and grenade launchers. An improved adjustable telescoping buttstock is also fitted. The rear sight has been moved from the front of the receiver to the rear, and the combination selector lever/dust cover on the right side of the receiver has been replaced by a thumb-activated ambidextrous selector lever above both sides of the pistol grip. Firing modes include safe, semi, 3 round burst, and full auto. To improve accuracy, the rifle has a new muzzle brake and the barrel has improved rifling.
A carbine (AK-12U), submachine gun (PPK-12), sniper rifle (SVD-12), and light machine gun (RPK-12) versions of the AK-12 are also planned, as well as an export version. Models for the civilian market are also being planned. An Experimental self lubricating nano-composite coating is also being tested on the AK-12 rifle.
Other forms of modularity in the AK-12 system are likely to include interchangeable barrel lengths and calibers (5.45x39mm, 5.56x45mm NATO, 7.62×39mm, and a fourth caliber not yet disclosed by Izhmash). On the AK-200 demonstrator, the traditional locations of cocking handle, safety lever and fire selector remained unchanged, but the AK-12 production model featured revisions to all of these features. The Izhmash AK-12 demonstrator was fitted with the large capacity 60 round casket magazine.