The AN-94 (Russian: 5,45-мм автомат Никонова обр. 1994 г. / АН-94 «Абака́н», Индекс ГРАУ — 6П33) is an advanced assault rifle of Russian origin. The initials stand for Avtomat Nikonova model of 1994, after its chief designer Gennadiy Nikonov who previously worked on the Nikonov machine gun.
Official policy is for the Nikonov AN-94 to become the general issue rifle for the Russian Federation and Associated States (RFAS) armed forces, but (aside from around 1000 copies) it was still not in production as of 2006. Due to its complex design and expense its adoption has been very slow and it is in limited use; and it may never become general issue. As of the beginning of 2012, the AK-74 ('M' variant) is still the general issue rifle used by the Russian military.
The stated great advantage of the AN-94 system is its ability to delay the recoil force until the fired round/s have left the barrel, much like the AO-62. This, it is claimed, enables more 'hits' on target under the most adverse combat conditions.
The AN-94 offers a unique two-shot burst function at a stated 1800 rounds per minute rate of fire. The Nikonov mechanism fires the second shot in the burst fast enough that it escapes before the recoil of the first shot is felt, thus potentially allowing the two shots to hit extremely close together, for example to aid in piercing body armour.
Design and operationEdit
 A Russian soldier with the AN-94 equipped with a GP-25 grenade launcher and a Russian made Kobra Sight.The most conspicuous identifying feature of the AN-94 is its magazine which is canted several degrees to the right of center (when viewed from a firing position). This is a necessary design function to accommodate the unique ammunition feed mechanism. The AN-94 is chambered in the same 5.45x39mm M74 cartridge as the AK-74, and it utilizes a rotating bolt to lock the action. Gennadiy Nikonov and his engineers used the Russian term смещенный импульс свободного затвора (smeshchonnyy impuls svobodnovo zatvora) to describe the rifle's method of operation, meaning "blowback shifted pulse."
When a round is fired, residual energy from the propellant charge in the cartridge acts upon the safely locked breech and bolt carrier. Simultaneously, a quantity of powder gases driving the bullet through the barrel is tapped and acts upon the piston in the gas tube located above and parallel to the barrel. The movement of the piston and its connecting rod acts upon the locking bolt, causing it to rotate and allow the breech to safely open. This initiates the extraction and ejection cycle for the spent round of ammunition.
Unique to the AN-94, the barrel, gas tube, receiver, and bolt carrier all exist as a single component group moving back and forth along an axis parallel to the bore, suspended within what the Russian manufacturers call an Effect-Envelope—the external composite fibre/polymer stock. Simply, this function separates the events inside the rifle from what the person operating the weapon actually experiences (i.e. low recoil).
The motion described is also employed by design to drive the unique rotary conveyor mechanism that performs the separate ammunition pre-feeding cycle that is key to the extremely rapid two round burst function that defines the AN-94 system. This high rate of fire (1,800 rounds/min) also offers two initial shots on selected fully automatic fire, with following rounds cycling down to 600 rounds/min. This offers the operator the unique tactical advantage of trigger-controlled fire selection.
The rear peep sight is significantly different compared to the standard Kalashnikov notch and post. The muzzle brake is intended to significantly reduce weapon report and muzzle flash. The AN-94 design is stated to be vastly more accurate than the AK-74M. And unlike the AK-74M, it can mount a GP-30 grenade launcher and bayonet simultaneously.