The Nikonov rifle features a variable rate of fire, with a two-round burst mode operating at 1800 rpm, and a conventional automatic mode at 600 rpm. To achieve this, a combined gas and recoil-operated system was coupled with a unique feed system. Simply put, two cycles of the gas system are completed for every one of the recoil system. Thus two rounds are fired before the recoiling firing unit strikes the rear buffer, although only a few millimetres before, as the high speed footage reveals.
The rifle pictured is a heavily customised AK-74M self-loading rifle. The Ak-74M is a selective-fire, gas-operated self-loading rifle chambered for the 5.45 x 39 mm cartridge. It is a development of the AK-74 rifle, first introduced in 1974, itself a derivative of the ubiquitous Avtomat Kalashnikova (AK) series of rifle. In 1991, the AK-74M was introduced into Russian military service; it is most readily identified by its side-folding solid polymer stock, black polymer furniture, and sling swivels, as well as the distinctive muzzle brake of earlier AK-74 series rifles. This particular example is fitted with a range of post-manufacture accessories, including an adjustable buttstock, fore end with multiple accessory rails, top accessory rail, and alternative pistol grip. The rifle is also fitted with a suppressor in place of the distinctive muzzle brake, and an IWT 640 ‘Haron’ thermal weapon sight with backup CQB red dot sight. The weapon and its magazines have been painted in a camouflage scheme.
This war is the first where the AK-104 has seen action but, like other Kalashnikov rifles, it too has demonstrated its phenomenal dependability and ease of use, which earned it the Syrian soldiers approval.