A-91M assault rifle (Russia)

The A-91M Assault Rifle was developed during the 1990’s by KBP ( the Instrument Design Bureau) in Tula, Russia. It was first introduced in 1998. Chambered for 7.62×39 M43 ammunition, it features the highly unusual “above the barrel” placement of an indigenous 40mm grenade launcher, integrated into the rifle.

the 7,62-A91M, an original version of the A-91M assault rifle
the 7,62-A91M, an original version of the A-91M assault rifle, chambered for 7.62x39mm M43 ammunition

 

Several years later the design of this gun was revised significantly. The grenade launcher was placed below the barrel, and a new polymer stock added. Another revision was a version of the gun chambered for 5.56×45 NATO ammunition. This used proprietary 30-round magazines and was intended for export.

This updated version, known as 5,56A-91M, was promoted at various military exhibitions until about 2015, and then quietly disappeared.  This was not surprising in the event, because it failed to achieve any real sales. What is interesting is the fact that the A-91M assault rifle was never publicly offered in 5.45x39mm chambering. In the early stages of the “Ratnik” trials held in 2012, a protoype A-91M in this chambering was apparently submitted.. but then voluntarily withdrawn from the competition by KBP. However, before vanishing, this gun spawned an interesting and a slightly more successful offspring, the unique ADS dual-medium assault rifle, which retained basic design features of the A-91M. Another note about A-91M is the fact that while its name is very similar to the designation of the 9A-91 compact assault rifle, produced by the same KBP design bureau, these two guns have very little common features.

the 5,56-A91M, an updated version of the A-91M assault rifle in 5,56mm NATO
the 5,56-A91M, an updated version of the A-91M assault rifle in 5,56mm NATO, circa 2003

 

A-91M assault rifle is a gas operated weapon which uses rotary bolt locking. Long stroke gas piston is located above the barrel. Gun is made in bullpup layout, and features forward ejection for ambidextrous use. Ejection port faces forward at the front end of the receiver, to the right of the gas piston rod, and is closed with a small, spring-loaded dust cover which opens up automatically for each ejected case. Anbidextrous charging handle is located above the gun, inside the carrying handle. Receiver is made from stamped steel. Stock with pistol grip and forend is made from plastic. Safety / fire selector is located o the right side of the receiver, well behind the trigger guard. Trigger is fitted with automated trigger safety. Earliest 7,62-A91M rifles featured fully integrated 40mm grenade launcher, placed above the barrel, and fired via dedicated trigger mounted on the forward grip. Later 5,56-A91M assault rifle featured semi-integrated (detachable) 40mm grenade launcher, installed below the barrel. Grenade launcher trigger is located inside the enlarged trigger guard of the host gun, in front of the rifle trigger. Early 7,62-A91M and 5,56-A91M rifles featured iron sights. Latest prototypes of the A91M assault rifle added several versions of the Picatinny rail adapters, mounted on the integral carrying handle.

the 5,56-A91M, late version of the A-91M assault rifle in 5,56mm NATO
the 5,56-A91M, late version of the A-91M assault rifle in 5,56mm NATO, with detachable 40mm grenade launcher replaced with forward grip, and with tactical suppressor and Picatinny rails

 

Specification Value
Full text name A-91M assault rifle (Russia)
Caliber cartridge 5.45x39 7N6 7N10 7N22 7N24, 5.56x45 NATO, .223 Remington7.62x39mm M43 Soviet Intermediate Cartridge
Action type select-fire
Trigger type sa
Overall length, mm 660
Barrel length, mm 415
Weight empty, kg 3.97
Magazine capacity, rounds 30
Cyclic rate of fire, rounds/min 600-800