The Kalashnikov AK-9 assault rifle was developed by the famous IZHMASH factory, which is now a key member of the “Kalashnikov” concern. It was developed as an all-around close combat (CQB/MOUT) weapon for the military and law enforcement Special Operations units (Spetsnaz), which could be used as a suppressed or an unsupressed weapon. It fired a specially designed family of 9x39mm subsonic ammunition, with the primary load being the 9x39mm SP-6 cartridge with an 16-gram armor piercing bullet that leaves the muzzle at the velocity of about 290 meters per second.
The first 9x39mm AK-9 prototype was produced by IZHMASH in around 2004. It was based on the AKS-74U compact assault rifle, fitted with a somewhat longer barrel and a detachable sound suppressor. However, by the 2007 IZHMASH developed the next variant of the Kalashnikov AK-9 assault rifle, which now was based on the “hundredth series” AK-104 compact assault rifle. A small batch of about 20 Kalashnikov AK-9 assault rifles was made for tests and demonstrations, but by the 2011 it suddenly disappeared from the scene, and never came back. At the time there was no logical explanation for the fact, because by all accounts the gun performed rather well in the tests, and it proved to be more reliable and less expensive than the 9x39mm SR-3M compact assault rifle or the 9A-91 assault rifle.
The real explanation, it seems, lies in the fact that in 2011 the change of the management and formation of the “Kalashnikov” concern resulted in the internal decision to abandon all previous work on the classic Kalashnikov weapons of the 100 and 200 series, and instead to concentrate on an entirely new family of weapon, based on the new AK-12 rifle by V.Zlobin. This family covered all bases, at least on paper, and among other guns included a 9x39mm compact assault rifle for CQB work and an integrally suppressed weapon in the same caliber. It is not known if any of these guns ever made it past the drawing board or CAD screens, as the entire Zlobin AK-12 project fell through and was abandoned in 2015 in favor of the “new” 400-series AK-12, which was eventually adopted for the Russian military service in 2018.
It is not known if the Kalashnikov concern has any plans to resurrect the once-promising AK-9, using its current production AK-204 or AK-15 as a base, as it introduced an entirely new weapon in the same caliber, the AMB-17, back in 2017.
Technically speaking, the Kalashnikov AK-9 assault rifle differs little from any other Kalashnikov rifle of the “Hundredth” series. It features same classic layout, gas operated action and polymer furniture of the AK-74M. The 9mm barrel is relatively short, and the gas piston is shortened accordingly. Rear sight is re-calibrated for the subsonic ammunition, and a specially developed 9x39mm magazine with 20-round capacity is used in the gun. The quick-detach sound suppressor is of traditional design. It is of all-steel construction and is rated for automatic fire.
The Kalashnikov AK-9 assault rifle specifications: