The AN-94, also known as the Abakan, was developed as the successor to the AK-series rifles in 1993. It is chambered in the 5.45x39mm M74 cartridge, and its operation is somewhat based on the Pribor-3B bullpup.
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. Nikonov and the other engineers use the Russian term смещенный импульс свободного затвора (smeshchonnyy impul's svobodnovo zatvora) to describe the rifle's method of operation, meaning "blowback shifted pulse". When the bolt carrier is driven backwards by the force of the gas from the cartridge, a steel cable/pulley activates a cartridge-feeding device. This mechanism allows a much higher rate of fire than would otherwise be possible. This high rate of fire (1,900 rounds/min) is employed in two-round bursts. These form the first two shots on fully automatic fire, with following rounds fired at 600 rounds/min. This is highly effective against body armor; the second round impacts at the same point as the first, enabling the penetration of armor that a conventional 5.45mm system cannot. This system has one disadvantage: since the weapon employs a hybrid recoil-operated mechanism, the barrel moves back and forth with the action, making the AN-94 a very poor bayonet platform. This is not usually a problem unless the shooter is engaged in close combat and/or runs out of ammunition.
The rear peep sight is a dramatic improvement over the standard Kalashnikov notch and post. The muzzle brake is much more effective and produces a quieter weapon report than the AK-74.
The AN-94 keeps a light carry weight, but has better accuracy and a high but controllable rate of fire. This weapon adopts a unique type of automatic fire control; the first two rounds leave the muzzle at 1800rpm, ensuring that the second round leaves the barrel long before recoil kicks in. From the third round downwards, the AN94 lowers its firing rate to 600rpm. This has the two bullets hit in the same place, therefore having a greater chance of penetrating body armor.
Due to financial troubles in Russia proper, only very few units are actually equipped with the AN94 as of 2012. The AN-94 may be a great successor to the AK-47 Kalashnikov family of firearms, but its high cost per weapon and the manufacturer's refusal to produce an export version ensure that it is only issued to selected units of the Internal Troops (MVD) and selected Counter-Terrorist units get first priority as it costs six times more than the AK-74 to produce.
In Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, the AN-94 was used by virtually every Gurlukovich soldier involved in the Big Shell Incident, except for those guarding the Shell 1 Core, which wielded the AKS-74U. The rifle itself is not available for use by the player.
In Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, the player can buy the AN-94 from Drebin's Shop for 5,000 DP or obtain it from one of the two shacks next to the rebels' hideout in Act 2, as well as the GP30 underbarrel grenade launcher. In terms of game performance, its stopping power is slightly weaker than the M4, but its fast rate of fire compensates for this shortcoming. But be cautious, as it also burns through ammo very fast and ammo for the weapon is extremely rare; only available at Shadow Moses in very small numbers. On the other hand, its two round burst mode turned out to be very effective against FROGs because it offers enhanced penetration and supported by low recoil, making it somewhat more effective than the P90 as the latter is somewhat less accurate at close range, prompting player to "spray" the FROGs with it, but with the AN-94, the player only needs a few well-aimed bursts to kill a FROG. However, the difference is not that obvious, and the P90 has the advantage of being able to resupply ammunition from dead FROGs, and fights with the FROGs are mostly fought at close range, making the P90 a better choice.
- The Abakan trials
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