Izhmash announced the development of a new Saiga-12 shotgun variant for practical shooting competition. Saiga-12 fans will likely notice a few differences just from the photo:
My Russian is not very good, but from what I was able to determine, the new Saiga-12 sports several new features, including:
- long Picatinny rail on top of the receiver for optics
- a new muzzle brake
- compatibility with AR-style buttstocks
- a new “push button” type magazine release
- a flared magazine well
- some type of integral hook on the magazines for carrying on the belt in competitions
- reworked gas system
- longer forearm
According to Izhmash, development on the new Saiga started in February 2012, and the first guns were in the hands of competitors by April. Using the new shotguns, athletes on the “Russian Technologies” team took first and second place at the Golden Ring Cup competition in early May.
Alexey Shumilov is listed as the designer of the new Saiga-12.
Although developed for competition, the new Saiga-12 is likely to be very popular with non-competitors as well. Izhmash states they have begun production of the Saiga-12 shotguns and will be introducing them to the shooting public “soon.”
The new modifications to the gas system are said to make the gun more reliable. Again, my Russian is not good, but I believe there has been a modification made to allow shooters greater flexibility in adjusting the gas system to tune the gun to the ammunition being shot.
Something else I noticed, but did not see mentioned in the press materials, is the new Saiga variant does not have the typical AK-style safety lever mounted on the right side of the receiver. I do not know if the new shotgun has a manual safety, and if so, where it is now located. Maybe someone else can spot it in the photos?
What do you think? Will the new modifications be a popular change, or will AK fans decry the M-four-ification of the Saiga platform?
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