The AEK-971 is a Soviet/Russian selective fire assault rifle that was developed at the Kovrov Mechanical Plant (KMZ) by chief designer S.I. Koksharov in the 1980s. The AEK-971 is based on previous AK rifles in internal design and layout, but is also equipped with a recoil-balancing mechanism by way of a counter-weight that negates the impulse of the gas piston and bolt carrier, resulting in more controllable automatic fire. Though losing an initial contract for production against the AN-94, the Russian Army has begun field trials of this weapon. It is approximately 0.5 kg lighter than AN-94, simpler in design and cheaper to manufacture. Accuracy is improved by 15% in comparison with the AK-74.