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E&L Airsoft AK-12 AEG

Master Chief

E&L Airsoft AK-12 AEG Review

The AK-12 is a Russian assault rifle chambered in 5.45×39mm designed and manufactured by the Kalashnikov Concern and is the latest in rifle from the company. The rifle began its life in 2011 in the Izmash factory which later on became part of the Kalashnikov Concern to participate in the "Ratnik" trials which were held by the Russian Army.

Developed further by Kalashnikov Concern it was submitted to the Russian military for evaluation, going through several revisions in order to improve upon the observed defects that were derived from the AK-200 which were later abandoned in favour for the proven and improved AK-400  which then known as the AK-12.

The rifle is said to more accurate and better suited meeting Russian military requirements. The rifle is chambered in 5.45×39mm cartridge and it can also use the magazines from the AK-74, RPK-74, and the RPK-16 96-round drum magazine.

The E&L AK-12 AEG

E&L Airsoft is well-known in the airsoft industry as one of the best manufacturers of AK platform airsoft replicas and praised for the build quality of its products. The AK-12 is the latest addition to their AK line-up, being the third company to release an airsoft AK-12 after LCT Airsoft, and Arcturus Airsoft (MOS Manufacturing).

The E&L AK-12 comes in a very decent packaging with the slim line cardboard box with foam paddings inside to keep the product held in place and safe during transport. The rifle comes with one mid cap magazine.

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First impressions with this airsoft rifle are really good. The rifle is made mostly of metal with the bulk of the parts made of steel. This gives it a very realistic look and just puts it a bit higher in terms looks and build quality than other airsoft rifles of any platform. E&L were very faithful in recreating the looks of the AK-12. This rifle really looks great.

The rifle weighs just above 4kg. Yes, it has some weight in it but somehow it feels well balanced and the weight is nicely spread throughout the length of the rifle. The steel parts feel very solid and the rifle itself has a very solid build making it probably one of the best builds that I have seen so far. There is very little play from most parts of this rifle. The front RIS hand guard, top cover and pistol grip are all very firmly attached.

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The only part where I found quite an obvious play or movement is the part where the stock tube attaches to the receiver. This, I think is due to the stock tube’s folding feature. The 4 position stock also has a very distinct wobble which can always be fixed easily.

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With the stock fully extended, the rifle measures around 95cm. From the front, the rifle features the standard AK-12 flashhider. It is held in place with a 14cm CCW thread and a flashhider lock which is typical to AK rifles. At the underside of the outer barrel are mounts for attaching bayonets. The fixed front site is height adjustable. The front RIS handguard is made of a polymer material of very good quality. There is a noticeable seam running through the top and bottom rails with the top rail running level with the rail of the top cover. The bottom rail system is approximately 10cm long and there are 2 short rails on each side so plants of attachment points for accessories.

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The top cover also functions as the battery housing. To access the battery compartment, pull the up the lever that is located on the right side of the rear end of the handguard then pull it outwards. This is a self retaining pin so it will not be completely pulled out. Once this is done simply pull the top cover outwards. Inside you will find the mini Tamiya battery connector. The space is not that big but will easily fit a single 7.4v Lipo battery. I found it better to place the battery at the rear of the compartment to make it easier for the top cover to lock back in place. On both sides of the rifle just behind the top handguard are very obvious welding marks. I don’t mind them as I think they add to the rifle’s character and I was told the early real steel AK-12 that were made also bear these welding marks.

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The rear sight is located further back the top cover than most standard AKs which I find better and easier to aim with. The rear sight is fully adjustable with windage and elevation.

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To adjust the hop-up, pull the charging handle back until it locks in place. Pull the red slider back to increase hop and push it forward to lower the hop effect. The stock hop-up is pretty decent. The rifle was downgraded to 350fps max to meet UK airsoft regulations and the stock hop-up is able to lift 0.3g BBs with a flat trajectory on full or maximum hop adjustment with a range of over 30 metres.

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The AK-12 also features a folding stock that extends in four length positions. To fold the stock, press the release button on the rear left side of the rifle, the stock will lock in place when folded. The polymer stock has quite a bad wobble but as I said earlier, this would be an easy fix. The butt plate can be removed and adjusted via a lever on the underneath of the stock. The stock tube is hollow so you can use that for storing some bits and bobs if needed.

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The AK-12 also features a folding stock that extends in four length positions. To fold the stock, press the release button on the rear left side of the rifle, the stock will lock in place when folded. The polymer stock has quite a bad wobble but as I said earlier, this would be an easy fix. The butt plate can be removed and adjusted via a lever on the underneath of the stock. The stock tube is hollow so you can use that for storing some bits and bobs if needed.

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Other features include a 475mm inner barrel with a 6.04mm diameter, steel gears with 18:1 ratio and 9mm ball bearings, steel cylinder with a plastic piston with 3 metal teeth. The motor is E&L branded high torque motor. The gearbox also features a quick spring change system but the whole gearbox will need to be pulled out of the receiver to access this.

The polymer magazine fits perfectly into the magwell with no wobble. The magazine supplied is a mid-cap type with around 140bb capacity. Magazine compatibility with other brands is currently unknown. In the past, the E&L AKS74 has been known to bite off the lips of magazines from other brands so better check some airsoft forums that have discussions regarding magazine issues with E&L Airsoft AK AEGs.

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All in all, the E&L AK-12 is a very impressive airsoft replica. It is very faithful to the design of its real steel counterpart with very high quality materials. Shooting it down range is decent with very good range and accuracy. Full auto ROF is also good using a 7.4v lipo battery.

Big thanks to our friends from Gunfire for sending us this unit for review.

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