Full Item Description
Superficially, the AK-217 greatly resembles its predecessor of yore, the AK-47, very much the modern vision of the ‘assault rifle.’ The barrel is somewhat thicker in appearance, while a secondary brass-catching system, often not much more than a bag hung from the receiver is commonly present, though not uniformly so.
The ammunition, too, bears a superficial resemblance to the chemical-propelled bullets of the 20th century, consisting of a simple, black plastic cartridge, ‘banded’ twice with copper, and tipped with a tungsten projectile.
The insides, however are vastly different. Barely more than a recoil powered ammunition feeder and a triggered launching coil, the AK-217 has even fewer moving parts than the AK-47. The ammunition, meanwhile, is little but a small ultra-capacity, quick discharge battery and a steel-cored bullet, occasionally of varying types, ready to be launched down the coil. Seated against the receiver, the bands of the cartridge make electrical contact with the coil on one band, and the trigger on the other - When pulled, the trigger completes the circuit, the battery discharges down the coil, and the projectile is accelerated to many multiples of the speed of sound. Typically, the weapon is capable of single, burst, and fully automatic fire.
Together, the system is both cheap, and reliable, and forms the basis of many hundreds of variant weapons. However, the original AK-217 is noted for its durability and ability to function under even the most averse conditions, owing to its extremely simplistic design. On average, the weapon is expected to last more than 50 years or 50,000 rounds before needing serious maintainance.
In the early phases of the War with the Scranja, Humanity found their traditional, chemically propelled personal arms useless against the heavy armor of the aliens. While the heavier, crew served weaponry worked sufficiently, as did the light coilguns mounted, by that time, upon the majority of the vehicles of war, no hand held weapon could penetrate, lacking sufficient velocity.
Personal coilgun designs had long been frustrated by the energy requirements, even the most effective of small batteries barely holding enough charge for a single clip of ammunition, and requiring far too long to charge for the battlefield. It was while changing the batteries in a laser designator that Pyotr Kalashnikov, a descendant of the once-famed Mikhail Kalashnikov, had his burst of brilliance.
If they mated a small battery to the bullet, the soldier would never notice the weight, and you could only run out of them together. A quick sketch, and a run to a Martian design consortium later, and the deal was done, with surprising swiftness. Convincing the military to accept it was another deal, eventually requiring firing through a mothballed Abrams tank from end to end.
Though brought into production too late to influence the war for the surface of Mars, the AK-217 would eventually become the weapon of choice of lowest bidder contracts everywhere.