Manic Middle Child

This week we take a closer look at the polarizing odd-man-out of the AK family: the AK101. While some might question if it makes sense to use a Russian rifle that fires NATO ammunition, those who love it will swear by this unique combination of East and West.

Landing in the 0.47 update prior to its smaller 5.45 brothers, the 101 could be your Goldilocks-approved happy medium when it comes to effective firepower. Join me as I discuss the merits of this M4 alternative, and find out what makes it so appealing when lined up against its siblings.


Primarily intended as an export weapon for armed forces that prefer the 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge, the AK-101 is an ultra-modern variant of the classic Kalashnikov design. Though it is designed to fire a NATO-specified round, it is not actually used by any NATO member countries, who typically have their own homegrown weapon designs for using both 5.56 and the larger 7.62x51mm.

Our in-game counterpart to the real-world AK-101 is remarkably faithful to the details of the original. Where the AKM was intended to be a modernized version of the AK-47, the AK-101 goes even further in employing newer and better materials to reduce weight and all of the negative effects that come along with it. This includes many parts made of plastic, including the buttstock and handguard.

This rifle has much in common with the smaller caliber AK-74, and features many design elements from that gun including its assembly, muzzle brake, and lightweight magazine construction. Much like that weapon, a carbine version of the AK-101 exists in the form of the AK-102 — a shortened but full-strength rifle that slots somewhere between an AKS-74U and the parent AK-101 in size, and featuring all the same design improvements.


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Familiar Story

We’ve been here and done this before — just another AK, right? Not so fast. The 101 deserves its own recognition for being incredibly flexible like its big brother while maintaining the ease of us that the smaller members of the group are known for. This is a full-sized AK, and it certainly carries itself like one.

This rifle can present a challenge for those who wish to use it, as sometimes it can be difficult to find the gun (and its parts) in the same place as the ammunition it needs to be useful. The extra effort involved is worth it to the faithful, who see value in the middle ground between stopping power and accuracy.


Accepting the same huge assortment of gear as the AKM and AK74, the AK101 is able to be setup for the needs of almost any situation. It’s intermediate ammunition also lends itself well to just about everything except long distance combat (where a dedicated rifle of some sort would be preferred).

Semi-auto and full auto settings allow it to be used in a careful, deliberate manner or to spray enemies with bursts of gunfire for multiple targets, close quarters, or suppressing fire. With less kick than the heavier AKM, the 101 is relatively easy to control when firing in short bursts, and works diabolically well with a small height advantage.

The AK Charm

Besides just generally looking badass in its all-black furniture, the 101’s appeal as a middleweight AK stems primarily from the benefits of being in the family. Though in many patches you won’t find 5.56 ammunition at fixed military locations, you will almost always find the attachments needed to customize it to your liking, making it possibly the most accessible weapon in the game that fires those rounds.

Aside from that, some may simply be more comfortable using an AK because it’s what they’re used to using. They know, for the most part, what to expect from this rifle and that’s exactly what they’ll get. It allows you to dip your toes into the NATO pool without leaving the comfort of the familiar.

Up to the Challenge

Though it can be equipped with PSO-1 and PSO-1-1 scopes like the other full-sized AK rifles, they are not ideally suited to the ballistics of the 5.56. At the distances where such a scope would be most helpful, the 101 simply isn’t going to be your most effective choice of killing tool. If you must, take the time to find a rail and attach a bipod to maximize the rifle’s capability at range.

It should go without saying then that the AK101 is not a sniper weapon. It is best used under 400m, and even more ideally under 200m. In semi-auto mode, those with patience will find that the 101 is capable of marksman duty, and it can then quickly be switched to full auto for maximum rate of fire at shorter distances.

Guard Duty

Thanks to the flexibility it allows for moving between short and medium ranges, the AK101 is a natural fit for the busybody who is serving as overwatch of their group. With a scope attached, it can be used to scout for enemies, and without any delay can be used to then engage those enemies, avoiding the need to swap weapons or enlist help.

A pair of these by themselves could be used to dominate a fairly large urban area in the hands of skilled operators. With even a moderate height advantage, it would be incredibly difficult to fight back against coordinated volleys of 5.56.

Trigger Control

As with any weapon capable of fully automatic fire, some discipline is required to make the most of the 101’s stopping power. If you simply pull and hold the trigger, you will struggle to fight muzzle climb just the same as you would with the more powerful AKM, if maybe just a bit less.

Exercise some self-control and stick to burst firing however, and the 101 can put out some satisfyingly tight groupings of shots. It’s capable of being almost as easy to use as the smaller AK74 while still delivering more powerful shots from the larger cartridge.

Shared by Tatanko on July 5, 2016

The twentieth in a many-part series covering the different weapons found in DayZ Standalone.

Many thanks to official forum user SGTHornet for assisting with the album, and thanks to forum users Red Ensign and Supersage711 for providing materials.