The AN-94 is the newly (2003) adopted Russian assault rifle. The acronym stands for Avtomat Nikonova (after Gennidy Nikonov) Model 1994, and it was chosen over many other excellent competing firearms, including one designed by a team lead by the son of Mikhail Kalashnikov, inventor of the AK-47.
It is chambered in the same 5.45x39mm cartridge as the AK-74, and it too utilizes a rotating bolt to lock the action. This is where the similarities end. When the bolt-carrier is driven backwards by the force of the gas from the cartridge, a pulley activates a cartridge-feeding device. This mechanism allows a much higher rate of fire than would otherwise be possible. The high rate of fire (1800rpm) is employed in two-round bursts. These form the first two shots on fully-automatic fire. This feature increases the probability of hitting the target, because the bullets leave the firearm before recoil can affect the shooter's point-of-aim.
The rear peep sight is a dramatic improvement over the standard Kalashnikov notch and post. The muzzle brake is very effective, and much less harsh on the ears than the AK-74's muzzle brake. The recoil on full-auto fire has been described as a gentle, constant push, rather than a series of sharp jabs as in most firearms.
It may be a number of years before the AN-94 becomes standard issue, because the Russian military currently (2003) has a low budget.