The AL-7 is designed by IZHMEKH engineer Yury Aleksandrov in the early 1970s. It uses an action designed by Peter Tkachev of TsNIITochMash in the mid-1960s, known as Balanced Automatics, first used on the AO-38. the AL-7 was designed to overcome one of the shortcomings of the standard AK system; its low accuracy when firing in bursts.
The AL-7, and its less well-known larger brother, the AL-4, were never adopted by the Soviet military due to cost considerations. The AL-7 was practically completely overshadowed by the development of the AK-74, and faded into history. Despite this, however, the system Tkachev used became more and more viable as time passed, and Aleksandrov was asked to modernize his system in the 90s, creating the AK-107 and 108 rifles.
The AL-7 is an assault rifle that used the BARS system, or the Balanced Automatics Recoil System. The BARS replaces the traditional Kalashinakov gas piston operating system, reducing the negative effects of recoil and allowing more efficient use of automatic fire. The weapon is heavily based on an earlier design, the AL-6.
The principle of the system is that when fired, mass from the negative effects of recoil is shifted towards the muzzle as the bolt and bolt carrier are reciprocating; this supposedly helped to reduce recoil and allow for automatic fire to be more viable and practical. The AL-7's action predated the weapon itself; it was designed in the mid-1960s by Peter Tkachev, famous for his experimental AO-63 double-barreled assault rifle.