Category Archives: Furniture

Used to blog about AK furniture

Converting the PSA AK-V To Look Like A Russian Vityaz-SN PP-19-01

Thanks to the US government restricting the imports of firearms from the Kalashnikov Concern in Russia, I pretty much gave up on my hopes of owning a Civilian Vityaz clone – or at least one from Russia.

In case you don’t know the submachine gun I am referring to, the Vityaz-SN PP-19-01 is a 9x19mm submachine gun that is basically a scaled back AK-74M that uses a blowback operating method vs. gas, It was designed in 2004 and in production from 2008 to the present day.

Vityaz SN submachine gun.
Photo obtained from Wikipedia and used under Creative Commons license.
Vityaz-SN wiith Zenit stock and rails.
Photo obtained from Wikipedia and used under Creative Commons license.

At any rate, I got excited when PSA released their AK-V and then fixed the initial bugs that surfaced – I respect a firm that listens to customers, acknowledges the problems and fixes them. I purposefully held off buying the AK-V initially but once word started spreading of the improved model, I bought one and wrote series of blog posts:

Here’s my AK-V with the first set of changes – the more rigid SBA4 brace, one of my quick takedown pins and a Vorte Crossfire Red Dot on top of an American Defense quick release mount.

Well, I thought I was done – the AK-V didn’t look like a Vityaz-SN with the Magpul grip and handguard plus the SBA4 brace but it was very comfortable to shoot and the furniture was solid. I was fine until Paul Popov posted photos of his converted AK-V in the Facebook AK-47 Group using the new CNC Warrior side folding brace and it look far more like a Vityaz – yeah, I had to change.

Getting ready to swap out parts. Note, the is an Izhmash handguard and I wound up using a K-VAR US handguard set that I will explain more below.

The conversion is really straight forward – change the the brace, the handguard and the grip. While I do plan on changing out the muzzle device at some point, I’ve not done so yet – just FYI,

Always make sure your firearm is unloaded and safe before you work on it. Check that chamber one more time.

The CNC Warrior Brace

Chris Bonesteel, of Bonesteel Arms, and CNC Warrior have been working together for years turning out high quality Galil-style folding stocks. I did not know they had created a brace design until Paul posted his photos and I immediately ordered one. Why would I jump? Simply put, the team turns out excellently executed designs and no, they did not pay me to say that. It just happens that I’ve known both groups for a long time – the US AK parts maker community started out small way back when.

Here’s the link so you can take a look. The AK-V uses a stamped AK style trunnion and then you can choose either a left or right side folding model. They were out of stock of a left folder so I bought a ride-side folding model. It looks like the AK-V will still operate folded but I haven’t tried it yet.

You can see it is very well designed and made. The rear is rigid and contoured to conform with the side of the arm when strapped on. That is the Velcro strap on the rear.
This shows the lock up side of the mechanism. The whole folder assembly is an aircraft aluminum alloy. Note the quick release swivel socket just forward of the lock area.
The screws that go into the trunnion are 10-32×3/8″ and there is a small nut in a slot for the front srew to give some adjustment. Keep an eye on that during installation or it may slide out.
The rear of the brace is solid. It secures to the side of the arm vs. over the top. It’s a great example of thinking outside the box.

Now, to change out the existing SBA3 brace or, in my case, an SBA-4 brace, you will need to first remove the stock by pulling up on the adjustment latch and sliding the stock to the rear. You need to pull the latch so it can clear the groove’s walls it is captured in.

Depending on how you are viewing the adjustment latch, you need to pull it out of the way for the brace to slide off the buffer tube / receiver extension. Given the viewing angle of this photo, I would pull the latch (in the yelow circle) down.
You are pulling that latch pin out of it’s normal position so it can clear the rear of the retention pin groove you see here that runs the length of the tube.
You are going to need a tool to get a firm grip on the castle nut to turn it off the staking that PSA does. You could use a combo wrench with the three contact points or a Magpul wrench. The Magpul wrench rocks, You can get a solid hold and remove staked nuts easily – even heavily staked nuts. I do NOT recommend the single point spanners like you see at the left end of the top combo wrench.

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PSA does not mess around – that is a solid stake and mine had two of them. In case you are wondering why, AR rifles use stakes to prevent the castle nut from shooting loose due to recoil and vibrations.
You don’t exactly remove the stake – you turn the castle nut by pushing the staked material out of the way. This is why I like the Magpul wrench – it supports the nut all the way around and sits squarely in the grooves of the nut. It will overcome stakes all day long – lefty loosey and righty tighty 🙂 So back off the nut and then unscrew the extension tube and remove it.
All three of these allen head screws need to be removed. All three have thread locker on them so heat the screw up with a small torch to soften the thread locker. If you do not you risk stripping the allen socket and that happened to me regardless on the rear. If you strip one, an old trick is to use a light hammer and tap in a Torx bit into the hole and then it will usually get enough of a hold that you can remove the screw. Now, if you do strip the rear one, there is an important additional step – hold a big hammer, in my case a forging hammer – against the bottom of the tang when you tap the Torx bit in. The bigger hammer and its inertia will support the rear tang and lessen the odds of you bending or breaking the rear tang. You will not re-use any of these screws.

I didn’t get a photo of the next two steps but to remove the M4 adapter, I used a wood dowl and hammer to give the unit a few taps from the inside and it came right out. I was surprised by PSA’s use of a two-piece rear trunnion. It’s innovative and makes sense. If you ever built an AKM and then used the Ace universal modular stock adapter that did not require cutting the rear tang, you may recall that block is huge as a result. I used it because I didn’t want to permanently cut the rear tang off.

By creating this two piece unit, PSA can effectively have rear trunnion that can either accomodate a folder or modular block without the tang in the way or simply insert the tang and then use a fixed-stock style screw arrangement.

To install the CNC Warrior brace, I simply tapped it into the receiver. I did make sure the front retaining nut did not slide out of its slot during the process. Once the stock was fully seated, I checked the install of the supplied screws and I could not reach the captured nut. So, I ran down to Ace Hardware and bought a few different lengths of #10-32 allen head screws. I used 3/8″ long for rear screw and 9/16ths” for the front. I’ve not seen others mention they needed a longer screw in front but that is what worked for me. It seemed to tighten down fully – if it had not,I would either have tried a shorter screw or ground down the tip just a tad.

After I published this post, Paul Popov pointed out to me that he examined the two screws that came with the brace and noticed the heads had different tapers. The one for the front has more of a taper/slightly smaller head that allows it to indeed get down far enough for front screw. So, take a look at your screws and see if this helps.

Note: I coated the screws with Blue Medium Loc-Tite just to be sure and then tightened them down. It’s very important you use your favorite thread locker here – Vibratite, Loc-Tite, etc. Because the block is aluminum, I would not use anything stronger than a medium-strength locker.

Keep an eye on that nut when installing your brace. It can easily slide right out of the slot. If you lose it, it’s simply a #10-32 nut. After installing the brace, I wiggled the weapon around to move the nut where I could see it and used a small allen wrench to slide the nut into position before inserting the screw.
You can see the innovative two-part rear trunnion and the new allen screws.

That’s it for the brace. It was actually really easy and trying to take the photos took longer than the actual work.

Ronin’s Grips Izhmash Molot Grip

The Vityaz-SN uses Izhmash’s copy of the Molot grip – what I like to call the Molot Gen 2. In my honest opinion, the Izhmash copy is a better design, The original had a weaker nose, was slightly smaller and did not have as big of a tail between the web of the thumb and the receiver. For all these reasons, I’ve always liked the Izhmash grip more and made myself one for this build. [Click here to to go our product page from the Molot Gen 2]

We make all of our grips by hand for each order. This is our “Molot Gen 2” that I made for my AK-V to Vityaz-SN clone project. Click here for the product page.

Installing the grip is the same as every other AK. I didn’t take photos but you can google and find a ton of videos and instructions with photos.

  1. Remove the dust cover, recoil spring assembly and bolt carrier [that last one is optional] to get easy access to the back of the receiver where the grip nut is located.
  2. Remove the existing Magpul grip. Squeeze the tab to remove the bottom and expose the screw. Use either a large blade screw driver or an Allen wrench to remove the screw.
  3. Make sure the grip nut is in the receiver and angled backwards.
  4. I use one hand to reach in and hold the grip nut in place. I then flip the gun upside down, put the grip on, insert the screw and wiggle it around until it catches the thread.
  5. The grip should sit square all the way around. If it does not, then use a file or sandpaper to make it flat. Go slow, take your time and test over and over – don’t try and do everything at once or you may take off too much.
  6. I tighten the screw down firmly but I don’t use a thread locker and I also do not go crazy torquing it down either.
  7. Re-assemble the weapon and function test it.

K-VAR US Handguard Set

The Vityaz-SN uses the same handguards as the AK-74M and they will also fit AKM-pattern handguards as well. I’ve used K-VAR’s US-made furniture many times so I went to their website and they had both their US handguards and original Izhmash furniture. I thought it was a neat opportunity to see the differences first hand so I did a blog post with tons of photos showing the small differences between the two – click here to read it.

The top set is a real Russian Izhmash set and the bottom is a K-VAR US-made set.

My first thought was to use the Izhmash set but I found I needed to remove just a tad bit of material off the metal nose for it to lock up fully into the retainer. I didn’t want to modify the real Russian lower so I opted to use the K-Var US lower and modify it as needed.

When it comes to fitting a new handguard to a rifle, you want the lower to lock in firmly and not be loose but you don’t want to impossibly tight where you break the cam arm lever off trying to tap it down.

If I were to make a broad generalization, I find that if I need to trim a brand new lower to fit a rifle, I usually need to shorten the handguard. Maybe it’s just my luck but usually that is what I would find with new lowers. If it was a surplus lower from another rifle then all bets were off because there was no telling how it was trimmed to fit.

Again, tons of photos and videos on the Internet but here are the basic installation steps:

  1. Remove the dust cover
  2. Remove the recoil spring assembly
  3. Remove the bolt carrier assembly
  4. Swing the gas tube locking lever up and remove the gas tube assembly
  5. Flip the cam lever on the lower handguard retainer to unlock the lower.
  6. Slide the lower forward and down to remove it.
  7. Reverse this to install the new one. Fit the lower if needed. It took 2-3 test fittings before my lower would go on because I removed such a small amount each time.
  8. To remove the gas tube cover, I like to secure the forged part of the gas tube in a vise so you can twist the gas tube cover 180 degrees and remove it. Never, never clamp the circular end of the tube – it is so then that it will probably bend/crush.
  9. Installing the gas tube cover is the reverse. Note, I did not need to trim my gas tube cover – it went on. If you need to, take off a little with sand paper or a file and test – repeat until it fits.
  10. Reassemble the weapon and function test it.
That is the lower handguard locking lever. It is attached to a cam that pushes the handguard backwards and locks everything into place. It rotates 180 degrees opposite from what is shown to unlock the handguard. This photo shows it locked. I like it to be snug enough that I need to use a small hammer to tap it into place. There is such a thing as the handguard being so long that the lever can’t go back into position so be careful and take the time to fit the handguard. In rare cases, the handguard can be shorter and the cam is on the wrong side of the groove so know what you are dealing with before you go modifying parts.

The Results

I really like how the converted AK-V looks and how it feels. Click on any of the thumbnails below to open the full size photo and enter the slide show:


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


Comparing Original Russian Izhmash and Arsenal’s US-Made AK Handguards

In 1991, the Russian Izmash factory started producing AK-74M rifles with a uniquely styled glass fiber reinforced polyamide stock and handguard that we see today on newer weapons.

The Bulgarians followed suit as they licensed the designs from the Russians. I’m not sure how closely the Bulgarians copied the design but now we can see there are some minor differences.

What started me down this path was the desire to convert my Palmetto State Armory AK-V to look more like a Russian Vityaz. The Vityaz uses the bulged handguard like you see on the AK-74M, AK-100 series and what not. So, I hopped on the www.kvar.com website to see what they had and they surprisingly had both the Arsenal US-made handguard set and a real Izhmash set. I jumped and bought one of each of both sets. Note, the AK-V uses the same handguards as either the AKM or AK-74M so you have a ton of options.

For me it was really interesting to set the two very similar handguard sets down side by side and note all the minor differences. So, I took a ton of photos and decided to create a photo gallery so you can see them for yourself.

The most noteworthy differences:

  • The Izhmash set is slightly more grey and the Arsenal is a richer black
  • The Izhmash’s surface finish is duller and the Arsenal is slightly more reflective.
  • The bottom rear of the Izhmash lower is more angular and the Arsenal is more rounded
  • The Izhmash set has more mold markings such as the “2-2” on the gas tube cover.
  • The Arsenal lower has “US” marked on the outside rear

In case you are wondering what I used on my AK-V, it was the K-Var set. I had to trim a very tiny amount (0.015-.030″) off the metal nose of the lower to get it to fit and I didn’t want to modify a real Izhmash set that might have collector’s value some day.

Below are thumbnails and you can click on one and see a bigger photo and any comments/labels on each:


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


Rick’s R4 Forgery

I always love it when folks send me photos of their firearms using our parts. Rick sent in these cool photos of what he calls his “R4 Forgery” and it is using one of our Galil grips.

Very cool Rick!


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


Add Length of Pull to a Yugo M70, M72 or M76 Wood Buttstock WIth A Limbsaver Recoil Pad

Normally, I like the length of the Yugo M70 and M72 buttstocks. They’re shorter than many Western fixed stock designs but I’ve just grown accustomed to the length of pull (LOP). Recently, I had Two Rivers Arms build me a M76 designated marksman’s rifle (DMR) and found the stock to be a tad shorter than what I wanted to get in position behind the big Vortex Hog Hunter scope I had bought for it.

Two Rivers Arms custom built Yugo M76 rifle with a RS!Regulate scope mount and Vortex Hog Hunter scope. The UTG rings have been replaced with an American Defense mount and the cheek piece will be replaced but you can get an idea that this is a big rifle and a big optic.

I realized that to make the LOP longer, I had two options. My normal route with an AK is to install a stock adapter and either go to some form of modular stock. In the case of the M76, I really wanted to stick with the original wood. The brought be to my second option – to add a recoil pad.

There are a ton of recoil pads on the market but as far as I know, nobody makes a direct replacement recoil pad for the Yugo military rifles other than me and my pad is a copy of the original. This gives you two options also – either cut the stock and install a “grind to fit” pad that would ruin the original stock or to go with a slip on pad.

Slip on recoil pads are designed to fit a certain range of buttstock sizes based on the height and width. They may not be the best looking of options but they get the job done and don’t require any modifications to the underlying stock — plus for folks who don’t like messing with tools – they can be slid on and off usually very easily.

End of Buttstock Size for Yugo M70B1, M72B1, and M76 Rifles

Zastava made the Yugo rifles but is now in Serbia and makes both commercial and military rifles. The dimensions I am about to give so you can get the proper pad only apply to he military rifles. If you have a Zastava N-PAP for example, your stock is much smaller and I don’t know the dimensions.

If you do have a military sized Yugo M70B1, M72B1 or M76 then the following should sizes should be approximately right:

  • Top to bottom of the buttstock overall: 4.48″ so just under 4-1/2″
  • Left to right at the widest point: 1.29″ so just under 1-1/3″

So that means a slip on buttpad needs to accomodate those dimensions and will slide right over the original recoil pad as well.

Limbsaver by Sims Vibration Labs

Years ago, I happened across Limbsaver recoil pads and started using them more than Pachmayr, which is another leading brand. I’ve had very good luck with Limbsaver so they were my go-to when it came to the M76.

They have a new Air-Tech series that adds 1″ to the LOP and is also remarkably spongy to absorb the recoil. The M76 really doesn’t have a ton of recoil so my decision was more based on the 1″ LOP.

The AirTech slip on pad comes in four sizes:

  • “Small” fits stocks measuring 4-1/2 x 1-1/2 inches to 4-13/16 x 1-5/8 inches
  • “Small/Medium” fits stocks measuring 4-5/8 x 1-9/16 inches to 5-1/8 x 1-3/4 inches
  • “Medium” fits stocks measuring 4-13/16 x 1-5/8 inches to 5-1/8″ x 1-3/4 inches
  • “Large” fits stocks measuring 5-1/8 x 1-3/4 inches to 5-3/8 x 1-7/8 inches

Given those dimensions, I opted to buy the “small” size and it fit beautifully.

The small-sized pad slid right on and fits nice and snug.

I actually wish they had a pad that added about 1/2-3/4″ of pull as that would be perfect. The end result is just a tad longer than what I would dial in with an adjustable Magpul PRS stock but it definitely feels better when I start lining up behind the scope. It’s staying on the rifle!


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


Yugoslavia JNA army M76 manual Ex Yugo M-76 manual

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Polish Build Runs Like a Top

I will do a more In-Depth series of posts about building this rifle later. It is a Polish WBP kit l at the heart from arms of America with a Polish cold hammer-forged Barrel. The internals are installed in a Childers Guns receiver. The trigger is from ALG and I absolutely love it. I kid you not, this is now the only trigger I will use because it is so good.

The muzzle brake is a JMAC RRD-4C and boy does it eliminate muzzle climb. It made the rifle very controllable even during rapid fire.

The optic is a vortex Crossfire. The furniture is original polish Beryl with one of our US made 922r Beryl grips.

In the following video, this is my buddy Niko doing the shooting and while he is tall and wiry you can tell that the full-power Golden Eagle hundred and twenty four grain FMJ 7.62 x39 round is not moving him much at all.

The build turned out to be extremely reliable and accurate. Like I said I will post more details later but I’m thrilled with the results and had to jump the gun and share this video.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.



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Check Out Jeff’s Cool M72B1 Built by Two Rivers Arms With Our Handguard Set

Check out Jeff’s cool Yugoslavian M72B1.  It was built by Two Rivers Arms and he used our custom Yugo M72B1 handguard set.  Our handguards are made from a special temperature resistant glass reinforced urethane, don’t require the ferrule, and enable a sure grip.

If you are interested, click here to learn more about our custom all polymer Handguards.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.

Our New Polish Beryl Gen 2 Grip Model

The karabinek szturmowy wzór 1996 Beryl rifle is manufactured by the Łucznik Arms Factory in Radom, Poland and is the successor to the Tantal.  The first versions of the rifle had a rather typical AKM style grip.

With the kbs wz. 1996C Beryl variant, an ergonomic grip appeared that looked very similar to what the Israelis developed for their Galil Ultra.

So, after doing some digging, I tracked down a brand new copy of that ergonomic grip and made our version.  Note, I am simply calling it the second generation or gen 2.  That’s my naming and not the Pole’s.

You can see this is like our other grips – it is cast as a solid block and then a hole is drilled for a grip screw.  It is sized to fit a normal 100mm long screw like you find with most AKM grips.  “US” is cast into the back.  If you look at the throat, this ought to fit most rifles but some final fitting/fine tuning may be needed.  I have not tried putting this on a Yugo with their unique grip nut strap.

The original has grooves on the back but we will need to sand there so these ridges/lines on the backstrap will not be there.  We will sand and blast the grip so it evens out with the surrounding surfaces.

Here is the grip mounted on a Romy G AKM.  No fitting was needed – it went right on.

I wear size XL gloves and the top where the web of my hand from the index to the thumb would sit is just a tad small for me.  The grooves and thumb shelf are very comfortable and could be used with either hand.  For me, I prefer the Russian AK-12 grip or the Bulgarian ARM-9 grip.  I’d recommend this for folks who wear Medium to Large to sized gloves.  If you wear XL or bigger, you may find this a tad small at the top but it is very doable.  I hope to build a Beryl later this year and still plan to use this grip for myself.  I also left it on the Romy for further testing.  I think folks will like this grip regardless of whether they are building a Polish rifle or one from another country.

Click here to go to our online store if you are interested in learning more and/or buying one.

Please note the opening photos of the Beryl rifle are from Wikipedia.  They have a nice basic introduction to the Beryl if you’d like to learn more.  I always recommend the great firearm books also:


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


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SOVIET RUSSIAN BAYONET AND SCABBARD

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RUSSIAN BAYONET BAKE LIGHT AND SCABBARD VIET NAM ERA

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BULGARIAN BAYONET WITH SCABBARD WITH LEATHER FROG. USED CONDITION.

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Our New Russian AK-12 Grip

Hi folks,

We have a new grip model based on the Russian AK-12.  Our grip has a very similar outward appearance and profile to the Russian grip but is cast solid and is made here in Michigan by us.  As a result, it counts as a 922r compliance part also.

The rifle is my personal FM-AK47-21 that has the cool Molot RPK side folder, a Chaos rail, the superb Vortex Sparc II red dot optic, and a Chaos rail and a JMAC RRD-4C brake.

I wear XL-size gloves and the grip feels very good in my hand and puts the rifle into a very natural position.  In looking at the top of the grip, I think it will fit any AKM rifle or a pistol with a typical grip nut and screw.  I think it would take some fitting to go on a Yugo with its unique riveted grip strap.

This grip is available for ordering now if you are interested – click here.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


Note, the Crossfire CR-RD1 red dot optic replaced the Sparc II shown in the photo.  I am using a Crossfire CF-RD1 on another rifle and really like it.

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John’s Bulgarian AK-74 is Looking Great With Our Molot Grip

John’s Bulgarian AK-74 is Looking Great With Our Second Generation Molot grip!

Folks, this really makes my day when I see what you have built!!

Click here for our Molot Gen II grip.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


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A Chaos Rail on a FM-AK47-21 Vepr Rocks!

When the government announced they were going to ban the further import of Molot firearms, I jumped and bought one of the Fime FM-AK47-21 side folding AK-47 Veprs.

The rifle was absolutely awesome except for one regard – I really did not like the ribbed RPK handguard. Now this is the handguard on the Russian RPks and the ribs help with cooling and moving the hand away from the surface of the handguard — the design is genuinely thought out … but I do not like the feel. It’s as simple as that.

With that in mind, I started digging on options. On one hand I could make a new polymer set based on a mint RPK handguard set I picked up along the way. After a while, I changed my mind as the time and cost to create the molds didn’t make a lot of business sense as the Veprs weren’t going to be imported and demand would presumably be low and I would not recover the investment.

So, I researched other options and a firm I didn’t know much about kept popping up – Chaos, Inc. They made a well regarded handguard that looked great to me and reports on the feel and quality were very good. An important design point is that it connects like a handguard and doesn’t clamp anything on the barrel to transfer heat. That was a beef I had with the Midwest Industries rail design I tried years ago. It required the installation of a clamp on the barrel.

At any rate, I decided on the Chaos Apollo FM11L Keymod handguard. By the way, Chaos does not list on their website that this FM11L will fit the FM-AK47-21 side folder so I called them. The guy I talked to said they would take a return if it didn’t fit and I didn’t beat it up. I was pretty sure it would fit so I went ahead and ordered it.

The rail arrived about a week later and decided to install it when time permitted. The following is a quick overview of the steps required:

1] Make sure your rifle is unloaded! I can’t stress this enough.

2] Push in the dust cover retainer at the rear and remove the cover.

3] Remove the operating rod and the bolt carrier group.

4] You will need to rotate the gas tube retaining lever to remove the gas tube. Now this thing is on incredibly tight. I thought Zastava had very tight levers but they have nothing on Molot. You will either need non-marring pliers or a polymer or wood punch to swing the lever up clockwise until the gas tube assembly can lift out.

5] On the right side of the lower handguard retainer, you will see a small lever laying parallel with the barrel. It will need to be rotated 180 degrees towards the muzzle and this is another incredibly tight fit. I had to use stout needle nose pliers in order to rotate it. Once rotated, you can slide the handguard retainer forward. You may find you need to tap it a bit with a rubber mallet – I did.

6] Now, you need to remove the gas tube cover and this is one of the questions I get asked most frequently. The cover is a semi-circle and rotates out of the semi-circular shaped retainers. Clamp the forged steel end (not the tubular end or you will crush it) and firmly rotate the cover. You may find it turns easier clockwise or counter-clockwise and either way is fine. Rotate it 180 degrees either way and then you can pull it away from the tube.

7] Next up is to install the Apollo FM11 lower. This is where their engineering prowess really shows. Their rail is two parts so remove the three hex screws from each side and set the upper half to the side for the moment.

8] Now unscrew the bottom screws and slide the internal aluminum part backwards out of the way. This part will actually slide into the handguard retainer and lock the unit into place. This is why there is a slot for the retainer. Look at the fitment of the parts – they thought this out. Be sure to screw in the set screws also to lock things in place.

9] For the next part, you install the lower by putting the rear tab into the front of the receiver just the same as any AK-style handguard. Now the front requires you to get the retainer in the right place to nestle into the lower. Get the angle right and slide the internal aluminum retainer part into the handguard retainer and screw the internal part back together. The angle must be right so if you can’t get that internal insert to slide into place, move the handguard’s front up and down until it does. Then swing the handguard retainer lever back into position – it will be a tight fit so tap it into place with a rubber mallet. It would not take a ton of pressure – if it does, check fitment. Over the years I have read guys put a ton of pressure on the levers and snap them – the pressure required is firm and you should see movement as you tap the lever into place. They key is tapping and not trying to do one big “mongo smash” hit to rotate the lever. Once done, the lower should be absolutely rock solid – mine sure is.

10] I then installed the gas tube. Nothing attaches to the gas tube so you can remove or install it as needed. I then used my rubber mallet to tap the catch lever back into position.

11] I then installed the gas tube cover by lining up the holes and installing the screws.

At this point it is done. I installed a Vortex Sparc II nice and low on the rail. I like the cheekweld when I rotate the cheekpiece into position. It does NOT co-witness with the iron sights but I really didn’t care about that – I can remove the sight real fast if I ever need to.

I really, really like the fit and feel of this rail. My side folder can lock folded. I did not need to change anything to support the folder.

Here is the end result:

I hope this helps you out!


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon to buy something.   With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


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