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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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]
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.
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.
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.
Make sure the grip nut is in the receiver and angled backwards.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Remove the dust cover
Remove the recoil spring assembly
Remove the bolt carrier assembly
Swing the gas tube locking lever up and remove the gas tube assembly
Flip the cam lever on the lower handguard retainer to unlock the lower.
Slide the lower forward and down to remove it.
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.
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.
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.
I’ve written a number of posts about the Palmetto State Armory’s second generation 9mm AK-V pistol and how impressed I was. After about a week,I finally got a chance to take it to the range with my daughter and a friend of her’s. Boy, did we have fun!
First off, I cleaned and lubricated the AK-V before we went to the range. This is something you should always do with a new firearm. While cleaning it, I noticed how heavy the bolt assembly was and decided to break it in with 124 grain Sellier &Bellot (S&B) 9x19mm ammo.
The reason for this decision is that 124 grain ammo is used in a lot of submachine guns (SMGs) to generate enough of a recoil impulse to reliably cycle the weapon. I figured the AK-V would need to break in and I had a ton of S&B 124grain FMJ ammo from work I had done with UZIs and MP5s. It also should be mentioned that the S&B ammo is loaded to the 9x19mm CIP spec and not the lighter US 9mm SAAMI spec. Note, 9mm NATO is hotter than commercial 9×19 CIP or SAAMI. I did not have any otherwise I would have used it.
To save time and ammo, I used a MidTen brand 9mm laser bore sighter to dial in the Vortex Crossfire Red Dot to be more aligned. I’ve never had a boresighter achieve dead-on accuracy but they do tend to get you close enough on paper so you can more easily make the final adjustments based on actual rounds fired.
It was a beautiful afternoon when we loaded up the car and headed to the Berrien County Sportsmans Club. My favorite lane was open and we set up at the 25 foot mark.
We loaded up four of the 35 round PSA magazines with the 124 grain S&B ammo, two magazines with 115 grain CCI/Speer ammo that PSA had on sale, and one last magazine with 10 rounds Hornday Critical Duty ammo. Note, I’d heard of guys having some small issues when trying to use Scorpion magazines so I avoided them and only used PSA’s own brand of magazines for the AK-V.
To do the first test firing, I loaded two rounds of the S&B 124 grain in a mag. I had aready function tested the AK-V with the dust cover off to make sure the fire control group operated the way it should. By loading just two rounds, I could safely fire one, make sure the bullet hit the target and then fire the second. The last thing I wanted was a run away gun where a geometry error might cause the whole magazine to dump uncontrollably.
The AK-V ran just great without one single problem. It fed and ejected everything just fine. I was very impressed by the accuracy and reliability. I’m definitely not the only one saying this either – tons of guys are reporting how much they like their AK-Vs.
In conclusion, we had a lot of fun. The AK-V ran great! Note: I’ve read posts from a ton of guys who shot just 115 grain 9mm from their AK-V to break it in so that’s an option for you as well. Also, I was toying with replacing the trigger but after shooting the AK-V, I really do not see the need. The trigger’s actually pretty decent.
At this point, the AK-V is almost ready. As you may have noticed in the first post about impressions out of the box, it shipped pretty dry with just some oil to prevent rust and that’s just fine. In this post I’ll outline what I did to lubricate it and also the cool US Peacekeeper it will be carried in.
Cleaning the AK-V
On any new weapon, you need to run a bore snake or whatever your preferred method is to get any remnants from machining, dust, etc. out of the barrel. I ran a RamRodz tip down the length of the barrel coated in CLP and it came out fairly dirty. I did this four times with two RamRodz and was set. Note, I usually use the RamRodz on my 9mm pistols and happened to have them sitting there. The wood push sticjs were too short for the AK-Vs barrel so I used a small nut driver to push the wood stick down. I would normally use a Hoppes 9mm Bore Snake.
Lubricating the AK-V
To lubricate the weapon, I pretty much did what I normally do with any AK and I follow and old saying “If it slides, grease it. If it rotates, oil it”. My grease of choice these days is Super Lube. It works great on weapons in a wide range of temperatures, is a synthetic grease and includes very fine particles of PTFE (Telfon) in it. I apply it to the bottom of the bolt carrier, rails, fire control group (FCG) surfaces and a light film in the hole for the recoil spring in the bolt group. I wanted to say bolt carrier but in the AK-V, the bolt is a one piece combination of the traditional bolt barrier and bolt body.
I then used Super Lube oil on the FCG pins plus a drop on each end of the firing pin. Technically, I tried to put a drop in the hole on the bolt face and a drop on the exposed firing on on the rear. I also made sure the extractor was oiled as well.
After lubricating the AK-V, I function tested it. Wow. What an amazing difference. We’re talking night and day difference. It was incredibly smooth and hadn’t even been broke in yet!
US Peacekeeper 28″ Rapid Assault Tactical Case
Ok, so after measuring the rifle, I ordered the US Peacekeeper case and it fits like a glove. Often you have slop at the ends but here the butt and muzzle go right up to the cushioned ends.
The case is rather discrete and very well made in terms of materials, zippers and stitching. Inside the outer pocket is MOLLE straps for securing pourches and accessories. To hold the magazines, I opted for a three cell pouch made for AR magazines – you can get two of the AK-V 35 round magazines in each and just barely close the flap.
That’s It For Now
I will try to get this to the range at some point and will report back when I do. I hope you found these posts useful. Please note, none of these groups sponsor me or gave me their products – I had to buy everything so please consider buying something off one of our Amazon links so we can get a small bit of sales commission.
Out of the box, the AK-V is impressive. The trigger is decent, the grip and handguard are functional but there were three things I really wanted to do – move to a SBA4 brace, install an optic and create a quick takedown pin so the dust cover could be removed (the big reason I bought the AK-V from a business perspective). So let’s step through each.
Replace The SBA3 Brace With An SBA4
Yes, they are both adjustable braces but that comparison ends there. The SBA4 is much more sturdy and has five length of pull adjustment positions. The SBA4 does go on sale and that is the time to buy one. I got mine for $99 at PSA’s July 4th sale and there was free shipping!
Now PSA did something with the SBA3 that is a best practice. They staked the castle nut to the receiver end plate. Now, I started thinking about what would be my easiest option and it dawned on me that if I was SB Tactical and wanted to control cost and complexity, I would try and have as few inventory parts as possible and that means as few buffer tubes. Guess what? The SBA3 and the SBA4 both use a Mil-Spec 6 position buffer tube. Problem solved. You can remove the brace just like most AR/M4 stocks – lift up on the locking pin and slide it right off.
The result is a very sturdy brace. After comparing the two, I will only use SBA4 braces going forward.
Vortex Crossfire Red Dot Optic and American Defense Mount
I doubt I will ever go past 100 yards with the AK-V and a much more likely engagement distance is 50 yards so a red dot is perfect. I’m a huge Vortex Optics fan and this was a perfect situation for their Crossfire Red Dot mounted on an American Defense AD-T1-L STD quick detach mount. They are my favorite combination of price and performance these days.
By the way, be sure to keep a couple of spare 2032 Lithium batteries in your case or range bag. Nothing dampens a range trip like dead batteries. It’s also why I use a quick detach mount – if the batteries are dead or that optic fails, I am yanking that optic off.
With the AD-T1-L STD mount you are a tad higher than the AK-V’s sights. I plan to watch how they relate at the range so I can ballpark where to aim if the battery is dead and am in a rush. Practice, practice, practice and not just when everything works.
The AK-V Dust Cover Quick Takedown Pin
I had to look up — I built my first Yugo M92 in 2012 and instantly hated the hinged dust cover. I drilled out the rivet and came up with a stainless pin with a ball detent and pull ring to secure the cover. The rest is history. I wound up making pins for the M92/M85, Tula and Bulgy Krinks use the same pin, Vepr shotguns and now the AK-V.
The reason for wanting a quick takedown pin is plain and simple, when you want to clean the weapon or work in the receiver, the hinged dust cover is in the way. To remedy this, you can install our AK-V quick pin and it’s about a 10 minute job if you know how to strip down an AK. This is a quick overview:
Ensure the weapon is empty.
Field strip the weapon like you would any AK, remove the gas tube and the lower handguard so they are out of the way.
The AK-V’s hinge is simply a 5/32″ roll pin that needs to be tapped/punched out so use something like a bench block to support the weapon and create a hole/gap for the pin to exit into.
Use a 5/32″ roll pin punch and a hammer to tap the roll pin out. You can save it for the future in case you ever want to use it again for some reason.
Put the dust cover back in place with the hinge holes lined up and slide in our quick takedown pin.
A tad over a week from when I ordered my AK-V via the PSA website, Scott Igert, of Modern Antique Firearms, called and told me that the pistol had arrived. Let me give you a tip, there is such a huge backlog of people signed up for the “email me when it is in stock” feature of the PSA website, you will never hear when they show up. I have a huge tip for you – check at 9am and 4pm Eastern manually. I did that for a week or so and that is how I snagged my AK-V. I My logic was real simple – if I were them, I’d add inventory either first thing in the morning or at the end of the day. Bingo. Maybe it was just luck but it worked.
Okay, so this post is really a collection of photos to show you the AK-V. The next post will get into the modifications that I did.
Well, I bought a Palmetto State Armory AK-V in 9mm. I’ve been a PSA AR fan for years and years. I’m not even sure how many rifle and pistol kits of their’s that I’ve built. On the other hand, reports about their AK attempts kept me away from that product line until recently.
PSA responded to the market and brought out a 9mm pistol caliber carbine (PCC) using the AK platform that they called the “AK-V”. In a ways, they took the Russian ideas behind the 2004 Vityaz-SN as inspiration and created their own unique weapon.
Now, they did have some bumps when they launched. Guys identified a number of weaknesses and then PSA did something that not a lot of folks expected – they went out and fixed them and improved the AK-V design. Kudos to them – seriously. What has resulted is a red hot product that is pretty hard to find.
So, before I get into what I did, here are some videos that started me down my journey including some updated videos.
AK Operators Union, Local 47-74
Rob Ski has fired 3000 rounds through his as of July 11th with no major problems. He reported one CZ magazine not a PSA magazine. My response – just use PSA’s magazines. He was dropping it on rocks too! The bolt, buffer, chamber and internals all looked fine. No deformations or marks. Rob doesn’t mince words and likes what he is seeing.
Military Arms Channel – PSA AKV9 Relaunch
They did a lot of shooting and said they are extremely happy with the performance of the gun now.
I tend to use a lot of dummy rounds due to working with Kydex or whatever and normally you pay quite a bit for them. Recently I stumbled across a very good deal on Amazon. There is a company called KP Tactical making very decent dummy rounds by machining them out of aluminum and inserting silicone rubber in place for the primer and they are only about $1/round in bags of 10. So, I ordered 9mm, .40 and .45 and they arrived the other day. I’m quite happy – the machining is well done and it’s a very fair price.
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