Category Archives: Furniture

Used to blog about AK furniture

Will A Bulgy ARM9 Grip Fit An IMI Galil? The Notch Is Definitely Different

A recurring question I get is if a Bulgarian ARM-9 grip can be used on an IMI Galil rifle. Not easily is my answer and I took a bunch of photos so you can decide for yourself. You would need to add black epoxy to the inside back of the ARM in order to Dremel or mill it open further to duplicate the swing of the Galil’s lever – at least that’s how it looks to me because I don’t own an IMI Galil to experiment with.

So, here are some photos so you can see what I mean:

Note the difference in the shape of the ARM-9 grip’s notch on the left vs. the IMI Galil’s notch on the right
Here are the notches even closer.
Here’s the ARM sitting on top of the Galil for another perspective.
Here’s where you can see that the ARM-9’s original wall design is hollow behind the notch. It’s not an impossible change – if you were to abrasive blast the inside of the ARM grip and then use wax stripper, you could then fill that back in with black epoxy. It wouldn’t be an exact color match by any means.

Summary

So there you have it. They are different and definitely not a simple swap with out doing some epoxy work and then maybe a top coat of some finish if you want the colors to match. I hope this helps you out as you think through your options.


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PSA AK-E Part 5: The End Result

This is the final post of the series. Here are the previous AKE posts listed so you can view them if you so wish:

In this final post, I want to share a series of photos of the end result:

By the way, the sling you see is from S2 Delta. I have a number of their slings now and they are nicely done.

Conclusion

This is it for now. Hopefully when the Corona Virus stuff calms down I’ll be able to take it to the range. I’m betting it’s going to run real nice based on how it feels.


If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


PSA AK-E Part 4: Customizing The Rifle

In the past three posts, I covered some of the reviews I read, initial observations out of the box, and a more detailed look and the internals. Now, I’ll cover the customization work that I did. For me, the AK-E was always going to serve as a base platform to build on. I wanted to showcase both one of our AK-12 grips and one of our new AKM gas tube covers. So, let’s step through the modifications.

The RS!Regulate GKR-10MS Handguard

The red stock set had to go. That was the plan from day one. I only bought it because it was the first AK-E model that I was available during my daily “do they have one yet” check of the PSA website [click here if you are hunting for one as well].

In place of the handguards, I planned to install one of the RS!Regulate GKR-10MS aluminum rails. It’s 10″ long, is ready for MLOK attachments and looked wicked. Furthermore, you do not need to remove the sling loop on the lower handguard retainer. Scot Hoskisson is the owner and I’ve used his scope mounts on a number of rifles plus one of his handguards on my IWI Galil Ace pistol and really liked it.

I thought this would be easy but that turned out not to be the case due to a seemingly small change PSA made that I’ll cover in a moment. Basically the rail system has three parts – The F1 front piece, the middle rail section and a rear end cap. Scot provides good instructions so follow them to the letter.

Like other AK rifles, there is a space between the front trunnion and the receiver to allow the tab of the handguard to press into. The flakes you see in the photo are presumably from the finish of the red handguard, just FYI.
The block is designed to be filed to fit. You can see where it will go but you will need to take your time and file it to fit.
The elevated sides of the U in the middle need to be filed to fit and you might need to take some off the sides as well.
So take your time, remove a little and test fit over and over. A trick I learned that I applied is to file the protrusions at a very slight angle so that as the handguard is pressed further in, the tighter the fit becomes.
It was coming together nicely. Notice the rail is secured to the end cap and is clearing the handguard retainer nicely in terms of the slot.
Next, this F1 nosepiece has to slide back inside the handguard, get screwed in place and then set screws on the opposite side are tightened thus locking everything in place This is where things go sour.
Every time I tightened down the bottom screw, the F1 piece would cam backwards vs. sitting properly. I tried a few times and could not get it to sit. I have both carpal tunnel and a tremor so this is very tedious for me to try and do. I reached out to Scot and he told me a compatability issue had come up with the PSA handguard retainer.
Due to ever so slight dimension differences, the F1 piece does not sit flush or even lower than the retainer so when the bottom screw is tightened down it cams the F1 backwards. Argh!
I spent almost an hour of careful filing and test fitting and finally decided to super glue a trimmed #6 washer to the bottom of the F1 unit to address the issue. I think this would have worked from the start. Note, Scot tells me that he plans to make a PSA specific unit. It’s totally do-able as-is once you realize you need to add a spacer to the unit. It was rock solid after I made that change and tightened down the set screws. I also had to use a longer 8-32 screw vs. the supplied unit due to the spacer.
Folks, this is the type of washer I used – literally it came out of this box. I ground two flat sides so it wouldn’t stick out past the front or back of the F1 part. Your goal is for the washer to make contact with the handuard before the retainer does. If the retainer hits first, it will want to make the F1 part cant as you tighten it.
Look closely at the F1 fitting in front of the handguard retainer inside the rail – you can see the shiny #6 washer doing its job.

One Of Our Gas Tube Covers

I made a bunch of new molds to make AKM gas tube covers and they are all based on Polish AKM units. In other words, the masters were real Polish covers that I then used to make the molds. It turns out that the PSA gas tube cover is just a tad taller and uses a different spring clip than the Polish units. Our new covers work just fine – the difference surprised me though.

Here’s an original wood Polish AKM gas tube cover on the left and the PSA model on the right. Note the PSA unit is just a tad taller.
To remove the PSA cover, you just rotate it on the tube 180 degrees and pull them off. Because the rifle is brand new, this is very easy to do. On surplus rifles you can have a real fight on your hands trying to get them off sometimes.
Here’s a photo of the installed GKR-10MS rail and our gas tube cover.

One Of Our Russian AK-12 Grips

To change the pistol grip, you remove this bolt and then the T-nut inside will flop around.
This is the loose T-nut that sticks through the receiver. When you install the new grip, use one finger to keep this in place while you are getting the bolt started.
This is our installed AK-12 grip.

M4 Adapter and a Magpul ACS Stock

Next up was the stock. I really prefer the M4-style adjustable stocks and the Magpul ACS is really my go-to unit for most of my builds. It’s solid and has a locking clamp so there is no wiggle.

To remove the stock, first take out these three blade screws. Now, to avoid chewing them up, use a screwdriver blade bit that completely fills the slot from top to bottom and left to right. Using a screw driver that is too small will cause the metal to deform around the screw heads and make a mess. Furthermore, screw driver bits are hollow ground so their end is not tapered unlike a normal screwdriver is.
One of the reasons I keep this Weaver tool set handy is the bit collection. Note how there are a variety of sizes of blade bits. This is my go-to for removing stocks for that very reason.
The stock is press fit into the receiver. It should either just pull out or you may need to use a mallet and wood dowel to tap it out. Surplus AK buttstocks can be a bear to remove but since the AK-E is brand new, you will probably find it fairly easy. In this photo, you can see what some call the “puzzle piece” or “jigsaw puzzle piece” that is unique to PSA. This lets them have one rear trunnion and if the application does not warrant the tang, then it is not installed. Historically, we would have needed to cut that off depending on what type of buttstock system we planned on using. In this build, I am going to use an M4 adapter and I do need the tang so I was careful not to lose it.
If you are now thinking, “crap, I lost the puzzle piece/rear tang” then you are in luck. PSA sells just that part. Click here to go to the product page.
This M4 adapter was on my AK-V. It is either made for PSA by Rifle Dynamics (RD) or it looks just like RD’s design. Basically it slides in place of the stock and the tang of the stock passes through the M4 buffer tube’s mouth. This was an ingenious move and created a short solid adapter. PSA does sell this – click here for the product listing. Unfortunately it is out of stock a lot probably due to the popularity of their rifles and pistols that use it. I’ve used the RD adapter and it is rock solid so I definitely recommend getting that one if you can – check out Brownells or RD directly.
Here’s a view of the adapter from the rear. You can see the tang passes through the threaded circle where the buffer tube will screw in.
The adapter goes where the stock was at using the supplied machine screws. Apply blue loctite so they don’t vibrate loose.
You can see the puzzle piece / modular rear tang is installed and is protruding through the threaded attachment for the buffer tube. Be sure to apply blue loctite to this screw also.
When I need AR parts in a rush, Primary Arms is one of the vendors I check first. They ship fast – often the same day if not the next. This is an Expo Arms 6 position Mil-Spec buffer tube, an Expo Arms castle nut and a BCM Gunfighter QD End Plate (meaning it is an M4 receiver end plate but it has the attachment point for a QD swivel.
On an AR, I worry about torque specs for the castle nut. On an AKM with a sheet metal receiver, you will see it start to twist as you apply more more torque so my recommendation is *not* to treat it like an AR because I don’t want to bend the receiver. I tighten the castle nut down farmer firm (meaning snug and then some) and then stake the nut to the end plate to keep it from moving.
These are my three key tools for installing a Magpul ACS buttstock as well as the tube and cast nut. The above is an automatic center punch. It’s be Neiko and I also have one from General Tools. I use them for staking the castle nut by striking the surface 3-4 times. With my tremor I have a hard time with a hammer and center punch, which is what most folks use. To tighten the castle nut, I use a Magpul wrench. The way it engages the castle nut is very well thought out and reduces the odds of the tool slipping and marring the finish. The bottom is a simple tool I make and sell to grab the friction locking mechanism of the ACS stock and lift it high enough so the stock can slide into place. Yes, there are other ways of doing it but the tool makes it super simple.
Here’s the installed ACS stock
While the AK doesn’t have much of a recoil, it can be softened further by adding a Limbsaver recoil pad that simply replaces the OEM Magpul pad that is a fairly hard plastic. You just use a drive to remove the two screws, pull the old pate off, push the screws into the new Limbsaver pad, line the pad up with the stock and drive them into place.
Here’s the installed Limbsaver recoil pad. It fits very nicely as you can see.

RS!Regulate Optics Mount and Vortex Crossfire Red Dot

In my honest opinion, the best AK mounting rail system is made by RS!Regulate. It’s a two part modular system that Scot developed. It consists of a lower that is tailored to the rifle and shooter preferences that is then mated with an upper that can be optic specific or a general Picatinny rail.

For this rifle, I opted for the full length AK-303M lower and AKR upper. If RS!Regulate is out, check out Primary Arms and Brownells as well..

This is the AK-303M lower. The clamp is adjusted by compressing the clamping bar and turning that silver shiny screw that is then exposed. Clockwise tightens it and counter-clockwise loosens the clamp. I had to dial it in a bit for the PSA clamp and you probably will for just about any rifle. It’s nice and snug now.
Here’s another view of the AK-303M. The top AKR will mount onto the lower and be screwed into place. When everything is dialed in, the rail can be drilled and a roll pin installed to permanently marry the upper and lower if you so choose. Yes, that is a picatinny rail. The upper mounts to it by have the inverse of the rail that then marries together.
Here are the two halves mated together with a Vortex Crossfire Red Dot. The Crossfire red dot is my go-to when I need a good basic red dot optic. I may change it out for a 1-6 or 1-8 scope but time will tell.

Streamlight 88058 Protac Rail Mount 1

The last tweak I did was to add a short piece of aluminum Magpul rail and a Streamlight 88058 Protac Mount 1 light. I have found Streamlights to be very reliable and I use them on a variety of weapons. This model is dedicated for a rail and comes with a pigtail and pressure switch if you want to mount the switch remote from the light. I am right handed, not a huge fan of vertical grips and find it very easy to reach up with my left thumb and turn the light on or off.

The 88061 is a 350 lumen LED light that can use either a AA battery or a CR123A – I prefer the CR123A batteries – it is brighter and lasts longer than if you use the AA battery. Regardless it is cool to know that you have an option in case you are out of your preferred battery but have the other.

By the way, you can see the quick disconnect (QD) sling swivel in the background. This is an example of a part where you do not want to go cheap. The unit seen above is Midwest Industries. Go with a name brand and not some cheap knock-off.

Conclusion

That’s it for now and I hope you found this helpful. I’ll do one more post with photos of the finished rifle.

Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


PSA AK Webstore Links

Interested in an American made AK? Consider Palmetto State Armory (PSA) as a source. Click on the following links for the associated webstore categories for AK-related rifles, pistols and parts at PSA:

James’ Sweet M92 SBR WIth Our Handguards

I think James’ M92 SBR looks pretty wicked!! That’s our handguard set on the front. It looks great James!


If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


Why Does the Color of Grips and Handguards From Ronin’s Grips Fade And What To Do About It?

I’ve had guys ask why the color of my grips or handguards seem to fade with time. The short answer is that it has to do with the liquid wax finish oxidizing and not the plastic – the color is actually in the plastic. You see, we sand every grip and handguard to get rid of mold imperfections and then we blast each with abrasive media (currently it’s Black Beauty or Black Magic depending in the store I go to) and that turns the plastic almost white as you can see in the photo above. We blast the surface to create a very sure grip when you grab hold – your hand doesn’t slide easily. The polished finish we used to do resulted in a surface that is slick when wet due to sweat, water, blood, etc.

So, the blasting abrades the surface and messes up the colors being reflected back to your eyes. To solve this problem, I tried a ton of different oils and waxes and the best was Atsko Sno-Seal. It really brought out the color and it did not fade – or at least I never saw it fade. The problem is that Sno-Seal is a paste wax and I have carpal tunnel. Rubbing it into grips and handguards every day over and over was killing by wrists so I had to stop it.

This pushed me back to the drawing board and this time I looked at liquid waxes. Some of them really smelled as the liquids evaporated and the best option I could find find was the various butcher’s block finishes that combine mineral oil and a wax – often a bee’s wax. This stuff goes on like a dream but does fade with time. There’s nothing wrong with the color – it’s just the finish oxidizing and drying out.

What to do about the fading?

As mentioned above, the finish I apply will fade. The good news is that the owner with a number of options and I’ll shorten it down to the four I recommend:

  1. Buy Sno-Seal and apply it. This stuff is awesome for boots and I actually had it for my boots when I tested it. It’s my #1 recommendation and what I do for furniture I make for myself.
  2. Shoe polish holds up really well and you can nudge the colors/hues one direction or another depending on the color of the wax. This goes on pretty easy and seems to last. Just buff it well so you don’t get any color on your hand. I’ve had very good luck with Kiwi products.
  3. Any fine wax for boots, leather, wood or preservation ought to work. Just follow the directions. Absolutely do not use super thick floor wax or it will be a disaster as one customer found out.
  4. Put another coat of butcher’s block conditioner on it. Easy to apply but it will not last.
Atsko Sno-Seal is my #1 choice. Kiwi shoe polish works great. Howard’s Butcher Block Conditioner is what I use in production and is also what fades with time.

How to Apply Sno-Seal

My first recommendation to customers is always Sno-Seal. It takes just a little it to polish a grip or handguard plus you can use it to waterproof your boots.

I did this corner at room temperature and you can tell it takes a bit more effort to rub it in and buff it off.

You can either warm it up on your hand and then rub it in or you can use a heat source to warm up the grip or handguard just a bit – meaning warm to the touch not hot – and it goes on even easier. When I did the M72 hanguard set shown, for example, it was warm after about a minute and 20 seconds in our microwave. You rub the wax in and buff it off – done.

Hello Mr. Microwave! You can optionally warm your piece of furniture up with a microwave, oven turned on at 150F or less, hair dryer, etc. You want it to be warm, not hot. If you can’t pick it up, it’s way too hot. The plastic will not begin to deflect until around 250F and there’s no way you can pick that up hence the rule of thumb. [Click here if you want to read about a heat test we did]
So here’s the finished handguard set after I buffed off the remaining wax.

Again, if you ask me what I do for my own grips and handguards, it’s Sno-Seal and I rarely use extra heat – usually just I just warm it up with my hands and rub it in. Sno-Seal lasts the best of anything I have found.

I hope this helps you out.


If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


Photos of Rick’s Polish AKM-Beryl Transitional Rifle

Rick sent me these cool photos of his new build and I had to share them. He also gave me some details as well.

The rifle has a “Polish FB Radom barrel, trunion, and optic rail. Childers polish cg1 receiver. To stay with the polish theme, I found an unissued polish soviet era laminate stock. I was originally going to use a bakelite grip. But, since this is a hard use rifle. I wanted something more robust. But correct for the polish theme. Your grip delivered and then some. So here are some pictures of my polish AKM-Beryl transitional rifle. At least I call it that for lack of a better term. “

Yes sir Rick – that is definitely one slick build!


If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


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.

Click here to go to the Palmetto State Armory AK-V homepage. This is a great place to see all the models and accessories that they are now offering.

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.
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. I really think PSA did a great job with the design and build and heartily recommend the AK-V.

Click on any of the thumbnails below to open the full size photo and enter the slide show:

PSA AK Webstore Links

Interested in an American made AK? Consider Palmetto State Armory (PSA) as a source. Click on the following links for the associated webstore categories for AK-related rifles, pistols and parts at PSA:


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


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 share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


PSA AK Webstore Links

Interested in an American made AK? Consider Palmetto State Armory (PSA) as a source. Click on the following links for the associated webstore categories for AK-related rifles, pistols and parts at PSA: