Tag Archives: AK-47

What Are Good Commercial AKs You Can Buy In The USA?

If you ever want to start an argument on the Internet, ask what is the best AK brand you can buy in the US or at least ask what is good a good brand. You’ll get a ton of opinions, hear say and even a few people with real experience will chime in.

Paul Popov is the admin of the AK-47 Group on Facebook and an avid AK hobbyist and industry tracker. He also runs a website called the Kalash Connection where he maintain information about AKs.

The other day he sat down and took the time to create what I will refer to as “Paul’s List” to try and answer that question above:


Current 12-12-20
Question one: What new Ak do I buy?
Current new production mass market AKs that are proven and a safe bet.
Alphabetically
· Arsenal,
· Century imported WASR or Draco
· IWI Galil ACE,
· K-USA KP9p/r,
· M&M Cugir AKs,
· Palmetto State Armory GF3 – up, GF4, 103, AKv, 74 (the only 74 in new prod),
· Riley Defense is hammer forged where it counts, should be ok? (test is not completed, ammo is expensive currently for just putting rounds through one for testing)
· WBP Poland. Still pretty new, hard to say on this one. Maybe ok
· Zastava should be ok, the ones Century imported were hit and miss. New ones have chrome lined barrels (yay and about time) and lets hope better metallurgy than Century imports.
o Atlantic firearms often have decent kit builds to purchase, but are not mfg. new AKs. So do many kit builders, we have a list in announcements along with a list of where you can buy kits from.
o Please let me know if I forgot any.


·Question two: What are good used AKs to buy?
This is a great list Darryn Eugene compiled.
AK variant buyers guide (models and variants G2G)
7.62×39 AKm/47 Variants
· Mitchell Arms Imports, M-90/m-70
· Mitchell Arms Imports, M-72
· Zastava M-92 (inspect due to varying QC)
· Zastava NPAP/OPAP (inspect due to varying QC)
· Cugir/Romarm/Century AES-10B not to be confused with AES-10 (basically a long barreled wasr)
· Cugir/Romarm/Century Sar-1
· Cugir/Romarm/Century Cur-1
· Cugir/Romarm/Century Wum-1 (check for “moon cuts” meaning a dish shaped portion cut out of the rear of the receiver to dissuade the use military stocks.
· Cugir/Romarm/Century WASR-10 variants (only upon inspection)
· Cugir/Romarm/INTRAC Romak-1
· Cugir/Romarm/INTRAC Romak-991 (dimple-less single stack pre WASR import.
· FEG/Hungary/KBI/Kassnar Sa-85 variants post and pre ban.
· FEG/Hungary/TGI Amd-65 builds (not to be confused with Clearview Investments builds)
· Valmet, Literally any of them they’re all excellent.
· Arsenal of Bulgaria/Las Vegas/Legion SLR 107 variants, SAM-7 Variants, SLR 101 Variants, SGL-21 Variants
· BlueRidge/GordonTech/INTRAC SLR100h builds (Hungarian Type3 AK-55 kits on Bulgarian Receivers)
· Norinco/Polytech AK47S series.
· Norinco/Polytech MAK90 series milled and stamped models. (on stamped models identify whether it is slant cut or straight when figuring your price to pay.
· Norinco/Polyech NHM-91
· Norinco/Polytech MAK-91 (20-inch barrel milled receiver rifle, neutered Polyech legend national match).
· Norinco/Polytech Hunters. (great for galil/valmet conversion)
· GSAD/Kengs/Siles Type 56, AK47S
· Molot Vepr 1&2 models (model 2’s being the integrated front sight gas block set up)
· Robinson Arms Molot Vepr Conversions
· IWI Galil Ace series.
· Izhmash Saiga series.
· Intrac Maadi ARM
· Century Maadi MISR SA (avoid MISR 90)
· Intrac Maadi RPM, RML
· Steyr Maadi
5.45×39 AK-74 Variants
· Cugir/Romarm/Century SAR-2
· Cugir/Romarm/INTRAC MK-2
· Cugir/Romarm/Ratmil WUM-2
· Cugir/Romarm/Ratmil CUR-2
· 1st Gen Waffen Werks (identified by Nodak Spud receivers and Bulgarian barrels)
· Arsenal of Bulgaria/Las Vegas SLR 105-104 variants
· Arsenal of Bulgaria/Las Vegas/Legion FIME SGL 31 variants.
· Marcolmar/InRange Ak-74/AKS-74
· Molot Vepr 1&2 Series
· Robinson Arms Molot Vepr Conversions
· Interams Tantal
· Izhmash Saiga Variants
AK-101/5.56 Ak variants
· Romarm/Cugir/Century SAR-3
· Royal Tiger/FB Radom/ Beryl Archer
· Arsenal Of Bulgaria/ Las Vegas SLR 106 series ( research serial number prefixes to identify potential problemed models)
· Izhmash Saiga Variants
· Norinco/Polyech 84S
· Norinco/Polytech NHM-90
· Norinco/Polytech BWK-92
· Zastava/Century M85 (cannot verify quality of m85NP series)
· Mitchell Arms M-90
· Arsenal USA (not to be confused with KVAR) K100 model. (Bulgarian milled receiver assembled with Bulgarian 5.56 barrel on 74 parts.
· Arsenal Of Bulgaria SAM-5
· IMI/IWI Galil and Galil ACE variants
· TENN Galil builds.
· Valmet M72/65 variants.
· Valmet Bullpup. M82? Can’t recall model during time of this list. And yes i know i could use google. Don’t judge me…


So for all you folks new to AKs, take a look a the above. The last AK I bought was an IWI Galil Ace and they are superb.

Also, be sure to check out Paul’s site at: https://thekalashconnection.com

I hope this helps!


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:

Simplify The Installation of AK Triggers With Our Slave Pin

The typical semi-auto AK trigger has four parts – the trigger body, disconnector, disconnector spring and pin. Installing it can be a challenge because you need to properly align the disconnector while sliding the pin through from one side of the receiver to another. For me, with big hands, this task takes more effort than I want.

This is your typical semi-automatic AK trigger group. On the left is the trigger body, top right is the disconnector, under the disconnector is its spring and at the bottom right is the trigger pin. The challenge is getting this all assembled inside of the AK receiver as the pin needs to pass from one side of the receiver, through one side of the trigger, through the disconnector to capture it, out the other side of the trigger and finally out the other side of the receiver. Trying to get it all to align inside of the trigger takes some patience.

The Solution – Use A Slave Pin

There is an easier approach. We can slide a properly sized dowel pin to serve as a “slave pin” during assembly to secure and properly align the disconnector and trigger outside of the receiver. This simplifies life tremendously. The unit is assembled outside where you can see what is going on, is lowered into the receiver and then the actual trigger pin is pushed through and it displaces the slave pin – the slave just exits the other side of the receiver.

This is the slave pin. Note how one side is beveled more than the other. That is the side that is inserted first. The bevel helps move things around during insertion and then the 5mm body provides the actual alignment for the trigger pin.
This is the assembled trigger group with the slave pin holding it all together.
Normally this would be in the receiver but I want you to see what is going on. As the trigger pin is inserted, it pushes the slave pin out of the way and it exits via the opposite receiver hole.
This photo shows how when the trigger pin is fully inserted, the slave simply drops out.
This is an ALG semi-auto trigger and you can see how slave pin is exiting the receiver as the trigger pin is installed.
So there’s the end result. A slave pin makes a world of difference. Note, that is one if our fire control group plates retaining the trigger and hammer pins.

Click here to order one of our AK Trigger Slave Pins

Click here if you are interested in one of our Fire Control Group Retainer Plates

In Conclusion

If you’re like me and want an easier way to install AK triggers, these new slave pins are the way to go!


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.


Video: What is the Best Way to Reload an AK? Kalashnikov Media Answers a Hot Question

You know, it’s interesting how people will argue over stuff on the Internet. Give them a picture of a stick and they will argue about it! Now, turn the topic to AK rifles and debating what is the right or wrong way to do something, things get colorful fast and a lot of energy is wasted over trivial points.

In this video, Vladimir Onokoy, who always does a great job, goes over different reloading approaches. Now most folks do not know Vladimir but I will tell you he is the real deal with considerable Russian military experience and armorer-level experience with the AK platform. In short, I would recommend you listen real close to what he says plus bear in mind that this is a Kalashnikov Media video and they know their stuff as well 🙂

Watch the Video

Normally I give some screen shots and make some color commentary but this video is only 3:05 seconds and seeing is believing.


I fully agree with his conclusion – train and become proficient. They all work the question is what works best for you and only training and experience can answer that.


Please note that all images were extracted from the video and are the property of their respective owner.


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:

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:

PSA AK-E Part 3: Tear Down and More Detailed Observations

In my last post, I showed you a bunch of photos with my observations of the AK-E right out of the box. In this post, I am going to take it apart and see what I see. Like the last post, I’ll post photos with my thoughts in the captions.

I’m going to be upfront and tell you what I found in terms of flaws or things you ought to be aware of. With that said, this is the smoothest cycling AK with the best trigger out of the box without any lubrication at all that I have ever felt – my IWI Galil Ace was this way also.

So, let’s get to it…

You push in the protruding button of the recoil spring assembly to do the takedown. Note the proprietary jigsaw puzzle piece rear tang that PSA uses. It allows them to have one trunnion and the flexibility to support different types of stocks. Note the slightly bent edges of the screw’s slot. I really wish guys would use the proper sized screw driver to switch to a different type of fastener. This one’s not too bad but the inside ones are worse.
It has a basic stamped dust cover with beading to stiffen it.
Here’s the top of the dust cover. The beading definitely stiffens the cover up.
Here’s our first peek inside. Note the marking on the shoulder of the front trunnion. You have a clear view of the top of the Nickel Boron (Ni-B) coated bolt carrier and the bolt is sitting just in front of the ALG AKT hammer.
Good view of the characters on top of the trunnion. The AKE-0393 is the SN. Note the Ni-B coating is very consistent. You can see the hammer is solidly engaging the bolt and firing pin.
The recoil/operating spring is captured on a two-piece wire assembly just like other AKMs.
The wood is fit nicely. I mentioned earlier the external screw head was messed up just a bit and now you can see the internal two that have their slots messed up more. This happens from using two small of a screw driver. The assemblers need to use the proper sized driver. Note the split rear trunnion where the forward rivets are.
Close up view of the ALG EKT-EL trigger. You can tell this is the enhanced trigger vs the ultimate because the trigger does not have the Ni-B coating that the ultimate does. Note that is has the auxiliary trigger spring installed – that is the single wound spring at the top of the photo. According to ALG, it adds 10-14oz of pull over the normal AK spring by itself. Also note that the select/safety lever can sit fully on trigger without needing the optional roll pin that ALG includes with the aftermarket trigger to allow builders to accommodate different lengths of selector stop bars.
Here’s the hammer in the cocked position held by the hook. The manganese phosphate (parkerized) finish is notably smooth. If it wasn’t, there wold be a grittiness. It’s a very nice trigger. You can see the leg of the auxiliary spring pushing down on the top trigger leg in the photo – it’s the single would spring just forward of the double wound spring.

In case you are wondering, I collected a sample of 10 trigger pulls using my Lyman Digital Trigger Pull Gauge. Weights varied from 4lbs 1oz to 4lbs 12oz. The average was 4lbs 5oz. If someone wanted a lighter pull, then you could remove the auxiliary spring located on the trigger and probably be down in the 3 pound range. I like the feel of the trigger currently and am going to leave the spring in for now.

Boy it looks gorgeous from the top. I like that I can see the gas piston rivet easily – they are a bear when you have to hunt for them. The Ni-B treatment is consistent. The bolt and carrier have serial numbers that match the receiver and trunnion. For those new to the AK platform, the barrel is pressed into the trunnion to the point that the headspace is correct with the bolt that is matched to it. Once the headspace is correct, a hole is drilled and cross pin installed to lock the barrel in place. In the old days, this had to be done because loose manufacturing tolerances could not guarantee that all barrel, trunnion and bolt combinations would headspace correctly. Reliability issues would happen if parts were mixed from different rifles so this led to serializing the parts. By putting a serial number on the parts, an armorer could be sure to put the matching parts back in the correct rifle.
Here’s a view of the bottom of the bolt carrier with the bolt fully forward.
You can see the machining marks very clearly. This did surprise me – I would have expected it to be smooth but the action itself seems to not have any issues. I very carefully watched the bolt head cam travel in the carrier’s channel and it does not hang up anywhere. So, it might not look very good but it does not appear to harm functioning at all.
Here’s another view of the tool marks.
Here’s the best photo I can get with my phone. Everything clears. Time will tell how the Ni-B coating holds up. It appears to be well implemented.
First view of the bolt
Second view of the bolt body
The gas piston’s face is slightly concave.
Here’s the famous Fabrique Nationale Herstal (FN) barrel that everyone is ogling over. As I understand them, the markings mean: HF=Hammer Forged MP=Magnetic Particle tested CL=Chrome Lined 7.62×39 is the chambering and 1/9.45 is the twist rate.

Now you may be wondering, how on Earth did FN pick such an odd twist rate. In short, that is the conversion of “1 turn in 240mm” that is the Russian military spec for 7.62×39. Actually, the metric conversion of 240mm to inches gets you “9.44882” and with rounding we get 9.45. If we rewind the clock, it was also the twist rate they used in the Mosin Nagant and they wanted to save money and use the same barrel making machines. [There’s a real cool write up – click here]

The front and rear sights are just what you’d expect.
By applying the bead to the ejector tab, they stiffened the unit. It’s a nice touch that you don’t always see people address.

So, thanks to the quarantine, I can’t take it out and shoot it. My impressions overall are favorable but the proof will be at the range. I think you are getting a solid rifle for the price. Time will tell how they hold up compared to the premium AKs – Veprs and custom builds.

I hope this helps you out. In the next post I’ll write about the customizations I did to fit my tastes.


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:

PSA AK-E Part 2: Out Of The Box Observations and Photos

After researching and deciding to buy the AK-E, I ordered it and then waited about a week. The trick with any of PSA’s AKs these days is finding them in stock. Here’s my tip to you – the email notification is broadcasting the news to a ton of people and anyone may buy before you do. I’d recommend checking their site manually between 10am to 3pm Eastern. Just leave your browser open on the page and hit refresh when you can – say every half hour or hour. It took me a week or two but that’s how I was able to get both my AK-V and AK-E. This approach works for any of their hard-to-find because everyone is buying them AK-series weapons. Click on the below to go straight to the PSA page in a new tab:

For me, it’s really interesting how PSA has jumped with both feet onto the AK bandwagon and are offering different grades and styles to appeal to different levels of shooters.

Getting back to the AK-3, I only waited about a week and Scott Igert, my good friend who owns Michigan Gun Exchange, called me up when the AK-E arrived and I went and got it.

Opening The Box

For this post I took a bunch of pictures to share first impressions and will put them in the captions of each photo.

It’s a good looking rifle. The red furniture is brighter than I care for but I bought the rifle with the knowledge that I literally planned to replace everything so my strategy was to get the first AK-E that I could get and move ahead from there. Note, PSA packed it well. It comes in this foam lined box and note the little buffer on the end of the charging handle to keep it from poking through the packaging.
Yeah, it’s really red! Note the AK-74 style lightening cut on the stock. The wood is really light. I’m not sure what they used but when you pull the stock, it is surprisingly light.
You can see the little orange chamber flag they include. The front sight block (FSB) is a combination unit that includes the gas block. Because it is now set back, the brake is secured with a jam nut rather than the traditional detent pin that protrudes from the FSB. The rifle ships with one Magpul 30 round magazine. PSA has been teasing they are going to sell their own line of inexpensive AK magazines and I’m going to keep an eye out for that. Magpul is now on their third generation of AK magazine based on lessons learned for reliability and feedback/desires from the AK community.
You can see the handguards have a slight hand swell. An AKM-style optics rail is ready to go. The grip is basic but functional.
I could have done without the Palmetto logo on the side but at least it is relatively small. Note the good job they did on the rivets and the magazine stabilizer dimples. The bluing is nicely done. Fitment of the handguard is good as well.

The muzzle device has two ports on each side and is secured by a jam nut. PSA reports the thread is the standard 14mm x 1mm left hand thread that one would expect on an AK. That means you can use other muzzle devices if you want. I’m going to try and the supplied brake out first before I change anything.

Here’s a closer look of the combo front sight block (FSB). It’s pinned in place and looks good. Note there are no additional vent holes in the gas tube. Some AK variants have them and some don’t – it’s just an observation
Closer view of the side mount optics rail. You can also see the ALG AKT trigger and more of the nicely done rivets. By the way, the AK-E has the best out of the box trigger I have encountered. I’ve been an ALG fan for a few years now and am happy to see PSA use them.
Here’s a closer view of the trigger, selector stop, trigger guard and the magazine catch. Note the cracked pistol grip. I contacted customer service and they offered to either send me a replacement grip with the risk of the shade of red not matching or a $30 credit back to my card. I opted for the $30 credit as I did not plan on keeping it anyways.
Here’s the selector lever. You can also see the nickel-boron (Ni-B) coated bolt carrier. Folks, the rifle arrived unlubricated but it was one of the slickest actions I have felt out of the box. My Galil Ace was that smooth and my Vepr was after I lubricated it. Point being is the Ni-B coating definitely aided lubricity as one would expect.
Definitely a good looking AK.
The manufacturer info is forward of the mag well. You can see the Ni-B coated bolt carrier and part of the bolt itself. Also note that they dimpled the ejector to reinforce it.
The pistol grip is attached via a screw with a washer.

The rear sling mount. You can see the metal butt cap wrapping around the end.

Note the FSB does not have any provision for a cleaning rod. No big deal to me. I have never actually used the supplied cleaning rod on any of my AKs. I either use a Tipton cleaning rod or a bore snake. I honest prefer bore snakes at this point.

So those are my out of the box impressions. In my next post, I’ll begin tearing down and making much more detailed comments about the internals.

I hope you found this post interesting.


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.


Video: Forgotten Weapons Reviews Soviet AK Magazines

In this short video, Ian gives a brief overview of Soviet magazines – notably the slab side, ribbed, waffle and bakelite. As always, Ian does a great job and this is worth a watch!

The first generation was a heavily built (over-built) magazine known as the “slab side”.
After the slab side, they developed the ribbed magazine that was copied by many countries.

To reduce weight they developed the aluminum waffle magazines- so named due to all the reinforcement ribs. It was relatively short-lived because it was not durable enough.
After the waffle mag, they moved to the Bakelite magazine that actually was a glass reinforced polymer. This gave them what they wanted – light weight and durability.
When the AK-74 was developed, they went straight to polymer and never developed steel mags. Note, other countries did build steel AK-74 magazines but the Soviets did not.

The Video


I hope you found that video useful. Ian is a wealth of information and you can learn more about his work at Forgotten Weapons.


Please note that all images were extracted from the video and are the property of their respective owner.


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.