AK + RIS rails = ? This tactical equation is currently an object of hottest discussions on forums. The topic is quite extensive, because there are a lot of possibilities to modify the AK platform. What are the parties of this conflict?
If it is an AK it has to have wooden furniture. If you have different opinion – look at the first sentence of this paragraph. All the fancy polymer grips and other rail things are prohibited. Any attempt to make your rifle a little more ergonomic is faux pas, because it’s not the real nature of an AK rifle. “You’re buying an AK to make it an AR” – they say. Overall, it’s impossible to outtalk them ;). One more thing. They really like to buy the real AK wooden furniture and mount it on everything… everything!
Just like the Team Wood, they also can’t get to any consensus in this hilarious conflict. They arrange the whole surface of their AK’s with picatinny rails, even on the most unexpected places (like the stock? Why not!). They happily share their tactical monsters on forums and believe that they had achieved the highest possible ergonomics. They’re most likely to get in “discussions” with the Team Wood.
This is the group that personally I respect most, because of their meticulous work and paying high attention to the littlest details. They’re probably hated by both Team Wood and Team RIS, because reeneactors like to deflate them when there is an opportunity. You have real firearm AK wooden handguard and stock? Cool, but in ’98 they were produced in different shade of brown and were threatened with some special oil, so your gun is uncool. You like your new AK rails? Be aware that they are the western made inventions, which are not used by any Russian forces. Get them off!
Well… I’m always with the classic woods AKM by my heart, but my mind tells me to go in completely other side – the “bad”, “imperialistic” modern accessories. Let us not deceive ourselves – the AK platform is a complete opposition of any ergonomics and we have to modify it.
Let’s start with the manipulators.
The fire selector lever is placed on the right side and requires to almost put your main hand off the grip in order to change the fire mode. I recommend to replace it by upgraded version, that allows to change the fire mode with your index finger.
The magazine needs to be inserted in special angle, which requires additional focus and a little of practice. The magazine lever can be only used with your second hand, that could be easily reaching fresh magazine, instead of unplugging the empty one.
The charging handle is also placed on the right side. Because of that, quick reload requires some crazy monkey skills.
The wooden handguards are beautiful, of course. But they don’t have any real grip texture, so it’s not that easy to keep a proper shooting stance.
The rear stock plate is made of metal, which causes it to glide on gear. It is a must buy a rubber buttstock or the AR15 buffer tube with stock.
Of course you can gain skill in using stock AK for some time, but if you can improve your rifle – why not?
Personally, I own the tacticool AK104. I have few of “forbidden” accessories on it:
The complete front rail system with AFG grip – do I need to explain what possibilities it gives? However, if someone is a fan of duct-taped flashlight… 😉
The rail system dust cover – it’s a lot more comfortable for me to mount my red dot/optics on the dust cover, instead of gas tube rail. In addition – it gives a possibility to mount x4 optics or the red dot + magnifier combo.
The SAW type pistol grip – it’s thicker than the stock one. It’s just more comfortable for me.
The ambidextrous charging handle – in my opinion, it’s not that useful – it often hooks to equipment on chest, when it’s hanging on sling. I’m going to get rid of it.
I’m not really ashamed of my tacticool AK attachments – I’m using exactly what I want, and what’s most important – what is comfortable for me. With the improvements listed above, the AK platform becomes quite endurable. It’s not “kosher”, as the orthodontist AK users says, but I don’t give a single 6mm BB about it. For standard users – I totally recommend my setup. If someone likes to have some fun with Russian forces reenacting – I also suggest to not stay with the wooden furniture (if there is no real need, of course) and get some “kosher” Zenitco accessories replicas. It’s definitely a moment to move with the times – your AK rifle will get another life!
If you still don’t like idea of having an old-school AK or the modern one… why not just get both? ;).