In this wonderful day and age where technology is rapidly advancing, sometimes things get left behind. I have found this especially true in regards to the firearms industry. You want parts for a glock or an AR 15? Buckle your seat-belts because you would be absolutely blown away by the countless hours of scrolling you could do to modify your precious pieces. There are, however, some platforms that are somewhat behind the times. For me it was the AK platform that was the “child left behind”. Extremely short lengths of pull, difficulty mounting modern lights and optics, strange charging operation that requires nothing short of a degree in contortion-ism to accomplish, and that wretched spike grip suitable only to the hands of leprechauns and small children. I found myself wondering if there was a way to bring the AK into the current decade, and I decided that I was going to see if I had the testicular fortitude to take on the task of creating my “perfect” AK.
All projects have to start somewhere, and the base of my project was a bare bones Arsenal 107FR. I acquired the rifle after consulting the inter-webs and several friends who fancy themselves AK connoisseurs. The Arsenal SLR107 is a standard stamped receiver that I was assured would offer great ability to accept customization. After a trip to my local shop I was off to the races. In the attempt to insure that I made the right choice in my base rifle, I began to learn the AK platform. I spent several days on the range, and about 1000 rounds later, I had decided that there were things that I wanted to address.
I found that I was less than impressed with the length of pull and the lack of adjustment therein. I found the stock to be very short and it made me feel extremely cramped behind the rifle. While I had decided that I was going to replace it, I also looked into the option of a folding stock. Being that the AK does not require the use of a buffer tube, it would be nice to be able to have the rifle be utilized while folded, in addition to taking up less room in my gun case or underneath the seat in my truck. While shopping for an item that would fit the bill, I ran across an option that satisfied both my desire to adjust the length of pull and the folding capability. I chose to go with the Magpul Zhukov stock in OD Green. When I purchased the Zhukov, I found it to be an exceptionally easy install and a vast improvement to the original offering.
The next item that I chose really handled two issues with one piece. The main issue was that I had no way to solidly mount an optic. AK iron sights don’t really do it for me. They impede the sight picture with a severely closed-in front sight post, and to me this hampered the rifles capability in a major fashion. With the litany of extremely exceptional optic systems available to us today, I found it unacceptable that the mount on the AK platform was sub-par. What I settled on was a Zenitco B30 and B31 combo. I decided to pair this with a Holosun 403C in a low mount. To be fair, I got this in a trade which involved my old arsenal furniture, but it solved more than a few problems for me. I liked it because this rail is an absolute tank, and I found it to be extremely stable when installed on the rifle. I also liked that it was easy to service the rifle just by undoing two screws and lifting the top rail. If you can find one, I would definitely recommend the B30 rail system, as it greatly increases the capability of the rifle by allowing not only the ability to mount an optic, but a vertical grip as well.
The next thing that I set out to tackle was the grip. The grip is one of the pivotal connections between your body and the rifle. I found the factory offering to be extremely lacking. In my mind’s eye, the standard AK grip closely resembled a tent stake. I admittedly have large hands and the factory grip had to go. I settled on yet another Magpul offering in the MOE AK+ grip. This is totally an AR knockoff grip that I really like. The rubberized coating gives great grip, and I find it to be very comfortable for people of the man-sized hands persuasion.
The last area that I found needing improvement was on the very front end of the rifle. As an AR shooter primarily, I found the recoil impulse of the AK unpleasant. The rifle was equipped with a slant muzzle brake originally, and I found that it did too good of a job. I say this meaning that when I was shooting the rifle it was actually driving the muzzle end of the rifle down. This is usually a good thing, but in this case too much of a good thing was actually uncomfortable. It created a fulcrum effect which in essence drove the stock into my cheek bone. I swapped it out for a Strike Industries J Comp. This addition made the recoil more linear in nature, and while it is absolutely obnoxious for the people around you, who needs fillings right?
The end result is a rifle that I find to be an absolute joy to shoot. It is surprisingly accurate at formidable distance, and honestly it surpassed my expectations. For those of you that are of the opinion that the AK platform isn’t capable of accuracy, think again. I can confirm wholeheartedly that technology can be successfully applied to the AK platform, and if you’re thinking of trying it yourself, I would strongly encourage you to try.