When taking into account features like reliability, versatility, volume, etc. The first name that resonates in our minds is AK-47. It is a well-known rifle around the globe, thanks to the stunning functionalities.
It might sound hard to believe but this rifle has been around for over 7 decades. Now, that is a long time span yet the popularity is still consistent.
Over time we have seen so many variations of the Ak-47. The market seems flooded with so many types of AK-47. It is pretty common for people to feel confused. But we are here to help you out of the dilemma.
Today, we are here with a detailed review of Ak-47. You will be able to get answers to all your questions.
From its origin to the upgrades and pros/cons. We have jotted down all the crucial aspects that might be in your mind.
So let’s get started!
Brief AK-47 History:
Designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov, it stands for Avtomat Kalashnikov 1947. During the Cold War, this was a major assault rifle of Eastern Bloc countries.
Even though there is a whole range of variants but the best AK-47 is the AKM. A report in 2004 said that out of 500 million guns, 100 million rifles belong to the Kalashnikov family.
The design of this rifle supports an automatic firing system. Originally it was the Soviet Union army who adopted the AK-47 in 1949.
But it took a decade of development for this to come out. The first invention was from the Soviet Union in 1943 with .308 cartridge.
But here’s the kicker!
There was a contest launched in 1945 via the USSR. It was the contest that led to the development of Kalashnikov as a new assault rifle. Mikhail along with his design team created the AK-47 we have today. In fact, he receives the Order of the Red Star and the Stalin Prize for this.
Since the formal launch of AK-47 in 1947, there has been a wide range of upgrades. Yet the best was AK-47 that remained in wide use over the globe.
Worldwide availability, low production cost, and ease of use. These are the major reasons for its immense usage in adverse conditions.
In over 100 countries, around 100 million Kalashnikov rifles are under military use. Apart from the military Special Forces also use these rifles amply.
Want to know the best part?
The production of AK-47 is licensed by Russia to over 30 countries. A few to name are Egypt, Nigeria, Israel, India, and China. In fact, China cloned the Ak-47 in 1956 and created the Type 56 model.
AK to AKS:
The original manufacturing of AK-47 consisted of 2 basic designs. One with a folding metal stock and the other with wooden stock. In 1959, the USSR replaced the AK-47 with the AKS.
With this new version came longer-range sights yet cheap mass-production parts. These parts consist of a forward grip, plywood butt-stock, and stamped sheet metal receiver.
Yet a general debate that pertained over the years is a reduction in the quality. Even though AK-47 has borrowed various design elements from other small arms. But still, it constantly served as a basis for the development of various other weapons.
Even though there are over 75 million of these rifles out there. This fully-auto, piston-driven, medium recoil rifle covers several guns in the world.
Better than an M16?
Many of us may not know but there are a few historical notes to this. American soldiers sometimes hurled their standard-issue M16 aside. It was during the Vietnam War that they exchanged the M16 with reliable AK-47 of the enemies.
But here’s the kicker!
The ubiquity of the Ak-47 is well-known around the globe. Even on the flags like Mozambique and coins like New Zealand and Russia. Moreover, you can witness the pictorial representation of this rifle on the arms. East Timor, Zimbabwe, and Burkina Faso have it on their coats of arms.
Apart from this, a monument constructed by Egypt showcases a barrel and bayonet of the AK-47. In fact, it’s proclaimed as the best and most important invention of the 20th century. The popularity margin even surpasses that of space flight and the atomic bomb.
Best AK-47 Reviewed:
Even though there are various options, we have picked out the best of all. Below are a few of the options that you must check out for quality, price, and reliability.
1- Soft Air Kalashnikov AK47
Here we have our first product on the list. Made with high-quality material, this Soft Air Kalashnikov AK-47 is a must-have. If you want to get your hands on a reliable and durable product. Nothing else can be a better choice than this.
Coming with an electric-powered full metal body. It offers around 390 to 430 FPS with .20g ammo. With a 1600mAH, 8.4v small stick-like battery.
It only gets better!
Moreover, it can shoot full and semi-automatic with 6mm ammo. To enhance the ergonomics it has a front rail system for prudent accessories.
It has adjustable rear and front sights, strategic vertical grip, and side-folding stock. The design is a full metal construction for a most realistic feel.
The magazine can hold up to 400 rounds and is compatible with various options. A few are Tokyo Marui, Matrix, G&P, and AK Series Airsoft AEG Magazines.
2- Arsenal SLR
Arsenal is the name that comes into our minds when thinking of AKs. Though there are hundreds of options available in the market. Yet Arsenal SLR is the best of all either it is price or quality.
Now, there are 2 variants that you can choose from, the standard 36.9″ model and the 34.5″ model. The first one resembles the typical AK-47 model and is easy to get your hands on.
Whereas the latter is a shortened model with a shorter handguard and gas tube. The barrel can be also shortened but that requires a legal process.
Made of high-grade polymer the grip, forend, and stock are lighter and easy to carry. Whereas traditional ones have wood used in production and were heavier.
For ease of storing it away, the stock folds up and the barrel is chrome-lined. These features make it a portable rifle and take less storage space.
Though the rifle comes with a stamped receiver. But the lifespan is shorter compared to the milled receiver. Still, it offers up to 100,000 rounds of capacity. In simple terms, 100,000 is far more than enough for a lifespan.
Apart from this, compared to the old models, the new version is an improved SLR. It offers not only accurate rear-sights up to 500 meters.
But also have a smooth 2-stage trigger system. Then there is an anti-slap mechanism in the trigger. All these features make the SLR far more accurate.
What’s the bottom line?
The only setback you may face is that the rifle is not optics-ready. Instead, you need to convert it into one with a few sights options. For the conversion, you can swap out one of the handrails’ polymer handles.
Then it doesn’t offer a muzzle device but again, you can add if required. Put in the elbow grease for this purpose.
3- Century International Arms Red Army RAS47
Century Arms is a well-known and well-established name throughout America. Especially known to produce AK-47, the products are not only of high-quality. But also tops the market with reliability and affordable range. In short, Century Arms never failed to provide and ensure customer satisfaction.
This here is the Red Army RAS47, a standard line AK. It is a great gun and either you are a nob or a pro. The classic, reliable gun will offer you a great experience.
The design comprises of the traditional aspects and that add on to the weight. Its frontend and stock are both made from wood. But the grip is polymer-based so you can hold it with ease and the weight reduces. This one is a perfect mix of wooden and polymer parts to balance out the stunning look.
Compared to the previous generation of this gun, the current has improved a lot. Thus it became easier for users to handle it now. For instance, the sights got improved and no is adjustable up to 300 meters.
Apart from this, it now has a bolt hold-open notch and safety selector. These make the bolt lock back easier and for faster reload there is a t-shaped magazine release.
Next, comes the trigger which again has a lot of improvements. It enhances smoother shooting and boosts the level of accuracy. Any rifle has 1 important part; the barrel.
With this Century AK, the barrel comes in a chrome steel lining to increase accuracy. Also, the lining ensures the rifle stick by your side for a longer duration.
This is crazy: The barrel comes with a slant cut compensator. Hence if you want to go for a different muzzle, well now you can. All you need to do is remove the cap and thread the barrel for customization.
What’s the bottom line?
The only problem you might face is that the rifle is neither optics-ready nor we can be fitted with any. In short, customization can be a real problem with this rifle.
Apart from that, it is a sturdy piece with tough construction. This solid rifle can last longer and even with little expertise perform quite well.
For beginners, this is more like an entry-level AK-47 at an affordable price. Once you gain enough experience, you can opt for high-end ones.
4- Czech Small Arms VZ.58
This is here is one of the best AKs that you can ever your hands on. From quality to premium-grade manufacturing, it beats the rest.
Even though this is not technically an AK-47. Instead, VZ.58 is a Czech offshoot that’s built pretty much like an AK-47.
Ye the performance, looks, operating abilities it is all the same as any actual AK-47. Due to the quality standards it follows, it has to be on this list.
First, let’s talk about the milled receiver that is sturdy enough to last an eternity. Its whole construction speaks of utter perfection and high caliber.
Next, it comes with a smooth and quick thumb-operated safety switch. With this spec, you can reload in minimal time as the locks automatically open when the mag is empty.
It only gets better!
Coming towards the top-notch fittings made with a blend of wood and polymer. Now, due to this blend not only you get to enjoy that classy wooden look. But also the stock and frontend won’t weigh a ton like traditional ones. Even though a few people didn’t really approve of the blend. But it is only a matter of choice and preferences.
Moreover, the rifle comes with a chrome-lined as well as a nitrate-coated barrel. Both of these materials offer complete resistance to corrosion.
In fact, this rifle is far more accurate compared to standard American AKs. To boost this accuracy, the next feature we have is the trigger.
Apart from all the big plus points, even this rifle also has a few lackings. The first issue on the list is sight, even this gun also fails like other AKs. Even though you can compare it to the standard 300-yard AK-47 sights. Such sights are often found in the Century Arms Red Army (mentioned-above).
Yet you can mount the sight with optics and that would pretty much do the job. For muzzle installation, the barrel is also threaded. But with a little word done and customization, these flaws would be all gone.
5- I.O. Inc. AKM-247C
This last one on the list is nothing like what we mentioned at the start. Those were the basic babies but this here is a top-notch rifle; I.O. Inc. gun.
The name might be weird but the qualities and features something you will love. I.O. Inc. is a name known to produce premium-grade military-specific rifles. The specs on this rifle bring amazing quality to recreational shooting.
Not only the price range is moderate but also this particular version is a step ahead of others.
If you compare this AK with the other ones in the market, even based on looks. You will witness differences especially compared to old styles.
To enhance the easy handling and portability, it comes with all-polymer furnishes. Hence the design is light, compact, and far more reliable.
Furthermore, unlike other rifles, made from stamped steel it has a foldable wire stock. The result is even more drop-down of the weight and a lighter rifle.
Simply fold this stock and voila! You are good to go, carry it anywhere with you. The total weight is even less than 7 pounds, so it is the best portable rifle.
It only gets better!
To make reloading easier and faster, the magazine release is extended. But out of all the best feature is the accuracy level it offers.
The nitride treated barrel, sharp and improved trigger, makes it an accurate rifle. You can even adjust the sight for up to 1000 yards.
Yet the only lacking is the quality that concerns many of us. In fact, some users also complained about issues with the rivets. It was hard to install the lower and upper receivers. This problem is actually fixable so you can skip it easily.
Apart from this, recoil is another issue that concerns many. Keeping aside the large gas pot, the recoil is way too stronger compared to normal AK-47s. So you might have to take a mental note beforehand to be well-prepared.
In the end, you can’t find another rifle with mil-spec. The target features are high portability and lightweight. If these are the traits in any rifle, it would be an ideal option to use.
Best AK-47 Pistols:
Here we have jotted down a few AK-47 Pistols. Let’s take a quick look at these.
1- SLR Semi-Automatic Pistol
This Arsenal pistol comes with a stabilizing brace. Its design supports a short gas system, has a stamped receiver, and 5.56 NATO caliber. Then it also offers a gas block/front sight block combination.
To reduce the recoil there is a new sort of muzzle brake/compensator. With SB15 pistol stabilizing brace, chrome-lined hammer-forged barrel.
Also, there are 5 round and 20 round magazines, one each. The kit comprises of oil bottle, sling, and a cleaning kit.
2- SAM7K Semi-Automatic Pistol
This is a Bulgarian made pistol; SAM7K, 7.26x39mm caliber pistol. With high-grade features and authenticity, it can last for ages. The manufacturing includes milled receiver from a hot-die hammer forged receiver blank.
It is this unique method that makes it finer-grained and strong steel. Then the 5-ton hammer forging removes any internal voids and cooling deformations.
Apart from that its specs include a short gas system, black polymer fitting, peep rear sight. A 10/12 inch hammer forged chrome lined barrel, front sight block/gas block combination.
The kit also has a scope rail, sling, one 5 round magazine, oil bottle, and cleaning kit.
3- Century Arms PAP M92 PV 7.62×39 – Zastava
Made in Serbia by the Zastava factory. With a 19.3″ long length it has a dual aperture Krinkov-style rear sight. Then it has a chrome-plated gas piston and bolts hold-open notch on the selector.
High-grade steel alloy is used for the 10″ cold hammer-forged barrel and bolt. The barrel comes with a stamped receiver chambered in 7.62×39 and has a 1:10″ twist.
Also, it has a 26×1.5 LH thread with a thread protector and a 30 round magazine. The Krinkov style hinged top cover makes it easier to disassemble/assemble.
4- A. Cugir Draco AK-47 Pistol
Next is Draco’s semi-automatic pistol that comes with a detachable magazine. It has a capacity of 30+1 and is designed especially for sporting use.
The design is a clear inspiration taken from the AK-47 rifle. But the other features like unlocking raceway, trigger, and double locking lungs. These are clearly acquired from the American M1 Garand Rifle.
Even the safety lever is somewhat close to the Remington Model 8 rifle designed by John Browning. All these features and designs make it a reliable, durable, and compact option.
Made with hard chrome-lined the barrel is 12.25 inches in size. Then it has standard AKM sights, a detachable magazine, and a 7.62x39mm caliber.
Best AK-47 Buyer’s Guide:
We understand that it can be a tough choice to pick out the best AK-47. There are so many variations that any person can feel completely lost.
While making a choice on which AK model to buy, there are many important factors involved. For instance, stock, sight, trigger, etc. are a few to name.
So we have listed down the most important guidelines that you need to keep in mind. Above them, all is the milled or stamped debate. Let’s take a look at these!
Is it Comfortable to Shoot?
What would be the point of buying an item if it is not comfy to use. Let alone the item is a rifle that doesn’t offer ergonomics, then it would be a waste of money.
For those who may not know but AK-47 is not a comfortable rifle. Despite this fact, it serves as a reliable war-fighting range machine. Especially during the war, one can rely on its precision and accuracy.
But the list doesn’t actually end here as there are many other factors to consider. Safety release and magazine are among the top of the list.
Why Are AKs Awesome:
There was a mindset Kalashnikov had behind building AK. It was to allow easy maintenance, mass production, and operation. This may sound pretty cool but in fact, is true.
If we compare AR-15 to AK-47, the latter is easier to use and get trained with. Then another factor making Ak-47 the best is its reliability. Due to the simple mechanism, Ak-47 gained more popularity.
The use of long-stroke piston design brings sheer simplicity while using it. Also, the use of gas to move the bolt carrier and piston from the round contributes.
Want to know the best part?
Unlike ARs the gas keeps things running cleaner and doesn’t contact many parts. Also, the internal structure and design are large enough to avoid any breakage of small parts.
Then comes the ammo, with a larger caliber bullet like 7.62x39mm. It packs a much bigger wallop if compared to AR-15’s ammo. In short, the AK-47 may not offer much upgrading. Yet it is still a pretty awesome and popular rifle.
Accessories and Upgrades for AK-47:
The market has various upgrades and accessories to offer for the AK-47.
For instance, a scope, red dot sights, muzzle brakes, chest rigs, etc. A few of these are below listed for you to check out:
Hi-Lux Optics CMR Series:
If you want to get the best scope for your AK-47 then Hi-Lux Optics has the perfect product for you. Coming with a zero locking system and MOA turret adjustments.
It has a solid 1 piece tube construction of 30mm. Also, it offers magnification up to 1-4x and has tactical/hunting True 1x scope. The large diameter of the ocular lens allows fast focusing.
Apart from that, these lenses are not only multi-coated. But also resistant to shock, moisture, and fog with a clear view. The design also supports a 1/2 MOA scale with a special ranging green reticle.
- Durable and sturdy
- Clear vision
EOTECH XPS2 Holographic Weapon Sight:
This product is one of the easier to set up and get used to. So those who need a simpler red sight can opt for this one.
From a compact design that offers extra rail space for the magnifier. It is highly compatible with MIL-STD 1913 rails and a 1″ weaver.
Next, it supports 1 MOA dot reticle and 68MOA ring. Due to holographic weapon sight in black, it can’t be seen in the dark. EOTECH always works to entertain clients with stunning products.
So this site has up to 20 brightness settings to offer versatility in use. Hence you can use the red sight in various lighting scenarios without any trouble.
- Extra space
- Easy to carry
Chinese Military Surplus AK47 Chest Pouch Rig:
It is important to have a chest rig along with the AK-47. So we have the perfect solution with a best-selling item on the market. This Chinese military surplus is a real treat.
The design is specially made to adjust with an AK-47. So the material used is not only durable but light to carry on. Then there are 3 magazine pouches in a single stack.
To hold loose ammo or another such item, there are other 4 pouches. The manufacturing focuses on comfort and ergonomics so one can feel easy in it.
- Lightweight material
- Single stack mag pouches
FIRE CLUB Tactical CNC Scope Mount:
This scope mount will complete your AK-47 accessories. Made with a top-quality hard coat anodized 6061 aluminum melonite coated steel.
The structure and design give it extra strength and make it a durable product. With a rail length of 6.75,” you can mount various optics.
Moreover, it features an auto-lock system to support AK receiver rail interfaces. Then the zero locking and hard coat make it prone to external damages.
- Great quality
- Easy setup
- Reliable and durable
- Sits a bit higher
Here are the things or pros that make the best Ak-47 rifle.
- These rifles are simpler and friendly to use. With the low-maintenance and facile operation. Reliability and repeatability are like cherries on the top.
- A .308 round can spin out at 700 meters per second out of the muzzle. The automatic, as well as a semi-automatic rifle, use a piston to operate.
- Also, it has a gar-return powdered tube capable of cycling 600 rounds per minute. So the result you get is medium recoils.
- The loose-fitting parts of AK-47 unlike the other rifles make it quite popular. Other designs come with tight machining tolerances that can be a pain. Especially in rough conditions, an AK-47 can be a reliable option.
- Due to the simple mechanism you never have to worry about a jammed gun. Even if you are low-key lazy, these features are actually your savior.
- You never have to worry about the unavailability of its parts. Thanks to cheap, mass-production the parts are available in 20+ countries.
- If you take an account of the above point, some people consider it a major setback. But it is actually a brownie point as you never have to worry if a war breaks out.
- The best AK-47 offers are anti-corrosive, chrome lines ammunition barrels. Alongside, trigger springs, double-roped hammer, and durability for ages.
It is impossible to manufacture a product with sheer perfection. No matter how hard one tries, there can be a few lacking and setbacks. The same is the case with AK-47 and here are its cons:
- The first major issue with AK-47 is the accuracy that any user would want. You can go for as far as only 300 meters to utter accuracy.
- This range is not ideal for competitive shooters and is moderate enough for the battlefield.
- It can be a pain to import or export AKs between certain borders. For instance, in the U.S the parts kits can easily cost you around $200 or so.
- Mass-produce of the AKs often leads to being a pain. For instance, it can be almost impossible to get a cheaper AK in the U.S.
- It can be tough to get a genuine piece and other countries simply have cheap qualities with higher rates.