A few more thoughts on that dame Fishbreath is taken with.
I got her back in New York, before I became the AR guy that I am today. I figured I should have and get familiar with an AK. So I picked out a reasonably-priced WASR from my local gun shop. I picked carefully and got lucky. Maybe mine was made on a Tuesday. Maybe the apes at Century Arms were out of vodka when they assembled mine. But they sight and gas tube aren’t canted at all, and the rifle runs great. And doesn’t look dopey. Perfect, right?
A few range trips later, and I had my answer: no. You see, I had already bought an AR, so I knew what this fancy new thing called “er-go-nom-ics” was. And the AK didn’t have it. So, like any good American with a credit card and an internet, I got to work trying to fix everything that I could that I found wrong with it.
PROBLEM: The safety.
The stock AK safety is pretty crap. It’s awkward and hard to manipulate. It has very small tabs that are hard to get a good purchase on. Plus, it’s nearly impossible to manipulate without taking your strong hand off of the fire control position. And taking your strong hand off that position is a Cardinal Sin in the Orthodox Church of Tacticool. You can’t look derpy at the range! Plus, it feels dumb.
SOLUTION: The Krebs Mk. VI safety
Fishbreath has already gushed on about this. There’s not much more to tell, it does exactly what it says it will. Now you can use your trigger finger to manipulate the safety easily and comfortably without removing it from the fire control position. Perfect! There’s also a notch for locking the bolt back administratively if you need to. You can’t use this as a last-round bolt hold open like you’d find on an AR though. That’s not moddable onto an AK.
PROBLEM: The Pistol Grip
Ugh. This thing was crap. It was tiny and uncomfortable and had no grip at all. No grip, I tell you! Maybe it was designed for Russians, wearing big gloves and who have tiny hands. I don’t know. All I know is it doesn’t work with my hands.1 It sucked.
SOLUTION: The Hogue Pistol Grip
This thing is awesome. There aren’t a ton of aftermarket grips available for the AK, but Hogue makes the best I’ve found. Comfortable and grippy.
PROBLEM: The Charging Handle
So the stock AK charging handle is a little piece of metal that curves forward a bit. It’s small, and if you grab it in a hurry you’re liable to jam your palm with it. Especially if you’re using your support hand to charge the gun like a cool kid. After a few attempts to go quick ended in pain and cursing, I had to fix it.
SOLUTION 1: Rubber Nubbin
This came in the box for my WASR. Didn’t know what it was for until I smacked my hand a couple times. Ow. It sort of helped. The charging handle didn’t hurt, but it was still damn small. And the rubber nubbin had a tendency to fall off. Eventually it started falling apart, and I looked for something better.
SOLUTION 2: Haji Cartridge-Handle
I took a spent casing and bashed it into place with the back of a magazine. Say, maybe them Ruskies had a point with these damned clunky, heavy-ass magazines. That was better! Now, I had a charging handle that was a lot easier to grab. It still fell off a lot though. And bashing it on only got me so far before it got all deformed and I had to scavenge another cartridge. Screw that. This is America, not Fallujah. I can do better.
SOLUTION 3: Tromix Charging handle
I found this bolt on jobber somewhere on the internet, and it’s just what the doctor ordered. It’s big, and knurled, so you can get a good grip, even if you’ve got gorilla hands. When I first put it on, it rattled a bunch, until I noticed they included a vial of red loctite. “Light bulb,” said I, and I slathered the tromix bit with the stuff, torqued the bolt down as hard as I could and let it sit. Perfect. No wobble.
PROBLEM: The Stock
The factory stock was some cheap laminate stuff, with lame finish. It was also wicked short. I’m not the tallest guy around, but I wanted more length of pull. At least when I’m not wearing three parkas and body armor.
SOLUTION: K-Var ‘NATO Length’ stock
Perfect! A stock for us apes. It’s polymer, adds about 1.4″ to the length of pull, was fixed so it was stupid-state compliant, and was cheap. It took a bunch of work to fit, but never say my Marine Uncle Sam2 didn’t teach me anything.
PROBLEM: The foregrip
The basic foregrip was made with more shitty Romanian laminate. And more than two mags at a good pace made you rue the day you forgot to take your gloves to the range. Again, it would also be nice if someone could add some freaking ergonomics to the front end of this stupid thing.
SOLUTION: Hogue Foregrip
Man, Hogue makes some nice grips. These have a palm swell even. And a heat shield! Yeah, just like on your M4. Because we Americans like to shoot a lot, and it’s sometimes not super cold here. Who knew? Anyway, this is so much better.
PROBLEM: The Sights
Are they intended to actually be used, or are these just for show. Seriously, they’re slow and imprecise, and the sight picture is terrible.
SOLUTION 1: White out and a file
I put some white out on the front sight, and took a triangular file to carefully open up the rear notch a bit. This actually helped quite a bit. Highly recommended if you like iron sights. You weirdo.
SOLUTION 2: Clamp-on Rail
The WASR comes with one of those russian side-clamp things. So I got a bit of rail that used the interface and put a red dot on that.
Perfect, right? No. Not at all. It’s super awkward because the Nato-length stock extends down quite a bit. Plus, my red dot had a mount on it to bring it up in line with AR-type iron sights. Super awkward. And ‘chin welds’ are retarded, so back to the drawing board I went.
SOLUTION 3: Ultimak Railed Gas Tube
This thing was a right pain to install, but it’s sturdy and gets the red dot down close to the barrel where it’s easy to pick up and still have a cheekweld. Also great if you want a convenient place to mount a light. It does get hot though, so be sure to never actually do much shooting outside of Siberia.
PROBLEM: Muzzle Device
My WASR was bought behind enemy lines. So it had a thread protector that was silver soldered on. But eventually I brought my rifle to Freedom and Real America, and I needed a muzzle device. But none of my usual suspects for AR competition brakes made anything with the right threads. Again, I hit up K-Var and found an AK-74 pattern muzzle device sized for the 7.62x39mm round. Add an adapter, and we’re good to go! It even works pretty well.
Eventually though, I found I spent more time at the range shooting my ARs, and wanted to consolidate calibers a bit. So, I sent Kat to Fishbreath as part of a wedding gift sale.
Better treat her right, Fishbreath.
1.) Fishbreath has called these “gorilla hands” on more than one occasion.
2.) No really. I’m not just super patriotic. I do have an Uncle who’s name is Sam and who served in the Marine Corps as a sniper. Great guy.