As a discerning buyer, I needed to understand some basics. These are critical for an AK-47 buyer’s guide:
A comprehensive AK buyer’s guide simply didn’t exist, so I figured I’d write one.
In addition to the basic questions that revolve around choosing the right gun, How to Buy an AK-47 also offers ideas on customizing your AK with aftermarket parts such as stocks, folders, grips, rails, etc. Some of these suggestions come from my own product reviews but most advice is garnered from professional gunsmiths and trainers—people who design, build and operate Kalashnikov-style rifles for a living.
I had never intended to write an AK-47 buyer’s guide. Plans, however, are always subject to change. As I shopped around for an AK, I became acutely aware of how different an animal it was from other rifles. Finding good advice on this iconic weapon was hard to come by, which made the task of choosing the right one downright confusing.
Even Amazon.com didn’t help my research at all. There were some books on AKs listed, but they were either highly technical or devoted to the history of the rifle. There was no real AK-47 buyer’s guide out there. The forums were too esoteric and while there were a few websites with good data, they were few and far between.
- The differences between a $600, $1200 and a $2000 rifle.
- Which AK manufacturers offer the best bang for the buck.
- Whether to buy online or from a local dealer.
- Whether to buy new or used.
- What type of optic to buy and how to mount it.
The purpose of this little book is to provide buyers with answers to these queries and much more. In short, my objective is to de-mystify the process of purchasing an AK.
What I came to discover was that trying to assess the merchandise superficially was an exercise in futility. I found out that you need to know what’s under the hood. Unless you’re intimately familiar with the individual manufacturer and the provenance of the parts, you don’t know what you’re getting.
Whether I was inspecting rifles at a neighborhood dealer or an online auction site, it occurred to me that choosing an AK is a bit like walking through a house of mirrors. Regardless of price, to the untrained eye, they all looked the same.
Why I wrote this Buyers Guide I had never intended to write an AK-47 buyer’s guide. Plans, however, are always subject to change. As I shopped around for an AK, I became acutely aware of how
The WASR 10 is the American AK shooter’s old standby. While it no longer costs $400, this Romanian-made rifle is just about the closest thing someone can get to an AKM clone in this price range. These guns can usually be found for $600 to $650 and feature foreign-made stamped receivers and chrome-lined barrels–in the AK world, “foreign-made” receivers and barrels are generally more well-regarded than American-made examples. They can be customized with just about any furniture that is compatible with stamped guns.
“Sporter” type rifles typically fall in the $725 to $900 range, while the converted rifles with non-folding stocks are available for $999.
NPAP rifles are made in Serbia by Zastava. Their receivers and barrels are made overseas, though their barrels are not chrome-lined. NPAPs are “Yugo” pattern rifles, meaning that they are only compatible with Yugo furniture and accessories. Non-folding rifles can usually be found for around $600, while underfolders (NPAP DFs) usually fetch at least $650.
A Definitive Arms DAKM rifle with Magpul furniture.
A WASR or an NPAP will serve as a great entry-level AK to get you more acquainted with the platform or help round out a Combloc-sized hole in a collection.
Arsenal’s new SLR-107R, an affordably-priced, well-made 7.62x39mm AK.
As short-barreled rifles (SBRs) have become more popular over the past several years, so too have AK-pattern “pistols.” Many people purchase AK pistols in order to convert them into SBRs, which generally involves modifying the pistol’s rear trunnion to accept a buttstock. This can be done if you have the necessary tools and know-how, but many gunsmiths offer SBR conversion services as well. Some pistols are offered with “stabilizing braces.”
Arsenal’s SAM7 rifles differ from most of their other offerings in that they feature milled receivers. As their name implies, milled receivers are milled from a solid block of steel, as opposed to stamped and folded. Milled receivers are heavier than their stamped counterparts, and some folks claim this makes them more accurate and last longer than stamped examples.
Priced at $849, the -107R differs from other SLR-pattern rifles in two notable ways: it has a non-folding polymer stock, it lacks the AK-74-style front sight base and 24×1.5mm muzzle threading of other SLRs, and it has a muzzle nut in place of an AK-74-style brake. It does, however, have standard AKM-pattern 14x1mm threading under the muzzle nut. The rifle’s stamped receiver and barrel are both made in Bulgaria. With its fair price and desirable features, it will be hard to beat the value of an SLR-107R.
The Ultimate AK Buyer’s Guide for 2017 Americans seeking an AK-pattern firearm are going to have a wealth of options in 2017. While several new AK models were brought to the market over the past