Tactical AK: Making the AK Modern Part 3

This is the third and final part of our Tactical AK gun build series. Today, we are covering muzzle devices, optics, accessories, and options for Defensive AK classes. 

Muzzle/Suppressor Devices for the Tactical AK

When looking at muzzle devices the first thing you need to know is the current thread pitch of your barrel. This will change what kind of muzzle devices will work with your firearm. A traditional AK barrel will have a thread pitch of 14x1L. While that isn’t the standard thread pitch for a lot of newer muzzle devices there are still a lot of modern options out there for this thread pitch, even some suppressor-ready options.

Options for Purchase: AK Thread Pitch

  • HUXWRX 762 QD Muzzle Brake – M14x1 LH
  • SLR Rifleworks Synergy AK-47 Compensator – 14×1 LH
  • SureFire Warcomp AK-47 Flash Hider 7.62 – Suppressor Adapter – 14x1mm LH
  • Strike Industries JCOMP Gen2 – AK

If you do have a barrel that has a modern thread pitch such as 1/2×28 or 5/8×24, or you are going to purchase a new barrel for your AK with a different thread pitch, there are loads of suppressor accepting muzzle brakes on the market that will make your AK suppressor ready while still eating recoil even without the can.



The Optic

Just as on the AR platform, if you have a way to mount it you can essentially add any sight that is conducive to your needs. An LPVO would do an AK good just as well as a rifle red dot or a pistol red dot. Just ensure that you pick an optic that is durable. AKs have more recoil due to a larger cartridge and handling can be more aggressive overall.

Rifle Red Dot

Companies that have durable and more inexpensive red dots range from Vortex, Holosun, and Aimpoint such as the new Aimpoint Duty RDS. A simple red dot that can hold up to AK gun handling is all that is needed.

Pistol Red Dot

One of the more interesting placements of a pistol red dot is with the use of a Strike Industries AK Rear Sight Rail. This rail goes in place of your rear sight and is a one-step installation. It has four adjustments and still gives you an aiming reference point on the back of the rail if your optic goes down. Users like to put an RMR or RMR-type red dot on this rail.

pistol optic mounted on rear sight rail of ak
The Strike Industries AK rail allows for easy installation of a rail in place of your rear sight. This enables a traditional AK to still have an optic. (Photo: StrikeIndustries.com)

Low Profile Variable Optic (LPVO)

An LPVO like a 1-6x can also be great for close engagements but will allow you to push your 7.62×39 cartridge out further. Good companies that offer these are Vortex Optics, Primary Arms, and Leupold. Just know that when mounting your LPVO you may have to rethink your rear sight or remove it entirely if it gets in the way.

lpvo on ak in green ops course
This AK is both traditional and modern. During a Green Ops AK Course, this AK was employed with a Low Powered Variable Optic mounted on the rear rail. LPVOs are great for AK’s as they allow for close engagements and far. (Photo: BoomBotMedia)

Accessories for the Tactical AK

Now the fun part, the accessories. Accessories are often on firearms to improve handling and make the gun ergonomically friendly. On a tactical AK, accessories are even more important as the AK is often a larger caliber than the .223, thus handling gets a bit tougher. These accessories may also need different attachments when it comes to AKs such as attachments for slings or foregrips. Don’t forget, tactical also means being able to operate in any environment, i.e. at night. So let’s put a light on there as well.

The Sling

One of the most important things for handling a firearm is a sling. A sling can help you with keeping tension on the gun and controlling recoil but it also allows your hands to be free. AKs are a little different when it comes to sling attachment points. Depending on the rail and stock, you may be able to get away with modern attachment points such as M-LOK. However, there are ways to use your traditional sling swivel loop with a cable-type attachment point.

The most popular AK sling attachment point on the market right now is the Blue Force Gear AK Sling with Molded Universal Wire Loop. This wire loop allows you to thread essentially any sling (doesn’t have to be a BFG sling) through the hardware and then use the cable to loop it through the sling loop on your AK. The cable is pretty thin but strong so it will work with many sizes of sling loops.

The Rail Attachments

Rail attachments, if you have the rail for it, can be anything that you would normally use from the AR platform such as an angled foregrip or rail scales. A tactical AK is one that you can handle well and anything to help you grip that rail will be a plus.

Foregrip Options

Rail Cover Options

Weapon Mounted Light (WML)

Weapon lights are a must when using the AK for defensive purposes. While there are modern rail options for AKs there are also modern mounting options for weapon lights. Anything from M-Lok to Picatinny mounts and weapon-light-compatible bodies are out there, including different angled mounts such as a 45-degree from companies like Arisaka Defense or Unity Tactical.

If you don’t have a rail to mount the weapon light on your AK there is even a modern option for that—a clamping style around the barrel.

Like anything though, ensure that you choose a light that is durable.

The Light

Weapon Mounted Lights are everywhere now. You still have your large companies such as Surefire and Streamlight pushing out rail-mounted lights but now there are some new players such as ModLite and Cloud Defensive. Lights from any of these companies will be trustworthy and durable.

AK Specific Mount

The RS Regulate BM-1 Lightmount works by clamping to the barrel on your AK and now giving you a picatinny rail on the side of the gun. This is needed if you don’t have any other rail systems mounted on the AK to mount your light. When purchasing ensure to note the diameter of your barrel as this will impact which specific RS Regulate mount you need.

rs regulate picatinny rail clamped around ak barrel
This accessory mount from RS Regulate allows a traditional AK to still have an accessory mounted such as a light. It is installed simply by clamping around the barrel. (Photo: RSRegulate.com)

Magazines and Pouches

Just as different guns on the AR platform side of the house can be finicky with magazines, so can AKs. There are many different kinds of magazines out there for AK variants such as Bulgarian Magazines, US Arsenal Magazines, and of course, Magpul PMags. Then, there are country of origin magazines such as Yugo or Chinese Magazines. Use what works for your AK. If you need a jumping-off point though, you can always stick to Magpul AK PMags. These were tested with many different Kalashnikov patterned rifles but as always, use what works for your AK.

Options for Purchase

Modern AK Kit exists now as well, with well-designed AK-specific magazine pouches. If you want to use what you have already though, many magazines will fit into both .223 and .308 soft magazine pouches such as HSGI Tacos or Blue Force Gear Ten-Speed Pouches.

The difference between AK magazines and normal AR platform magazines is the front lip on the AK mag, therefore that lip can impact fitment into kydex type magazine pouches.

AK Specific Options for Purchase

  • Black Scorpion Gear AK-47, AKM, AKS, Sig556R Magazine Pouch
  • Kalashnikov USA AK Magazine Pouch 7.62X39MM

Don’t forget the battle belt or chest rig. Many courses will require some form of magazine retention system and an IFAK. Don’t be afraid to go modern with this equipment as well.

BFG pouch, HSGI pouches with 7.62x39 magazine
7.62×39 AK Magazines can fit both in .223 and .308-sized magazine pouches. From left to right, Blue Force Gear Ten Speed .223, HSGI Taco .223 (a very tight fit), HSGI Taco .308 (looser fit). Notice the lip on the side of the AK magazine which can interfere with pouch fitment.

AK Firearms Handling and Armorer Courses

Let’s be real, AK courses are just not as prevalent as AR platform firearms handling courses. However, there are still a couple out there being held by reputable instructors. Most of these courses will go over different reloading techniques, some history of the AK, and different accessories that may help you in your Tactical AK venture. Just as any Defensive Firearm course does though, they will teach you practical marksmanship techniques with your firearm.

Not only are there AK employment courses but there are also options for AK armorer courses. (A very small amount of options). These courses will go over proper disassembly and maintenance of the AK and some classes will go over other foreign weapons as well as handling.

The most popular course today though is the Rifle Dynamics Build Course in which you build your own AK during the course and leave with it.

Firearms Handling Courses Options

  • Green Ops Defensive Kalashnikov
  • Steve Fisher AK Employment
  • IWI Galil/AK Operator Course

Armorer Courses

  • CENTRE Support Foreign Weapons Armorer // Operator Maintenance Course
  • Gunsite Academy AK Armorer Operator Course
  • Rifle Dynamics Build Courses

Hopefully, this Tactical AK gun build series has been helpful. Is there anything we missed, or is there something you’d add? Let us know in the comments section.

Anne Smith is a Veteran of the full time MNARNG force as a Small Arms Repairer and worked to bolster their marksmanship team. Mainly a technical writer and gunsmith within the Federal world she comes with many armorer classes under her belt such as KAC, Glock, every FN weapon in the book, and Small Arms Weapons Expert (SAWE). So, sorry to bore you with the knowledge that actually make firearms shoot. Currently heavily into the long range world she competes in National Rifle League Hunter and various Gas Gun Precision Series.

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