There was a dark time when the pistol caliber carbine world was devoid of AK options. The AR was everywhere, as were unique platforms like the CZ Scorpion and SIG MPX. Yet, the AK world remained devoid. We knew it could be done because the Russians had done it several times. We had the PP-19 Bizon, as well as the more modern and standardized PP-19 Vityaz. The PP-19 Vityaz seemed to be the perfect 9mm AK for the American market, yet it seemingly took years to become a reality.
Then, from out of nowhere, the market responded with a glut of AK 9mms. This includes 9mm Dracos from Century Arms, an oddball Charles Daly/Chiappa import known as the PAK-9, a very expensive model from Kalashnikov USA, and finally, PSA’s entry. The PSA AK-V certainly struck an interesting balance of price effectiveness, feature-friendliness, and awesome design.
The PAK-9 and Draco NAK-9 series use Glock mags, which is fine but are devoid of the classic AK magazine curve. The Kalashnikov KP-9 is likely the closest to the actual PP-19 we will get, but it has a steep price point and very expensive magazines. PSA and the AK-V found a way to produce a 9mm AK PCC and subgun that struck a chord with most of us who desired a 9mm AK.
Inside the AK-V
Palmetto State Armory is well known for creating affordable weapons from AR-15s to 1911s and even Gen 3 Glock clones. Affordable is the name of the game. The AK-V isn’t as cheap as the PAK-9, but it also isn’t goofy. It’s cheaper than the KP-9 and still provides a robust, Americanized PP-19-type weapon.
PSA kept the classic AK curve by using CZ Scorpion pattern magazines. The magazines are quite affordable and very easy to find. PSA makes their own AK-V mags, but Magpul makes Scorpion mags, CZ makes Scorpion mags, ETS makes Scorpion mags, and I’m likely missing some other options out there as well. These are double-stack, dual-feed magazines that come in capacities ranging from ten to 50 rounds with the EVO D-50 drum from Magpul.
The AK-V is also brace and stock-ready with the presence of a 1913 rail or AR 15 receiver extension adapter at the rear of the gun. This opens you to a wide variety of brace and stock options. Additionally, the forend of the AK-V can use standard AK furniture. As you can see, the AK-V I have wears Magpul furniture.
It bears mentioning that PSA also makes a ton of AK-V configurations. This includes the MOE variant, a wood option, metal M-LOK rails, and more.
Inside the AK-V
Predictably, this is not a long-stroke gas piston gun like a standard AK. It’s a standard blowback-operated AK design. Blowback operation allows for a very reliable design that will work very well with suppressors. The controls are a mix of classic AK designs with a few modern features that make it stand out.
On the classic side, we get the AK-type safety. The highlight of this safety is the thumb shelf that makes it easy to defeat without breaking your firing grip much. We get a standard right-side charging handle. The magazine release is AK-like but altered a bit to fit the Scorpion magazines.
The AK-V offers a last-round bolt hold open feature, which is new for an AK. The bolt release is on the left side of the mag well. It’s easy to hit, and the bolt drops quickly and easily. I love that they went this route. It makes reloading faster and much easier.
The top dust cover is a hinged model that folds upward. It’s also railed to accept optics. Optics on dust covers are tricky because the AK dust cover isn’t a super stable platform. It does feel solid, and within 9mm ranges with a red dot, you shouldn’t run into any problems. The iron sights consist of a fixed rear sight and a standard AK front sight. At the end of the barrel sits a beefy brake for taming a little bit of that 9mm recoil.
PSA put together a feature-filled and rock-solid AK design. But does it shoot?
To the Range With the AK-V
I brought out the AK-V and a variety of Scorpion mags to test on the range. I ran with irons only for most of my shooting. That represents the gun as it comes from PSA. I did toss on an HS510C near the end to see how it would work with the railed dust cover.
The irons are rudimentary, but it’s a 9mm sub gun, so I don’t exactly need to adjust much. I didn’t find a reason to either. Within 25 yards, the little gun was a beast. Even without a brace or stock, the little gun was quite easy to shoot accurately and quickly. It barely moves in your hands, which is odd since it’s a blowback-operated gun.
I had no problems hammering a steel target with rapid strings of fire at 25 yards. I could keep a 10-inch gong swinging over and over with the AK-V. For a stockless platform, it’s quite easy to control.
Even without a sling and some sling tension, the gun wasn’t tough to shoot. The big open sight is more akin to a pistol sight, so it does work well for stockless or brace-less shooting. Ringing a steel target over and over wasn’t difficult. Creating tight groups is tough since the gun is tough to rest. I used a backpack as a rest and single-loaded a round at a time.
With the iron sights at 50 yards, we saw 3-inch groups. The gun is likely much more accurate than this, but to take advantage of it, we need a stock and a tax stamp. Also, a red dot would probably make it easier to shoot accurately than the rudimentary iron sights. Speaking of, the HS510C cleared up my groups a bit, and the dust cover maintained zero well.
The short little gun weighs a little over seven pounds, and that’s not a big surprise for a blowback-operated firearm. It’s stout and short, making the weight mostly a nonissue. There are no balance issues with the AK-V. The MOE furniture is excellent and allows for a solid and firm grip on the gun.
The controls are all well-placed and easy to manipulate. The safety is impressive because standard AK safeties kind of suck. Being able to thumb it down and start firing is nice. The LRBHO device is a nice touch that makes it easy to slam a reload in.
The magazine release is pretty good, but you can’t reach it with your trigger finger. You have to use your non-dominant hand to grab the magazine and press the magazine release at the same time. It is ambidextrous and quite broad for easy press and engagement.
I used Magpul, CZ, ETS, and PSA brand mags in the AK-V without a single issue. The gun can use whatever mags you wish to toss through it without complaint. The twenty-rounders, in particular, give it a low-profile vibe for those bag-gun needs. I only fed the gun brass-cased ammo, but that’s only because I don’t have any more steel-cased stuff. It fed without any issues, and over half a case of ammo went down range with nary an issue.
The PP-19 At Home
The AK-V gives us that AK taste and feel in 9mm at a great price. The magazine choice is excellent enough, so they also make an AR-V that uses Scorpion mags. The AK-V is an excellent example of smart gun design and smart choices. I think PSA killed it with the AK-V.