The Wonderful World of the Pistol Caliber AK

The pistol caliber AK is nothing new. The Russians have been producing AK submachine guns since 1993 with the original Bizon. Building on the Bizon was the Vityaz, a more refined variant of the rifle. There were plans to introduce the Saiga 9 to the United States, but the Russian arms import ban stopped that. There was a little bit of time between the introduction of 9mm PCCs in AK formats and a massive surge in their availability and popularity.

Now we have AK variants of all kinds hitting our shores and delivering unto us a ton of different platforms and options. If you want a PCC in an AK format, you have options, and we are here to show you the very best.

The Pistol Caliber AK Revolution Rundown

We didn’t have a red wave of AKs in PCCs, but a mostly American-made wave, with some Romanians to round things out. With so many out there, allow us to guide you on this journey to finding the right AK pattern 9mm rifle or pistol for you.

Kalashnikov USA KP-9

Kalashnikov USA makes what appears to be the most accurate reproduction of the Vityaz pistols. I say, ‘appears to be,’ because I’ve never handled an actual Vityaz. The KP-9 series are built to top-tier specs and are the premium grade option if you want an AK pistol in 9mm. It’s the most expensive gun on this list, but if you want something akin to the Vityaz, this is the way to go.

Shooters get an AK shrunk down to a tiny 9mm platform. It uses a standard direct blowback system mixed with a telescoping bolt like the Uzi. It’s an odd choice but one that works to keep the size of the KP-9 rather short and sweet. It’s just like any other AK in terms of control, so expect ergonomics out of the 1940s.

K-9 pistol
This is the premium grade option, but it’s at a premium grade price. (Kalashnikov USA)

In keeping with the AK appearance, the magazine is curved. We also have a Picatinny rail across the top for red dots. We get a compensator at the end of the barrel as well. The gun’s ready for a brace or to become an SBR. It’s not cheap, but the KP-9 is a functional and well-made firearm.


Palmetto State Armory surprised everyone with the AK-V. The AK-V series is my personal favorite when it comes to PCC AKs. Since PSA is making it, they come in just about every configuration you could imagine. This includes tons of furniture options, brace options, and both rifle and pistol variants.

The AK-V is my personal favorite AK PCC. (PSA)

PSA wisely went with Scorpion pattern magazines. They are cheap, readily available, and give you that AK curve you can’t help but love. Plus, they offer a last-round bolt-hold open device that just absolutely rules and is unusual on AK platforms.

The AK-V series also won’t break the bank either. At less than a grand, it’s an easy way to get into the AK PCC world with a modern take. Plus, Magpul has a drum for the Scorpion that’s perfect for the AK-V.

Century Arms Draco NAK-9 , Draco 9S, and WASR-M

Century Arms is ball deep into the pistol caliber AK  world, and I’m not going to break these into three different categories. They are all fairly simple guns and use blowback-operated systems with just a few changes between them.

The NAK 9 belongs on the cover of a rap album (Century Arms)

The Draco NAK9 was really the first AK in 9mm made for shooters in the states to pick up any steam. The NAK-9 utilizes Glock magazines, which opens up plenty of options for magazines of varying capacities. It’s optics-ready and quite affordable.

The Draco 9S is basically the same gun as the NAK9, but it uses Scorpion magazines. Century wisely took a page out of PSA’s book. On top of Scorpion magazines, the gun also has an LRBHO and is optics-ready.

The WASR-M, another Romanian AK, is a rifle. It features a full-length 16-inch barrel, wooden AK furniture, and a side mount for your typical AK optics. It’s bigger than most, but sometimes you need a full-length rifle in 9mm. It also takes Glock mags, but we really need a Scorpion mag version, so we get that curve!

The Definitive Arms AKX-9

Atlantic Arms and Definitive Arms teamed up to enter the AK 9mm space with their very own entry. The AKX-9 comes in a Vityaz dress-up package with polymer furniture and a barrel a bit over 11 inches. The AKX-9 series are all American guns built on AK74 receivers with an SBR-ready setup. Adding a brace is also easy, but don’t expect a nice M1913 rail to do so.

Shooters can pick from a version with standard iron sights or a model that replaces the AK rear sight with an optics mount. There are also several different variants.

Definitive Arms AKX 9
Colt SMG mags in an AK look odd, but not bad. Plus they are cheap.

Some are pistols, others rifles. Some have regular stocks, and some have side folding triangle stocks.

One interesting feature of note is that the AKX series use Colt SMG mags. These are great mags that are double stack and double feed. They are plenty reliable and affordable. Still, a straight mag jutting from the bottom of an AK looks odd. Better than the rearward curving Glock mags, but odd nonetheless.

The Charles Daly PAK-9

If you want the cheapest, ugliest AK pistol out there, then Charles Daly and the PAK-9 have you covered. This might have been one of the OGs of AK 9mm pistols in the States. I’m a little ashamed I purchased one, but also kind of miss it. The PAK-9 is ugly but functional and very small. With a barrel length of 6.3 inches, it’s the shortest option on the market.

Charles daly PAK 9
It’s super ugly, but useable. (Charles Daly)

The PAK-9 is ugly mostly because they covered it in rails. Rails on the handguard, rails across the top, rails, rails, rails. For some reason, the gun comes with flip-up, AR-height iron sights, which also add to the ugly. I will say it’s functional and goes bang when you pull the trigger. Interestingly enough, the magwell of the PAK-9 is interchangeable.

You can swap between a Glock magazine well and a Beretta 92 magazine well. This opens up your magazine options quite a bit. It’s simple, cheap, and fun, but boy, is it ugly.

Take Your AK to PCC Levels

The rise of the pistol caliber AK isn’t surprising. The AR has long been the 9mm platform, and the AK is easily the second most popular rifle in the states. It wasn’t a surprise to see AK PCCs slipping through. It is a surprise how the whole industry, just all of a sudden, produced AK pattern PCCs and subguns all at once. Why not? There is certainly room in every gun safe for an AK in 9mm. With that said, which would you choose?

Let us know below.

Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine Gunner and a lifelong firearms enthusiast. Now that his days of working a 240B like Charlie Parker on the sax are over he's a regular guy who likes to shoot, write, and find ways to combine the two. He holds an NRA certification as a Basic Pistol Instructor and is probably most likely the world's Okayest firearm instructor. He is a simplicisist when it comes to talking about himself in the 3rd person and a self-professed tactical hipster. Hit him up on Instagram, @travis.l.pike, with story ideas.

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