The AK was designed at a time when it was common practice to employ blued steel and wood furniture. Today’s operators demand more options for their weapons. Thanks to strides made in firearm engineering, AK upgrades are becoming more ubiquitous on the market. Aluminum rails and handguards enable an operator to “kit up” the AK and mount accessories that help control fire and stay on target. Thankfully, there are plenty of manufacturers that offer AK rails, handguards, and mounts for the modern AK platform.
Here’s a list of the top AK upgrades to bring your AK into the 21st century.
Arsenal PR-01 Handguard
The PR-01 minimizes weight while providing maximum strength by using a triangular support design and utilizing aircraft-grade aluminum construction. The Picatinny-style quad rails on the bottom and sides have 14 slots, with nine slots on the top, all with identification marks for quick repeat attachment of accessories. The PR-01 will fit both milled and stamped receivers, and it is designed to accept a cleaning rod with the handguard installed. (arsenalinc.com)
Arsenal SM-13 Scope Mount
Arsenal’s SM-13 side-attaching scope mount for AK variants is used by foreign militaries. The one-piece, CNC-machined mount is constructed of aircraft-grade aluminum, so it is strong yet lightweight—only 5.7 ounces. The Picatinny rails give users more than 7.5 inches of rail space to mount a variety of optics. The locking mechanism offers quick and easy installation and removal with no loss of zero. (arsenalinc.com)
Krebs Custom Rear Sight Rail System
The Krebs Custom Kalashnikov Rear Sight Rail (KRSR) System mounts securely to an AK’s rear sight base and rear trunnion. The matte black KRSR features a 7.5-inch Picatinny rail and a windage-adjustable M16-A2 aperture rear sight. The rail section is machined from 7075 aluminum and the rear locking mechanism is made from carbon steel. (krebscustom.com)
Midwest Industries AK Mini Dot Mount
The AK Mini Dot Mount from Midwest Industries mounts to the rear sight of standard AK-47 and AK-74 rifles with no complicated gunsmithing required. The mount allows a user to install a small red-dot sight while still being able to use the iron sights. The mount has a rear sight built in. The top cover can be removed with the mount in place. (midwestindustriesinc.com)
RS Regulate AK-300 Modular Side Mount
The rugged AK-300 Modular Side Mount will work on all side-rail-equipped AK rifles. Similar to the Russian design, the patented AK-300 mount uses a throw lever that clamps onto the side rail of the receiver. As a result, the system allows users to mount optics centered over the bore and be mounted low enough that iron sights can be co-witnessed through a red-dot. The top cover can still be removed to disassemble the rifle without removing the mount. Made from Type 3 hardcoat anodized 6061-T6 aluminum, it features a titanium-based locking system. (rsregulate.com)
Strike Industries AK Rear Sight Red Dot Rail
The AK Rear Sight Rail for Low Profile Red Dot Optics from Strike Industries easily converts the rear sight of most AKs into a Picatinny rail that is designed specifically forlow profile red dot optics from Burris, Trijicon, Aimpoint and others. No gunsmithing required. The rail is constructed of aircraft-grade 6061 aluminum with a hardcoat anodized finish. (strikeindustries.com)
Magpul Zhukov Handguard
For fans of the modern AK, the Magpul Zhukov Handguard delivers a lengthier option for modern shooters, a strong aluminum chassis and optimal heat diffusion, an ergonomic injection-molded exterior for a secure grip, and M-LOK® slots for attaching accessories. The Zhukov is also compatible with the Ultimak gas tube rail for mounting optics. (magpul.com)
Midwest Industries Gen 2 30mm Top
The Gen 2 30mm Top from Midwest Industries is compatible with AK rifles with a standard AKM receiver rail interface. Shooters will appreciate how the Gen 2 30mm top places optics at the center or near-dead center of the top covers of mil-spec built AK rifles and the modular top piece can be altered to different configurations if so desired. The hard coat anodized 6061 aluminum construction withstands years of hard use. To top it off, the Gen 2 includes the Elite Defense QD system for toolless adjustment and repeat zero locking. (midwestindustriesinc.com)
AK Upgrades: A World of Endless Possibilities
It makes sense that one of the most dependable firearms should have a wide variety of upgrades for both function and personalization, especially considering the original’s substance-over-style beginnings. Thankfully, the market for AK upgrades is packed with products that suit just about any preference. From accessory rails to handguards, there’s no shortage of items that’ll turn your AK into one helluva reliable piece of machinery.