Fairly comprehensive primer on how to keep your Austrian Ass Kicker Kicking.
When handling firearms, always observe safety rules and the precautions set forth in the firearm’s owner’s guide. Be certain that your firearm is unloaded and made safe before proceeding with this DIY
Though the AK and her variants may be the most prolifically used rifle in the world, in some (alright, many) aspects it can be a bit long in the tooth. About a decade ago, the lower prices of the AK made for a cheap and fun project gun to tinker with in the garage or workshop — and you could do so on a tight budget. This article hearkens back to that time, and though the base models may have increased in cost, the modifications haven’t. The goal was to highlight easy projects that gift clear improvements for the modern shooter that also keep the cost as low as possible.
For this article I used a vanilla homebuild pieced together from a Romanian “G” kit. There’s absolutely nothing special with this rifle whatsoever, and if you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all.
In the true spirit of the Kalashnikov, every one of these mods is robust and readily performed if you’re comfortable with common tools. You can do all of them in one go for under $20. If you’re not comfortable with tools, each project also has at least one commercially available alternative — some no doubt even featured inside these very pages. None of the projects require permanent modification on irreplaceable parts, and the parts you modify are easy to swap out if you end up hating it or simply dick it up too bad. Almost everything shown can be completed with handtools so you can pretend you’re in a cave in the Khyber Pass, though the vaunted Dremel is highly recommend for some.Whether you’re just trying to save a little money, want a fun weekend project, or simply desire to make your rifle a bit easier to rock — this one’s for you. So suit up and prepare to do things that will make the purists purple with indignation.
In no particular order …
One issue with standard AK iron sights is that the slot in the rear sight is just too darn tiny. Lining up your front sight within that small notch may be fine at a static slow-fire range, but at close dynamic ranges where speed is key it can be detrimental. While AKs from some nations have wider rear notches than others, all can be improved. Widening the rear slot not only makes for faster target acquisition, it also won’t affect accuracy too much — we are talking AK here after all. While you’re at it, you can take off some of the sharp corners if you want.
Opening up the rear with a triangle file is easy. Go slow, keep it square, then touch it up with some cold blue, or my favorite: spray paint. Shoot for a notch between 0.135 and 0.145 inch.