If you’re like a great many people, after you’ve put your new rifle through its paces, you’ll find some aspect of the gun that you’ll want to upgrade. Whether that means upgrading a trigger, adding a sling, or buying an optics mount, you’re going to want something that will improve your experience. That will mean doing research to find the very best AK-47 parts to improve your experience.
In the bad old days, like ten years ago, there simply wasn’t as great a variety of AK aftermarket parts. There were quite a few reasons for this. First off, serious R&D takes an investment in time and money. For the larger parts manufacturers, the AK was barely on the radar screen and the perception was that the market segment represented by AK owners didn’t warrant the development of AK-centric products. Besides, these companies were consumed with keeping up with demand for the AR 15. The AK-47 was just a side show.
A secondary, but no less compelling reason is that making parts that will fit all AK variants is impossible. Because there’s no universal Mil-spec standard, the specs for AK variants generally differ.
Despite this challenge, a few intrepid gunsmiths such as Marc Krebs and Jim Fuller took the plunge and engineered parts such as handguards, rear sights, etc., for the AK platform. With AK’s current popularity on the ascendant now larger companies such as Magpul and Troy Industries are cranking out products for the rifle once stigmatized as the “enemy’s gun”.
Even with large accessory manufacturers jumping into the fray, the big boys still don’t dominate the AK accessory market. It’s still very much a cottage industry, populated primarily by mom and pop shops. This makes for a lot of innovation, with new businesses and products emerging all the time.
As I’ve alluded to before, given the numerous Kalashnikov variants available, it’s not only a matter of sourcing parts, determining whether the the part you want to purchase will actually fit your rifle is an important consideration. I like buying parts from some of the larger operations such as Brownells which not only has a large variety of items but an excellent in-house technical support staff that will help if you have any questions.
To assess this landscape, I queried several of the top AK builders for their tips on customizing your rifle.