Not too many people know the AK platform as well as Chase Sisgold, the co-founder of Definitive Arms. He builds custom AKs and has experienced phenomenal success over the past few years with his patented Definitive Arms Kalashnikov System. Below are his recommendations:
Q: Let’s say I want to change out a stock polymer handguard because I’d like to add a light, a scope or a grip and I want something with at the very least, a rail on the bottom. What components do you recommend?
A: The options available from Midwest Industries are a good entry level option and fairly priced. We utilize a lot of the Krebs Custom KeyMod rails, which are a nice product, but will command a higher price tag.
The new DAKM 4150 line of rifles from Definitive Arms offers the same quality as custom builds. Prices start at $1000. (Courtesy AKOU)
Q: What if I want something polymer in order to keep the weight down?
A: I am not entirely impressed with the offerings available for polymer hand guards.
Q: What about pistol grips? Any recommendations?
Q: How about an adapter for a collapsible stock?
A: In my opinion there are only two ways to mount a collapsible stock. One is to utilize the Rifle Dynamics M4 Stock adapters with mil-spec buffer tube which will allow you to use any AR style stock that fits a mil spec buffer tube. The RD M4 adapters also sits the buffer tube higher than some of the other offerings on the market and provides for an excellent cheek weld. The other option, if a folding stock is a must, is to utilize the newest ACE folding stock mechanism, again for an AR style buffer tube.
The RS Regulate mount is a two-piece modular unit that works with many AK variants. It is secured on the rail with a cam-like lever. (Robert Kay)
Q: How about a QD (Quick-Detach) rail mount for a red dot?
A: My personal choice for optics mounting on a full sized AK is to utilize the QD side rail optics mounts offered by RS Regulate. The AK-300 series of mounts offered by RS regulate are second to none and absolutely rock solid. I have used them many times on multiple rifles and they hold zero very well. They even repeat zero easily when pulling different optics on and off the rifle. In a few seconds you can switch between a T-1 Micro, an ACOG, or a scope and not lose your zero.
Q: How about a decent trigger group?
A: A well-tuned and polished Tapco G2 single hook is a respectable trigger group. Otherwise an RSA (Red Star) Power Custom trigger properly installed and adjusted makes for an excellent trigger that rivals many high end AR triggers.
Q: What about a sling?
A: Though most will disagree with me, I find single point slings to be most comfortable for my AKs. A single point sling attached right near the back of the receiver, around stock tang, provides for an easy way to retain the rifle hands free and maneuver it freely without much getting in the way.
Q: What about a rail system for the other end of the rifle?
A: I like the Krebs rail. The Krebs rail also demands a higher price tag, but that goes with the old notion of “You get what you pay for”.
Q: How about a folding stock that has an adjustable cheek rest? Something that feels comfortable.
A: It’s a personal preference to have adjustable cheek rests. I consider them more for catering to optics that are mounted entirely too high above the bore on AKs (a trend that is becoming popular in the AK world right now) and don’t personally find the need for it. If building a more DMR (Designated Marksman Rifle) type weapon then I would still utilize the RD M4 stock adapters and a quality AR style stock with adjustable cheek rest. For your standard carbine size or “fighting rifle” sized AK, adjustable cheek rests aren’t necessary.
Q: That brings us to a query about iron sights. Is there a product that you can recommend over the stock rear AK sight?
A: I am a fan of the A2 style rear sights and considering that Krebs makes good usage of that sight in his offerings, I will say I am a bigger fan of Krebs sights.
Q: What about wooden furniture?
A: I love a classic iron on wood firearm, it just has a certain feel to it. My good friends over at E93 (Echo Nine Three) have designed a stock set that has modern function and feel to it, but is made of premium laminated wood. It’s a very attractive yet very functional stock set. I just recently purchased one and will be building a demo rifle set up with the stock set. The premise of the demo rifle is to show a modernized fighting AK that has a classic look to it at a glance.