You may decide that a fixed stock is not comfortable, in which case you should consider an AR-style collapsible stock. There are a slew of options for AK adapters ranging from collapsible systems to folders and combinations thereof. In this section we’ll look at some products that will help transform your rifle.
The AR-style collapsible stock offers an almost infinite latitude for operators of every physical description. With one click, a 6-foot, 4-inch shooter will be able to use the same rifle just as easily as someone who is 5’4.” It also comes in handy for those who need to adjust for body armor, heavy clothing, etc.
Second, the geometry of the AR buttstock provides a slightly elevated cheek weld compared to a standard AK. This affords more comfort and a sight picture that works both with the stock iron sights and, if you so choose, optics.
This cheek rise is extremely important to AK users says Justin McMillion of JMAC Customs, whose West Virginia-based company designs adapters for Arsenal 104 rifles and other variants. His adapter provides a 3/8-inch rise which allows users to better utilize iron sights. (The product also allows for a QD sling mount to be added).
In addition to JMAC Customs, adapters that will accommodate AR-style collapsible stocks are available from Vltor, Rifle Dynamics, CANIS Design Group, DPH Arms, and other manufacturers. R&R Targets makes one specifically for a Saiga shotgun.
Rifle Dynamics AK to M-4 Stock Adapter
An M4 or AR-15-style collapsible buttstock has become very popular with AK owners. Enter the Rifle Dynamics AK to M-4 system designed by Jim Fuller.
Not only is a collapsible stock more comfortable to use, it’s also better suited for shooters who want to utilize optics.
Here’s why: The original AK was designed for use exclusively with iron sights. Adding an optic to an AK was secondary and, hence, was never engineered to have the proper ergonomics to support “glass.”
As alluded to above, often an optic placed on side rail mount, or on a rail atop the receiver or dust cover, isn’t always ergonomic. The optic almost always sits too high or the stock simply sits too low to afford a cheek weld that provides a comfortable way to get a proper sight picture.
The operator has to compensate by moving up his or her cheek weld, which can be both uncomfortable and impractical. The Rifle Dynamics system rectifies this issue by changing the geometry of the stock so that it sits higher, thus giving your cheek a vertical boost.
Gen 1 and Gen 2
Gen 1 and Gen 2 Rifle Dynamics has two versions of its adapter. We installed the original “Gen 1” version of the product.
We were told the Gen 2 system places the stock at a slightly lower angle than Gen 1.
Jim Fuller, the man behind Rifle Dynamics, told me he did this because some users suggested that the angle of the Gen 1 was such that they couldn’t use the iron sights efficiently, though as a Gen 1 user I haven’t found this an issue.
Installing the RD System
Adding the adapter essentially means adding four bolts. However, there is a technique to getting it to fit perfectly. The real trick is making sure that you align the adapter squarely to the back of the receiver.
Part of the install process will entail adding Loctite to the bolt threads, so it will have to be done in an efficient manner. The end result is both aesthetically pleasing and very robust.
The adapter bolts right over the tang, so no modifications of the gun are necessary.
Utilizing the tang makes the assembly extremely strong. Additionally, any sling adapter that fits on the AR buffer tube should work with this set up.
Shooting my Saiga, after mounting the adapter, felt ergonomically correct. It was comfortable to use and an improvement over the collapsible buttstock that came with the rifle. I was able to use both the iron sights and a red dot with ease.
Installing the Right “Folder”
AKs with folding stocks (folders) are very much in vogue.
Why would someone need a folder?
If you’re a professional who jumps out of airplanes or does contracting work that necessitates concealability and compactness, then you really must have one. If you’re not someone who fits this description, but a folder saves you storage space and looks cool, then it may also be an attractive option.
Side folders are available in several options that include a standard polymer buttstock on a hinge (from Arsenal) or as triangular or wire-style stocks.
In addition to side folders (both left and right), there are also “underfolders,” which, as the description implies, fold downward into a compact package. This design was originally used by paratroopers and other elite military units. The triangular folders and underfolders don’t provide a lot of cheek weld and in my experience are not comfortable. They are not recommended for the novice.Some of the more popular side folders combine the features of a collapsible stock and, of course, the folding element. These are both aesthetically appealing and quite comfortable to use.
Likewise, one can also acquire an excellent folding adapter that accommodates a collapsible stock from a firm called StormWerkz.
Mako Group, an Israeli company, makes folding stocks as well as a combination folder-collapsible buttstock but I have found their customer service lacking.
(Note that before you add the folder, you’ll need an adapter that bolts to the back of the receiver, usually on the tang).
If you don’t want to mess with adding a separate folding mechanism and you simply want to attach a complete, folding, collapsible stock, Magpul’s new Zhukov-S is a good bet. It works both with the AK-47 and AK-74. With a 5-position pull adjustment, it’s sturdy, well-designed and available in five colors. Price is $99.95.
StormWerkz and Bonesteel/CNC folders
StormWerkz features a symmetrically sided wedge that the inventor, Josh Miller, says will allow the locking mechanism to wear evenly and last longer.
Installing the StormWerkz folder is easy. Simply torque down two 10/32 5/8-inch bolts that come with the device and cinch it down to the adapter with some Loctite. The result is a folder that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing.
It was simple to use and locked up tight at full length. It also locks up when folded. The stock was quite rigid and, short of using it to hammer down railroad spikes, should be quite durable.
Keep in mind: to complete the job you’ll need an AR-15 buffer tube, castle nut and endplate. Price for the StormWerkz folder is $55.
The Bonesteel product line includes items designed for a variety of platforms, including the AR-15, AK /VEPR, Galil, PSL, Saiga and vz. 58. The folding mechanisms are integrated with Galil type stocks or with an M4 collapsible stock.
The appealing thing about the Bonesteel/CNC product for the VEPR is that it’s plug-and-play. Just bolt the whole enchilada to the back of the tang, add the pistol grip, and you’re ready to rock.
The Mil-Spec tube is machined from aircraft aluminum and pinned onto the folding mechanism — and it’s exceedingly light, just 12.5 ounces for just the hardware and 19.5 ounces or thereabouts with a buttstock attached.
Fit and finish on this item are superb — it has a shiny black anodized look that blends in perfectly with the VEPR color scheme.
The stock has six positions that will adjust to just about anyone, which is, after all, why you want a collapsible stock
If you really need to get up close and personal, you can bring the stock almost flush with the tang. It also has a memory-stop feature that allows for an instant extension to where ever you want to set it.
This is how it works: Each position has a threaded hole behind it for a cap screw to set a preset stop. Thus, if you never go beyond the No. 4 position, you won’t be fumbling around trying to find the right spot.
I found the stock easy to manipulate without feeling like I was going to damage the hinge, if I somehow tweaked it the wrong way. It tucks to the right and folds closely to the rifle. Also included is a quick-detach (Q/D) sling swivel, which comes in handy.
It’s perfect for someone who wants to go the folder route without having to buy an extra adapter and the other associated parts.
If you add up all the components of the StormWerkz/Krebs combo above, you’ll pay $83.95 for the Krebs adapter and an additional $75 for the folder. That’s not counting an additional $40 for the tube, castle nut and endplate.
Contrast that with the total for the Bonesteel/CNC folder, which runs about $149.
If you do plan to purchase a side folder, consider which side the stock and hinge combination employ. A folder that folds to the right can interfere with the charging handle, and a left-sided unit may interfere with a side optic mount.