Last night I broke down and couldn’t handle it anymore. I finally purchased an AK variant. Having been in the military and the fact that stock AK’s really don’t fit me, I have been very leery about getting myself one. After years of debate and research I went out and got myself a CIA WASR 10. Again, I still had to find a way to be able to comfortably shoot it without giving myself a bruise on my cheek bone from the stock.
Here is my newest toy as it came out of the box.
The wood furniture did not even last more than an hour from the time I got home from work. I immediately started ripping into it and swapping out parts with the ATI Strikeforce kit I picked up at Cabela’s.
It now looks like this.
What I like about this kit is as follows:
- The cheek piece is lower than the wood one so I don’t get a bruised cheek bone when shooting it.
- The folding stock allows me to put it in my backpack.
- I now have rails.
- The pistol grip is really soft and “cooshee.”
Not everyone is a fan of the “Tapco” AK. I did not do this swap because I wanted a “tacti-cool” rifle. I have many “tacti-cool” rifles, shotguns and pistols. This was done so I could carry it in a pack and shoot it without getting a bruise on my face.
This now said, I would like to tell you what I learned about this swap.
First, lets talk about the stock. There is a new mounting piece that comes with the kit that replaces the stock one used to mount the pistol grip. YOU HAVE TO SWAP THIS OUT!!! Don’t do what I did and think that it is just a waste of time. This piece is needed for the new stock to fit.
Second, are the upper and lower fore end pieces. These are a Royal Pain to put on. Don’t think that they are a simple swap. You must do some prying on the plastic when you go back together or it will jam up on you. The bottom piece must be pried onto the barrel and the top piece must be squished so as to fit INSIDE the lower piece. There are little nipple type things that slide into the bottom half. Since I had so many issues while I was working through it, you only get a picture of what it should look like finished.
The bottom is rough too. I mentioned it before and am mentioning it again. Don’t get in a hurry or think it will just snap in. If you don’t expect to have to fight with the pieces, you should get Legos or an AR.
The top piece here at to be forced a bit to make it fit as well. It didn’t want to fit properly into the plastic channel. Once it snapped in and was in it’s proper place, I left it alone.
No matter what I did, I could not get rid of this gap. This seems to be the way that it fits. So far it has not shaken loose or had any issue so I think that I am ok, but there it is not easy to get this bad boy to fit. I had to pry the edges away from the barrel and then swat it repeatedly with the palm of my hand. I did what I call “bear paw” it. Finally it went.
Even though it was a bit rough and I was not expecting to have to fight with it as hard as I did, I am quite happy with the final product. It really adds a lot of functionality and comfort to this rifle that was lacking with the OEM furniture. If I was to recommend an AK configuration to someone, I would DEFINITELY start with this one. I like it a lot and know that I will have quite a bit of fun shooting it for years to come.
Before I get a lot of questions as to what optic I plan on putting on this bad boy, I will answer you now. I don’t…… Let me say that again: I DON’T plan on putting an optic of any sort on this rifle. Here is the way that I see it:
- AK’s are notorious for being anywhere from 1.5+ MOA with military surplus ammunition. It can get as bad as 2 – 3 MOA for really crap stuff. This means that I could have an effective range of only 300 yards if I want to put 100% of all rounds on center mass, depending on the target.
- I plan on using cheap ammunition in this rifle.
It might also help to explain WHY I wanted an AK/AK variant rifle.
- At present, I did not have a rifle that was small enough to fit into my GHB (Get Home Bag) that wasn’t either a pistol or a .22 lr.
- Since I always have a pistol with me, I thought that I should have a rifle of some sort for the bag to kind of round things out a bit.
- Since this rifle uses a 30 caliber projectile and has the power to even put down a deer if I have to, I figured that would be an acceptable round.
- I then added the caveat that I wanted something simple and rugged that I could hastily load/unload/reload.
- The requirement pretty much stuck me with rifles that had detachable magazines.
- Since I have never seen a takedown Scout rifle and the AK is tougher than over cooked fried squirrel, this family of rifle went to the top of my list.
- Then I took aftermarket modifications and upgrades into account. Because I needed something that could be VERY compact, everything but an AR pistol type configuration was ruled out for the most part. Then again, I didn’t want another pistol.
- The final factor was ammunition costs. Like I mentioned above, I wanted cheap ammo that I don’t feel compelled to reload. The AK can be fed for a very inexpensive price even without reloading.
Now don’t you leave here thinking that I am suddenly a huge AK fan. I am a gun fan and the AK and AK variants definitely have earned their place in history as well as my GHB. If you decide to get one, just make sure you get what you want that you can do what you want to it. I have made that mistake a lot over the years. Aftermarket items are important to consider when you make a choice, so don’t discount the AK like I did. It is actually quite a nice system.