If something for the Soviet Saturday Night Special makes the Politburo Purists lose their mind–we automatically like it. Today, Murr brings you through the finer points of the new Magpul Kalash’ stocks and furniture. Mad Duo
New AK-47 furniture from Magpul
Over 100 million made. Dozens of countries produce it. It has nearly limitless variations. The weapon of choice for fifty standing armies, The AK-47 has been used by America’s enemies as well as allies for nearly seventy years. Since it was first seen by Westerners in 1956, Mikhail Kalashnikov’s design has captured the attention of US shooters and retained it impressively well. Some hate it, others love it to fan boy levels of obsession. Virtually all respect the firearm for its historic reliability. Magpul has been no stranger to the AR-15/M-16 family of weapons, producing aftermarket furniture and accessories for quite some time. This year they answered requests to apply the same magic to the Avtomat Kalashnikova, model 1947.
First seen at SHOT show 2015, Magpul’s new line up of AK furniture has Kalash fans talking. The company has been making magazines and pistol grips for the popular rifle the last few years, but they have finally expanded into stocks and handguards. Broken down into two lines, (the Zhukov series and MOE) Magpul has new choices that will likely appeal to both design purists as well as those seeking the “perfect” AK.
We received the furniture much earlier than anticipated, and saw that it’s constructed from the same high strength polymer the company is known for. Magpul set out to create a unique stock and forearm that has the features shooters look for, but without the weight and cost. The idea is that anyone with a few minutes of time and basic tools can update their favorite commie blaster themselves.
The Zhukov Series
If you set out to find a good aftermarket stock for the AK, you’ll find only a few quality designs that provide both good cheek weld and either folding/collapsible ability. Unfortunately, if you want a folding AND collapsible stock thats built tough, it’s going to come at a high cost. This is usually accomplished with various adapters, hinges and machined metal which can weigh the rifle down. The new Zhukov-S folding stock is a viable alternative to that. The stock installs on most stamped steel AK-type receivers in a matter of minutes with only a screw driver and Allen wrench. A unique wedge mounting design allows for the installation on widely varying receivers. This mount takes out all the slop and wiggle, creating a very solid marriage to the gun.
A simple, large hinge release button is depressed to allow the Zhukov-S to fold to the right side of the receiver. This will allow shooters who wish to use the left side “Soviet” style optics rail located on some receivers to do so, as well as retaining the capability to shoot the firearm with the stock still folded (we can’t figure out why this is still so important to people, and kinda hoped this mode of fire had died off with the cheesy 1980s action movies that popularized it).
The Zhukov stock doesn’t just fold and lock firmly, it also has five positions of length of pull adjustment. Extending to a max 11.5” from the rear of the receiver, the stock will provide a longer LOP then a standard AK stock by several inches. This is good news for the big boys out there and those who utilize certain modern shooting methods. The downside is the collapsible stock we received is very tight, and appears to have some sort of silicon grease applied to help it slide. We had to pull the stock in and out dozens of times before it finally began to slide with ease. Not a terrible knock on the polymer stock, but annoying nonetheless. The Zhukov-S also has two mounting points for QD sling swivels, one on the buttstock for traditional placement and an additional QD socket on the left hand front, where stock mates with the receiver.
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When locked open, the Zhukov-S feels more like a fixed stock than a folder. The rubber butt fits the shoulder comfortably, and stays where placed. The stock’s top line follows the path of the rifle’s bore, much like a M4 buffer tube does. This translated to a perceived difference in muzzle rise when shooting our test rifle. Basically, those that shot the gun commented on how the recoil feels more like a straight push to the rear than with other, classically shaped AK stocks.
The top of the Zhukov has a wide, comfortable surface for proper cheek weld, but also has locking grooves to add additional cheek risers. This might not be needed for those that use iron sights or low mounted optics, but will be likely used by those running EoTechs or magnified optics. The stock has been released this spring in basic black, but Magpul plans to release additional colors in the near future. At only 15 ounces, the Zhukov-S is going to popular option for a wide selection Kalashnikov enthusiasts out there.
The second entry into the Zhukov series is their MLOK polymer hand guard. The new forearm attaches to the receiver via two barrel clamps, similar to the popular Ultimak optics mount which has been used for years. (The top of the handguard is cut to allow for use with this popular accessory). A long, light aluminum mounting block acts as a heat reflector as well as heat sink, and allows for the polymer outer shell to bolt on securely. This aluminum chassis requires the user to make a semi-permanent modification to their rifle, buy cutting off the front retaining band used for classic AK hand guards. Once cut off it’s going to be a huge pain in the ass to ever reattach another, so make sure you figure out which of your rifles are most worthy of the enhanced hand guard. This procedure takes a steady hand, a dremel cut off wheel and about 10 minutes of your time. You may encounter some small fitting issues, but none that should hold you up too terribly long. Properly installed, the Zhukov hand guard offers nearly a full foot of griping surface. The polymer has MLOK mounting slots on the sides and bottom, allowing for easy accessory mounting and additional barrel ventilation. The cool thing about the mounting chassis and outer shell is it gives plenty of room for Magpul to offer additional shells in the future, while retaining the metal core. That is to say, if shooting techniques change in future years they can offer a new updated shell to bolt to the original metal chassis. Leaving room to grow is a prudent concept these days, as trends seem to change at a surprising rate.
Paired with the Zhukov-S stock, the handguard creates a different, pleasing feel with a good balance.
Lastly we will look at the MOE hand guards which have been released with the new AK-47 furniture. There are two variants: one which requires the front retaining band to be removed, and another which is cut away on the left hand side to retain it. The cut away model allows for the original front sling loop, and installs just like the standard two-piece forearm. This is accomplished in only a few minutes after disassembling your rifle, and even less time if you retain your original hand guard section which is attached to the gas tube. All of the Magpul hand guards, (Zhukov included) include a replacement top cover which requires the user to remove the existing cover from the gas tube. If you have a bench vise and can follow the instructions, this isn’t a big deal. If you wish to retain your original top cover or use with an Ultimak optics mount, the MOE hand guards will accommodate this. The second variant of MOE hand guard (which requires the front band removal) is the same size and width as the drop-in, but isn’t scalloped away on the left. If you choose this option, you will require a separate mounting accessory to run your sling. Both of the MOE AK hand guards feature MLOK slots on the sides and bottom, allowing for additional accessories to be mounted. Their length is a little longer than the classic hand guard, which is also appreciated.
Overall, Fans of the AK are going to be impressed with the new Magpul furniture. If you are looking to bring your aging commie blaster into the 21st century, the new stock and handguards are worth checking out
Mad Duo, Breach-Bang& CLEAR!
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Mad Duo Nate About the Author: Nathan “Mad Duo Nate” is a former USMC Sergeant who recently transitioned to being a nasty civilian. He lives largely on nicotine, whiskey and hate and can be frequently found orating Kipling poems to frightened hipsters. A graduate of the Camp Lejeune School for Wayward Boys, he was a Marine NCO, Infantry Platoon Sergeant and Scout Sniper team leader. He is a fully qualified American Jedi, handsome badass and world-renowned field barista. He has numerous deployments to the Middle East and Africa and is something of an idiot savant when it comes finger-fucking stuff to make it work better. Nate only chain smokes when he’s drinking and only drinks every day. We reckon he is probably best described as a sociopathic philosopher with vestigial cutthroat (though poetic) tendencies. Thus far Murr’s writing has appeared in such places as here on Breach-Bang-Clear, on Military.com, in field shitters and portajohns on at least 3 continents, in RECOIL Magazine and of course Penthouse letters. (Grunts: vestigial)