10 Best AK-47 Upgrades [Hands-On]: Rails, Triggers, & More By: Eric Hung

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Want to make your AK-47 even better?

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3 Upgraded AK-47s
Upgraded AK-47s

We’ve tried a lot of the stuff out there. Some of it worked great…other stuff…not too much.

So, we decided to help you out by pulling together some of our favorite upgrades for the AK-47 platform. While this list does not include every option out there, it’ll get you started as we span everything from furniture to optics mounting, triggers, and muzzle devices.

By the end, you’ll know exactly what you need to make your AK the best suited for your task.

Summary of Our Top Picks

  1. Best AK Scope Mount

    Midwest Industries AK Railed Scope Mount

    If your AK has a side rail, the Midwest scope mount is the way to go for attaching optics.

    $120 at Brownells
    Jump to Details
  2. Best AK Handguard

    Midwest Industries AKG2 Universal M-Lok

    Midwest Industries covered all the bases with an easy to install and easy to accessorize MLOK handguard that fits most AKs.

    $170 at Brownells
    Jump to Details
  3. Best AK Stock

    Magpul AK-47 Zhukov-S Folding Stock

    This stock folds, has adjustable length of pull, and can accept a cheek riser. What more can you ask for?

    $95 at Palmetto State Armory
    Jump to Details
  4. Best AK Grip

    Magpul MOE AK+ Grip

    The original thin AK grip can leave much to be desired. The Magpul MOE fixes all the shortcomings of the original.

    $17 at Brownells
    Jump to Details
  5. Best Upgrade for Suppressed AKs

    KNS Precision Adjustable AK Piston

    If you plan on running a suppressor on your AK, the KNS adjustable gas piston is a must to help tune your gun.

    $135 at Rainier Arms
    Jump to Details
  6. Best Upgrade for Short AKs

    Midwest Industries AK Blast Can

    7.62x39mm burns pretty efficiently out of a short barrel, but this blast can helps tame any excess flash or blast.

    $32 at Brownells
    Jump to Details
  7. Best AK Trigger

    ALG AKT Enhanced Lightning Bow Trigger

    The ALG AKT trigger is simply amazing. You are looking at a crisp 3-pound pull with an ultra short reset.

    $115 at Brownells
    Jump to Details

Table of Contents

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Best AK-47 Upgrades

1. AK Scope Rails

If your AK is equipped with a side rail, that means you can bring your AK to the next level by mounting an optic.

PSAK Scope Attachment
AK side rail, located above the trigger.

We like Midwest for all their AK stuff (and their AR-15 Handguards). There are a couple of different options.

Midwest Industries AK Railed Scope Mount

Midwest AK Optics Mount with Vortex
Midwest AK Optics Mount with Vortex

The Midwest Industries Rail is the most versatile mount since it gives you Picatinny rails on the top.

It uses a very secure and adjustable quick detach method, although reading the instructions is highly recommended. You don’t want it too tight, and the disengagement system is a little hard to figure out initially.

For us, it has been so far so good with the zero when taking the red dot and mount on and off to field strip the gun.

Best AK Scope Mount
120

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing


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120
at Brownells

  • Brownells (See Price)
  • Palmetto State Armory (See Price)

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  • 25% off all OAKLEY products – OAKLEY25

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Midwest Industries Gen 2 AK 30mm Side Mount

If you’re rocking a 30mm red dot, like our favorite Aimpoint Pro (full review), you can shed some of that weight from the Picatinny rail with the Midwest Gen 2 30mm Side Mount.

180

at OpticsPlanet

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

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  • 25% off all OAKLEY products – OAKLEY25

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The Cheaper Option

Disclaimer — I haven’t tried this particular mount out, some readers may be looking for more budget options that have decent reviews, and the Wipboten AK rail fits that bill.

33

at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

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  • 25% off all OAKLEY products – OAKLEY25

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2. Gas Tube Optics Mounts

Replacing the gas tube with a railed version is what I have used as my optic mounting solution for the longest.

Ultimak Rail Mount with Aimpoint
Ultimak Rail Mount with Aimpoint

It holds zero very well but does heat up the optic, so you’ll have to either shoot slowly or opt for a quality optic that is tough enough, like the Aimpoint H-1 pictured above (Best Red Dots).

It also places the optic a little farther forward, which gives you a great field of view but makes it a little harder to acquire the dot. This is not a problem if you have a proper cheek weld, though.

Ultimak AK Optic Mount

Ultimak’s version is the gold standard and has worked for 5+ years for me.

98

at Primary Arms

Prices accurate at time of writing


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98
at Primary Arms

  • Primary Arms (See Price)
  • Brownells (See Price)

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  • 25% off all OAKLEY products – OAKLEY25

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Midwest Industries AK Gas Block Mount

Midwest has come out with their version, which features an adjustable nut that makes installation really easy. So far, it has proven to be as tough and durable as its Ultimak counterpart.

105

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing


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105
at Brownells

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3. Handguards

The original handguard for the AK works well, and there are those that find anything but regular wood furniture blasphemy.

But I love my polymer furniture!

Magpul MOE AK Handguard

Magpul AK Handguard
Magpul AK Handguard

Magpul’s MOE handguard is the same length as a standard AK handguard, but provides M-LOK slots for accessories, improved ergonomics, and holds up to the heat.

Best Polymer AK Handguard
31

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing


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31
at Brownells

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  • OpticsPlanet (See Price)

Prices accurate at time of writing

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  • 25% off all OAKLEY products – OAKLEY25

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Midwest Industries MLOK Handguard

This offering from Midwest has you swap your original handguard for one with MLOK capability while also giving your AK a more updated look.

The MLOK slots allow for flexibility. You can mount lights, grips, and even optics. (Photo: Gatdaily)

I used the older, discontinued Picatinny version of the Midwest Industries rail, and it secured all the attachments firmly, and the optic held zero.

PAP M92
PAP M92 with the older version of the Midwest Handguard

The newer MLOK models also offer quick detach points for use with your favorite sling. Different length models are also available.

Best AK Handguard
170

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing


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170
at Brownells

  • Brownells (See Price)
  • OpticsPlanet (See Price)

Prices accurate at time of writing

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  • 25% off all OAKLEY products – OAKLEY25

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4. Buttstocks

Again, there’s nothing wrong with the original stock…but I really like Magpul’s Zhukov.

Zhukov Buttstock
Zhukov Buttstock

It is length adjustable, foldable, and features a robust attachment system (make sure to follow the instructions). It also has the ability to accept a cheek riser that easily clamps into place, which is useful for those considering using optics.

Folded Zhukov Stock
Folded Zhukov Stock

Plus, it looks super cool when combo-ed with the Magpul MOE handguard since I think the Zhukov front (above) is too long.

PSAK Finish
PSAK with Magpul Zhukov stock and MOE handguard.

The Zhukov is my favorite AK stock as of now.

Best AK Stock
95

at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing


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95
at Palmetto State Armory

  • Palmetto State Armory (See Price)
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And if you’re in love with a specific AR-15 stock (Best AR-15 Stocks), you can get an adapter that allows your AK to use any of them that you like.

Best AR-15 Buttstocks
Best AR-15 Buttstocks

Here’s our go-to…

79

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

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  • 25% off all OAKLEY products – OAKLEY25

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5. Pistol Grip

I haven’t tried out too many aftermarket pistol grips for the AK, but I find them pretty similar to that of the AR-15s.

PSA AK-47
PSAK-47 with a Hogue grip.

Magpul MOE AK Grip

This keep-it-simple-stupid grip fills the hand better than the thinner stock AK grip, adds some texturing to the front and rear, and has a storage compartment.

Best AK Grip
17

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing


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17
at Brownells

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  • Palmetto State Armory (See Price)

Prices accurate at time of writing

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  • 25% off all OAKLEY products – OAKLEY25

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Hogue AK Grip

If you want to maximize the grippiness and like a more rubbery texture — I suggest the Hogue AK grip. The finger grooves and texturing provide an ultra-positive grip regardless of conditions.

24

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing


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24
at Brownells

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  • 25% off all OAKLEY products – OAKLEY25

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Strike Industries Featureless AK Grip

If you’re in a restricted state, we got you covered. The Strike Industries Featureless grip sports the unpopular but required fin for those who need state-compliant features.

PSAK-47, California Compliant
PSAK-47, California Compliant
14

at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

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  • 25% off all OAKLEY products – OAKLEY25

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6. AK Magazines

I love the old Bulgarian mags, but for new generation polymer magazines, Magpul’s Gen 3 PMAG is where it’s at. The AK versions of the PMAG have the same reliability and durability that their industry AR-15 counterparts do.

26

at GunMag Warehouse

Prices accurate at time of writing


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26
at GunMag Warehouse

  • GunMag Warehouse (See Price)
  • Palmetto State Armory (See Price)
  • Brownells (See Price)

Prices accurate at time of writing

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  • 25% off all OAKLEY products – OAKLEY25

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7. Piston

An over-gassed AK can cause premature wear and tear on the firearm itself, not to mention it can increase perceived recoil. So, it makes sense to prevent this by installing a new piston.

I recommend the KNS Precision Adjustable AK Piston. This is also a must-have for those who are considering suppressing their AK platform.

Best Upgrade for Suppressed AKs
135

at Rainier Arms

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons
  • 25% off all OAKLEY products – OAKLEY25

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8. Smaller Parts

AK Safety Latch

Finally, bolt hold open capability on the AK! This safety lever has a notch in the middle that allows you to flip the safety up when the bolt is held to the rear and lock it into place.

Krebs Safety Latch
Krebs Safety Latch
Best AK Safety Lever
62

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing


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62
at Brownells

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9. AK Muzzle Devices

The AK-47 kicks more than the AR-15 thanks to the 7.62x39mm cartridge. Although the standard slant brake is ok — it can always be better.

Slant AK Brake
Slant AK Brake

The PWS muzzle brake tames the AK’s native cartridge and makes shooting much more pleasant. I have an older PWS brake since I’ve run for years.

PWS AK Muzzle Brake, Old Version
PWS AK Muzzle Brake, Old Version

It tames the recoil and muzzle rise very well without adding too much mass or length to the end of the barrel.

85

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing


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85
at Brownells

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  • 25% off all OAKLEY products – OAKLEY25

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Have a shorter-barrelled AK? How about a can that pushes the blast forward? These make it easier on the shooter, and your range friends will thank you too.

Best Upgrade for Short AKs
32

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons
  • 25% off all OAKLEY products – OAKLEY25

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10. AK-47 Triggers

We end with a super important upgrade…the trigger.

Getting a better trigger (especially on an AK) is probably the best bang-for-the-buck upgrade for immediate accuracy improvements.

PSAK-47 Safety
ALG AK Trigger

On my AK, the ALG AKT Trigger brought my trigger weight down to 3.1 pounds and reduced the post and pre-travel — Amazing!

Plus, the installation was fairly easy.

Best AK Trigger
115

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

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  • 25% off all OAKLEY products – OAKLEY25

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The ALG trigger would also make a great addition to those running 9mm AKs, like the KUSA KP-9 (check our video review).

What’s your take on the ALG AK Enhanced Trigger? Rate it below.

Readers’ Ratings

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Your Rating?

Another option that yields a better overall trigger pull is the CMC Elite Trigger for the AK. This one does come at a much higher expense and potentially a much harder install (depending on your gun) than the ALG.

Best AK Drop-in Trigger
225

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing


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225
at Brownells

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Remember, the best way to see how much of an upgrade your trigger really was is to measure the weights before and after. Check out the Best Trigger Pull Gauges recommendations.

Final Thoughts

Let’s be real; customizing a gun is a very personaldecision.

So, while these are some of the PPT crew’s favorites, this is by no means a definitive list. There are a ton of other options out there for you when it comes to upgrades.

Upgraded AKs
Upgraded AKs

Whether you want to mount an optic affordably or fully trick out your AK to bring it to the 21st century, there’s an upgrade for it.

But hopefully, we’ve helped you narrow down the list a bit.

Anything else you’d add to the list? Let us know in the comments below. And if you’re looking at a new (or first) AK purchase, check out our Best AK-47 post. Or, now that you’ve got an optic mount, see our Best AR-15 Optics (since they are pretty much the same for AKs).