AK Pattern Rifles...the good, the bad, and the really, really bad.


So most of us have heard something like this before: “The AK47 is so cheap and easy to produce, that it can be manufactured by any 3rd world monkey with a hammer and some sheet metal.” (Or something along those lines).
The funny thing is, that in America where we have the best of everything to work with it seems extremely difficult to find a well-built AK variant.
We have seen barrel issues, rivet issues, trunnion issues, bolt and bolt carrier issues, canted sights etc, etc.

With that in mind, I’ve been thinking it would be good to start a thread where we can sort out the good from the bad.
AKOU does an excellent job of testing and reviewing AK pattern rifles and tends to be my go-to for any new info on currently produced variants.

So what say you? Which AKs are good to go…and more importantly which ones should you avoid like the plaque?

I know anything by I.O. Is pretty much junk…Arsenal and Saiga are generally good stuff. JRA is apparently coming out of the gate and falling flat on their face. Norinco and Poly Tech are pretty good and the ubiquitous WASR may be loved or hated depending on who you talk to, but they always go bang…not Kaboom. (Their factory is another story lol).

How about the others folks…chime in, let’s sort em out!

If this goes well, I’ll attempt to keep an updated list in this first post in order to make it easier to access for those interested:


Poly Tech
SAR-1 (7.62x39)
Definitive Arms
FEG (as long as it was not mangled by the importer)
Galil ACE
Zastava NPAP


James River Arsenal (JRA)
Century C39
Century RAS-47
Riley Defense

Really really bad.

Inter Ordinance AKA I.O. Inc
Lancaster Arms


Century VSKA




Well im looking foreward to Kalashnikov USA and CAA. Ive had less than good luck with Arsenal but good luck with a Saiga and a Wasr.


I have no personal experience with the Palmetto State Armory offerings, but I was having a discussion with my father in law yesterday about them. He heard they are a no-go from a buddy who got one. Does anyone have anything to say about them?

Mine is a Polish parts kit build from Gun Point out of Bradenton, FL. It sports a Nodak Spud receiver and honestly I couldn’t be happier with it. Fit and finish matches the Polish attention to detail. Almost no mag wobble. Tight underfolder stock- again almost no wobble. The Polish kits are getting harder to find. I’m glad I snagged this one.


What kind of issue have you experienced with Arsenal? Which model?


Bardzo ładnie


fhew, tall order, could be tricky

lets see

lets rule out all those with, right side charge…mmm…rock in mags…thumb mag release…sheet metal construction…mixed wood/plastic furniture…maybe grade school engravings…


sensing a troll badge looming… gtg


I have a Century import Cugir SAR-1. Shoots accurately (4MOA), no malfunctions. All ive done is thread the muzzle, add the romy folder, some magpul and its good for me…


@montzster You did all that and no picture? :wink:


I was overtaken by some honey-dos…just a tic…


How about this one instead: :clown_face::grin:


I also own a SAR-1, and in the past have owned a couple more. They have been solid guns, no issues for me…usually with better than average accuracy.
Nice one btw!


@montzster looks good! :+1:


Nice underfolder!
There were a lot of good small “manufacturers”/“kit assemblers” out there back in the glory days when the flood of cheap AK parts kits came in. There were also a bunch of crappy ones as well as good and bad garage builds.

AZEX arms used to be very good before they quit the business.

Lancaster arms made a run of good ones and then got so bad that no one wanted to touch one.


I lucked out and found a good one. Missed out on the parts kits though. Just like lots of stuff I kicked myself for not snagging a few. Didn’t make that mistake with the Sten MKII though. Ah the good ole days…


I have a 22 year old Wasr 10 that has been the most reliable rifle in my armory. This is him next to his under folder brother.


Love my WASR! Great gun!

Here’s mine in one of its many configurations:

And the SAR:


I had an Arsenal 106(5.56) , it had several issues the worst being an out of spec feed ramp.


Only true “AK” i own is an Arsenal…


And your only good one is a Galil…jk…