Hand-Picked Daily GUN DEALS, and Exclusive Coupons Codes >>>
We select and review products independently. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commission, which help support our testing. Learn more.

Best AK Alternatives: Rifles Chambered in 7.62×39 and 5.45×39

Want that sweet shooting of a 7.62x39 or 5.45 but don't want to mess with the AK design? Check out some 7.62 and 5.45 alternatives that ditch the AK style.

    As much as I like the AK as a rifle, I think I like the 7.62×39 round a bit more than the actual rifle…and I like the 5.45×39 more than I like the AK.

    PSA AK-47
    PSA AK-47

    Both rounds are super handy in their own way. One offers a lot of power within a few hundred yards, and the other gives you very light recoil and muzzle rise with decent range.

    But what happens if you want to keep the 7.62 or 5.45 but ditch the old AK duds?

    Assorted 7.62x39 (FMJ, Open, Soft, FMJ)
    Assorted 7.62×39 (FMJ, Open, Soft, FMJ)

    Well, you’re in luck. I gathered a variety of AK alternatives that offer the rounds we love but without the AK style.

    Summary of Our Top Picks

    1. Editor's 7.62 Pick

      CMMG Banshee MK47

      7.62 chambering, easy to use mags

    2. Best PDW

      Maxim Defense PDX

      7.62 chambering, compact

    3. Ban State Friendly

      Ruger Mini Thirty

      7.62 chambering, can be used in some ban states

    4. Best Roller Delayed

      PTR-32 KFR

      7.62 chambering, roller-delayed action

    5. Easiest Breakdown

      M+M M10X

      7.62 chambering, Uses hinge system to breakdown

    6. Best 5.45 Pick

      IWI Galil ACE Gen 2

      7.62 and 5.45 chambering, modular design

    So, keep reading to see what I’ve come up with.

    Table of Contents


    Best 7.62 Chambered AR-15s & More

    Before we dive in, I have a rule…We’re sticking to rifles still in production.

    Though I love the Sig 556R — it’s a great little rifle — Sig abandoned it. I also thought about adding the SKS, but it doesn’t meet that rule either.  

    So, with that in mind, here we have what I think are the best AK alternatives.

    1. CMMG MK47

    ARs in the x39 cartridges aren’t too rare, especially if you take the .30 cal route. However, they do present a somewhat awkward design with weird magazines.

    What if you want the controls and most of the ergonomics of an AR without the magazine issue?

    CMMG Banshee MK47 Flat
    CMMG MK47

    Well, then CMMG has you covered via the MK47 — an AR-15 design utilizing AK-47 magazines.

    Alongside the AK mags, we get the rock and roll reload and lack of an LRBHO, but an ambidextrous AK-type magazine release.

    The MK47 comes as both a pistol and a rifle and is outfitted with a brace or stock, respectively.

    CMMG Banshee MK47 Front End

    This gun comes with all the fancy features you expect. It includes a full-length M-LOK rail system and a nice brake. And CMMG manufactures them in every color you could think of.

    One of the big advantages this rifle offers over an AK is better accuracy. On top of that, slapping an optic on the top is super easy.

    CMMG Banshee MK47
    CMMG Banshee MK47

    The MK47 has proven to be a reliable and fun option for those looking for a 7.62×39 rifle outside the realm of the AK.

    Plus, magazine availability is nice. Not to mention, magazines can often hamper reliability when done incorrectly. Using an established and proven magazine platform takes some of that worry away.

    at Kygunco

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    PPT contributor Johnny B did a full review of the CMMG MK47, so be sure to read it here!

    2. Maxim Defense PDX 7.62×39

    If you really want the standard AR-15 experience, then Maxim Defense has you covered.

    The Maxim Defense PDX is a PDW-style AR pistol or SBR that uses a short 5.5-inch barrel topped with Maxim Defense’s own HATEBRAKE.

    Maxim Defense PDX (Photo: Shooting Illustrated)

    They use all caps, but with the name HATEBRAKE, you might agree it’s appropriate.

    It’s super short, super lightweight, and loud! The short barrel doesn’t hold anything back, and it’s vicious.

    You’ll appreciate the linear compensator design as it takes the noise and blast and makes it a problem for someone downrange.

    Front view of the HATEBRAKE. (Photo: Maxim Defense)

    Maxim Defense has done a fantastic job of making short rifles and AR pistols work and work well.

    A PDW-style setup that keeps things compact. Not only is it all AR, with AR magazines, but it’s also short and light.

    We get a lot of modern features, including an ambidextrous safety and magazine release, as well as a massive charging handle. Everything about the gun is premium, and it shows.

    Best PDW
    at GrabAGun

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    The only real downside is dealing with the weird and occasionally hard-to-find 7.62×39 AR-15 magazines. Even then, the ASC models have proven reliable and typically priced okayish.

    3. Ruger Mini Thirty

    The Ruger Mini-14 series is the classic 5.56 rifle we all know, but its bigger brother, the Mini Thirty, kicks things up a notch with the 7.62x39mm cartridge.

    These more traditional rifles tend to avoid bans and are easy to make compliant to avoid violating AWB laws.

    Ruger Mini-Thirty
    Ruger Mini-Thirty

    The Ruger Mini Thirty keeps the semi-automatic action, and it tends to be a soft shooter. They also tend to be quite reliable as well.

    Inside the gun sits a long-stroke gas piston very similar to the M1 design. They aren’t fancy and won’t win any accuracy competitions, but they can be fairly light.

    Light means handy, and handy is nice.

    Despite the platform’s shortcomings, the Mini rifles remain popular due to their handiness. (Photo: u/WolSoul)

    In the 7.62x39mm, the Mini Thirty provides a handy deer and predator rifle. The name Ranch rifle described these weapons well, and they make for useful tools within a couple of hundred yards.

    They’ve been kicking around for years, and, as such, the aftermarket for them is quite nice — stocks, optic mounts, and more are available.

    Ban State Friendly
    at GrabAGun

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    Outside of accuracy, a big downside is the lack of affordable magazines. Sadly, the Ruger series utilizes a proprietary magazine that isn’t always cheap.

    4. CZ Bren 2

    The CZ Bren 2 Ms series of rifles and pistols brings CZ’s design to the Bren platform.

    CZ’s original Bren was built to military specifications, but the Bren 2 Ms series allowed them to build the Bren they wanted. This included the option for a 7.62x39mm variant.

    CZ Bren 2 MS Carbine
    CZ Bren 2 MS Carbine

    CZ’s Bren 2 Ms comes in numerous barrel variants, and the 7.62×39 variant gets the blessing of 14, 11, and 9-inch pistol variants.

    The Bren Ms 2 gives you a light rifle and a modern gun in the x39. A hefty use of polymer keeps the weight low and allows for a different degree of modularity. CZ’s model with the 14-inch barrel weighs only 5.86 pounds!

    This gun gives x39 shooters an ambidextrous safety, magazine release, and bolt release that sits in the trigger guard.

    CZ Bren 2 MS Carbine
    CZ Bren 2 MS Carbine

    Its charging handle is nonreciprocating and can be reversed for use on either side. Ergonomically it’s very modern with a sound design.

    The magazine offers an AK-like look, but it’s a proprietary design that embraces the 7.62 round. Its familiar curve ensures the rounds feed properly, while the proprietary design allows the magazine to feed directly into the magazine well.

    at Kygunco

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    Magazines tend to be about $30 a pop, too — a downside, but you do get modern features that the AK series can’t provide.

    5. PTR-32 KFR

    Hey kids, do you like HK roller-delayed battle rifles…you know, like the G3, the HK91, and the PTR-91? Of course, you do!

    Do you like the price of 308…, especially when these weapons tend to mangle the brass? Of course, you don’t!

    Enter the PTR-32 chambered in 7.62×39. This gives you that Cold War-era German rifle in the eastern Russian round, complete with AK-47 magazine compatibility.

    The PTR-32 comes with standard G3-style furniture and those Cold War ergonomics. Those HK drum sights are present, and PTR tosses on a Keymod handguard or a standard aluminum style. It’s up to you.

    Popular 7.62x39 Ammo
    Popular 7.62×39 Ammo

    The barrel is a trim 16 inches, and an optics rail allows you to avoid using one of those ridiculous Claw mounts.

    This model provides a very soft shooting 7.62×39…mostly because the thing weighs 10 pounds. I mean, it’s still a rifle designed to shoot .308, so it makes sense.

    It’s hefty, and it’s certainly not friendly for left-handers, but heck, it came straight out of the Cold War. What can we expect?

    Best Roller Delayed
    at GrabAGun

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    What do you think of the PTR-32? Let us know by rating it below.

    Readers' Ratings

    5.00/5 (520)

    Your Rating?

    6. M+M M10X

    What happens when you mix an AR, an AK, and a FAL? Well, you get the unappreciated M10X from M+M.

    The M10X uses design influences from the world’s three most well-used rifles to form some truly different.

    M+M M10X

    This gun opts for AK magazines with a futuristic AK style. It features a monolithic upper receiver, ambi safety, charging handle, and magazine release.

    Taking apart the weapon is easy, and it hinges open like a FAL.

    Takedown is slightly different than an AK, but welcome.

    Inside, the gas system also resembles the FAL or Sig 55X series rifles — it’s robust, simple, and reliable. Shooters can use AK stocks, and the rifle even comes with the super sweet Zhukov stock.

    At the front end sits a nice M-LOK rail system that compliments the huge optics rail very well.

    These guns are really sweet shooters, and they are seriously underappreciated. If you like the AK, you’ll love the M10X!

    Easiest Breakdown
    at GrabAGun

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    Heck, if you like rifles in general, you’ll appreciate this rock-solid, handy, and well-made little carbine. The downside is that it’s a small manufacturer, which makes availability rather limited.

    Best 5.45 Chambered AR-15s & More

    Before we get to the not-so-wild card, let’s talk about the ability to chamber 5.45 in an AR-15. It’s entirely possible, and the 5.45 round is perfectly suited for the AR platform.

    It’s not that different from the 5.56 and works in standard AR-15 platforms.

    Left to right: Wolf 5.45x39mm, 7N6, .223 Rem
    Left to right: Wolf 5.45x39mm, 7N6, .223 Rem

    Sadly, there aren’t a ton of options out there for a factory AR-74 variant. I only know one company that produces AR-74 uppers, but they seem to have bad business practices, so I can’t suggest them.

    However, you can use a standard multi-cal lower and upper, a 5.45 BCG, and a 5.45 barrel.

    A company called Dead Shot Barrels makes tons of 5.45 barrels in just about any length you’d want.

    From there, you’ll need mags. Reportedly some 5.56 mags will work, but you can only partially load them for proper function.

    Skip the stress. Both ASC and AR-Stoner produce magazines for the 5.45 cartridge. It’s a bit simpler.

    This way, you get the AR platform’s enhanced ergonomics, accuracy, reliability, and modularity with the fun 5.45 cartridge.

    It’s a long route to take to an intermediate-caliber AR, but it’s a path you’re free to walk down.

    7. IWI Galil ACE Gen 2

    I know, I’m kinda cheating. It’s easy to call the Galil an AK with some fancy ergonomics. Yet, I think it’s still different enough to count, right?

    Galil ACE Gen 2 Shooting
    Galil ACE Gen 2

    Maybe not, but it bears mentioning that the Galil ACE Gen 2 comes in 7.62×39 and 5.45×39. And they aren’t quite AK-like.

    They come in pistol and rifle variants with braces or stocks, respectively. The brace or stock folds to the side with ease, resulting in a compact package.

    Plus, they are so much more modular than any AK platform.

    Galil ACE Gen 2
    Galil ACE Gen 2

    Across the top, we get a proper optic rail for mounting all the red dots, LPVOs, and prisms you could ever dream of. The handguard offers awesome modularity as well. It’s a big, long M-LOK rail for mounting all the kitchen sinks, cup holders, lights, lasers, and fidget spinners you could ever want.

    IWI did a fantastic job of taking the Galil into the modern world.

    This includes improved ergonomics, including a left-side charging handle and a safety you can access via the thumb without breaking your firing grip.

    Best 5.45 Pick
    at Kygunco

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    You get all the AK reliability without any of the terrible AK ergonomics.

    Plus, it’s the only rifle on this list that comes in both big x39 cartridges.

    Check out Johnny B’s review of the IWI Galil Gen 2 Ace, or watch his full video breakdown below.

    Final Thoughts

    The AK is a legend in its own right — a rifle that still serves in dozens of countries to this day. That said, in the good old United States of America, we have options.

    CMMG Banshee MK47 Shooting
    CMMG Banshee MK47

    As you can see, we have lots and lots of alternatives for those who love the various AK rounds but might not have a love for the rifle itself.

    What’s your fave AK alternative? Let us know in the comments below. If you want an AK after all, make sure to peep our Best AK-47 Complete Buyer’s Guide.

    The Best Gun Deals, Coupons and Finds

    Subscribe to Pew Pew Tactical's sales and deals email.

    11 Leave a Reply

    • Commenter Avatar

      Colt AR15 ,in 7.62,x39 . USe ASC 28 OR 30 round stainless steel magazines. You can replace the upper with just about any caliber if you want to.

      July 17, 2023 10:18 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Chuck Cochran

      Back when I first got into the MSR platforms, roughly 15 years ago, I did a lot of research between ARs and AKs on what was available at that time. I'd no ontetest in 5.45 x 39, as there's no practical advantage to it. I do like the 7.62 X 39 though. However, what makes the AK such a reliable gun, mainly it's looser tolerances, also makes it a less accurate gun. Being an old Bolt guy, accuracy is at the top of the list.
      At that time, I believe most of the guns featured here (a couple of exceptions), were on the market yet, the couple that were available, were beyond my means. I'd point out, that even today, except for the Mini 30, everything shown is way over the $1000 mark.
      Now, there's a lot more choices than they were back then. I even toyed with the idea of just getting a 7.62 upper. Ammunition availability though, settled that Mental debate. In my neck of the woods, 7.62 Soviet, isn't real popular. At the LGSs, all 8 stores only keep a small inventory. As I don't buy a lot online (I prefer paying cash, F**k the government, they don't need to know what I'm buying), very much, 90% of my purchases are local.
      When the time came to do my first build 8 years back, caliber cgoice it was between 7.62 Sov. or .300 AAC/BO (7.62 X 35). Once again, availability determined my choice, so .300 BO is how I went, and I've been very pleased with that.
      I have helped a friend with his gun, and he chose 7.62 Sov. He's happy as a clam at high tide with it, so I agree that it is indeed an option for those not 100% happy with 5.56, and not wanting to go full .308/7.62 x51 and the bigger brother platform.
      Nice to see so many manufacturers giving buyers the option.

      July 16, 2023 7:18 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      David Boerboom

      5.45x39 is actually superior to 5.56N ... Or well, very well could be... I wish the M+M m10x was available in 5.45... I also wish more ppl would start using it...

      July 16, 2023 6:22 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Chuck Cochran

        How so? The 5.56 edges out the 5.45 in muzzle energy and muzzle velocity. Availability, is hit and miss at best, and It costs far more.
        The only advantage I see it has, is a reduction in perceived recoil.

        July 16, 2023 6:42 pm
        • Commenter Avatar
          David Boerboom

          As for how we perceive & understand 5.45 currently, yes... you're right. ... Availability is abysmal, cost is redonkulous... Performance....?

          Well, you're right again... But, it doesn't have to be that way... 5.56 edges it out, because 'we' only reference cheap bulk loads made to maximize the manufacturers bottom dollar.

          The 5.45 def has more powder capacity... Also, is an ever so slightly smaller projectile...in a similar weight, it would edge out the 5.56 in coefficient.... And very well could edge it out on velocity, as well... Not to mention, 'better' case design for improved reliability...just like it's big brother...but then you still have the curved mag problem.. also, keep in mind, most all the ballistic data we see on 5.56 is from a 20" barrel...or even a 24" barrel, for some of the fancier factory loads... 5.45 is done on 16"...., Usually.

          So, if you were handloading; 5.45 could be whatever you wanted it to be (especially for bolt action)..... Save for one stumbling block... Projectiles. There's not a lot of options..

          Hence, if more people started using it; popularity would breed more innovation...

          I guess you could always neck a 5.45 case up to 5.56 for the powder capacity...and the shape.. but.. loose the tiny gains in coefficient.

          July 16, 2023 9:19 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      PSA KS-47

      July 16, 2023 5:33 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Where vz58?

      April 25, 2022 2:24 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        David Boerboom

        **still in production?

        July 16, 2023 6:22 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Joe Nunzio

      Bought a Diamondback DB15 Pistol 7.62 X 39 10" Barrel MPN#: DB15P47DS10B last fall for >$1K OTD in order to take advantage of the seemly eternal abundance of the ammo. Put a red dot & magnifier on the rail to cowitness with the MBUS that came with it. Won't run steel in this AR because it's not an AK, but the brass ammo is still an inexpensive and easily sourced alternative. It's not my favorite AR. However, it's lightweight with very manageable recoil, reliably accurate out to 100 yards, and so far has run like a champ. IMHO - This firearm should be considered herein as well.

      April 25, 2022 11:51 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Dan Calhoun

      The most I paid for a firearm is $471 for the ATI BP12FDE. Over the past 2 years I've done 4 builds. The other 3 are H-PT 109 with everything & more. 109 RDs of 45+P Liberty16# PCC good to 700yds. Matching H-P 45 Pistol in a dropleg tac holster holds 4 extra mags & 2 flashbangs. My '60 F'N BAR & Nordic +9 tube has 14 Wolfhill APIs. All are WL/LAZ sighted. Got OTBs 4595 & an Emperor Blackhawk to patrol with the 6x6 Ranger here. My CC is a 117yo H&R 38 S&W CTGE. hammerless in a Sticky #5 pocket protector.

      April 24, 2022 7:58 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Tommy M

      But...what if I like the AK? I just want to stick my trigger finger somewhere else sometimes. I'm 7.62 curious, if you will ;)

      April 24, 2022 4:19 pm
    Join the community! Log in
    Please provide a valid email address.
    Password is required.
    Please provide a valid display name.
    Please provide a valid email address.
    The password should contain at least 8 characters with at least one number or special character.
    Please accept in order to continue.
    Trouble logging in?
    Type your email address and we’ll send you a link to reset your password.
    Please provide a valid email.
    Type your new password and hit button below to confirm it.
    Field is required.
    Account already exists
    We already have an account registered for email address () which is linked to your Facebook account.
    To log in type your Pew Pew Meter password below.
    Field is required.
    Account already exists
    We noticed that you have previously logged in with your Account which is linked to the same email address () - we can link both of your accounts together.
    In order to link your accounts, hit button below and log in to your Account with the same email as above.

    Account in Pew Pew Tactical means more.

    Login or create a free account to get the following
    Access and save hundreds of reviews, gun guides, and articles!
    Find the best daily deals on guns, gear, and ammo
    Manage your newsletter subscriptions and comments
    pew pew tactical logo

    new here?

    Personalize your experience.
    Select what level shooter you are!

    pew pew tactical logo

    level up your gun knowledge

    Thanks! We'll send you the latest guides and training tips geared towards your level.

    pew pew tactical logo


    You'll now receive newsletters of our best articles on techniques, guns & gear.

    $47 value

    yours free!

    targets targets

    practice targets

    printer icon printable

    our 9 favorite targets and drills


    practice targets

    printer icon printable

    enter your email to download

    We'll only use the information provided according to our privacy policy.

    success icon

    Ready to Download

    Click below to begin your download

    download pdf