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

Want to make your AK-47 even better?

3 Upgraded AK-47s
3 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.

Best AK-47 Upgrades

1. AK Scope Rails

One of the biggies…you can finally mount some optics and scopes to your AK. If you have a side scope mount

PSAK Scope Attachment
AK Scope Mount

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.

Very secure and adjustable quick detach method…although my recommendation is to really read the instructions. You don’t want it TOO tight and the disengagement system is a little hard to figure out initially.

So far so good with the zero when taking it on and off to access the internals…at least with a red dot.

Best AK Scope Mounting System
110
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Midwest Industries AK 30MM Side Mount

If you’re rocking a 30mm red dot like our favorite Aimpoint Pro (full review)…you can skip some weight of a Picatinny rail.

109
at OpticsPlanet

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Cheaper Option

Disclaimer…I haven’t tried this out but I know some of you out there are looking for more budget options that have decent reviews.

43
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

2. Gas Tube Optics Mounts

I’ve used the option of replacing the gas tube with a mount 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 (boooo) or opt for a good optic like the Aimpoint H-1 I have above (Best Red Dots).

It also places the optic a little farther up which gives you a great field of view but makes it a little harder to acquire the dot. No problem if you have a proper cheekweld though.

Ultimak AK Optic Mount

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

Midwest Industries AK Gas Block Mount

Midwest has come out with their version which features an adjustable nut that makes install really easy. I’m testing out mine so I’ll update…but so far so good.

3. Handguards

The OG versions work well…and there’s those that find anything but the regular wood furniture is blasphemy.

But I love my polymer furniture!

Magpul AK Handguard

Magpul AK Handguard
Magpul AK Handguard

Proper length, gives you access to M-LOK, and holds up to the heat.

Best Polymer AK Handguard
35
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Midwest Industries Railed Handguard

Another few options from Midwest to give you rail access up front while giving your AK a more updated look.

PAP M92
PAP M92 with Midwest Handguard

Or if you don’t need quadrails…go for the M-LOK option.

Best AK Handguard
160
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

4. Buttstocks

There’s nothing wrong with the original…but I really like Magpul’s Zhukov.

Zhukov Buttstock
Zhukov Buttstock

It is length adjustable AND foldable. And with a robust attachment system (make sure to follow the instructions).

Folded Zhukov Stock
Folded Zhukov Stock

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

PSAK Finish
PSAK Finish

My favorite stock right now.

Best AK Side-Folding Buttstock
95
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

And if you’re in love with a specific AR-15 stock (Best AR-15 Stocks)…you can get an adapter.

Best AR-15 Buttstocks
Best AR-15 Buttstocks

Here’s our go-to…

63
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

5. Pistol Grip

I haven’t tried out too many pistol grips for the AK…but it’s pretty similar to AR-15s.

PSA AK-47
PSA AK-47

Magpul MOE AK Grip

The keep-it-simple-stupid grip that gets rid of finger grooves.

23
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Hogue AK Grip

If you like the best grip with a rubbery texture…I suggest the Hogue.

21
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Strike Industries Featureless AK Grip

And if you’re in a restricted state…

PSAK-47, California Compliant
PSAK-47, California Compliant
9
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

6. AK Magazines

I love the old Bulgarian mags for but for new generation polymer magazines I like Magpul’s Gen 3 versions.

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.

135
at Rainier Arms

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

8. Smaller Parts

AK Safety Latch

Finally gives you bolt hold open capability!

Krebs Safety Latch
Krebs Safety Latch
Best AK Safety Lever
62
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

9. AK Muzzle Devices

The AK-47 kicks more than the AR-15…and though the slant brake is ok…it can always be better.

Slant AK Brake
Slant AK Brake

I like the PWS since I’ve run an older version the longest…

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

It tames the recoil and muzzle rise very well.

Or how about a compensator that pushes the blast forward…especially good if you have teammates and a shorter barrel. Your range friends will thank you too.

30
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

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 results.

PSAK-47 Safety
ALG AK Trigger

For mine…the ALG AK Trigger brought down my AK trigger to 3.1 pounds and reduced the post and pre-travel. Amazing!

Plus, it’s not that big of a pain to install.

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

Readers' Ratings

4.99/5 (1097)

Your Rating?

Another option that yields a better overall trigger pull…but at a much higher expense and potentially a much harder install (depending on your gun).

Best AK Drop-in Trigger
225
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

To get the best trigger pull, check out the Best Trigger Pull Gauges recommendations.

Conclusion

Let’s be real, customizing a gun is a very personal decision.

So, while these are some of the PPT’s crew favorites, this is by no means the 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).

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23 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Sean

    For those keeping it simple with iron sight, you should check out the Tech-Sight adjustable aperture rear sight and replacement top cover. The sight mounts at the rear of the receiver where it belongs, increases the sight radius. Outstanding addition to an AK truck gun.

    November 17, 2021 4:48 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    sound awake

    so now that its been established that a $750 to $1500 ak requires at least $200 to $250 in additional parts for it to do what any bare bones plain jane ar 15 does right out of the box...
    here is the list i compiled of the best ak add ons by far:
    1 bear creek arsenal ar 15 complete upper chambered in 7.62x39 with mlok rail - $250
    2 palmetto state armory ar 15 complete lower with enhanced polished trigger $200

    November 17, 2021 7:47 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Jason

    SLR and J-MAC make the sexiest stuff for this platform IMHO. Great content as usual!

    November 16, 2021 10:06 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Patrick

    Article is great! I've gotta know what kind of camo pattern you used on the top AK.

    November 15, 2021 4:39 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Tom Stinson

    Thanks Eric. However, the featureless pistol grip photo is for an AR not an AK.

    July 29, 2021 2:55 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Alpha AF

    this is article garbage except for the brake and trigger.

    June 24, 2021 7:37 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Alpha AF

      this article is*

      June 24, 2021 7:39 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Patrick

    I've got a Norinco MAK90 from back in the 90s. Shoots as smooth as butta. Never liked the hardware though. I'm seeing plenty of items out there, but seem to always get tripped up by the upper receiver attachment for stocks. Any recommendations out there? (Already own several USA products, thank you)

    September 26, 2020 11:02 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Patrick

    What happened to item 7?

    July 18, 2020 4:57 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Bull o' the Woods

    How do the Midwest rail systems stand up to heat? Have to wear gloves? The Russian Molot AK grip is popular for those with large hands (if you can find one). I'm running the RS Regulate scope mount and it seems to work well but it is almost too adjustable. It is a two-piece affair with a bunch of screws that must be perfectly aligned and then Loctited securely. The add-on which seems to be getting the most press lately is the KNS Precision Adjustable Gas Piston. I have one on order. Allows you to custom-tune the gas settings and is essential for those running suppressors. I tried a Texas Weapons System top cover and found the aluminum too soft. Very delicate piece of kit that is easily deformed on installation (don't ask me how I know). The TWS product is not sufficiently robust to run on the AK platform. Stick to the side scope mount. I run a standard AK-100 side-folding stock and the length of pull is perfect for me. While the triangle side-folder looks way more cool, the full stock is far more comfortable to shoot.

    May 26, 2020 6:43 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Matt

    Everything is upgradeable and its mostly a matter of preference but my top picks are 1. CMC trigger 2. Texas Weapons Top Cover 3. Iron Claw Tactical Magwell 4. KNS Precision Adjustable Gas Piston and 5. Krebs MKVII Safety Selector. I have upgraded other things but I think these are what make my AK what it is.

    January 24, 2020 6:07 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Jerzy

    Anyone ,Im looking for barrel clamp on mossberg 930 spx.So far Im not sure what choice I have.

    October 29, 2018 2:28 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Matthew

    Eric, why do you think the full-length Magpul Zhukov handguard is "too long"? Is it an aesthetics issue or something else?

    October 21, 2018 2:48 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Xochitl

    RS Regulate blows Midwest Industries junk out of the water. MI scope mount is garbage and unusable on any AKM - won’t fit due to rear sight or sits back too far to view.

    There’s a lot more out there than what’s listed and feel this is luke warm at best from an informational and practical perspective. TWS products are nice but I’ve experienced shift in zero so can’t recommend them. Longer sight radius is offset by loss of range adjustments.

    Troy and VLTOR handguard options are sweet and rival MI. Troy also makes a railed gas tube option.

    October 18, 2018 10:33 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Eric Hung

      Thanks for the recs!

      October 18, 2018 10:40 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Warrenhontas

      I am a bit disappointed with my 2 piece drop in Mlok handguard from Midwest Industries on my AR upper. There’s a bit of play and rattle, and I know the upper is good. It’s not terrible but I am a bit ocd and it’s enough to bother me at times. The Magpul MOE was much tighter (pain in the butt to take off without the handguard tool actually). I don’t want to make this upper low profile for free float either.

      October 19, 2018 7:23 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      smurf211

      I have a MI mount on PSA AK with 1x6 ACSS scope. No problems whatsoever. Returns to zero every time. Works fine, last a long time. Added a .75 in cheek riser to the Z MOE stock.

      December 24, 2019 7:09 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Patrick

    Great article, definitely look into the Texas Weapon Systems Dog Leg Rail, Gen-3 - AKM, AK-47 / 74. I have it on two rifles and it is rock solid when mounted and makes mounting and getting a good cheek weld really easy. Not really added bulk/ weight and you can easily swing your dust cover up and off to field strip without any difficulty. No crazy drilling holes required either!

    October 18, 2018 8:20 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Eric Hung

      Will do thanks for the recs!

      October 18, 2018 10:39 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    John KY

    Best upgrade to the commie AK? An AR, you're welcome. America, love it or leave it.

    October 18, 2018 7:47 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Eric Hung

      Lol, best comment yet

      October 18, 2018 10:39 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Mr.Try Hard

    Definitely loving the increase in AK related articles.

    October 18, 2018 3:50 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Eric Hung

      We'll keep em coming!

      October 18, 2018 10:39 pm
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