10 Best AK-47 Upgrades [2019 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 and here are our favorite AK-47 upgrades that 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.

Table of Contents

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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’s a couple 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.

115
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Midwest Industries AK 30mm Scope Mount

And…if you’re going with a low power scope (Best 1-6x Scopes) that uses 30mm rings…you can get Midwest’s Scope Mount.

Bunch of 1-6x Scopes
Bunch of 1-6x Scopes

Again…saves weight from the Picatinny option and lowers the optic for an easier cheekweld.

145
at Amazon

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.

95
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

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.

100
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

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

6. AK Magazines

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

8. Smaller Parts

Retaining Plate

If you take apart the internals or swap out a trigger…I really like swapping out the pins with a one-piece retaining plate.

It’s cheap and keeps everything together.

Best Shepherd's Crook Replacement
8
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

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.

Need a flash hider?  There’s not too many choices out there but I like AAC’s which utilizes the tried and true triple prong.

54
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

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. 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 lb 1 oz 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?

Readers' Ratings

4.99/5 (236)

Your Rating?

Another option which 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

Conclusion

There you have it…our best AK-47 upgrades with a couple of choices each.

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.

Anything else you’d add onto the list…or how have these upgrades affected your rifle’s performance?  And…if you’re looking at a new (or first) AK purchase…check out our Best AK-47 post. 

A Couple AR-15 Optics
A Couple AR-15 Optics

Or now that you’ve got an optic mount…check out our Best AR-15 Optics (since they are pretty much the same for AKs)

11 Leave a Reply

  • Jerzy

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

    11 months ago
  • Matthew

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

    11 months ago
  • 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.

    11 months ago
    • 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.

      11 months ago
    • Eric Hung

      Thanks for the recs!

      11 months ago
  • 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!

    11 months ago
    • Eric Hung

      Will do thanks for the recs!

      11 months ago
  • John KY

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

    11 months ago
    • Eric Hung

      Lol, best comment yet

      11 months ago
  • Mr.Try Hard

    Definitely loving the increase in AK related articles.

    11 months ago
    • Eric Hung

      We'll keep em coming!

      11 months ago
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