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

Want the most out of your AK? We cover everything from optics mounts to triggers, muzzle devices and more. By the end you'll have the AK of your dreams.

Want to make your AK-47 even better?

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.

  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.

  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?

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

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

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

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

Available Coupons

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

Available Coupons

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

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

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

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

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

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

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

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

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

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

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

Available Coupons

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

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

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

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

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

Available Coupons

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.

Available Coupons

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

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

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

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.

Available Coupons

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

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

Available Coupons

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

4.99/5 (1385)

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

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

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 personal decision.

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).

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34 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Vlad

    Nyet, rifle is fine.

    September 16, 2022 8:59 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Insert Random Words

    Thoughts on Sabrewrks KOP?

    September 16, 2022 3:44 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Bull o' the Woods

    The AK is inferior in every way to the AR. The AK's only advantage was cheap Russian ammo. Now that the government has banned import of cheap ammo, the AK has lost its mojo and indeed its raison d'être. In ~2004-2005, the opposite was true. Cheap AK parts kits (with barrels) were flooding the market and cheap Combloc ammo was everywhere, but 5.56 and 7.62 NATO ammo was impossible to find, allegedly due to the "Global War on Terror." As a shooter, I hate the fact that the government can manipulate the market so easily and whipsaw customers. What's the solution? Buy it cheap, stack it deep, and have something for every major caliber, which is an unnecessary and unreasonable burden on shooters.

    September 15, 2022 4:15 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Alternator

      You have been abducted by a cult. But, hey, FREE KOOL-AID!

      September 19, 2022 8:52 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Taap Outdoors

    Amazing blog! we have decided to buy some firearms before purchasing these firearms, we consult with Taapoutdoors about the firearms and we bought some tools from them. We got some information from some blogs and our experience was amazing.

    September 15, 2022 10:53 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Yurii

    Please price

    June 27, 2022 9:49 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Kevin

    Dang, the alg trigger has doubled in price since this article

    March 19, 2022 9:30 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Panda

    What about a underfolder? Is there a specific stock?

    March 17, 2022 2:50 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Evan

    I have a question, I want to get a magpul Zhukov stock for my ZPAP Serbian m70, and I want to make sure I get the right one, one of them is a regulak stock the other is a yugo stock.

    January 20, 2022 4:16 pm
  • 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
      Sean Tyler

      And your still stuck with a jam matic poodle shooter instead of a real rifle.

      December 13, 2021 8:25 pm
  • 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
      Drew

      SLR GOR THE WIN!! I went with SLR hand guard and gas tube, FAB defense receiver/dust cover. It’s super sexy and functional as a mfer.

      December 19, 2021 11:19 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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