[Review] Palmetto State Armory (PSA) 9mm AKV: Innovation & Obstacles

An all-American AK chambered in 9mm?

Yes, please!

PSA AKV 9mm
PSA AKV 9mm

Palmetto State Armory first invited me mid-2018 to check out the prototype AKV which performed admirably.

PSA AKV 9mm & AKP 5.56
PSA AKV 9mm (R) & AKP 5.56 (L)

The first commercial production was released in December 2018 and we got our hands on one.  There’s been some problems.  However, the newest ones in April 2019 look to be running great.

730
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Read on to the full scoop.

**Update** 9/10/2019

AKOU has completed their 5,000-round update AND a 60-hour “swamp test” where they literally left the AKV underwater in a swamp for 60-hours.

It has passed with flying colors!

Even we’re impressed with how well the AKV has held up to the abuse that RoB Ski has put that poor pistol through. For the price point, you owe it to yourself to get one. or two. Also, PSA is actually producing them in decent numbers since finding them in stock won’t be so difficult!

**Update** 6/14/2019

AK Operators Union has published a 2,000-round update on their re-release AK-V – in Rob Ski’s own words “Thing just work!” in an incredibly positive review, Rob Ski details the truly brutal usage he has put his AK-V through and even after 24-hours soaking in a puddle and 2,000 rounds fired, it is running beautifully.

**Update** 4/9/2019

PSA has re-released the AK-V with several important changes to address the issues we (and others) found during testing. For a full rundown on the changes, take a look at PSA’s video and blog post!

We’re getting a new version of the AK-V sent to us soon and will bring you a fully updated review as soon as possible! So far, from what we hear the new version is working flawlessly!

Origin

The “V” comes from the Vityaz-SN 9mm submachine gun developed for Russian special forces that is based off the AKSU.

Vityaz-SN, Wikipedia
Vityaz-SN, Wikipedia

Here it is in action with Larry Vickers:

Since it’s impossible to get in the US…PSA engineers had to create it from the ground up based off only photos.

Vityaz at Interpolitex, Wikipedia
Vityaz at Interpolitex, Wikipedia

Props to PSA and their engineers for trying to create something semi-new…especially without a working model in front of them.

Design

The SB pistol brace worked well (and looks great).  Here’s the prototypes.

PSA AKV and AKP
PSA AKV and AKP

And the MOE production model we tested.

PSA AKV, Mag Catch
PSA AKV, Other Side

Plus it has a railed/hinged dust cover.

PSA AKV Dust Cover
PSA AKV Dust Cover

I thought I had a constructive design comment…but it turns out they already thought of a bolt catch system on the magwell.

PSA AKV Magwell
PSA AKV Magwell

Oh, and the magazines?

They use regular CZ Scorpion ones.

PSA AKV & Scorpion Mags
PSA AKV & Scorpion Mags

Plus now there’s some quality-feeling PSA versions.

PSA AKV with Scorpion Patterned Mags
PSA AKV with Scorpion Patterned Mags

Now what you’ve been waiting for…

How Does It Shoot?

Prototype

The prototype…we ran it hard with half a dozen writers and ~10 PSA folks.  I’m estimating near 1000 rounds at the end of the day.

HBH 100 Yard Range with Steel
HBH 100 Yard Range with Steel

There were some hiccups…but we found it to be with specific 3D printed magazines that had weaker springs to aid with feeding.

Otherwise…it ran like a champ.

Here’s me with my third magazine through the AKV…it was intuitive and easy to line up followup shots.

Light recoil even with a blowback system.  Even though it looks like it’s piston.

The red dot version made it easy for the plate rack and also 100 yard steel.

Production

We picked up a production blem version that would have been sold later so it wasn’t a “hero” gun or one they extensively tested.

It was awesome when it worked.

But there were fails through different mags and ammunition.  We used about 1000 rounds of white box Winchester and a couple hollowpoints.

PSA AKV with 9mm Defensive Ammo
PSA AKV with 9mm Defensive Ammo

The main fails we encountered were failures to eject and failures to go into battery.

Sometimes spent cases would get stuck…along with another live round.  It became commonplace to take out the mag and have an extra round (or two) fall out.

And sometimes there’d be the dreaded *click*.

We also got one or two instances of unintentional double-taps when we were going for precision shots and slowly pressed/released the trigger.

Our unconfirmed guess is that there’s something wrong with the following or a combination:

  • out of spec bolt…it looked like the firing pin and bolt face were not aligned
  • weak extractor
  • out of spec disconnector

Military Arms Channel seemed to have an even more problematic AKV where casings/rounds would get stuck behind the bolt.  Thankfully we didn’t have that problem since it seems REAL annoying.

MAC AKV Malfunction
MAC AKV Malfunction

See his full review for malfunctions galore…

Ok…so there’s some problems with reliability.  Let’s see its accuracy.

Accuracy

We added a 1-6x Strike Eagle (Best 1-6x Scopes).

PSA AKV with 1-6x Optic
PSA AKV with 1-6x Optic

And set up a 50 yard target.

PSA AKV Testing Range
PSA AKV Testing Range

And shot a lot of rounds semi-bench-rested.

PSA AKV Groups Testing
PSA AKV Groups Testing

Here are our results…

PSA AKV Groups, 50 Yards
PSA AKV Groups, 50 Yards

It’s…ok.  Of course I’d want it tighter but it’s perfectly fine for its intended purpose of close-range encounters.

Current Status

PSA could have gone silent and say it was a small batch that had problems…but they are owning it.

Here’s their public statement:

A few customers have brought to our attention that they are having feeding and extraction issues with their PSAK-V. We take all concerns and complaints about our products seriously. We did not run into these issues during the testing phase. We now believe we know what the issue is, and are making a fix now. We are bringing back for warranty those few production guns that did have an issue. We want you to have 100% trust in our firearms. Since these problems have been brought to our attention, we have temporarily ceased production of the PSAK-V until we are satisfied that any problem has been completely resolved. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. We are committed to producing 100% American made products that meet and exceed our customer’s expectations.

Conclusion

It definitely sucks that the first generation wasn’t flawless out the gate.

730
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

But if their PSAK series has anything to show…it’s that by Gen 2 and especially Gen 3 it becomes truly awesome.  Full review here.

PSAK-47
PSAK-47

I’ll be waiting to update my review when the fixed version becomes commercially available again.

What’s your thought?  Is it something you’d want once it’s fixed?  Or is it blasphemy?  In the meantime…check out our other PSA reviews.

PSA 5.56 & .223 Wylde
PSA 5.56 & .223 Wylde

16 Leave a Reply

  • Bob

    PSA has fixed and re designed some things. Gen 2 is being sold and produced. They can't keep them in stock for more than 30min a day! Grey, black and FDE also a side fold brace now. They are phenomenal Firearms. Go get one I love mine. Check 3-5pm on the site each day.

    4 months ago
  • SableLiger

    A friend of mine bought one and put it through its paces. He’s a Firearms Instructor for a LE agency (won’t mention which one), but he sold me on it right away; granted I already own an MP5 clone and a Colt 9mm SMG, I figured I’d get one as well and run it through its paces myself. Already pulled the trigger on mine and my intention is to convert it into a Vityaz-SN clone. Keep my fingers crossed.

    5 months ago
    • Eric Hung

      Good to hear your buddy's is so far so good!

      5 months ago
  • Adam

    I want one I can't wait until they iron out all the issues KRISS had issues with the first generation vector but gen 2 runs great

    8 months ago
  • Chris

    Whoever came up with the idea of making the AkV was right on point. A reliable, good looking 9mm braced pistol out of the box for $700ish had the potential to really corner the market. The closest competitor would be a Scorpion Evo 3 but once you add the brace and a new charging handle you are looking at $900. Not even going to talk about MPXs, Zeniths AKXs or PTRs. Now execution-wise... the amount of flailures was so big that they will really need to prove that they can deliver and do so quickly and they should also make it up to the affected customers. They should also explain what the problems were and how they fixed them (so far they haven't and I'm u sure they ever will) for us to trust them. We'll have to wait and see how serious they are.

    9 months ago
  • Cameron m white

    is this a standard ak trigger and standard ak handguard?

    10 months ago
    • Eric Hung

      Not 100% sure on the trigger (but probably) and yes to the standard handguard

      9 months ago
  • JitsuRN2NP

    Man, when is this coming out. I think I'll be getting this instead of a Scorpion.

    11 months ago
    • John

      No word on a hard date yet, but hopefully in time for the holiday season!

      11 months ago
  • Chris

    Did you get to try their upcoming MP5 clone as well? They are supposed to come out around the same time and I know I'll be torn in trying to make a choice.

    1 year ago
    • Eric Hung

      They didn't have one :-( but hopefully towards the end of 2019.

      9 months ago
  • Kyser

    The price needs to be ironed out. PSA on the AK files stated that another reviewer got the price wrong when she stated the Price to be about "price points according to furniture but will be under $1000 MSRP and likely about $799.99.." So what is the end price to the user going to be?

    1 year ago
  • Connor H

    Omg you just shouldered a brace!!! ; P that looks like a fun pistol. I have zero experience with PCC’s outside of Sub2k’s, are there any particular benefits to a 9mm AK vs. 9mm AR? Since neither is what the platform was originally designed for (blowback rather than DI/piston) is there any real advantage to one platform over the other? Also, is that an SBA3 brace? The cheekweld on those is better than mid level Magpul stocks IMO. Love that brace.

    1 year ago
    • Eric Hung

      Shhhhhh...definitely fun! And great questions...I'll ask the PSA engineers when they get closer to production time and iron out the kinks. It certainly looks like the SBA3. I remember hearing it could also be a custom one made for PSA by SB. I'll find out soon too.

      1 year ago
  • G Willackers

    After seeing PSA'S video on this a while back I decided I'm going to get one of these instead of an AR-9. Hopefully PSA makes a boatload of them before the launch date.

    1 year ago
    • Eric Hung

      Yup, I'm hoping they are ready for the rush. You can also get both, lol.

      1 year ago
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