[Review] Palmetto State Armory (PSA) 9mm AKV: Long Journey

An all-American AK chambered in 9mm?

Yes, please!

Man, has this been a long time in the making though.

Palmetto State Armory first invited Eric in 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) — prototypes from 2018

The first commercial production was released in December 2018 and we got our hands on one. But we, like others, found that there were… problems.

But now…they are ALL FIXED.

819
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Check out the video below or read on to see if the AK-V is right for you.

Either way though, don’t forget to subscribe to the Pew Pew Tactical YouTube Channel!

Table of Contents

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The Road So Far

During the pre-release preview, Eric and others ran over 1,000 rounds through a single AKV and it shot like a champ.

Several months later during the December 2018 release of the AKV, we got another chance to shoot one and test it out.

When it worked it was Amazing. When it worked.

The main issues we found were failures to eject and failures to go into battery. There was also a double-fire issue that was majorly not good.

And we weren’t the only ones to have this issue. Customers that had bought an AKV found the same problems, including MAC.

Problems Corrected, Product Re-released

PSA went to work on tracking down exactly what the problem was and it turned out to be a manufacturing defect.

Some of the bolts that PSA received from a supplier were incorrectly made, while most of those bolts were returned before ever being installed in an AKV — some slipped through.

But PSA didn’t stop there. They also took the feedback they heard from their customers, MAC, and us at Pew Pew and made a series of changes and upgrades to the AKV that resulted in what I would call the AKV 2.0.

AKV’s Final Form

The upgrades and changes are all fairly minor, but add up to be a much nicer and more refined pistol. And since the changes, the PSA AKV has been a major workhorse of a pistol!

The AK Operator Union is one of the best sources for AK testing and regularly puts thousands of rounds through each and every gun.

AKV on rocks

As of the AKOU 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 so finding them in stock won’t be so difficult!

But we still needed to finish our own review.

Heeeeeeere’s Johnny!

Johnny got one of the new and improved AKVs out for testing and worked up a complete video of it for us, make sure to check it out!

The AKV is now offered in cool colors AND with the long awaited triangle folding brace!

Origin

Before we get into the review, let’s look at some of the background — because this is just awesome.

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… Palmetto State Armory 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

Since PSA worked on this pistol from the ground up, they were able to bake in some very cool upgrades over the Vityaz design.

First off, a hinged top cover that retains zero!

PSA AKV Dust Cover
PSA AKV Dust Cover

While field-stripping is basically exactly like a normal AK, the dust cover on the AKV is retained to the receiver by a hinge. This makes it possible to clean your pistol and not lose zero.

Next up is the bolt hold open / bolt release.

Placed kind of oddly on the magazine well, it’s not our favorite. But it does work and does add a functionality that is nice to have on a platform that otherwise doesn’t have it.

It feels a little under sized though.

AKV bolt hold open
AKV bolt hold open / bolt release

What might be the crown jewel of the AKV though is the magazines.

Designed and produced by PSA themselves, the AKV magazines are actually fully compatible with the CZ Scorpion also! And they hold a staggering 35-rounds standard.

While the AKV can take most CZ Scorpion magazines also, all PSA mags work with Scorpions.

AKV magazines
AKV magazines and magazine extentions

Plus, the AKV mags come in awesome colors like plum.

20
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Now what you’ve been waiting for…

Range Report

Johnny took the AKV to the range and ran a ton of rounds through it. Knowing the problems that it had in the past, we wanted to give the AKV a full workout.

Zero malfunctions of any kind, and that is including testing with brass case AND steel case ammo!

AKV up hill
It even shoots up hill!

The AKV retains a classic AK-feel to it with the safety working exactly like a normal AK, along with a paddle mag release that also functions exactly like you would expect.

It does come with an upgrade though in that the safety can be actuated without fully breaking your grip.

AKV plum
AKV Safety

While technically a pistol, the AKV does fill a “PCC” style role. To assist with that goal, we got a big ass tank brake!

Sure, 9mm doesn’t really need a brake. But it’s still nice to have.

AKV muzzle brake
AKV muzzle brake

Triangle Brace

Long teased and much anticipated by… everyone, the PSA triangle folding brace wasn’t an option when the AKV first released, but it is now!

If you’re an AK person, you know what this is cool. If not, I’ll explain: Because it looks awesome.

AKV to go box

A much-desired feature in classic AK models is a triangle stock, they are well made, and due to the AK’s long-stroke gas system allowed for a folding stock that still allowed the rifle to fire.

PSA’s folding triangle brace is a pistol brace designed to replicate that function. And it does… mostly.

AKV triangle brace
AKV triangle brace

You have to admit, it looks the part. But at the end of the day, it’s still a brace. It would have been nice if the bottom section was a bit more rigid, but this keeps it clear of any legal issue.

That said — it still looks and feels great. Accuracy was still great for a short-barreled pistol.

Magazine Extensions and the Drum Magazine

I guess designing their own magazines that are also compatible with CZ Scorpions just wasn’t enough for PSA.

If 35-rounds isn’t enough for you in a stick mag, PSA now offers 15-round extensions that install with 4 screws. Super quick, super easy, and now you have a 50-round stick mag!

20
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

AKV magazine extensions
AKV magazine extensions

Don’t want to mess with extending your mag? Good news, you can still get 50-rounds on tap.

PSA’s AKV billet drum mag is very cool, but for us didn’t work the best. Drum mags tend to have issues in general though… but the price is a second consideration.

AKV drum mag
AK Billet Drum Magazine

If your goal is to have 50 rounds available to you, the drum magazine is over twice the price as a standard 35-round magazine and a 15-round extension. The base magazine is normally $20 and often on sale for $15 while the extensions are $20 each. So at most… $40.

But the drum magazine is billet, and very cool. So you be the judge.

99
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

By The Numbers

Reliability: 5/5

Cheap ammo, expensive ammo…doesn’t matter. Other reviewers may have different results, but for our sample size of 1, the gun runs. 

Ergonomics: 4/5

Ergonomics designed by Mother Russia. This would be a 3 but that mag release is sweetness for your thumbs. 

Accuracy: 4/5

For what it is designed to be, a compact PCC, you can get shot where you want them. 

Customization: 3.5/5

Somewhat limited to what you can do. Nyet, pistol is fine. 

Value: 4/5

Name me a better way to get a crazy reliable PCC with 50 round sticks. I’ll wait. 

819
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Overall: 4/5

It runs. It looks good. It’s cheap to feed. It’s American made. Not much to complain about. And it runs. 

Conclusion

Although the first generation wasn’t flawless, PSA’s AKV in its latest form is near perfection if you’re looking for a US-made clone of the 9mm Vityaz. Reliability is great and ergonomics/accuracy are good for the platform. More customization options are also coming and availability is getting decent.

We can now strongly and fully recommend it!

819
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

How do you feel about an AK PCC? Will you make it a range toy or something like a truck gun? Let us know in the comments! In the meantime… check out the other PSA AKs, including the AKP!

akp innawoods
PSA AKP

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21 Leave a Reply

  • M10

    I found the F5 drum mag to be very reliable. It has a smaller footprint than the extended 50 round stick mag which may make it easier to manipulate the weapon while inserted. For me, the price was a pro, not a con. For a billet drum, $99 is cheap. Indeed, the other caliber drum mags made by F5 are much more expensive. It’s not just caliber either - 9mm billet drum mags from other manufacturers seem to be more pricey as well. I fully agree that the standard 35 round mags are one of the best features of the outstanding AKV system. A couple of things the review didn’t mention are the steel feed lips and the easy disassembly. Far superior to the factory CZ mags, I thing they beat even the Magpul Scorpion mags.

    2 weeks ago
  • Fyrfytr998

    Man I gotta move out of CT soon. The AW ban here got me missing out on some great weapons.

    2 weeks ago
    • AndrewU

      Oh boy, do I feel you. Can't buy sh** in this state.

      2 weeks ago
  • Alex

    I was all sold on a Scorpion, then I heard the Stribog's gen 2 was getting a dual-mass or roller-delayed bolt, now PSA comes out with the gen 2 AKV....what a time to be alive! I only wish my wallet was fuller. Not sure which one I'll get but I'm leaning AKV

    2 weeks ago
  • 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.

    11 months ago
    • Eric Hung

      Yup...updated finally!

      2 weeks 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.

    1 year ago
    • Eric Hung

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

      1 year 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

    1 year 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.

    1 year ago
  • Cameron m white

    is this a standard ak trigger and standard ak handguard?

    1 year ago
    • Eric Hung

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

      1 year ago
  • JitsuRN2NP

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

    1 year ago
    • John

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

      1 year 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.

      1 year 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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