While the AR rifle is the most prolific and popular in America, the AK series of rifles are the most popular in the world. People who know absolutely nothing about guns can identify the rifle. It graces the flag of Mozambique and has been in the hands of freedom fighters, terrorists, and soldiers alike.
AKs are like ARs, the popularity has driven the market. Outside of the popularity driving the accessory market, the wide variety of military forces have also encouraged numerous variants. AKs can be found with side folding, under folding, and fixed stocks, a variety of different muzzle devices, and everything from metal, to wood, to polymer furniture. Accessories are available and common for the weapon.
AK rifles are most commonly chambered in 7.62 x 39, but can be found in 5.56, 5.45, 308, and the list goes on and on. The weapons are so popular that they can be found in any caliber. I suggest the 7.62 x 39 due to it’s magapopularity, price, and how common it is. The 7.6 x 39mm does have more recoil than the 5.56, but as history has shown people of all sizes have no issue handling an AK. The 7.62 x 39 features superior hard cover penetration compared to the 5.56. The biggest issue with an AK 47 is its limited 300-meter effective range. That being said a skilled shooter can utilize the weapon further.
AK magazines are everywhere, they can be made from polymer or steel and are quite affordable. A few specialty magazines can be expensive, but on the whole they can be very cheap. Standard steel mags are often an excellent choice, and I suggest Eastern European. Euro mags seem to be the cheapest and most reliable. I tend to stay away from Korean magazines simply because they have a spotty reputation. Outside of Eastern Euro mags, I like;
Magpul Pmags Fairly new to the AK magazine game Magpul released their quality magazines at a great price. These polymer mags are much lighter than standard steel mags, but just as tough.
Yugo BHO- BHO stands for bolt hold open. Traditionally the AK 47 does not have a last round hold open feature, however, with this magazine that changes entirely. The Yugo magazines are current production for the Yugo military. Excellent magazines all around. Heavy and strong enough to be a weapon themselves.
Optics on an AK are hit or miss. Most American optics are not designed for AK 47 rifles, so one needs to look to the west. First off most AKs will mount an optic with a side-mounted device. On the left side of an AK is an odd looking ledge, directly above the trigger and continuing forward of it. This is where one would mount an AK scope, or scope mount. Typically an AK scope mount will be topped with a pica tinny rail to mount any optic the user desires.
Now I said look to the east, by that I mean Russian/Eastern European optics designed for the AK series. An excellent source of such optics is Kalinka Optics, a small veteran ran company specializing in Eastern European optics. Some optics come with a side-mounted rail already, others are outfitted with pica tinny scope rings.
POSP scopes are perfect for the AK and are designed as such. They feature a bullet drop reticle set for the most common Russian ammunition. They are illuminated and can be dialed in quite easily. Like the AK, these optics are tough as nails and nice and heavy. They are fixed optics usually between 4 to 6 power magnification.
KOBRA red dot is another popular military optic designed for AK series of weapons. They are designed for close range fighting, and are not magnified. They use a famous open collimator reticle that is designed to excel in close range combat.
The flat top, no irons sights look never made it to the AK world. AKs come with super simple open sights. They aren’t the best, but they work.