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

Want to make your AK-47 even better?

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.

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

Midwest Industries AK Railed Scope Mount110at Brownells

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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.

Midwest Industries AK 30MM Red Dot Side Mount115at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writingVIEW DETAILS

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.

Midwest Industries AK Side Scope Mount w/ 30mm Scope Rings145at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writingVIEW DETAILS

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.

Tacksports AK Rail43at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writingVIEW DETAILS

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.

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Ultimak AK Optic Mount

Ultimak’s version is the gold standard and has worked for 5+ years for me.

UltiMAK M2-B Picatinny Optic Mount95at Brownells

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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.

Midwest Industries AK Railed Gas Tube100at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writingVIEW DETAILS

3. Handguards

The OG versions work well…and there’s those that find anything but the regular wood furniture is blasphemy.BONUS: Shoot better. Download our exclusive shooting targets for FREE ($47 value)

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

Magpul AK-47/74 MOE Handguard35at Brownells

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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

Midwest Industries AK 47/74 Universal Handguard92at Palmetto State Armory

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Or if you don’t need quadrails…go for the M-LOK option.BEST AK HANDGUARD

Midwest Industries AKG2 Universal M-Lok160at Brownells

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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

Magpul AK-47 Zhukov-S Folding Stock95at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writingVIEW DETAILSCompare prices (2 found)

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…

Rifle Dynamics AK-47 to M4 Stock Adapter63at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writingVIEW DETAILS

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.

Magpul MOE AK Grip23at Brownells

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Hogue AK Grip

If you like the best grip with a rubbery texture…I suggest the Hogue.

Hogue AK-47 Grip21at Brownells

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Strike Industries Featureless AK Grip

And if you’re in a restricted state…

PSAK-47, California Compliant
PSAK-47, California Compliant

Strike Industries Featureless AK Grip25at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writingVIEW DETAILSCompare prices (2 found)

6. AK Magazines

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

Magpul AK/AKM 30-Round PMAGs, Gen 325at GunMag Warehouse

Prices accurate at time of writingVIEW DETAILSCompare prices (3 found)

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.

KNS Precision Adjustable AK Piston135at Rainier Arms

Prices accurate at time of writingVIEW DETAILS

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.New to guns? Check out our online Beginner Handgun Course that teaches all the important stuff you need to know.

It’s cheap and keeps everything together.BEST SHEPHERD’S CROOK REPLACEMENT

Tapco AK-47 Trigger Group Retaining Plate8at Amazon

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AK Safety Latch

Finally gives you bolt hold open capability!

Krebs Safety Latch
Krebs Safety Latch

BEST AK SAFETY LEVER

Krebs Custom AK-47/74 Enhanced Safety62at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writingVIEW DETAILS

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.

Primary Weapons – AK-47 FSC47 7.62×39 Muzzle Break94at Brownells

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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.

AAC AK Flash Hider54at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writingVIEW DETAILS

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.

Midwest Industries AK Blast Can30at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writingVIEW DETAILS

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.

ALG AK Enhanced Trigger65at Brownells

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What’s your take on the ALG?

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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

CMC AK-47 Elite Trigger225at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writingVIEW DETAILS

To get the best trigger pull, check out the Best Trigger Pull Gauges recommendations.

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)

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