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SMC Light MOUNT-N-SLOT from IWC

Impact Weapons Components shows no signs of slowing the flow of MOUNT-N-SLOTs. Their latest MOUNT-N-SLOT is one that I have been looking forward to for a long time. The SMC Light MOUNT-N-SLOT is designed to allow you to attach many of the most popular weapon mounted lights to any size Magpul MOE Hand Guards (carbine, midlength, and rifle length) or Bushmaster ACR hand guards.

The SMC Light MOUNT-N-SLOT attaches to the side of the MOE Hand Guards and then cantilevers the light up toward to the front sight base (FSB). This light placement allows the bezel of the light to extend beyond the FSB which minimizes shadowing and it places the tailcap switch directly under thumb when the rifle is gripped naturally. I have found this placement to work very well.

The SMC’s modular design allows it to work with many of the most popular lights for weapon mounting. It works with the Surefire Scout lights via direct attachment. With the addition of a proprietary flashlight ring, it will also allow you mount lights like the Surefire G2X, G2L, 6P, Streamlight Polytac and more. If you ever decide to change your light, the rings will be available for purchase separate from the mount so you can replace just the ring and not the entire mount.

IWC machines the SMC from Billet 6061-T6 Aluminum and then tops them off with with a durable black hard anodized finish. All of the unnecessary material is milled away to keep the weight down to 1.820 ounces. The SMC Light MOUNT-N-SLOT comes with all the hardware and tools that you need to mount it on your hand guards.

You can read more about the SMC Light MOUNT-N-SLOT on IWC’s website.

Remember to use the coupon code “triggerjerk” at checkout to receive 5% discount at IWC.

Patch Collecting: Jones Tactical Logo Patch

What do you do when you make great tactical gear and you have a really cool logo? You make a patch!

Jones Tactical definitely makes great gear and they do have a really cool logo that is on full display on this patch. Many manufacturers go with subdued logos on their patches so a full color logo like this one really stands out. It would go great on the excellent Jones Tactical Patch Panel.

Stay tuned for a review of some Jones Tactical gear coming to Jerking the Trigger soon.

Battle Comp Teases with the AKBC

Battle Comp is well known for their series of compensators for the AR family of weapons. Many users have asked that they bring the Battle Comp to the AK. Well, AK users need not feel neglected any longer.

Battle Comp released video of their upcoming AKBC compensator for the AK. The video shows some impressive performance. The muzzle rise is nearly completely eliminated. The AK can be seen pushing back against the shooter but the muzzle stays nearly level.

Battle Comp is expecting the AKBC to be ready in about 7 weeks. In the mean time, you can check out their other compensators on their website.

J-Frame Drop in Duty/Carry Kit Now Available from Apex Tactical Specialties

I mentioned the J-Frame Drop in Duty/Carry Kit from Apex Tactical Specialties (ATS) a few weeks ago. ATS made a big splash with the kit at the 2011 NRA Show in Pittsburgh. It is no surprise that people are clamoring for this kit since there are so many who carry Smith & Wesson J-Frame revolvers and the price is very reasonable ($24.95). The kit is now available for purchase.

This kit was specifically designed to reduce the double action trigger pull weight without compromising reliability. This is accomplished by using high quality springs and balancing the weights of all the various springs in the kit. Often, reliability issues happen when springs are mixed and matched. The trigger pull is reduced from the typical 12 pounds to a much more manageable 9 pounds. Impressively, this is accomplished without the need for a gunsmith visit – this is a drop in kit.

I am going to have to pick one of these kits up for my S&W 442.

You can read more about the J-Frame Drop in Duty/Carry Kit on Apex Tactical Specialties’ website.

Modernizing the AK Part 7: Stocks and Grips

This is the 7th and final installment of this series on Modernizing the AK. In this post, I’ll discuss stocks and grips. These are parts that you can spend a lot of money on, but do you need to spend a lot of money here to get functional gear?

Stocks

You typically see 3 basic types of stocks mounted on AKs: fixed stocks, folding stocks, and AR-15 style collapsible stocks. The fixed stocks and some folding stocks can be considered traditional for the AK.

Most AKs that come into the USA have fixed stocks. These are generally made from wood or plastic. The stocks come in a variety of lengths. Some longer stocks are referred to as “NATO length”. These are about 1.25″ longer than what is referred to as “Warsaw length”. I prefer the shorter length because they fit better with my more squared up shooting stance. They also work better with plate carriers. If you shoot with a more bladed shooting stance or have long arms you may prefer a longer stock. The key when choosing a stock (or any piece of gear for that matter) is choosing something that works for you and your style of shooting. Professional training will help you nail these issues down. Fixed stocks are inexpensive and functional.

You would be hard pressed to tell the difference between this Russian sidefolder and a fixed stock.

Folding stocks are fairly common on AKs. While they have a certain cool factor, I can say from experience that you probably won’t use the folding functionality as much as you think. Folding stocks serve only to make the rifle more compact for transport. There are many different types of folding stocks on the market. These can mostly be broken down into 2 different types: side folders and under folders. There is basically only one type of under folder, but there are many types of side folders.

Many folding stocks on the market are junk and those that are not junk cost quite a bit of money. Folders like the Russian triangle side folders, Russian polymer side folders, and under folders require modifications to the receiver that may be a bit beyond your typical do-it-yourselfer. This brings the cost up even higher. Folding stocks from ACE LTD. offer a solid alternative to those who want to install their own stock. The ACE folding stocks can be had in 3 different lengths or with a special folding mechanism that allows the user to mount an AR-15 style collapsible stock.

Folding stocks from ACE LTD. are easily installed and customizable for length.

Collapsible stocks offer what is probably the most useful enhancement of any of the AK stock options. They are adjustable for length of pull which allows you to tailor the length of your stock to fit your gear (like a plate carrier) or your shooting style. They are extremely functional but they are far from traditional if that means anything to you. If you want a stock that both folds and collapses, you can install an ACE LTD. folder mentioned above. The best collapsible stock on the market is probably the AK47/AKM/AKS Stock Adapter from VLTOR. It features QD sling swivel sockets and watertight storage.

Grips

The standard AK grips are smaller than many shooters in the USA prefer but they are functional. If you do feel the need to replace your grip, there are more options than ever.

My favorite grip is the Galil style grip that ACE LTD. used to manufacture, but it is no longer available. Two of the most popular grips are relatively new from Hogue and US-PALM. Both do a good job of filling the hand and can provided storage for small items like batteries.

Several people that I know are reporting very good things about the MD Arms Molot Style Grip. It is based on the excellent Molot grip from Russia that is highly sought after and relatively expensive here in the USA. At only $12, the MD Arms version is a great value.

Conclusion

You can spend a lot on grips and stocks without getting that much of a return in terms of functionality. Both of my AKs have folding stocks and if I had it to do over again, I probably would have spent the money on ammo instead of a high end stock. Make sure you have a clear idea of what you will gain from a grip or stock upgrade before you drop the coin.

Modernizing the AK Part 6: Triggers

This is the 6th installment of our series on modernizing the AK. In this installment I will be discussing triggers.

I generally prefer to keep the fire control parts of any fighting rifle as original as possible. The parts that are original to these firearms have generally been engineered for durability and reliability at the expense of a light, crisp trigger pull. However, one thing that I do not permit is trigger slap (which AKs are somewhat notorious for). Trigger slap is what happens when a poorly constructed trigger resets – it literally slaps your trigger finger. After a long course of fire it can become somewhat painful, especially on a cold day.

The Tapco G2 trigger is standard on many AK builds.

There are two ways to address trigger slap: modify the existing fire control parts or purchase aftermarket parts. There are plenty of good tutorials online about modifying your existing parts to reduce or eliminate trigger slap. If you are unwilling or unable to modify these parts yourself, you are left with the aftermarket option.

I have experience with 3 different triggers that are readily available. The first is the Red Star Arms Adjustable AK Trigger System. Once it is adjusted, it offers a surprising clean, crisp, and light trigger pull. That excellent trigger pull comes with a price. It costs more than any of the following options and it has small set screws that are used to adjust it. I prefer trigger groups that don’t have screws that can back out at inopportune times, but this is a very well made option.

The second option is the Tapco G2 Trigger. Many US AK builders are including these on their builds now. In fact many people have them and don’t even know it. I have a Tapco G2 that came installed in a very nice Vector Arns Polish build. It has served well. The G2 triggers seem to have a fairly wide variance in trigger pull weight (which might have more to do with the variance in AK receivers). Some of them are extremely light which isn’t really what I prefer for a fighting rifle. They also lack any sort of trigger feel. You can’t feel the point at which the trigger will break or the reset. It is just a sort of light and long trigger pull that lacks any sort of tactile indication of when the shot will break. It can take some getting used to.

The two-stage trigger that comes standard with the Arsenal SGL-21 is very decent.

The third option is my favorite. K-Var has a 2 stage trigger that they sell that is competitively priced and offers a very decent trigger pull. It isn’t as light as the G2 or the Red Star Arms triggers but it very useable. It feels like a traditional military 2 stage trigger with a light take up in the first stage and then a fairly clean let off in the second stage. It isn’t a match trigger by any stretch of the imagination, but most AKs aren’t match rifles by any stretch of the imagination.

Conclusion

To sum up, I don’t modify the trigger in an AK as an accuracy aid (though it doesn’t hurt), but I do modify the trigger in order to make the rifle more shootable. I do not tolerate trigger slap and you shouldn’t either. Whether you modify your current trigger group or purchase an aftermarket trigger group is up to you. If your AK doesn’t exhibit any trigger slap, then spend the money and time on practice instead of a new trigger.

2011 Gunnie Awards from LuckyGunner.com

LuckyGunner.com is a great place to buy ammo and a great friend to this blog. They are hosting the voting for the 2011 Gunnie Awards to “recognize the best gun bloggers & websites for their contribution to firearm news, politics, and law over the past year.” The awards are based on voting by readers like you.

Jerking the Trigger has been nominated for a “Gunnie” under the category of Gear Reviews. The other blogs in the category are very deserving but I hope that you will consider voting for Jerking the Trigger.

You can vote by clicking HERE to visit LuckyGunner.com.

Modernizing the AK Part 5: Selectors

In this fifth installment of this series on updating the AK, I will be looking at selector switches. While these may seem insignificant at first, there is actually a significant ergonomic advantage to be gained here.

The SWIFT Lever from Blackjack Buffers is no longer manufactured but it is classic AK gear.

The standard AK selector is a thin lever that rides flat against the receiver. It is moved up for “safe” and down for “fire”. The biggest issue with it is that the user usually can not maintain a firing grip while operating it. One method of operation requires the user to keep their thumb hooked on the grip while their other four fingers sweep the selector downward. Another technique has the user carry the AK with their weapon hand (strong hand) on the magazine and their thumb resting on the selector, the thumb is used to sweep the selector down and then the hand is moved to the grip.

The two above techniques may work and they may be “traditional,” but they are not efficient. I prefer to use an enhanced selector switch that has a small extension on it for use with the index finger on my right hand. This allows me to maintain a firing grip while operating the selector.

It is good practice to run your finger straight against the receiver to avoid accidentally contacting the trigger. These upgraded selector levers allow me to do that and naturally sweep the selector to “fire” in the same motion as I would normally use to move to the trigger. When it is time to “safe” the AK, the same motion in reverse works to move the selector to the “safe” position and get my finger off the trigger.

The best upgraded selector that I have used is the SWIFT Lever by Blackjack Buffers but they are no longer manufactured. It used a relatively long tab with a 90 degree bend and works very well in both directions (up and down). You may be able to find them on the secondary market. Now I use the Kreb’s Custom Enhanced Selector Lever. It is nearly as good as the SWIFT Lever (and that is saying a lot).

The Krebs Enhanced Selector Lever is a worthy upgrade to any AK.

 

Conclusion

I consider one of these selector levers a must for any AK. The ergonomic and efficiency gains cannot be ignored.

Modernizing the AK Part 4: Optics

The vast majority of modern combat rifles make use of optics. Improvements in technology have made it possible to have optics that are extremely reliable and durable. In this fourth installment of our discussion about modernizing the AK, we will be taking a look at optics and mounts.

There was a time when mounting an optic on your AK would draw ridicule from hordes of AK traditionalists. Now, savvy shooters have realized that optics, like red dot sights (RDS), actually make their weapon more efficient and effective. Many are surprised to find just how accurate a quality AK can be after they shoot with an optic the first time.

 

Even an Aimpoint CompM2 can be co-witnessed on an Ultimak M1-B.

Mounts

This is a bit of a golden age for AK accessories. There are several high quality options on the market that allow shooters to mount a tremendous number of quality optics. The mount you choose will likely be dependent on the optic that you choose and the type of rifle that you own.

RS Products is a new manufacturer of AK optic mounts. Their new AKM mount allows AK shooters to mount an Aimpoint (or similar red dot sight) directly over the action. The mount sits low enough that the iron sights can be used through the Aimpoint and it is adjustable from side to side so that it can be centered over the AK. This is a really excellent option. You can also look for other optic mounts from RS Products in the future.

The Dog Leg Scope Rail from Texas Weapon Systems is a very clever optic mounting system. It replaces the standard top cover with a railed top cover that locks into the rear sight and a special cam lock release button. It is a very solid system that sits low enough to provide a proper cheek weld and still allows normal field stripping. It also allows the mounting of a small back up iron sight that really extends the sight radius of the AK. The Dog Leg Scope Rail would be a great choice for mounting a compact variable magnification optic.

The Ultimak M1-B is a tried and true option that has been on the market for several years now. It is my optic mount of choice because it sits low enough to co-witness an Aimpoint and is also a great place to mount a white light. Some users have also used the Ultimak M1-B to mount “scout” style scopes. It is a very durable and relatively light weight mount.

An Ultimak M1-B can serve as an optic mounting platform as well as a place to mount a white light.

Optics

In spite of the AK traditionalists who repeat the same “Keep that crap off my AK!” dogma over and over without critical thought, many shooters are finding that there is a place for optics on an AK. Shooting iron sights requires the shooter to align the target, the front sight, and the rear sight. The shooter must focus on the front sight. An optic like an RDS allows the shooter to align only the target and the optic’s reticle. The shooter can focus on the target. Modern optics promote situational awareness, accuracy, speed, and are durable enough to be relied upon.

I use Aimpoints on my AKs and I highly recommend them. The newest micro Aimpoints add barely any weight to the rifle and greatly enhance the function of the rifle. Quality RDS, like Aimpoints, are extremely durable, reliable, and offer battery life that is measured in years, not hours. Aimpoints and other RDS really shine from 0-200 yards which is an excellent match to the capabilities of the AK. 300 yards hits are also very possible with an AK/Aimpoint combination.

Mounts that place the optic over the receiver like the Dog Leg Scope Rail open up the possibility of using a low power variable magnification optic like the Trijicon TR21 Accupoint or similar. The lowest power setting on this style of optic lets users engage close targets effectively, while the higher magnification settings give the shooter more confidence at extended ranges.

The Ultimak M1-B has plenty of space for an Aimpoint micro and white light.

Conclusion

There is no reason to ignore combat optics unless you are an AK collector. If you are an AK shooter, especially one who trains to use their AK to defend their life, you can gain a tremendous amount of functionality and efficiency by mounting a quality optic. Choose the optic that you want, find a mounting method that is suited to that optic, and then train hard.

Modernizing the AK Part 3: Hand Guards

Hand guards are like a steering wheel for your gun. They are the interface between your hand and the gun. In this third installment of this series on updating the AK, we will be taking a look at hand guards.

The AK has two hand guards: an upper hand guard that contains the gas tube and a lower hand guard that protects the user from a hot barrel. There are many upper hand guard optic mounts but we will concentrate on those in a later post. For the purposes of this post, we will be discussing hand guards as a weapon control and accessory mounting platform only.

Stippling can greatly increase the functionality of standard polymer hand guards.

Lower Hand Guard

The lower hand guard is much larger than the upper hand guard and represents the majority of your gripping surface. Thankfully, AK users have more choices than ever when choosing a hand guard, but, as with any other firearm accessory, you should be cautious of what you spend your hard earned money on.

If the AK is your primary rifle you may want to consider adding a lower hand guard rail. A railed hand guard will give you more flexibility to mount vital accessories like a white light and sling. You can also consider adding a vertical or hand stop if you are so inclined, but care should be taken that the vertical grip does not interfere with rocking a magazine into the magazine well. Midwest Industries makes a very nice and very reasonably priced rail system for the AK. Ultimak makes an excellent extended rail system that helps shooters who like to run their hand out further than the standard hand guards allow (it also alleviates the issues with running a vertical grip on the AK platform by allowing you to run it out closer to the muzzle).

If the weight and cost of AK rail systems turn you off, there are other options. I choose to run the standard polymer hand guards on my AKs because I don’t want to spend the money for a rail on a weapon system that isn’t my primary. I start with quality plastic hand guards that have a metal heat shield and stipple them for increased grip. I use the increased grip to aggressively pull the AK into my shoulder much like I would with a vertical grip. I use the standard sling mount and mount my white light on the upper hand guard.

An Ultimak M1-B can serve as an optic mounting platform as well as a place to mount a white light.

Upper Hand Guard

The standard upper hand guard’s main role is to shield the user from the heat of the gas tube. Aftermarket railed upper hand guards have additional functionality, like allowing you to mount optics.

I prefer the Ultimak M1-B optic mount for my upper hand guard. It places a micro Aimpoint (or an M2/M3 with a low enough moutn) low enough that it cowitnesses with the iron sights. It is also long enough to offer plenty of space for mounting a light in an offset mount.

I should note that the offset light mount that you use should be made from metal and sit very low on the rail. I wouldn’t trust a plastic mount to handle the heat of the Ultimak, and if it is too thick it will obstruct the view through your Aimpoint. I have found the VLTOR offset scout mount to be excellent. This one from KZ works if you are on a budget, but it sticks out from the rail more than I prefer.

The Vltor Offset Scout Mount is a perfect combo with the Ultimak M1-B.

Conclusion

White lights and slings are a must on any defensive rifle. Choosing the right hand guard set up makes mounting them easy. If you choose your hand guard set up wisely you can improve the way your weapon handles, the speed at which you can drive the AK, the ease of mounting accessories, and it doesn’t have to cost a ton.

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