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?


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.


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.


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.

6 Responses to Modernizing the AK Part 7: Stocks and Grips

  1. Steve D May 16, 2011 at 14:57 #

    I really like the MD arms grip. I changed out the crappy SAW grip that came with a kit on one of my AKs. I have been seeing where people are taking out the finger grooves on them.

  2. Skeeter May 16, 2011 at 16:43 #

    I love the folding stock on my 104, but like you said, only for transportation. It came with a Galil grip, which I really like, but I’ve never been one to put much thought into grips & fore ends. I just kind of deal with whatever I have to work with.

    Good writeup, Matt!

  3. Dan May 16, 2011 at 22:36 #

    Really enjoyed this series Matt. With so much talk about the AR-15 it’s cool to see someone take the time to go in depth and give the AK the attention it deserves. Well done.

  4. Mark May 17, 2011 at 08:55 #

    Good series. You’ve covered what I’m doing to my AK. So far – SAW grip, ACE w/ar15 adapter, Magpul stock, Tapco front grip and ultimak with Primary Arms red dot. I have to still get the gas block on properly to finish it all off. I’m going to try the allthread method when I get everything I need for that.

  5. Dann in Ohio May 18, 2011 at 00:00 #

    I’ve really enjoyed this series, it was well done, but might a request a pre-quel:

    “So you want to buy an AK47: where to begin”

    I’ve read a lot about them, fired several, but I’m not sure what to look for if I were to buy one.

    Dann in Ohio

    • Matt May 18, 2011 at 12:22 #

      I might just do that Dann. Thanks!

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