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.
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.
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.