When Americans think of Russia, besides the current conflict in Ukraine, most people think of things like vodka and The Nutcracker ballet each Christmas. If you’re a gun person, though, then, you may immediate think of AKs like the AK-47.
Since we’re a gun site, that’s the direction that we’re going to go today, too.
But we’re not talking about AK-47s, and we’re not talking about a Russian-made rifle today.
So, what are we talking about? We’re talking about Palmetto State Armory’s AK-74 which is a 5.45x39mm AK rifle that is, yes, made in America (so, those of you who have been wanting one but haven’t been able to get your hands on an imported one may, finally, have an option for that). Adam Borisenko writes,
From the first time I laid eyes on it at my FFL, I was impressed with the PSA AK-74. The metal finish is an attractive glossy black, the action was noticeably smoother than average and the folding stock worked like a dream.
Over the course of a couple of range sessions, I put a total of about 500 Golden Tiger 59-grain FMJs through it. Not a torture test by any measure, but 5.45×39 is expensive these days. Regardless, I didn’t experience a single malfunction of any kind throughout my testing.
That’s almost surprising because the rifle felt under-gassed compared to other AK-74s I’ve shot. AKs are heavy and 5.45 is a light round, so AK-74s are already known for being soft shooters, but PSA’s had essentially zero recoil. Taking aimed shots with it felt more like directing a laser, and during rapid fire, it stayed so still that it just made me wish the third selector position was actually functional.
Despite this, the rifle’s flawless reliability with both live ammo and blanks proves that it’s been gassed perfectly.
Borisenko also notes that the rifle’s iron sights were “perfectly zeroed from the factory” and that the ability to customize with aftermarket parts and magazine compatibility were both pluses. Borisenko’s overall impression of this rifle? “In a word, this gun is fun.”
Now, he does note that, if you’re concerned about ammunition costs for this rifle (here in the U.S.), then the 5.45x39mm option is probably not the way to go (immediately) and recommends going with an AK chambered in 5.56 NATO. Borisenko mentions, though, that Palmetto State Armory is working to start producing Soviet ammunitions, so, in the long-term, the ammunition costs may not be much of an issue.
So, all-in-all, if you’re looking for a fun to shoot, Soviet style rifle but still prefer one made in America, the Palmetto State Armory AK-74 may be one to consider.