Click the Read More below to view our article on the Arsenal AK Saiga (7.62 x 39mm) rifle (stamped edition)

Arsenal AK Saiga Rifle

by Jessie Indracusin

Background

After some failed attempts to contact Mr. English (Sales Director) at Arsenal Inc. I kind of put this whole segment I wanted to do on the back burner.  I had a lot of others things going on and was not interested in originally pursuing this segment until a later date.  A friend of mine from my Krav Maga class had recently purchased one of these and offered to bring the gun by for testing and that is how this segment came into being.

Design

The Arsenal Inc's Saiga AK Rifles have come a long way since I last looked at them about 5 years ago.  The quality difference is very noticable with the weapons and the improvements are welcomed greatly.  The weapons are now much more finished and have smoother edges along the receivers and frames.  The parts fit together rather nicely and makes you think that these guns are starting to head more towards the AR system as far as how they are put together (I am NOT trying to say anything about the AK reliability is moving towards an AR.  The action system on a bargain AK like these still maintains what some consider a better reliability than the direct impingement system of an AR).  All parts on these guns are modernized with high impact plastics versus wood.  The gun is INCREDIBLY light.  So light, it almost doesn't even feel like an AK.  As far as drastic differences to the design, this maintains the core of the AK design.

That being said, the typical designs of the AK make it incredibly crippled in a carbine course and I would strongly discourage someone from bringing one.  Manipulating the safety on and off of an AK that is normally required in any carbine course means that your shoot times would be incredibly slow to someone operating an AR platform.  The quick magazine change is sometimes a difficult task to master.  This is easier for people who have backgrounds in Bullpup rifles like the AUG that do have similiar magazine releases.  However, these design limitations are standard with the AK platform and why these make an excellent gun for a collection but not as your first or only rifle in your collection.

Accuracy

The gun is very accurate for AK standards.  You would feel very comfortable maintaining a 1 inch group at 25 yards.  We were a bit limited on shooting at greater distances due to the ranges limitations they put on their 100 yard range when it came to AK rifles.  I am not a big fan of the AK open sights personally, but you can add the standard floating rail (side mounted) system to the AK which would allow the addition of any Red Dot system. Personally if I owner this unit, I would probably mount a Aimpoint Micro T-1 on CompM2 with no spacer kits.  I am not a fan of any of the Russian optic systems for the AK and would prefer to put a high quality US optic rather than the Russian optics.  Some of the Russian Red Dot systems have a max 50 HOUR BATTERY!  That is absolutely embarassing in the 21st century.  I had someone ask me "What type of an Optic can I put on my AK since I can't mount and Eotech or an Aimpoint?".  Buy yourself a low profile side mount picatinny rail system and get an optic you will be happy with instead.  That being said, don't go overboard and buy a CompM4 to put on a gun that costs the same price.  You want to keep your optic options in line with the price of the gun.  Getting yourself an Eotech in the mid $400s is a great option for this type of a gun.

Reliability

It's an AK...enough said.

Actually, the gun performed well.  We were shooting Eastern Bloc imported ammunition and it was able to fire without incident as expected.  We really didn't expect this to be an issue at all and had very high expectations of this area of the testing to perform the way it did.

Value

For a gun in the $700-$900 dollar range, this is a good gun for someone who really wants a high quality AK.  If you have the funds and are a real collector versus a casual shooter, you may want to double that cost and go for a Milled Version versus the stamped version we tested.  If you want that reliability of driving over the gun with a tank and picking it up and firing it, that is NOT a stamped version of this gun.  There are significant differences in stamped versus milled and these are reflected in the 2x price tag.  If you want a high quality, readily available AK to get, take a hard look at the Arsenal Inc's Saiga platform., especially the newer stamped models.  I would refrain from purchasing any of the used models that came in from 2004 to 2008 personally.  If you buy the new ones that are sold at the gun shows I think you would be pleasantly surprised for the value.  However, don't expect this gun to perform the same as a $2500 rifle.  Please keep your expectations reasonable like I did with this gun and you will be happy with this gun as a casual shooting gun.

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Last Updated (Monday, 24 May 2010 16:52)