RUS­SIAN AK-203

Recoil - - From Russia With Lav - Com­men­tary by Larry Vick­ers

The AK-200 se­ries was devel­oped as an in­terim so­lu­tion be­tween the clas­sic AK-100 se­ries and the new AK-12 and AK-15. The AK-203 is es­sen­tially an up­dated AK-103, it­self a 7.62x39mm ri­fle in­cor­po­rat­ing sev­eral AK-74 fea­tures such as its iconic — and very ef­fec­tive — muz­zle de­vice and 90-de­gree gas block. The AK-203 fea­tures a tra­di­tional AK-style rear sight con­fig­u­ra­tion with an AKS-74U “Krink” style piv­ot­ing top cover. This de­sign was specif­i­cally in­cor­po­rated for cus­tomers want­ing to re­tain a con­ven­tional AK iron-sight picture. At the rear of the top cover is an SVD-in­spired piv­ot­ing lever. Ro­tat­ing it coun­ter­clock­wise al­lows the top cover to pivot up for ac­cess to the re­ceiver in­ter­nals. Upon re­assem­bly, it also per­forms a cam­ming func­tion to lock the top cover into a re­peat­able and se­cure po­si­tion, re­tain­ing zero for op­tics.

Ex­am­in­ing the lat­est AK of­fer­ings and their var­i­ous pro­to­types from Kalash­nikov Con­cern, it’s clear that they’ve ex­per­i­mented and spent con­sid­er­able time and re­sources developing a piv­ot­ing top cover sys­tem that achieves the high­est de­gree of op­tic zero re­peata­bil­ity pos­si­ble. A side-fold­ing multi-po­si­tion col­lapsi­ble butt­stock is em­ployed — no sur­prise as this has be­come the norm on new as­sault ri­fles world­wide. It also has an en­hanced safety/se­lec­tor lever, a much needed and wel­comed up­grade for se­ri­ous AK end-users. Pi­catin­ny­type rail sur­faces are in all the usual po­si­tions, but one con­cept that has largely failed to gain trac­tion out­side of the U.S. is an ex­tended hand­guard in­ter­face. As such, the AK-203’s hand­guard is tra­di­tional length. The pis­tol grip is a new de­sign, pro­vid­ing bet­ter er­gonomics and stor­age in­side. The bird­cage-style muz­zle de­vice shown here is new, yet very sim­i­lar to a de­vice that Arse­nal of Bul­garia and oth­ers have been of­fer­ing for sev­eral years. That said, a num­ber of dif­fer­ent muz­zle de­vices are cur­rently seen on Kalash­nikov Con­cern prod­ucts. All these up­grades may not be rev­o­lu­tion­ary, but they nev­er­the­less en­hance the use­ful­ness of the AKM plat­form for the av­er­age end user with no ob­vi­ous down­sides.

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