Gear Review: UTG sight tool for AK/SKS style rifles

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My nemesis, the UTG sight tool with AK rifle, mag and ammo. (Photo: Team HB)

It’s rare that a product comes around about which I find little to compliment, but the UTG Ergonomic AK/SKS sight tool fits that bill.

Having not spent much time behind an AK before, it’s been a real treat to test the Molot VEPR AK47. A review on it is forthcoming. One adjustment needed on the rifle as delivered is windage. The front sight post is visibly positioned right of center, and shots hit well left of point of aim.

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English illiteracy on the box was the first clue… (Photo: Team HB)

Thanks in part to binge-watching AK Operators Union, Local 47-74 videos, I knew better than to buy a bargain sight tool. But economic reality led me to do just that. Onto Amazon I went, purchasing the best-rated of the inexpensive offerings there. The UTG Ergonomic AK/SKS sight tool set me back about nine bucks.

The tool arrived packaged in a sturdy little cardboard box, with its own photo on the front and the words Gen V. RE-ENFORCED ERGONOMIC SIGHT TOOL. The misspelling of reinforced was the first clue this would be a sub-par product. I’m not necessarily against buying well-made products from China, especially considering that comparable tools are three times the price. But the lack of attention to detail was a portent of performance.

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Elevation adjustment was easy. (Photo: Team HB)

Made of steel with a matte finish, it feels solid enough. As disappointed as I was in what would develop, I admit it made easy work of turning the front sight post on its axis for elevation adjustment.

Having no previous experience with sight tools like this, I have no idea if more costly models have hash marks or other measuring standards built in. This one doesn’t, aside from counting turns of the handle or sight post. No matter—with one full turn and then one more slight adjustment, elevation was easily adjusted.

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The front sight post and its visible right bias which threw shots to the left. (Photo: Team HB)

Windage was another matter. The drift-able sight adjustment is tight, tight, tight. I cranked the UTG’s windage clamp onto it and turned it until it felt like something should move. Nothing. I rechecked that everything was aligned and that the open side of the clamp wasn’t impeding the drift in any way. It wasn’t. I turned again until my fingers couldn’t stand the pain.  The sight just sat there like the Rock of Gibraltar.

A WD-40 treatment and 20 minutes later, I tried again. It just wouldn’t budge. By now I noticed an off-center scratch on the AK’s windage adjustment. Not a welcome sight on a loaned firearm!

Time to call it a day.

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First attempts at drifting the front sight. (Photo: Team HB)

The next day, I had a bigger, stronger friend try to move the sight using the tool. As I took it out of its box, I noticed the “pushing” part of the clamp was well out of plumb. When my associate applied it to the sight, the now-bent bar put angled pressure on the sight. It simply wasn’t going to work.

Fortunately, the VEPR has a rear sight that’s adjustable for windage. If the next measure, a cushioned punch and mallet treatment, doesn’t budge it, I intend on finalizing zero from back there instead of using only the front sight adjustments.

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Yes, it is that crooked after use. (Photo: Team HB)

Although it hadn’t cost much, the value of the UTG sight tool had been negligible. The pliers of my multi-tool and a scrap of tee shirt would surely have accomplished the same action on the elevation adjustment. The tool did offer a little convenience there, but not enough to warrant even the nine-dollar expenditure and time spent in research.

There is a bit of comfort to succor my disappointment. Amazon is refunding the purchase and covering the cost of shipping. So the only cost has been time and frustration. Now, $30 plus shipping for the Magna-Matic sight tool on the AKOU site, which is the best price I can find anywhere, doesn’t seem so costly after all.