Gun Review: Definitive Arms AKX-9 (VIDEO)

It’s always an exciting time when a gap is filled within the gun industry. Pistol caliber carbines are ever gaining in popularity, so it was just a matter of time before someone found a way to make an AK work in 9mm. With the exception of Frankensteined guns, which are a melting pot of many different parts, 9mm AK’s were unheard of simply because of reliability issues.  I can honestly say that the Definitive Arms AKX-9 does not suffer from unreliability. In fact, after throwing several hundred rounds down range, I didn’t have a single malfunction.

Definitive Arms and Atlantic Firearms have developed a fully functional design that is capable of being produced over and again. This gun, which is available in many different platforms, comes with a barrel that is just north of the 11” mark, and has a 1:10 twist. What’s more, this rifle has been tested with, and was designed for, many different types of ammunition – pushing the reliability envelope even more.

I confirmed this reliability as I ran this gun through the ringer with all of the crappy steel cased ammo I could throw at it. Without failure, each and every time I squeezed the trigger, a 9mm projectile flew out of the muzzle at speeds close to 1400fps. To me, owning a gun that doesn’t shoot whatever ammo I can find for it is pointless, so this thing is right up my alley.

The rifle that Atlantic Firearms sent to me MSRPs for right around the $1,800 mark, so this niche gun won’t be for everyone. However, depending on the options, one of these can be purchased for a few hundred dollars less. While that ain’t exactly cheap, being able to shoot inexpensive ammunition will help make up for it in the long run. And, don’t forget that you get the reliability of the AK with one of the most popular (not to mention affordable) self-defense cartridges available.

If you don’t mind spending top dollar for a very tight and remarkably well built 9mm Parabellum AK, than this thing is right up your alley. When Definitive Arms blueprinted the design of the AKX-9, they did so with parts that are designed specifically for this gun. In other words, they didn’t use one off parts—everything is tuned and tested to work together well.

At the range, not only did it not give me a single issue, the gun really surprised me with its’ accuracy right out of the box. I was able to hit tight groups all day long at various distances out to 30 yards. All around, the gun is extremely well made, and seems to be very tight, without the infamous AK wobble. The trigger has a short pull, and allows the shooter to send lead downrange quickly.

I have to admit, that while I was bummed that they couldn’t incorporate the “curved” magazine that you’d generally see on an AK, I now totally understand the reasons why they went with the 32 round Colt stick mag. They are more plentiful, more affordable and it helped Definitive design the bolt hold open that we’ve all come to rely on.

The gun is easy to use and is shooter friendly. For example, the magazine release can easily be found without taking your right hand off of the grip, allowing you to remain on target. This makes changing magazines a breeze, and as the release is pushed, the mag drops without the slightest hint of friction or resistance. And, after you insert the new mag, simply reach up to push the bolt release with your left hand to send a round into the chamber.

I couldn’t wait to get this rifle apart after my time at the range. Dis- and re-assembly of this gun proved to be easy enough when it was time for me to run my bore brush and patches through it. Both inside and out, the overall look of this gun is great, and the craftsmanship is top of the line.

But perhaps one of the most appealing aspects of this firearm is just how easy it is to customize – even to the point of turning it into a Short Barreled Rifle (SBR). The rifle comes with a five inch barrel extension, which, once removed, reveals a threaded suppressor ready barrel. Furthermore, the folding and retractable stocks can easily be swapped out with the use of a pig-nose adapter.

Only 8.5” of barrel show, even though the it is 11.125” long. Furthermore, the overall length of this rifle is just over 33” depending on the chosen stock.

The Definitive Arms AKX-9 is available as a pistol or rifle, with the price changing a bit depending on which options you choose. There are a plethora of fixed, folding, wooden and other stocks available for this gun, in addition to the pistol.

Overall, build quality on this AK is excellent. But, then again, Definitive Arms is one of the top AK builders in the country so that much is to be expected. The AKX-9 fills a niche that has long been overlooked with a reliable, fun to shoot gun. And, they’ve been able to do so by using a combination of gun-specific parts that are dedicated to make it run as flawlessly as an AK should.

Cover: Joshua Gillem