Variants of the classic AK-47 have been popular in the U.S. ever since the death of the 1994 Federal “Assault” Weapons Ban, with some American-based companies even creating their own production lines here in the states. Of course, the challenge with popular rifles is availability, and the hot AK market has swallowed up many of the prized guns.
In the recent record-setting waves of gun sales, AKs became increasingly hard to find. But there are still plenty of AK rifles and pistols to be had at if you know what to look for. Here are some of the most popular models that are often available to American gun buyers right now.
Zastava M70 Z-PAP AKs
Famed arms maker Zastava has a reputation that now spans three different centuries. Well known for its quality, the Serbia-based Zastava first manufactured military small arms and cannons. It now has a line of civilian hunting and sporting guns, to include the Z-PAP line. These variants of the M70 can be had in everything from classic wood and metal folding stocks to updated polymer furniture.
While the civilian M70s are modern production guns, they’re based on the service rifle issued to soldiers in the Yugoslav People's Army starting in 1970. These guns are rugged, reliable, and come from a long line of battle-tested firearms.
While the AK-47 was developed as a military firearm, the Saiga series of rifles brought Kalashnikov’s design into the civilian world. The Russian-based company Kalashnikov Concern, previously Izhmash, first marketed these rifles as hunting and sporting firearms, but the company also had a hand in building many of the original AK-47s and still makes loads of guns for the Russian military.
Between popular demand and various U.S. import bans on Russian firearms, the Saigas have become scarcer over the years. But they’ve built a reputation as reliable AK variants with a direct lineage dating back to the legacy AK-47. You can still snag used ones at lower prices. The company also makes a line of AK-style shotgun variants that include .410 bore and 12 gauge.
Florida-based Kalashnikov USA keeps the spirit of Kalashnikov in USA-made rifles, particularly in the company’s new KR-103 AK. As the name implies, K-USA strives to keep things as close to the original AK rifles as possible. But they initially made their name in the states with popular pistols and shotguns based on the AK-47 action.
If you want an AK that still boasts the Kalashnikov name but is made in America, K-USA has you covered. The KR-103 rifle will also offer variants chambered in 5.56 NATO and 5.45x39mm in the future.
The Century Arms-imported Romanian WASR-10 has gained a reputation as an affordable AK on the American market. It is based on the Romanian AK service rifle and quickly became a common choice in the U.S. with the end of the 1994 Federal “Assault” Weapons Ban.
Over the years, Century made several improvements to the rifle, including updating the trigger on new imports. Used WASR-10s are still quite common, and it’s one of the most available AKs for those looking to add one to their collection
Century Arms Draco AK pistols offer compact AK firepower in both rifle and pistol calibers, including the extra small Draco Micro chambered in 7.62x39mm. The 9mm variants of the Draco even accept Glock mags, making them ideal for people who want to streamline their magazine collection while still enjoying multiple firearm platforms. Many of the Dracos also now come with stabilizing braces.
If you’re looking for a unique, compact gun that still rocks the AK-style action, the Draco is a solid choice. The use of AK mags or Glock mags makes it easy to bulk up your ammo loadout, and the wooden furniture on many of the Dracos keeps them looking classic “AK” cool.
Marketed as a heavy-duty AK, the Century Arms VSKA features parts made from heat-treated, shock-resistant S7 tool steel. Century introduced the USA-made VSKA in 2018 and included some nice enhancements. It boasts a RAK-1 Enhanced Trigger Group, nitro-carburized 4140 steel bolt, and chrome-moly 4150 barrel.
To back up the claim that the VSKA is built tough, it also comes with a lifetime warranty from Century Arms. Wood stocks are available in various finishes. Folding and synthetic stocks are also available.
The VSKA is not Century Arms’ first American-made AK. The C39 and improved C39v2 are also made in the USA. One of the things that makes the C39s stand out is the milled – instead of stamped – construction. The C39v2 also boasts an RAK-1 Enhanced Trigger Group. Our testing put it at a 3.5-pound, single-stage break.
Century’s C39v2 addressed some early user feedback about the company’s first attempts at an all-American AK. It’s also proven quite accurate in our testing, holding 2-inch groups at 100 yards.
Palmetto State Armory has long been known for its AR-15 parts and build kits, but the PSAK-47 kicked open some doors for AK lovers. The company offers a variety of AK patterns with various upgraded parts, such as the side-folding Zhukov Magpul stock and the classic under-folding metal stock.
For those who love the PSA brand, the PSAK-47 is a great way to get into AKs with a parts and firearms manufacturer that offers lots of customizable options.
One of the most affordable and readily available AKs on the list right now is the Pioneer Arms AK-47. These are made in Radom, Poland, with final work being completed here in the U.S. These AKs boast modern synthetic furniture but maintain the classic AK looks and functions.
Even with the rising popularity and cost of many AKs, the Pioneer Arms AK-47 is still a more affordable entry point for anyone looking to add a modernized AK to their gun collection.
Saying that Arsenal AKs have a great reputation among AK collectors is a bit like saying NASCAR fans prefer fast cars. It’s hard to pass through an AK chatroom without someone comparing any other AK-47 variant to their personal and preferred Arsenal. Their reputation is well-earned, but it also comes with a higher price tag.
Arsenals are some of the most respected AKs on the market and made to high standards. They often include milled receiver, though few would complain about being gifted a lighter stamped Arsenal. If you’re looking for a reliable AK you can also brag about, Arsenal is where you want to look.