I got a package from Russian last week.
Well packaged inside are Zenitco AK products.
The first item is the Zenitco B10M. The B10M is a tri railed handguard for the AK. It is also the foundation for other accessories and rails.
For those who don’t want all that rail, there is the B10U which just has a bottom rail and modular sides. For those that want more rails, there is a version that reaches farther forward.
When you look at the rail you can see that they cut away as much metal as they reasonably could out of it. It is nicely machined. I didn’t find any edges sharp enough to cut me on it, and no burrs. Nicely made.
When these first were coming into the country, people were paying 3-400 dollars for them. Fortunately you can now get for less than $100, which I think it a great deal.
You remove your standard handguard, and install this one in its place. It is suppose to be a snug fit, and I spend a long time with a rubber mallet to get it fully seated. Now I know it is not going to come loose to move. I am also never going to remove it since it was such a pain to get installed.
There are many Zenitco accessories you can add to these lower handguards. There are upper handguard rails, short sections for reflex optics. Then there is what I think is coolest, the B33. The B33 is fairly pricey, but inline with the similar American made options.
The B33 replaces the dust cover with a railed cover. It securely attaches to the receiver and to the B10M (or B10U). It pivots up and back down allowing you to mount an optic, and still field strip the rifle.
I had a hell of a time installing the B33. The tabs that slide into the B10 lower were very tight, and I ended up placing a wooden slat over them to use to push them into place. The finally lining it up took as long as getting it in. How easy or hard it would be to assemble on your AK may vary.
Once assembled, you may need to adjust the recoil spring guide with a file. I did not need too as I could not find any binding or rubbing in my rifle. With the B33 down and locked in place, I can not move it with my hands. It locks up like the proverbial bank vault.
I’ve often heard of Zenitco compared to our Knights Armament Corp. Excellent and expensive. But I don’t know if I agree with that. Zenitco products are pricey, but not out of line with American made alternatives. Quality is excellent. Individually, fit and finish are excellent. But as the AK isn’t a space age high precision machined device, fitting these parts to your rifle might not be plug and play.
I’ve also seen many people claim that these are the best option for rails on an AK. I wonder if that of that comes from that it is considered “authentic” because they are from Russian. Best or not, they are very good, and would be an excellent choice if rails are what you need on your AK.
Side note, the railed handguard does get very hot during extended rapid fire. But to be fair the standard AK handguards get very hot. Either move to a magwel hold or wear gloves. Personally, I think it is safe to assume that any Russian weapon is designed to be used with gloves on.