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.
Shawn and I have been talking about this for a while, and we weren’t sure how we wanted to approach the subject.
I swear if I had a nickle for every time I’ve seen this meme I would be able to afford to buy Epstein private island and turn it into a personal automated 360 degree shooting range. I’d also have enough money left over to buy New Jersey, but no one would want that place.
Now, before we get to the AK, let us look at a few other guns. Let’s talk about the AR15ization of everything.
Now I love collapsing stocks and I love side folding stocks but why would you put an AR stock on something when there are so very many other options? Now putting an AR stock on a single shot shotgun make makes sense because it is so simple and cheap to do it, but why the hell would someone replace the adjustable side folding stock on an FN SCAR with an AR15 stock? Why?
The AR stock is designed around the receiver extension/buffer tube. This tube is necessary for the function of an AR15. On almost all these guns the AR15 stock is slapped on later, that just ends up being empty space. Let me use a personal example:
When I set up my stand along M203 Grenade Launcher, it cam with an AR stock, a LMT SOPMOD to be precise. I didn’t see much point to running an AR15 stock on this weapon. So I installed a SIG folding and collapsing stock. You know what, the SIG folder kinda sucks in some ways. It is very slow and awkward to collapse and extend. I need to use two hands on the stock to do either. The folding mechanism is great, that makes it worth it. Far better for me than an AR stock on a non-AR weapon.
Let us go back to the AK. Here are some pictures of modern AK rifles.
Most pictures from Ivan Tactical’s instagram, some from the Vepr12 forums.
Wow, magpul stocks, western optics, quad rails. But who care about those plebs, what about Russian special forces?
Back in 2015, Larry Vickers did a video on the Russian Counter-Terrorism unit “Alpha”. Link here.
Extended quad rails, AR15 stocks, western optics, lights and lasers.
I see plenty of people complain about this trend. They think it is wrong that this is happening to the guns they like. They argue that it is only happening because people want to look cool, and they have all sorts of derogatory terms for it, “Tacticool”, Tacticalol”, “Tactifool”, I think you get the drift.
These people would argue that we downgraded when we went from what is on the left to what is on the right.
But at much as they hate it, these are all great improvements. Collapsing stocks allow you to better fit the gun to the shooter or make the gun compact for transport. Rails allow you to better adapt the weapon for the tasks you need it to do. From bipods to IR lasers. The ability to mount optics has been a huge force multiplier.
AR15 stocks, while somewhat silly to mount on other guns, tend to be a massive improvement over alternative options. That is why we see so many Magpul CTR stocks on guns that are not AR15s. The modern AR15 is just so much better than most of what else is out there that other guns have had to become more AR15ish to remain competitive. The AK has always been a good gun, but it is a better gun for fighting when you can mount modern weapons and accessories to it.
Making other guns more like the modern AR15 is always an improvement. ALWAYS.