Bad-Element Co. LLC Custom AK Tanker Magazines

The really great thing about being passionate about firearms, is that you research and stumble across unique accessories and gear.  This is exactly what happened when I stumbled on Bad Element Co. LLC ( AK magazines. I have been on an AK fix for a little while now and it has been over a decade since I owned one.  I recently purchased a very nice Bulgarian AK74 and have been testing several aftermarket accessories with it. When I ran across Bad-Element I had to get one of their 20 round AK Tanker magazines.  I absolutely love 20 round magazines for rifles. As soon as I received the AK74, I started to research 20 round AK magazines.  I found original AK 20 round (Tanker) magazines were extremely hard to find or get in 7.62×39. Add in the 5.45×39 AK74 round and I found they were almost impossible to get. I made contact with the owner from Bad-Element about getting a 20 round 5.45×39 Tanker magazine.  Since I already had a few Russian Izhmash Plum magazines, I thought a Plum Izhmash 20 round magazine would go very nicely with them.

Bad-Element Co. Custom Tanker magazine
Bad-Element Co. Custom Tanker 20 round magazine

When I received the Bad-Element custom 20 round Tanker magazine, I quickly started to compare it to my surplus Russian Plum Izhmash magazines.  All of the markings on the magazine were identical and I could easily tell it was a quality Izhmash Plum surplus magazine. I’m not  really sure what it is, but as soon as you put the 20 round magazine in the rifle, it just looks and feels better in your hands.

Bad-Element Co. 5.45x39 Custom Magazine
Bad-Element Co. 5.45×39 Custom Magazine
20 Round Tanker Mag / 30 round Mag
20 Round AK Tanker Mag / 30  Round AK Mag
20 Round AK Tanker Mag / 30 AK Round Mag
20 Round AK Tanker Mag / 30 AK Round Mag

Custom Order Magazines:

Bad-Element does all kinds of custom work to all makes and manufactures of AK type magazines. Bad-Element takes existing 30 round AK magazines of all types and custom cuts them down to  (20), (15), (10) or (5) round count magazines.  In-fact, Bad-Element also does AR15 magazine custom work, for those who live in Communist high capacity band States. So check out their full line of magazine services.

There are several ways you can get your custom magazines from Bad-Element. (1) You send in your AK magazines and Bad-Element cuts them down per your round count specifications. (2) Purchase magazines on-line and have them shipped directly to Bad-Element for custom work, then they will mail them to you when finished or, (3) You can purchase already modified magazines directly from Bad-Element.

Function Use/Reliability:

I set off to the range after obtaining a decent quantity of ammunition, supplied by (, to test out the function and reliability of the Bad-Element magazine. I had 510 rounds to run through the Magazine.

510 Round 5.45x39mm Ammunition
510 Round 5.45x39mm Ammunition


The great thing about 20 round Tanker style magazines, is their ease of use while manipulating your rifle.  With a 20 round AK magazine you get the same advantages you get with a 20 round USGI AR15 magazine and more. (1) It’s compact, (2) rifle fits in smaller spaces and cases with a loaded magazine, (3) still has a decent round count and (4) with the AK, it is much easier to manipulate the charging handle from underneath the rifle, with your support hand.

At The Range
At The Range
20 Round AK Tanker Magazine in Rifle Case
20 Round AK Tanker Magazine in Rifle Case


I really did not keep exact track of the round count I put through the Bad-Element Tanker magazine but it was several hundred rounds. The Bad-Element magazine performed flawlessly and I had absolutely no issues with reliability. It loaded and emptied the rounds just as you would expect from any quality military surplus AK magazine.

Rounds from Bad-Element Co. Magazine
Rounds from Bad-Element Co. Magazine

Takedown/Quality of Work:

Nothing has changed after modification of the magazines.  Takedown of the magazine is the same as the original 30 round magazine.  Bad-Element has cut the magazine and spring down. The magazine still uses the original surplus follower, spring, locking plate and floor plate.

Disassembled 20 & 30 Round Magazines
Disassembled 20 & 30 Round Magazines
Disassembled 20 & 30 Round Magazines
Disassembled 20 & 30 Round Magazines

The quality of work and attention to detail in modifying the magazine is very nice. Bad-Element has really paid attention to the little things to make the magazine look nice. The magazine has a smooth side cut channel at the bottom of the magazine for the floor plate to slide into.

Izhmash 20 & 30 Round Magazines
Izhmash 20 & 30 Round Magazines

The cut down magazine spring is very nicely done. Looking at just the end of the spring where it locks into the locking plate, you cannot tell which one has been modified. Bad-Element has taken the time to slightly  bend and taper the end of the spring, to match it up with the original 30 round design. After talking with Bad-Element, they advised they use to cut down the bottom of the spring, but now cut down the top of the spring, as it was easier and faster to do. I still could not tell the difference.

20 Round (left) 30 Round (right)
30 Round (left) 20 Round (right)
20 Round AK (left) 30 Round AK (right)
20 Round AK (left) 30 Round AK (right)

Final Thoughts:

I am very pleased with the Bad-Element custom magazine. It looks great and has been 100% reliable. If you have an AK of any type, I would highly recommend getting a few 20 round magazines. If you follow Rob Ski of AK Operators Union, you will see he runs Bad-Element Tanker magazines from time to time. He is usually the first to call out “shit” in the AK community. Since he is running them and is more of an expert than I am with the AK, I think this is a very strong sign of Bad-Elements quality. I will be getting a few more of the Bad-Element custom cut magazines in the near future. As soon as the Magpul Pmag 5.45×39 AK magazines get to me, I will be sending them in for 20 round conversion. Bad-Element also has an Instagram page (Bad_Element_Co. Instagram) where you can follow and contact them about magazines.


Two M231 Port Firing Weapons Or How Bad Can You Want Something Complete?

About 10 years ago the ARFCOM  retro forum had not become the price driving monster it would end up.  During that time it was still still possible to find some pretty rare parts on ebay and various places.  Some of those parts could be made into a full weapon minus the lower of course.  That is the goal for most of the retro builders. Ideally they want all original parts they can get to finish the gun. A lot of people manage to piece together a gun by finding all the correct parts. Obviously I am leaving out the full auto lower, but when I say all, I mean everything but that lower and whatever other parts that would risk crossing the absurd rules.

What really sticks in the craw for a lot of people, is getting 90% there. Ewww that has to burn!   You get something super rare and cool and you just can not wait to post pics of it all over place at the gun prom!  But. You just can’t. Get. It. All!    So what do you do?  Give up?  Sell it all off to some other guy who still has a hope of  finishing it up?

Nope. You go online and find some one who knows a guy who knows a guy and just have the parts you need made from scratch of course!.

oijoijSo now we come down to the “rest of the story”.    The two guns shown are of course Colt M2231 post firing weapons.  An oddball from a period of time where the military wanted to  have something to fire from the side holes of a Bradley.  You can look up the details yourself but it basically a M16  simplified down and with a really high cyclic rate meant to be used from the Bradley.  There are a few variants of it but one in particular more or less stands as the standard model as far as looks and recognition goes.   A guy who ended up becoming a dear friend came on the retro forum one day after ending up with a hand full of M231 parts from some auction and wanted to finish it up as it was not something being done at the time. He was really stuck on a couple of parts that seemed to be impossible to find and was out of options or ideas.    I happened to wonder into that thread and after seeing the  almost finished weapon, really got hot to see it completed.

I contacted my friend who is a skilled machinist about the possibility of making that part for  the arfcommer.   After some emails and back and forth the project was on its way.

The major hold up for the arfcom retro guy was the gas block  that was also that part that hooked into the vehicle.  No one could find measurements or  even a picture to show it from all angles and sides.  Some found some specs some where and I sent it on to my machinist friend.   Just using pictures found online that no one took for the purposed of making a copy of it and eye balling it, my friend came up with a plan.  Below is a picture of a real one and the fake one made up by my friend, who has made an appearance on this website a few times over the years.

sdfsdfEveryone has heard of the 10 foot rule or some version of it.   Well most will agree that if you have never handled a M231 yourself and even if you did you likely never cared, this copy would most likely pass the 10 inch  test for anyone other than people very , very familiar with it

You can see the places where the fake , faked it.   Mostly this is a result of making a copy from pictures.


In this case, the length of the barrel gives it away. The real M231 upper has a slightly shorter barrel. The longer 16 inch barrel is used as the variant with stock, makes for a legal carbine. Real M231 upper with shorter than 16 inch barrel is a “Pistol” so as not to have to get into NFA laws.

The machining to make that gas block took a few months and trial and error.  Some experimenting had to be done with the gas system and gas tube.  A gas tube had to be cut down by the machinist and a one of a kind gas system made.  We tested fired it one night  and it was feeling of real accomplishment.


The gas block above is pictured in the white.  The machine shop my friend worked at did not have an ability to park’ it and the owner received and and sent it off to be finished in the appropriate shade  for retro looks.

it was a lot of effort to pull this off. I did not mention that I and my friend live in Ky and the owner close to the other end of the country so much phone calls and emails , shipping and a lot of effort by guys on Arfcom retro forum went into getting this thing together. It tunred out pretty good I have to say.

Of course it was all kind of a waste because a month or two after it was all completely a real completely M231 came up for auction on gun broker and the owner of the M231 bought the complete upper.  If he had only waited !    It was all worth it regardless. things were learned, some one worked on something at work he was not supposed to. life long friends were made and some esoteric M16  retro parts skyrocketed on ebay ever after. Good times had by all.

Bellow I am posting some more picture of the oddities M231 parts. Most are the major parts that are a hang up for any one pondering putting one together.  At the time, I recall some other machinist was making copies of some of these parts.

Long Term, Hard Use FootWear

Today we have a guest post from sporadic contributor and quasi-Looserounds member  “CJ”, about his favorite topic. 


Prepping – Some thoughts… A lot of gun enthusiasts seem to justify their hobby as some sort of preparation for armageddon. Sure, when the aliens invade I won’t deny the usefulness of an arsenal. But let’s not deny the usefulness of other items. Food storage is commonly thought of. Less commonly thought of is footwear. Unlike other looserounds contributors, I didn’t grow up around firearms. My parents’ household to this day is a “gun free zone,” complete with the usual objections to self defense. But I did grow up hiking, camping, and backpacking. I may have as many years of experience being serious about footwear as Shawn has being serious about the 1911.
Footwear cannot be neglected. Anyone who is a fan of the Walking Dead (I’m assuming the majority of Looserounds’ readership) should realize how much walking people are forced to do in a zombie attack. In our normal daily lives we take these things for granted. In an apocalyptic scenario, we may need to walk long distances regularly and we will need to avoid injuries (sprains/blisters/etc) while doing so. Our feet, like a good 1911, should be something we can rely on. I want to share some of my thoughts and experiences in this area and will limit the discussion today to boots.
First, let’s realize that we aren’t going to become like the Confederate soldiers who marched long distances barefoot overnight. If you’re the type of person who has managed to build up a quarter inch of leathery callous on your feet, you’re probably already barefoot and you probably don’t have internet access and probably aren’t reading this. Two of the three people who have done this are somewhere in the Amazon rainforest and the other guy is a Kenyan persistence hunter. That just simply isn’t realistic right now for us today. We need footwear that won’t fail us today, but more importantly won’t fail us tomorrow when we might not be able to buy new shoes.
The first pair of shoes/boots I want to introduce is the Salomon Quest 4D GTX. Let me first say that these are the most comfortable boots I’ve ever worn, right out of the box. They require zero “break in.” I recommend them for daily wear, but they will not last and you should not count on them as a long term solution. The boots pictured here have about a year’s worth of wear, there is a hole in the sole, and they’ve been glued back together twice. Next, I want to introduce their polar opposite.
The Raichle Montagna. In this picture there are 3 pairs. Two of them are new and the one on the right has 3 times as much wear as the Solomon boots above. They really are indestructable. But they’re heavy, hard to break-in, and very hard to find today. This is closer to what I’m talking about. You may not like them at first, but long after the Salomons are gone they’ll still be fine. This matters if civilization ends tomorrow. In fact, I’ve stockpiled these for just such an event. Some minor discomfort caused by their admittedly heavy weight is not going to injure you, and provided you have a pair that is broken in, the benefits are very clear. And if they aren’t broken in, soak them in baseball glove conditioner and just wear them every other day until they mold to your foot. Alternate with something else to avoid injury. They’re priceless.
Similar boots have also been made by Lowa, Scarpa, and Vasque. In fact, the Vasque Montana is almost a direct copy. Vasque is a great company that made my first pair of hiking boots (the Sundowner II). I wore these on roughly 30 serious backpacking trips over approximately 10 years and about half the time during the week to work/school. I still have them somewhere. Today I wear a pair of Vasque St Elias boots (hown in the 3rd picture) every day. These have the same wear as the Solomons above, but they’re still in great shape. They’re a good compromise between comfort and ruggedness. I would also trust them over the long run (pun intended). Shawn tends to favor Merrell boots, and I’ve tried them as well, but I put them in the same category as Salomon. They’re certainly comfortable and that is valuable. But this comes at a cost–light/flexible construction. I personally don’t trust them for anything other than work. Without a decent pair of boots, you need to realize that you will quickly be reduced to trying to cut sandals from used tires.



“Test your gear” -or- “How Larue Tactical made me look bad”

All of us are human, we can all make mistakes.  This goes doubly true for firearm companies.

A friend of mine purchased a Larue rifle on my recommendation.  Much to our dismay, it did not function out of the box.  (My punishment for highly recommending anything)  It was short stroking.  Closer inspection showed that one of the socket head hex screws on the boltcarrier key appears crooked.  Most likely the head has broken off the bolt shaft allowing the Bolt Carrier Key to become just loose enough to cause the gun to short stroke.  Larue Tactical is already replacing the BCG.

If you buy quality, you are less likely to have issues, but there is always the chance of problems.  Test your gear.


The Listening / Security Halt

The following is repost from Hognose at  Weaponsman is an excellent weapon related website that is a friend to this website and also a favorite internet stop.


The most annoying person in the world is the write-only device. You know that guy: he never shuts up, yammering on and on, and never stopping to listen, only to take a breath. As you might expect, that habit which makes everyone want to kill him in a peacetime classroom or office, makes it easy for the enemy to literally kill him in combat.

There is much to be said about stealth and silence. The first thing that we will say is this: truly silent motion across terrain is not possible. It is an ideal for which you must strive, but even Mark Twain recognized it as nothing but a literary convention, when he was beating the defenseless James Fenimore Cooper senseless in a battle of wits:

Another stage-property that he pulled out of his box pretty frequently was the broken twig. He prized his broken twig above all the rest of his effects, and worked it the hardest. It is a restful chapter in any book of his when somebody doesn’t step on a dry twig and alarm all the reds and whites for two hundred yards around. Every time a Cooper person is in peril, and absolute silence is worth four dollars a minute, he is sure to step on a dry twig. There may be a hundred other handier things to step on, but that wouldn’t satisfy Cooper. Cooper requires him to turn out and find a dry twig; and if he can’t do it, go and borrow one. In fact, the Leatherstocking Series ought to have been called the Broken Twig Series.

It was always a Cooper white man who broke the twig, because Indians were born to patient stealth, at least in his universe. (Cooper, one must remember, was no frontiersman, but a cashiered Naval Academy midshipman). The Indian, in fact, was no more capable of silent movement than a ninja, an SF soldier, or you.

It was a crushing disappointment to learn that we would not, in SFQC, learn the Indian ninja art of silent walking on dry oak leaves. Instead, however, we learned something more practically useful: how to be quieter than the other guy, and as quiet as we needed to be.

If silent movement is not possible — and it isn’t, if your enemy can’t hear you, his dogs, with their superhuman hearing, can — then moving stealthily at night requires several things:

  1. Masking local noise with background noise;
  2. Altering the kinds of noise to attenuate sound travel; and,
  3. Periodic listening halts.

Not hard enough? Try it in MOPP.

The first two are fairly obvious: you can move much more rapidly without giving yourself away when a train is passing by, and high-pitched sounds travel poorly. (You do need to bear in mind that sound travels differently in different atmospheric conditions). The most complicated of those three principles of night movement to apply is the periodic listening halt.

Immediately after inserting, assembly, or crossing a danger area (of which more in some subsequent article), the patrol or team must conduct an initial listening security halt. While the details of the halt may vary, something like this works:

  1. Freeze in place.
  2. Remain there for five full minutes. 
  3. Maintain 360º security.
  4. Actively listen the whole time.
  5. After five minutes, make a decision: move, or continue listening?

Why five minutes? You can change that time if you like, but it’s a good minimum because it’s quite a long time to be frozen in one place. Even a patient enemy, who stops when you do, will move and give his existence and position away before five minutes is up.

Active listening? That means concentrating on listening. You’re not only listening for the enemy, but also to develop a mental picture of what normal night sounds in your location are like. What are they like immediately when you stop? If you have been halted for a time, are there animal noises that come back (and that presumably stopped while you were moving)? Knowing this gives you an edge in the woods, compared to someone who doesn’t.

After the initial halt, the element leader must have a way to silently signal the element to begin moving again. If there is sufficient illumination, hand and arm signals may be effective; if not, touch signals should be used. Only in the most extreme case should a command be verbalized, and then, it should be whispered (remember, a higher-pitched whisper will travel much more poorly than a normal-pitched vocalized word — which is a good thing in a night full of hostiles).

It goes without saying that all these modes of command and control, and the listening security halts themselves, must be practiced in controlled conditions in garrison before attempting them in the face of an armed enemy. Night combat patrol operations are at the far end of a long crawl-walk-run pipeline; they’re the Boston Marathon of crawl-walk-run.

Animal and bird sounds make both effective stealth command and control means, and also excellent “cover” if you inadvertently make a sound in the possible presence of the enemy. Do a Leatherstocking and break a twig, or snap back a branch? The risk of exposure may be mitigated, if you can fake the snort of a deer or porcine species native to the area.

Once the element is on the move, further listening security halts should be executed at relatively short but variable periods. You can set these by distance or by time; it’s also helpful to be cognizant of terrain. If you have just passed through some stuff that was impossible to be truly quiet in, like dense mountain laurel or the dry leaves of an oak forest in winter, a listening security halt on the far side should be able to reassure you about the prospect of being tracked or tailed. As in all patrol technique, principles are iron but the means of serving those principles are best mixed up so as not to simplify the enemy’s counterpatrol planning.

Don’t be the foot-shufflin’, twig-snappin’, noise-makin’ equivalent of the yammering guy in the first paragraph. On patrol, the silent man comes home; the guy who loves the sound of his own noise dies from it.

About Hognose

Former Special Forces 11B2S, later 18B, weapons man. (Also served in intelligence and operations jobs in SF).




Just another gun blog

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