U.S.A. -(AmmoLand.com)- The true Russian AK-104 is an interesting beast. It’s essentially just a slightly cut-down version of the polymer-stock, modernized AK-100 series carbines chambered in 7.62x39mm. Despite this, it has some mystique about it that makes it oddly desirable to shooters who love modern Russian firearms. Especially given how uncommon the gun – or civilian-legal variants of it – are in the United States. But that all is changing with Palmetto State Armory’s entry into the AK market.
For the uninitiated, the AK-100 series of rifles are functionally identical to the stamped-receiver AKM carbine that has seen conflict on nearly every continent on Earth. But they differ from the wooden-stocked commie-blasters in a few key ways. Mainly the addition of a single port muzzle brake, threaded gas block, and use of polymer furniture. They still use the same die-hard AK magazines, but newer models ship with steel-reinforced polymer magazines.
Essentially the purpose of these guns was to make the AK a lighter, more user-friendly firearm. Along the development process, the guns also incorporated folding stocks which due to their handiness and rarity in the US became hugely desirable.
And since yours truly is a huge AK guy, I jumped at the chance to get some trigger time behind both the pistol and carbine version of the PSA AK-104.
Like I mentioned earlier, the PSA AK-104 comes in two main varieties: pistol and rifle. But there are two main rifle variants of the gun as well. One that ships with a true 16-inch barrel that protrudes past the conical flash hider/muzzle booster, and another that features an extended muzzle device that pushes the barrel length to the legal 16in minium. On a true AK-104, the barrel is only a little over 12 inches long, so the engineers at PSA had to make up that difference to make the rifle NFA-compliant.
Regardless of which one a shooter purchases, both feature the AK-100 series trunnion allowing for a folding stock, as well as a 90-degree gas block and 24.5x1mm threaded end. In the case of the pistol, the AK-104 ships with a folding triangular rubberized brace made by SB Tactical. The rifles on the other hand feature a polymer left-folding stock true to the current-issue modern AK assault rifles.
Also, like all current generation PSA AK firearms, both the pistol and rifle are adorned in a durable black oxide finish with a Teflon coating to give it a proper military AK appearance but with increased durability and resistance to corrosion.
Another way the PSA AK-104 differs from Russian military carbines is in the inclusion of an extended safety lever. This functions as a standard AK safety but features a small shelf that allows shooters to toggle the safety with their index finger instead of necessitating the whole hand.
On The Range
Although my trigger time with the new AK-104 was limited to two magazines, I was definitely impressed. The action was smooth, accuracy seemed on par with military 7.62x39mm AKs and the guns ran flawlessly with no malfunctions whatsoever. One thing I did notice, is that the 104’s recoil was a little more stout than my Arsenal SGL-21 which is a clone of the AK-103. This is likely a combination of the decreased overall weight, reduction in barrel length, and the fact that the 104 uses a flash hider instead of the single port brake found on the full-sized rifles.
That said, the guns were still both totally controllable even during hammered pairs, and did an excellent job of taming the already mild 7.62x39mm round’s recoil. Additionally, both Magpul AK PMAGS and the new Palmetto State Armory Waffle magazines inserted and extracted without issue and had no perceivable, ‘wobble’ when locked in place. All and all a very solid gun.
Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to run a few hundred more rounds through the gun in the near future so I can give a more complete review, but so far I’m smitten. It’s definitely an AK variant I’d love to add to my collection.
About Jim Grant
Jim is one of the elite editors for AmmoLand.com, who in addition to his mastery of prose, can wield a camera with expert finesse. He loves anything and everything guns but holds firearms from the Cold War in a special place in his heart.
When he’s not reviewing guns or shooting for fun and competition, Jim can be found hiking and hunting with his wife Kimberly, and their dog Peanut in the South Carolina low country.
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