By Jeff W. Zimba
If you read these pages on a regular basis you have probably noticed the availability of inexpensive AK variants over the last few years. When companies utilize the correct number of American-made parts, imported AK-style rifles can meet the legal definition of “sporting rifles”. Because of this, they are back to the prices they used to be and there are several styles available. From Romanian to Egyptian, they are plentiful and priced right but most of the examples I have handled left a little to be desired in the aesthetics department and the one thing they have all had in common has been a horrible trigger pull. If you go out to the local gravel pit and plink at tin cans you may not notice this so much but if you try to paper one of these guns from a bench the typical long and inconsistent pull becomes painfully obvious. In all fairness these rifles are not marketed or priced as match rifles but one company is trying to bridge the gap a little.
Red Star Arms/Power Custom, Inc. manufactures an adjustable trigger group that you can install in your AK that will solve any trigger concern you could possibly have. This trigger assembly completely replaces the stock trigger assembly and is machined from solid steel and bar stock. The hammer and sear engagement areas are hand polished giving the shooter an extremely smooth trigger pull. As an aside, this trigger counts as three American-manufactured parts for compliance with 922(r).
There are four adjustments on the Red Star Arms/Power Custom trigger. You can install the trigger as a single-stage or two-stage trigger. It is adjustable for over-travel, length-of-pull and weight-of-pull. It comes from the factory set as a two-stage trigger with a 4-pound pull weight. It can be adjusted from an approximate 8.5-pound pull weight down to a 3.5-pound pull weight.
Installation is fairly simple and of course much easier if you have a little experience with the AK family trigger group. It comes with a very detailed set of instructions, so even the beginner or new AK enthusiast can accomplish this task with minimal trouble.
This trigger group is not a simple drop-in system and required some fitting to install it in the Maadi AK I used as the host firearm. The receiver had to be opened up a little in the trigger window and this was accomplished with the assistance of a small file. The safety also needed to be modified. After making some careful measurements, a quick trip to the grinder and a few passes with a stone completed the project. Both concerns were outlined as possible areas necessary for modification in the instructions so there were no little surprises when attempting the installation.
I left the trigger in the factory preset two-stage position. The tension of the disconnector spring was adjusted a little and the over-travel was eliminated with another simple adjustment. I found it beneficial to install the trigger, check the settings, remove it, make slight adjustments and reinstall it. I also concentrated on one adjustment at a time. The end result was a mirror smooth two-stage trigger that breaks like a glass rod. Everyone who has fired this rifle since installing this trigger system has had the same look of amazement on their face when shooting it for the first time.
My conclusion is that this patent-pending trigger system is one of the greatest aftermarket improvements I have yet to install in one of these inexpensive AK variants. While furniture and finish often leave a little to be desired, those concerns have been adequately addressed with several types of furniture and many options for refinishing. It has often been said that the AK system is bullet proof when it comes to function and reliability but trigger pull and accuracy have been its weak points in the past. Thanks to this new trigger group a great rifle just got a little better. The retail price is $84.99 plus $5.00 for shipping and handling. The same system is available for the SAR-3, Galil and Vepr for an additional $10.00.
Red Star Arms/Power Custom
29739 Hwy. J
Gravois Mills, MO 65037
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V6N11 (August 2003)|