For a long time, it was not an easy thing to mount an optic on an AK. They just weren’t designed for it. That problem has since been solved many times over and all that is left is selecting the best accessories for your mission.
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No matter if it is a magnified scope, a tactical light/laser or a red-dot optic, there are a lot of choices for today’s shooters and new products coming up almost daily. By all means, train to use the iron sights on your AK with its short sight radius, tiny notch and post, and ridiculously optimistic elevation adjustment, but better yet get a good optic and get on target!
Aimpoint Micro T-2
In red-dot optics, Aimpoint is the choice of military and law enforcement, and for good reason. The Aimpoint Micro T-2 may be the toughest micro red dot ever made, and it features a 2-MOA center dot for fast and precise targeting and shooting. The housing has been beefed up to withstand harsh conditions and rough handling, and the unit includes a flip-up lens cover and is waterproof to 80 feet. The lenses have also been upgraded for better light transmission and the battery has a constant-on lifespan of five years. Even with the mount, it only weighs 3.7 ounces, and with unlimited eye relief can be placed on a forward mount. (aimpoint.com; 703-263-9795)
Burris FastFire 3
Anyone looking for a high-visibility red-dot optic that takes up minimal space will do well to consider the Burris FastFire 3. This miniscule red-dot sight features three manual brightness settings, but it’s best to just use the auto-brightness setting that instantly adjusts the sight to the ambient light conditions. If you are moving from indoors to bright sunlight, the sight adjusts itself for optimal visibility. The sight is shockproof and waterproof, and the optical glass provides a clear both-eyes-open view for fast targeting. Windage and elevation adjustments are easy to make and stay put, and the mounting system allows this optic to be used on handguns, rifles or shotguns. You also get a choice of a 3- or 8-MOA dot. (burrisoptics.com; 970-356-1670)
Crimson Trace CMR-206
This Oregon-based laser sight company practically pioneered the concept of laser sights and remains an industry leader. It has been expanding from pistol lasers to new universal lasers that can be placed on any rail system. The CMR-206 Rail Master Universal Green Laser Sight is incredibly compact, the smallest green laser sight on the market in fact, and it is extremely powerful with a bright green beam. It features ambidextrous, finger-activated tabs for ease of use, two hours of continuous runtime and a five-minute auto-off feature to preserve battery life. It can also be programmed to offer momentary-on, strobe or a constant beam. (crimsontrace.com; 800-442-2406)
LaserMax offers some extremely compact and unobtrusive lasers, such as the LMS-UNI-GVP, which is only 1.75 inches long and weighs less than 1 ounce. The green laser on this unit can easily be seen even in full daylight with steady or pulsed settings, allowing for pinpoint accuracy. An infrared and red laser version is also available. The flat design of the laser also allows the operator to mount accessories on top of the unit if desired, such as a tactical light. The laser is fully windage and elevation adjustable, and it includes a finger-activated, ambidextrous lever and an optional momentary activation system.
Nightforce NXS Compact Riflescope
When it comes to quality optics, Nightforce is nearly impossible to beat. These scopes are often found mounted on the rifles of expert shooters and professionals. As the AK does not need a long-range scope, better to mount the NXS 1-4×24 Compact Riflescope from Nightforce. This 1-4x scope features a very low-profile design, an illuminated reticle that is night-vision compatible and the new Power Throw Lever (PTL), which makes power adjustment much easier and faster. At 1x magnification, the scope works like iron sights but allows for both-eyes-open precision. (nightforceoptics.com; 208-476-9814)
Steiner OTAL-C IR
With the increasing availability and quality of night-vision devices, along with more competitive pricing, infrared laser units have also grown in popularity. These units emit a laser that is invisible to the human eye but gets picked up immediately and brightly by night-vision devices out to 250 meters. The Steiner OTAL-C IR Offset Tactical Aiming Lasers-IR is extremely low profile and can be mounted on any rail system, and since the beam is offset, it can be installed on top of your rifle and projects around the front sight post. It runs off one easy-to-find AA battery, weighs less than 5 ounces and is submersible to 5 meters. (steiner-optics.com; 888-228-7747)
Texas Weapon Systems Basic Rear Peep Sight
The rear sight on the AK suffers badly from several downfalls. The notch is too narrow and difficult to see, especially in poor conditions, and the elevation adjustments (up to 800 or 1,000 meters) are laughable. The Texas Weapon Systems Basic Rear Peep resolves this simply with a solid aluminum replacement that features a 0.07-inch aperture and a fixed 100-yard zero. It also has an extended tab that allows the unit to be secured with screws to the company’s railed receiver dust cover for a much sturdier sight base. The end result is both simple and effective. (texasweaponsystems.com; 512-554-1136)
Making bright, illuminated optics is practically Trijicon’s trademark, and the new Trijicon MRO (Miniature Rifle Optic) does not disappoint. This tiny reflex sight provides a 2-MOA red dot inside a large viewing area and aperture for fast targeting. The adjustable brightness controls are on top so they can be accessed by both right- and left-handed shooters, and the 7075 T6 anodized aluminum housing is sealed and waterproof to 100 feet of submersion. Windage and elevation adjustments can be made easily, and the dials offer a sub-flush fit so they will not move once set. The included lithium battery will last for five years of continuous use. (trijicon.com; 800-338-0563)
Green lasers are far more powerful and visible than red lasers, especially in daylight conditions. The Viridian X5L-RS combines the green laser with a tactical 178-lumen light in one tough aluminum unit. Features include ambidextrous activation pads, controllable settings with every variation imaginable, including light-only, laser-only, light and laser and strobe functions. The universal mounting system allows the unit to be quickly and easily installed on any accessory rail. (viridiangreenlaser.com; 800-990-9390)
Weaver 1-7x24mm Tactical Scope
The new Weaver 1-7x24mm Tactical Scope combines the best elements of first- and second-focal-plane optics in one unit using Dual-Focal Plane technology. In essence, you get a red-dot sight that keeps the 4-MOA dot at the same size regardless of magnification. This is best used at the lowest 1x setting. You also get a mil-dot reticle that grows and shrinks with magnification, so you can use it for bullet-drop compensation and range estimation at any magnification setting. Weaver also includes a quick-throw lever that allows the user to adjust magnification on the fly. These types of optics are especially popular among 3-Gun competitors as well as tactical teams that have to operate in close- and intermediate-range environments with one optic. (weaveroptics.com; 800-379-1732)