In the combat rifle world, there are two polarized camps: those who love ARs because of their modularity and accuracy, and those who love AKs because of their tank-tough reliability. What if you could have the best of both worlds? While several companies have attempted to merge the two platforms, Faxon Firearms may have just the answer, the piston-driven Faxon ARAK-21, which author David Bahde test-fires in the upcoming February 2014 issue of Special Weapons for Military & Police.

Bahde writes, “The ARAK -21 is an upper receiver that attaches to any 5.56mm (or similar) AR-pattern lower receiver. Built from a solid billet of 6061-T6 aluminum, it utilizes a monolithic design for greater accuracy and consistency. Hardened steel rails allow for metal-to-metal contact with the bolt carrier. The ARAK-21 upper also incorporates a full-length top rail and tri-rail forend. It is available configured for right- or left-side ejection with a non-reciprocating, folding, spring-returned charging handle that can be switched to either side.

“Each ARAK-21 upper has what Faxon refers to as a ‘Barrel Assembly Unit,’ or BAU, which consists of the barrel, gas block, gas piston and adjuster, and barrel trunnion. In essence, the BAU allows for barrel changes in minutes with no armorer’s tools (just an Allen wrench). BAUs are currently available with heavy- or light-contour barrels in 16- and 20-inch lengths chambered in 5.56mm NATO or 300 Blackout. A heavy-contour, 12.5-inch barrel is available in 5.56mm. The long-stroke gas piston system is user-adjustable with four positions (three gas settings and one that cuts off the gas flow).”

To learn more about the new ARAK-21 and how it performed at the range, check out the February 2014 issue of Special Weapons for Military & Police, available on newsstands and digitally December 24, 2013. To subscribe, go to

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