Building your own short-barreled rifle (SBR) takes time, talent and mostly patience. That’s especially true when building an AK-style SBR, as they can be tricky beasts. However, I didn’t want to simply chop an AK up, as I wanted to get the gun as short as possible while maintaining proper functioning and accuracy.
Enter the Arsenal SLR-107UR chambered in 7.62x39mm.
Building on the Arsenal SLR-107UR
This model is made from a stamped receiver with a short gas system and has a front sight/gas block combo. With external threading for a muzzle device, it looks pretty goofy, as it’s imported with a 16-inch barrel to remain legal. It was jumping at me and begging to be cut down and converted into an SBR. So, with a few mouse clicks, it was on its way to my FFL from Atlantic Firearms. I’m not sure who screamed louder—my credit card or my wife.
Let me preface this by stating I’m not an attorney, nor do I play one on TV. Being a retired copper has taught me many things, one of which is not to interpret firearms laws on my own. Consult with an attorney or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) before making any changes to an imported rifle. Before building a Krinkov—or any AK—you should pay close attention to the regulations and the infamous 922(r) clause of Title 18.
For a complete list of compliant parts, refer to the BATFE’s website. Here are the nuts and bolts of it: “No person shall assemble a semi-automatic rifle or any shotgun using more than 10 of the imported parts listed in paragraph (c) of this section if the assembled firearm is prohibited from importation under section 925(d)(3) as not being particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes.”
Krinkov SBR Barrel
When I received my Arsenal SLR-107UR, I filled out and submitted my Form 1 and trust paperwork, and the waiting began. Fast-forward 10-and-a-half months and an approved tax stamp later, and I could finally start building my Krinkov SBR.
In keeping with tradition, it’s almost impossible for me to leave things alone and not customize them. I measured five times and cut once, because if I messed the barrel up, it would have to be pressed off. AKs aren’t like ARs, where you can simply swap barrels with some easily acquired tools.
I blitzed one of my favorite AK builders with a flurry of questions before I began the process—and during and after, too. He probably blocked my number after the project.
With the barrel cut down to 8.25 inches and crowned, I was good to go. Then it was time to test-fire it and smile like a child on Christmas morning. It was also time to decide what accessories I wanted to add.
Krinkov SBR Forend
After scouring the internet for handguards, I found SLR Rifleworks of Winter Garden, Fla. One of the nice things about going this route is that there were no worries about violating the sacred 922(r) compliance regulations. It’s also nice to support an American company.
I used SLR’s 4.12-inch Solo Mid KeyMod upper and lower handguards for the build. They required a tiny bit of fitting, but really, what AK doesn’t?
The Solo Mid handguards provided a great fit over the factory handguards. Made from 6061-T6 aircraft-grade aluminum, they are pretty stout. They also provided an amazing KeyMod hand stop and rails on the sides for a light or whatever else I might want to hang off the front.
Another great feature is the built-in sling-swivel socket on each side.
The upper handguard is railed, so attaching a forward-mounted optic is much easier. Overall, the fit and finish of the SLR Rifleworks handguards impressed me so much that I’ll consider using them with my next AK build.
After I cut, filed, polished and otherwise marred the finish on the new rifle, it was time to repaint it. MAD Custom Coating in Bremerton, Wash., has a stellar reputation in the firearms community. I took the gun there, as it was only a 45-minute ferry ride and a nice scenic drive for me to get there. I could have mailed it as easily, but I wanted an excuse to see the Olympic Mountains up close.
David from MAD Custom Coating gave me the grand tour of the facility. You can tell the company has some military and law enforcement veterans running around, as it’s impeccably organized. There was a place for everything, and everything was in its proper place.
After reviewing many color combos and schemes, I chose the company’s MAD Camo Cerakote with touches of black, OD green and Flat Dark Earth. MAD Custom Coating also backs its work with a lifetime guarantee against chips, cracks, peeling or flaking. This provides solid peace of mind for folks like me who run their weapons hard.
A Few More Parts
After digging around in my bins of loose gear, I found some other odds and ends I needed for this project. About a year earlier, I had picked up some parts for the build while waiting for my tax stamp to be approved.
Krinkov SBR Trigger
Again, not wanting to skirt 922(r) issues, I used a tried-and-true trigger. In this department, I’m a huge fan of Geissele. When the company added ALG Defense to its lineup for more budget-minded consumers, I jumped on that bandwagon.
For this Krinkov build, I used ALG’s AK Trigger, or AKT. In fact, I’ve used the AKT in every AK I’ve built over the past 18 months. This one has a crisp, carrot- like break. According to my Wheeler trigger gauge, it broke consistently each time at 3.5 pounds.
Typically, I like to keep triggers at 4 to 5 pounds on any defensive weapon, as that’s what has been beaten into me through the years. However, I made an exception this time, as I fell in love with the trigger.
The AKT is adjustable for pull weight by bending the ears of the high-energy mainspring or using the included braided spring.
I also used a StormWerkz Bulgarian/Russian Krink Scope Mount. It sits nicely between the front and rear sights. I purchased it about a year ago before I decided to go with a railed upper handguard. My parents taught me to finish what was on my plate, so I didn’t want to waste it. Besides, it gives me more mounting options and weighs little.
Being a southpaw, every AK I use gets a Krebs Custom Mk VI Ambi Enhanced Safety. They are comfortable to use and get the job done.
For the brake, I used a Definitive Arms 24×1.5mm Fighter Brake to help control the fire-belching dragon. It’s common knowledge that anything Definitive Arms’ Chase Sisgold designs works exceptionally well.
I used a CAA AK pistol grip with finger grooves to round things out. It was an old grip sitting unused in one of my bins and is much nicer than the stock plastic factory grip. It also counts toward one of the 922(r) compliance items. However, at that point, the Krink was so Americanized that I quit counting the required items to be compliant.
The Burris FastFire 2 was a good optic for this build. It kept the weight down and the profile slim, and when using the American Defense quick-detach mount, it was easy to jettison if needed. Co-witnessing with the factory iron sights wasn’t an issue, either.
Range Therapy With My Krinkov SBR
This batch of testing was different than the usual overly thorough range trials. Given that my family and I had relocated less than a week before testing, I had to improvise. A close friend answered the call. He has access to thousands of acres of farm fields.
It was 21 degrees without much of a windbreak when I tested the gun, so I’ll apologize for not including detailed accuracy results. That said, I was quite pleased about making headshots on target from a standing, unsupported firing position at about 35 to 40 yards. That told me what I wanted to know.
Realistically, I don’t expect sub-MOA accuracy out of an 8.25-inch-barreled Krinkov. It was more than capable of “minute of man” and headshots on target at any reasonable and respectable distance for an AK-platform SBR.
Every trigger pull was crisp and broke nicely. And it felt great shooting on my friend’s land without any range police barking at people. There’s something to be said for shooting on private property.
Now It’s Your Turn
The Arsenal SLR-107UR makes a great SBR if you go that route. When folding the stock to the left side and securing it in place, it creates a compact package. Just make sure you follow all of the rules, regulations and guidelines when building your SBR. Many BATFE agents I contacted were more than professional and willing to give sound advice to keep everyone within the law.
There’s nothing that puts a smile on the face of my wife’s “third child” (yours truly) than playing with my new Krink. After I got the gun dialed in just right, I didn’t even notice the 400 or 500 rounds I had expended until I looked at the ground. At about 6.5 pounds with the Burris sight in place, it’s pure ecstasy with a trigger. If you ever think of owning or building an AK-style SBR, just do it. You’ll thank me later.
For More Information
- ALG Defense: algdefense.com
- Arsenal Inc.: arsenalinc.com
- Burris Optics: burrisoptics.com
- Krebs Custom: krebscustomak47.com
- MAD Custom Coating: madcustomcoating.com
- SLR Rifleworks: slrrifleworks.com
- StormWerkz: stormwerkz.com
This article is from the May/June 2018 issue of Tactical Life Magazine. Grab your copy at OutdoorGroupStore.com.