In the world of guns, the AK-47 has always been the equivalent of “sensible shoes.” While not bedazzled with the latest accoutrements that its AR neighbor enjoys, it has proven itself to be a dependable firearm in pretty much every corner of the world. Its reputation as a reliable weapon is legendary. For all intents and purposes, the gun has gone along with very few real upgrades outside of what a few hardcore users have done. Essentially, the belief in this particular corner of the gun world is “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

While this is a sound principle in most cases, the venerable AK can indeed stand for some improvements. This thought has been shared by many AK aficionados, but one company in particular has put this classic gun under the knife to produce a truly fantastic rifle. Say hello to Meridian Defense Corp. (MDC) and its MDC-47 Volk.

The inspiration behind the Volk was to create the ultimate weapon based off of the battle-proven AK-47 platform. The foundation of the gun begins with an American-manufactured Sharps Bros. MB47 milled receiver, which was patterned after the original milled Bulgarian AK-47 receiver but with the addition of an integrated AR buffer extension. The ultimate plan for the gun was to bring it into the modern era with an improved feel and function. With that in mind, Meridian included items like a Magpul CTR stock.

According to the folks at Meridian, “We provide the end-user with a positive gripping surface that allows proper one-handed control of the Volk through the use of the Magpul AK grip. To provide the end-user with a refined fire control group, we’ve added the ALG Defense AKT trigger system. To maximize the accuracy potential of the system, the Volk is built with our U.S.-manufactured, 4150 CMV, black-nitrided barrel coupled with our modern front sight block that replaces both the original gas block and front sight.”

From the start, the Volk was designed to be a purpose-driven suppressor-ready platform, with the barrel utilizing a BattleComp 51.0 that allows for the use of any .30-caliber, 51-tooth AAC suppressors. The gun also utilizes a U.S.-made M-LOK handguard to provide a lightweight and strong tube that not only allows the tuned gas system to run optimally but also provides the end-user with the ability to mount optics in a forward position through its integrated Picatinny top rail. The sides and bottom provide plenty of space for accessories.

Raining Lead

I have the good fortune of shooting a wide variety of guns in my position, and it honestly never gets old. However, there are certain guns that come across my desk that get me excited. The MDC-47 Volk is one of those guns. So, a sprint to the range was in order the minute I got the gun in my hands.

To keep things “real,” I primarily ran inexpensive 123-grain TulAmmo ammo for all of the moving and shooting drills. One of the more appealing aspects of the AK is its ability to eat pretty much anything you feed it, and the Volk cycled flawlessly at every turn. Of course, I don’t encourage anyone to shoot the cheapest ammnuition they can find. While the gun can do it, there are better choices available nowadays. Yes, ammunition costs can add up, but If you spend serious money on a gun, you should treat it well.

I immediately fell in love with the ability to modify the length of pull. While the hardcore AK enthusiast believes that one size fits all, it’s just not true. The choice of an adjustable Magpul stock is the first of many improvements I saw in this gun. I’ve had the pleasure to run more than my fair share of AK-47s across a spectrum of qualities. The Volk, however, is definitely one of the nicest AKs I have ever run. Beyond its modern feel and reliable functioning, the gun was also very accurate. The finish on the gun is also well done, with all of the sharp edges rounded, unlike the hand shredders of the past. I joke that most AKs are assembled by angry Russian women who sharpen every edge on the gun. This isn’t the case with the Volk.


Performance-wise, the gun is a fighter. I found it a pleasure to run in every drill I took it through. From barricades to snap-ups, the gun meshed well with me and ran like a machine. There are several specific items that are noteworthy. The gun felt solid; it is missing the traditional AK rattle that I have become accustomed to. I attribute this to the milled receiver, which is vast improvement over its stamped cousins. The gun had a very serious gunfighter feel to it, and I would certainly grab this blaster if I was headed into a fight.

I attribute this tighter fit to the rifle’s increased accuracy. While the AK has never been known as a precision weapon, Meridian Defense is changing that cliché. With a variety of ammo on the menu, I was able to squeak out a sub-MOA group with some Federal 123-grain Power-Shok rounds. Now the group was 0.9 inches, but that is still under an inch and produced an audible “Hell yeah!” from me. The gun performed well at farther distances as well. I was easily ringing steel at 500, 600 and even 700 yards. Writers who say these guns can only shoot out to “X” distance have obviously never spent much time behind the trigger of one.

Trigger & Weight

Speaking of triggers, the inclusion of the ALG Defense trigger made a huge difference in performance. While not a precision trigger per se, it was a world of improvement above a stock trigger.

The last point I will make is on weight. The Internet-fueled grumblings are that a milled receiver makes the gun too heavy. This is simply not the case. In fact, I found the slight increase in weight an improvement by helping to soak up some recoil. It is important to remember that super-light guns may be easy to carry, but they are not as easy to shoot. So, unless you plan on hiking through the mountains of Afghanistan with this rifle, I doubt you will even notice the weight difference. So, the verdict is in: The Meridian Defense MDC-47 Volk is a great rifle.

Continued Success

According to “Weaponomics: The Global Market for Assault Rifles,” “As of 2004…Of the estimated 500 million firearms worldwide, approximately 100 million belong to the Kalashnikov family, three-quarters of which are AK-47s.” The American portion of that market is ravenous and growing. Over the last decade, overall interest in the platform has exploded, and that popularity is only going to grow.

The expansion of the AK market is sure to be fueled even further with the introduction of the MDC-47 Volk. People are now able to not only enjoy the classic nature of the gun, but the modern improvements that Meridian Defense has brought to the table.

I had the chance to visit with Tony Arria of Meridian Defense and talk about the company’s rifles. He broke it down very clearly: “Our goal is simple. Meridian Defense Corp. is here to manufacture the best American-made AK period! Through our 20-plus years of experience in manufacturing, machining and design, we’ve taken full advantage of the fact that we utilize the most sophisticated manufacturing equipment available. We are able to provide a degree of precision that is not typically associated with the AK platform. We have a vested interest in this platform’s continued success, and while we remain AK purists at heart, the only way we as an industry keep this platform relevant is through innovation and modernization. The Volk does just that and then some.”

In short, this is a great gun from a company with a great vision.

Meridian Defense MDC-47 Volk Specs

Caliber: 7.62x39mm
Barrel: 16 inches
OA Length: 37.5 inches
Weight: 8.2 pounds (empty)
Stock: Magpul CTR
Sights: Front post, adjustable rear
Action: Piston-operated semi-auto
Finish: Flat Dark Earth, desert camo
Capacity: 30+1
MSRP: $2,650

Meridian Defense MDC-47 Volk Performance

Load Velocity Accuracy
CorBon 123 DPX 2,300 1.00
Federal 123 Power-Shok 2,350 0.90
TulAmmo 122 SP 2,396 1.50

*Bullet weight measured in grains, velocity in fps by chronograph and accuracy in inches for best five-shot groups at 100 yards.

For more information, visit

This article was originally published in the 2018 issue of “AK-47 & Soviet Weapons.” To order a copy, visit

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