AIM Surplus AK-47 KCI Drum Magazine: AIM Surplus offers a wide variety of new and surplus AK magazines and accessories. It is always best to order quickly when this company lists new items; they go fast, but you can also set up email alerts. High-volume shooters will be especially interested in the KCI AK-47 Drum Magazine, which combines a steel body with a removable clear polymer rear plate to help you keep track of the round count. This 7.62x39mm drum holds 75 rounds and loads quickly by removing the rear plate, loading the ammo directly, and then using the windup key to supply the tension necessary to feed the rounds. This system also prevents the spring fatigue that’s common for magazines kept continuously loaded.
Apex Yugoslavian Magazine Set: Apex Gun Parts has the best selection of hard-to-find parts for surplus guns, including AKs from around the world and their magazines. For example, Apex offers a set of Yugoslavian 30-round 7.62x39mm magazines that come in an original military-surplus magazine pouch with an original grenade launcher adapter (Yugo AKs were designed to fire rifle grenades). These all-steel magazines also have the distinction of featuring a follower with a cutout that allows the bolt to remain open on the last shot, another feature unique to Yugo AKs. The magazines come coated in preservative and will show some wear, but they are great collectibles, especially for anyone that owns a Yugo AK.
Arsenal M-47W: Original Bulgarian AK magazines, also known as “Circle 10” magazines because of the factory markings, are incredibly strong polymer magazines that feature steel feed lips and steel inserts at the locking tab for strength and durability. Arsenal Inc. in Las Vegas has the exclusive contract to import them as well as Bulgarian-made AKs. These 30-round magazines accept 7.62x39mm ammunition and feature a distinct waffle pattern. Arsenal also offers a 10-round polymer magazine and makes and sells U.S. followers for 922r compliance.
Century Arms Romanian Drum Magazines: Century Arms has been busy expanding its line of Red Army Standard ammunition and accessories. For 7.62x39mm AK-47s, Century Arms is offering brand-new, Romanian-made 75-round drum magazines. They’re all steel and made to military specifications. The rear of the magazine is retained with easy-to-open latches, and the magazine loads with a tensioning key. The magazine body also has a sling swivel for transport when not in use. Remember, it weighs more than 5 pounds fully loaded. It also comes with an instruction manual.
Gibbs AK Magazines: While most of the steel AK magazines are surplus, there are a few people making new versions of this classic. The Gibbs Rifle Company has teamed up with the Matra Group, based in Bosnia, to manufacture and import brand-new, steel, 30-round AK magazines for 7.62x39mm rounds. These magazines are simple and very tough with ribbed sides like original Russian magazines. They also have a feature borrowed from Yugoslavian AK magazines: a follower that holds the bolt open after the last round is fired. Gibbs is also offering a five-year warranty for these magazines.
IO Inc. AK Magazines: Along with building U.S.-made AKs and ARs, and importing military-surplus items, IO Inc. is making high-quality magazines for all 7.62x39mm AK variants. These magazines feature the Bulgarian waffle-style pattern for a firm, slip-resistant grip. The robust, all-polymer construction resists corrosion, scratches and weather better than steel magazines. These 30-round magazines use a steel spring for reliable feeding and are available in flat black, desert brown and clear. The clear polymer magazines offer the added benefit of making it easy to see how many rounds you have left.
Maglula AK-47/Galil LULA: Shooting is fun. Loading magazines? Not so much. Thankfully, the AK-47/Galil LULA magazine loader from Maglula makes things much easier and faster. This simple polymer tool fits over the top of the magazine and allows the user to load ammo much more quickly. And, with zero thumb pain, this is especially handy when trying to get those last few rounds into your magazines. To use it, just place it on top of your magazine and drop the rounds in one at a time while moving the top lever back and forth. This device is small and easily stored in your range bag or pocket.
Magpul PMAG 30 AK-74 MOE: Magpul already makes some of the best polymer magazines available for the AR and the AK-47, and the company has unveiled a new PMAG 30 for the AK-74. This magazine has less of a curve to accommodate the narrower 5.45x39mm ammunition. It is a cost-efficient and tough 30-round magazine with a flared floorplate that can be removed for cleaning and a low-friction follower for improved reliability. As an all-U.S.-made magazine, it also counts for three 922r compliance parts on AKs built from imported kits. The polymer body is designed to be crush resistant and features a ribbed gripping surface for better handling, as well as dot-matrix panels at the bottom for ID markings.
Rock River Arms LAR-47 Magazines: Rock River Arms (RRA) makes a series of ARs chambered in 7.62x39mm that accept standard AK magazines. Interestingly, the company also decided to manufacture AK magazines. The RRA LAR-47 magazine will function in any AK and is completely reliable. It features all-polymer construction with a smooth, semi-ridged sidewall design and the distinct RRA logo. Both 10- and 30-round versions are available to shooters.
TAPCO AK Magazines: TAPCO has significantly expanded its line of AK magazines. They’re now available for AK-47s, AK-74s and even Israeli Galil rifles. These magazines are available in a variety of colors, including black, orange and Flat Dark Earth, with 10-, 20- or 30-round capacities. Most have a distinctively aggressive contour for better gripping. These magazines are made of high-strength, glass-filled nylon and count as three U.S.-made parts toward 922r compliance. The magazines feature heavy-duty springs and anti-tilt followers for reliable feeding, and removable floorplates for cleaning. TAPCO even offers a flat-sided orange polymer magazine that closely resembles the original Russian Bakelite versions.
U.S. Palm AK30: Possibly the sturdiest all-polymer, American-made AK magazines available come from U.S. Palm. Each AK30 magazine body is made of high-strength polymer with a permanently affixed floorplate, creating essentially a very solid five-sided box. The follower is vented to quickly shed debris and provide for easy cleaning. At the top of the magazine, stainless steel locking surfaces add strength and durability. The exterior of the magazine features aggressive ridges on the front and rear, and a very deep waffle pattern on the sides, all to assist in rapid extraction and control.
Traditional AK magazines, regardless of whether they were standard 30-round models, 75-round drums or 20-round “tankers,” were made of steel and extremely durable. The Russians did, in later years, use red-orange Bakelite magazine bodies for their AK-74s, and the Bulgarians developed their black polymer and steel AK-47 magazines with a distinctive waffle pattern. Military-surplus magazines are still available at reasonable prices, but several American manufacturers are now also producing new and interesting AK magazines and accessories. Here are some interesting choices.
For more information on the AK magazines featured in the gallery above, please visit the following sites.
Apex Gun Parts
Gibbs Rifle Company
Rock River Arms
This article was originally published in ‘AK-47 & Soviet Weapons’ 2017. For information on how to subscribe, visit outdoorgroupstore.com.
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