The Rifle Dynamics M92 SBR Side-Folder is custom built to exacting standards. All the rifle’s parts are new and meticulously hand-fitted.
The AK-47 market may be one of the most resilient in the firearms industry. Few other weapons have suffered the level of media attacks and demonization as the AK. Its proliferation outside the U.S. makes it the perfect villain’s weapon in movies, television and video games. Its prominence where we currently fight wars and terrorists only adds to the weapon’s reputation—those looking to ban weapons target the AK first. Its importation, manufacture and sale have been heavily regulated for years, but with each new regulation the industry has come up with a solution for U.S. shooters, resulting in the growing availability of AK parts, accessories and firearms. The choices are extensive, ranging from pure parts-guns cobbled together from de-milled kits, to full-blown custom rifles. Custom AKs would have once caused a bit of cynical amusement, but they are growing in popularity. Pioneers in this field such as Krebs have always had a following, but new companies are cropping up.
The term ”Krinkov” permeates the Internet and is often completely misunderstood. There is no indication the term exists outside the U.S. market—to my knowledge, no Russian AK was ever designated or even nicknamed the “Krinkov.” Here, it generally refers to ultra-short Kalashnikovs, with the most iconic being the AKSU-74 in 5.45x39mm. This specific weapon first appeared on the world stage in the 1980s during Russia’s engagement in Afghanistan.
Like most compact weapons derived from full-length carbines, it was designed for those working in tight spaces as well as for rear echelon troops. The AKSU-74 became the favorite among special operations forces, resulting in a number of short-barreled variants (some chambered for 7.62x39mm) being built in nearly every Eastern Bloc nation. Each country has its own numerical designation for these weapons, but in the American gun-market they are generally known as “Krinks,” and one of the newest is the Zastava Arms M92. Zastava Arms is a Serbian arms company that has been in existence since the mid 19th century. It is Serbia’s primary producer of military arms with exports throughout the world. Badly damaged during World War II, Zastava began anew in 1964 with its development of numerous Kalashnikov-rifle variants. One of these, the M85, is a short-barreled automatic weapon chambered in 5.56x45mm. Utilizing an under-folding stock, 10-inch barrel and compact gas system, it provides special operators and those working in close quarters with compact firepower. Later, the basic M85 platform was chambered in 7.62x39mm, becoming the M92. Importing complete M92s is not possible due to the nature of the design. However, parts kits can be purchased and combined by a skilled AK builder with the requisite number of U.S.-made parts (including, of course, a new receiver and barrel) to construct a short-barreled rifle (SBR).
When it comes to skilled AK builders, the name Jim Fuller undoubtedly comes up. Fuller, who created Rifle Dynamics in 2007, worked in the personal security business for several years and is well acquainted with the AK rifle. During his career, he noticed that in many cases the weapons, especially Soviet-pattern firearms, were not meeting the operators’ needs. As a big fan of the AK’s design, he set about designing and building rifles that were practical, reliable, suited for operational use and built to the highest quality standards. I recently had an opportunity to go hands on with one of Rifle Dynamics’ SBRs, the M92 Side-Folder. For the project, Fuller started with a Zastava Arms M92 parts kit comprised of entirely new parts. The kit comes with an under-folding stock per the M92’s traditional configuration. Fuller discards this stock and replaces it with a Bulgarian or Russian triangle folding stock. Purists may cringe, but this would be my choice as well. The side-folders are perfect for real-world use, especially in a plate carrier. The M92 has a short gas system, a 10-inch barrel, fixed and protected sights, and a coned flash suppressor. The front stock is new and unfinished. Fuller uses a new NoDak Spud NDS 1-KP receiver to complete the build. Although designed to fit AK-74-style folding stocks, the receiver requires considerable fitting and machining: The stock must be fit, the front trunion fitted, and the new parts themselves require more fitting. (The normal fitting already accomplished on a de-milled kit must be completed by the builder in this case.) Rifle Dynamics also uses quality leaded rivets according to the M92’s original specification.
Once all the parts are pressed, pinned and properly fit, a Tapco Intrafuse G2 semi-auto trigger kit is installed. It is polished and tuned to provide a crisp and smooth pull then tested thoroughly prior to its final coating. After ensuring it operates perfectly, the trigger is Parkerized. A final coat of Norell’s Moly Resin is applied, bonding to the surface and providing a tough coating that is durable and extremely chemical- and heat-resistant. The wood forend receives several coats of Tung oil. This particular gun included a short rail on the cover, in front of the rear sight, where a micro or mini-dot sight may be installed. The final touch is a custom stippled pistol grip.
Build time on these rifles is a year, so Mark Finn, a principal at Rifle Dynamics, provided his newly completed and unfired (other than for testing) build for evaluation. The first thing I noticed about the M92 Side-Folder was the quality of the work. The attention to detail, fit and finish, and overall appearance were impressive. Having owned and used many custom AK rifles, this is easily the best build I have seen to date. The finish is an OD green of sorts and was evenly applied with no runs or thin areas. Every place where two parts mated, they did so perfectly. Bolt operation was butter smooth, and the safety was adjusted perfectly. The safety includes a notch to lock the bolt open and moved easily while staying in place. The trigger, one of the cleanest I have used, was smooth and predictable. The stock folded and locked into place easily. Note that, since it folds to the left, you are stuck with a sling swivel on the right. To attach a dual point to the rear or a single point to the swivel, you just need to tuck it under the stock, which takes some getting used to but is workable.
Accuracy testing at 100 yards was accomplished using an L-3 MRDS mini red-dot. It is one of the best on the market, and I have used it extensively on several gun tests. Accuracy was what you would expect from a 10-inch AK-47 rifle. The best group came out of the Hornady 123-grain SST at 3 inches. To be fair, four of the five shots were inside a half-inch, I could not avoid one flyer with each group. Getting “steady” with an AK and a 30-round magazine is no piece of cake, but it is commensurate with a combat rifle. All the 100-yard groups were fired from a seated position on a bench, using a solid bag. As a more realistic test, I fired at 25 yards from off-hand. Kitted up with my loaded Beez Tactical chest rig and comm gear, I fired 10 shots at a medium pace using the iron sights. All the shots went into 1.5 inches, impacting a bit low and left for me. But since this was a customer’s gun, I did not change the sights. For a short barrel using the 7.62x39mm round, this is about as good as it gets. Functioning was flawless with both my Bulgarian Circle 10 and Polish steel 30-rounders. The M92 front sight comes with your typical post and a flip-up with a wide notch and place for luminescent or tritium dots that was coated over—which was probably for the best. Glow-in-the-dark paint is a pain, and the insert area looked too narrow for well-made tritium vials. Besides, with the rail, the red-dot would be a far better choice for any low-light shooting. The front sight would make for a great CQB sight though, as it was very handy while I was working on the move and in and around the house. With time and a few rounds I could just about ignore the rear sight by placing the front sight’s wide notch in the middle—hits were dead center. The rear sight has two blades, one marked “2” and just a tad shorter than the other to accommodate longer range. The rear also has dots that are, again, coated over. The M92 uses a 10-inch barrel that provides marginally better ballistics than your typical short AK does. I find this to be an excellent barrel length for typical distances that is well balanced and light. And with most velocities falling in the 2,100 to 2,200 fps range, the M92 Side-Folder is more than adequate out to 100 yards and works in a pinch out to about 300 yards.
At $3,000 the Rifle Dynamics M92 Side-Folder is not for the faint of heart. The M92 configuration impressed me enough to order a kit for my own SBR build—the parts alone were over $1,000. With gunsmithing, machining and coating, things add up, and that’s if you have the tools to complete the build. Consider it an investment as well as a practical tool—the rifle is fantastic. For more information, visit rifledynamics.com or call 702-860-7774. ★
Discussion about this post