One noticeable theme at this year’s SHOT Show was the ubiquitous Anti-AK rifles and pistols chambered in 7.62×39. The non-AK 7.62×39 isn’t exactly a holy grail within the American firearms community, but it is a concept that has a strong cult following. We could look to the Ruger Mini 30, for example—a rifle that only has one flaw: it won’t take AK mags.
And Rock River has recently begun shipping their LAR-47 series. We’ve got one in for review now—spoiler alert: it is a tack driver with some annoying personality traits. You can read the whole thing here.
So why the rush for the 7.62 x 39 rifle (or pistol) that bears almost no relationship to the most ubiquitous rifle in the entire world? Beats me, but the five companies below have skin in the game.
The Rhino Arms MM-47
The Rhino Arms MM-47 may be the smoothest rifle in this list. I got to check these out at SHOT, and I was immediately smitten. If I were to pick one of these guns to add to my permanent collection–and this is coming from a diehard AK guy–this would be it.
Look at the way the receiver has been milled to keep strength, but balance weight. These are clearly well thought out rifles. We’ll have one in for review ASAP, and see how well it works.
The Galil Ace
This offering form IWI makes sense, especially in the Middle East, where there is more 7.62 x 39 than anything else. And the rifle and pistol are a fine compliment to IWI’s catalog. With a Tavor and a Galil, I don’t see how you could go wrong. I’ve yet to get my hands on one of the new ones. The Galil has always seemed like what you would get if you asked a technologically sophisticated country to fix some of the flaws with the AK.
Modularity is king at MGI. This new version builds on a concept we first saw last year. It is an AR style rifle (and now a pistol, too) that takes breaks the rifle into four main units: the upper, the barrel, the lower, and the magazine well. With one serialized lower, the rest can be mixed and matched to accommodate a variety of calibers. It is a bad-ass gun, too. We reviewed one last year. It doesn’t feel as tight as most well built AR-15s, but that’s due to the modularity. The dovetails that hold on the magazine well have just a bit of play. The good news is that the system shoots straight and runs reliably. We couldn’t make it fail, and we tried.
The CMMG Mutant
CMMG continues to make inroads on the market. They’re making some AR-10s that have a strong following. The move into 7.62×39 seems natural for a company that’s mastered the .308. Just dial it back a bit. I’m sure there’s more to it than that, but you get the picture.
We’ve got a Mutant inbound for testing, and will have the full write up ASAP. It looks like a worthy gun. I’m eager to see how it handles magazines. That is always the sticking point in this design, and something a manufacturer has to live with, or engineer away. My gut says CMMG will have engineered a solution that will keep the bolt from dragging on the rounds as they’re presented.
The SIG 556xi
Taking modularity to the next level of precision, SIG has built a rifle system that is easily adaptable to users’ needs. In its AK configuration, it will accept AK mags. This is a major plus for those, like me, who hold this point up as the benchmark of success.
The SIG will appeal to those who like the modularity. It will allow them to train with one highly capable rifle, without having to learn new safety mechanisms, or magazine change tricks. Mostly.
So what’s the big appeal of the 7.62 x 39 platform? I think it is AR familiarity combined with the availability of 7.62 x 39. It may also be a patriotic thing. The AK for the patriot who wouldn’t be caught dead with an actual AK.
So what about it? Do you own a non-AK in 7.62 x 39? I don’t. But I will.