Troy Takes on the AK-47

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The Troy forends come in short and long versions.

The Troy forends come in short and long versions.

Check out what Troy does for AKs: https://troyind.com/rail-systems-accessories/rails/ak47

Shop Troy at GunsAmerica: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=troy

Get an AK to trick out: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=AK

The AK has a dedicated cult following here in The States. Despite its reputation as the-rifle-that-won’t-quit, the Kalashnikov is still a hard sell for many who cut their metaphoric teeth on the very American AR-15. There are numerous reasons—too many to list. Some hate the lack of a bolt hold open. Others can’t wrap their heads around the mag release. Still others don’t trust the 7.62 x 39. And some folks are just too patriotic. The biggest complaint: the lack of rail for easily mounting optics.

But each of those issues has after-market fixes (except for the patriotism—I’m not sure that needs fixing). The Russian rifles come in numerous calibers, and can be retrofitted with a variety of American-user-friendly options. That’s where this review is headed, obviously, but we have to make a clear distinction here, at the outset. Troy doesn’t make plastic junk to help Call-of-Duty wannabes make their AKs look cool. These aren’t novelty parts. Troy makes hard-use gear.

When an American gun maker takes on Russia’s shortcomings

The very real threat of terrorism would suggest that everyone, and I mean everyone, should know how to run an AK—and also how to shut one down. With that in mind, I became a student of the platform. And I’ve grown to respect it. But the basic design has its flaws.

This MFT hand guard is functional, but it is too compact for my taste.

This MFT hand guard is functional, but it is too compact for my taste.

I’ve been waiting for this kit for a long time. I’ve been slowly working my way through the aftermarket options for forends, looking for something that will allow me to keep my hand off of the gas tube and barrel. I tend to hold farther out than the stubby forends on most AKs will allow. So when I saw the long tubes on the AKs in the Troy booth at SHOT last year, I was ready.

There was only one problem—the Troy forends wouldn’t clear certain Arsernal AK barrels, because of the threads for their muzzle devices. I talked with Troy several times about the changes being made, and at last a set arrived tailored to the Arsenal.

The benefits

Length is first for me. This long tube allows for a lot more real estate than I’ve ever had on an AK. With this much length, you can wrap way out above the barrel (which is an ideal hold for a rifle with sights this high). If length is not important, Troy makes a short version of the rail, too.

Vent holes allow for air circulation, and for the attachment of rail sections.

Vent holes allow for air circulation, and for the attachment of rail sections.

If you want more texture, add Squid Grip plugs.

If you want more texture, add Squid Grip plugs.

Even the short version has exceptional texture. The tube is cut so that you can grip any surface on the outside of the tube and find a solid hand-hold. If you want more texture, you can stick the rubber squid-suckers into the vent holes. Sections of rail can be added, too, so hand stops and vertical grips are also options.

One thing I’ve found with other forends is a distinct lack of stability. The wooden forends are solid, but don’t offer much beyond modest insulation. Some of the plastic forends are easy to fit, but shoot loose, or come loose when the plastic heats up and expands. The aluminum forends are less prone to this, but most are so thick (and placed in close proximity to the gas tube and barrel, that they heat up quickly and hold that heat longer.

The rear of the forend mates with the receiver.

The rear of the forend mates with the receiver.

The stability of this milled connection is what makes this a viable platform.

The stability of this milled connection is what makes this a viable platform.

The way the Troy forend attaches keeps it from shooting loose. And the open space inside the tube allows for the air to pass freely, which helps cool off the gun and the forend.

How to install it

Taking the old forend off may be incredibly easy. If not, it may require tools, elbow grease, and carefully selected expletives. Once the two halves are off, dry fit the forend. Remove the brake or flash hider and angle in the barrel. The sight post is the real obstacle.

Strip it down.

Strip it down.

Rock the forend over the front sight. You will likely need to take off the muzzle device.

Rock the forend over the front sight. You will likely need to take off the muzzle device.

Cut outs fit existing parts with tolerances just forgiving enough for basic manufacturing variations.

Cut outs fit existing parts with tolerances just forgiving enough for basic manufacturing variations.

bolts inside the forend need to be snugged down. This locks it in place.

Bolts inside the forend need to be snugged down. This locks it in place.

The bolts are not easy to reach.

The bolts are not easy to reach.

Again, improvise as needed.

Again, improvise as needed. A flexible extender makes the job easy.

Install the new top rail. This replaces the gas tube and fits in place easily.

Install the new top rail. This replaces the gas tube and fits in place easily.

If it doesn't slide in place, you may need to find a way to hammer it home. I used a brass punch and a Tru-Glo sight riser.

If it doesn’t slide in place, you may need to find a way to hammer it home. I used a brass punch and a Tru-Glo sight riser locked onto the rail.

I hammered on the riser instead of the rails. Worked perfectly.

I hammered on the riser instead of the rails. Worked perfectly.

Then ratchet down the front end.

Then ratchet down the front end.

In the end, the rail becomes a solid platform on which to mount optics.

In the end, the rail becomes a solid platform on which to mount optics.

The benefit is clear. My old rail was plastic, which is much less stable than the aluminum.

The benefit is clear. My old rail was plastic, which is much less stable than the aluminum.

The end result is a solid fit that compliments the aesthetic of the gun.

The end result is a solid fit that compliments the aesthetic of the gun.

Criticisms

When I finally got the retrofitted gun to the range, I had one issue. The open section below the sight post allows you to get close to that hot barrel. I didn’t have my cleaning rod in, which would have offered another small barrier. Just be careful when you wrap that hand around the end of the forend.

There should be a plate to cover this open cut-out, which is required to get the tube over the sight.

There should be a plate to cover this open cut-out, which is required to get the tube over the sight.

That would keep my hand form coming in contact with the bottom of the barrel.

That would keep my hand form coming in contact with the bottom of the barrel.

The fix? I’d like to see Troy build a small section of tube that simply bolts into place—something that would bring the whole circumference of the tube all the way to the end. If that were available, I’d Loc-tite that plate in place and never take the forend off of this gun. Ever. I like it that much.

As is, I’m going to have to practice a bit before I’m comfortable reaching way out there on that end. And I’ll be wearing gloves.

In the (fore)end

There’s a lot to recommend about this set-up. Even with the open bottom, the forend offers so much more than the typical tactical AK furniture, and infinitely more than the wood. It may not look so much like an AK when you’re finished, but that’s typically not an issue for those of us who want their guns to be as functional as possible.

The long Troy forend sells for $139.95. The top rail is $149.

Add a vertical grip, too.

Add a vertical grip, too.

The Troy grip is modular.

The Troy grip is modular.

It can even be used for storage.

It can even be used for storage.

And the screw can be replaced with a quick release version.

And the screw can be replaced with a quick release version.

The rail sections are easy to install, but you have to have room for the hardware inside the tube.

The rail sections are easy to install, but you have to have room for the hardware inside the tube.

The rail isn't flush fitting, but doesn't protrude much.

The rail isn’t flush fitting, but doesn’t protrude much.

The forend tube has a small section of rail.

The forend tube has a small section of rail.

That section is lower than the section on the gas tube.

That section is lower than the section on the gas tube.

The fit, considering how sloppy some AK tolerances are known to be, is really impressive.

The fit, considering how sloppy some AK tolerances are known to be, is really impressive.

And the whole thing comes together to give the AK a much more modern look.

And the whole thing comes together to give the AK a much more modern look.

{ 22 comments… add one }
  • Dennis January 15, 2016, 7:55 pm

    I have an Arsenal, & I was wondering would this fit something with a 24 thread for a muzzle devise. Also does it it fit milled or stamped recievers

  • Johnny VanZandt November 12, 2015, 8:31 am

    I am still boycotting Troy. Its hard for me to forget. YMMV

    http://www.thebangswitch.com/the-hiring-follies-of-troy-industries/

  • Robert Dougherty November 9, 2015, 8:26 pm

    Hmmmm., Dressing up or down any fire arm, can make a difference. Rails, scope mounts, heat shields, iron sights, safety catches, various add ons, slings, things strapped to the stock to hold ammunition, oil kits, grenades, sex oil, cleaning tools, clips and magazines. I like this dress up kit. Thing is, a stock Russian, Bulgarian, Chinese, Polish, or whatever, Ak-47 is an extremely effective firearm. To my thinking, it is not so much the dress up kit, as the thought, is this firearm effective for the purpose?
    This kit, makes it look intimidating. But what difference does it make, if you have cornered some miscreant, whether you have a hot dress up kit with labia lip magazine feed insert, a dildo flash suppressor, and a cast child’s hand as a bolt cocking lever? A stock AK, or SKS, is fine looking. Dress up, sure, but… I fail to see much in the way of performance improvement. Chrome valve covers on an Edelbrock 5.7 Litre 350 V-8, does not make the engine run better. I appreciate that many are making cool “improvements” on vastly combat tested firearms, personally, I prefer to spend the money on ammunition, tools, and steel,….
    So I can devise my OWN minor improvements, most of which are simply done for the fun of it!

    “The problem with political jokes, is that many of them get elected”
    Regards,
    RAD

  • Thomas_67 November 9, 2015, 7:24 pm

    I would love to get one but as Pete mentioned, the long handguard can not be installed onto a model that has a 24mm muzzle threads – such as the Arsenal Sam7.

    • Pete November 9, 2015, 10:11 pm

      There are ways around it, with a bit of Dremel work to the hand guard and a bit of ingenuity. What I really like about the Troy is that they allow you to keep the original sling attachment point. All other long hand guards require you to hack it of, MagPul, Midwest Industries, etc. That makes it rather a pain to return the rifle to stock condition for later resale. I prefer to be able to sell my rifles in stock as it came condition so backwards conversion is a must.

  • Robert Dougherty November 9, 2015, 7:04 pm

    I am an All American. I hope I pass moderation.

  • Robert Dougherty November 9, 2015, 7:02 pm

    Lipstick on a pig….Labia lips on my girlfriends mouth, how about being able to bury an AK-47 or AK-74 in mud for the time it takes to romance a new pig with lipstick….dig it up, piss on it, and it will likely fire just fine. Try that with the M-16 Family. Also, the ,223 round tends to bounce off of jungle foliage, a tiny little tree vine will send the round off in mysterious directions. Bad ass round, as long as things as supple as a pig fart don’t interfere with its trajectory path. I really LIKE 7.62 by 39. I like Ak’s. Have you read “The GUN?” (a volume on Ak-47) Jungle choice, AK-47. Dessert, M4 or any derivative. Eugene Stoner was a genius. Water, Spear gun. or bang stick. I dislike the Chevy/Ford thing. It comes down to what you like, what is comfortable, what WORKS for the designated operation, and most of all, MAYBE, is what is at your side giving you a warm fuzzy feeling like your first sex date. Nice comments you have all posted. I have vastly enjoyed this forum.

    R

  • Ditto November 9, 2015, 3:53 pm

    My honest first reaction? Holy cow is that ever ugly. Probably works really well, but still… ick.

  • Steve Warren November 9, 2015, 3:36 pm

    Curb feelers, mud flaps, hood ornaments… it’s still all just lipstick on a pig. Spend your money on ammo.

  • John November 9, 2015, 2:34 pm

    I remember when Archangle came out with the Mosin 91/30 stock. Seems like a lot of comments about Archangel were cut and pasted substituting “Troy.”
    “Lipstick on a pig”, that’s always good for a laugh. But the Archangel Mosin stock is a winner and I predict that Troy’s contributions to the AK world will be just as successful, probably more so.
    I know Jeff Cooper told us not to fix it if it isn’t broke but that’s what we do. It is innovation that continually improves on older technology. If old technology isn’t any good why are single action revolvers, shotguns and rifles still made? Why is there a huge muzzle loading following?
    And though 99% of all statistics are made up 99% of the time there is a real good chance that only .001 percent of us will ever use an AK as a defensive or offensive rifle. For the rest of us it a fun, inexpensive to shoot range rifle and if someone makes a product, sorry Jeff, that the consumer will buy than that’s what capitalism is all about.

  • Robert November 9, 2015, 2:13 pm

    That is one ugly AK. Put the stock furniture back on and buy ammo.

  • Pete November 9, 2015, 11:45 am

    They forget to mention that is will not fit over Izmash made Saigas with the 24mm muzzle threads.

    As to the AK’s combat effectiveness, been making dead people out of live ones for almost 70 years now. Think that speaks for itself.

    • Steve Warren November 9, 2015, 3:40 pm

      Greatest assault rifle in the world for arming an uneducated conscript army to control an unarmed population. That’s where it has really shined.

      • Pete November 9, 2015, 10:13 pm

        So when is the US military adopting it? They fit the above bill (or soon will ).

  • Richard Smith November 9, 2015, 11:06 am

    I f someone would put out a decent replacement safety I might actually acquire an AK.

  • Mason Hamilton November 9, 2015, 10:02 am

    The designers lost their professional credibility and the definition of functionality with the open bottom forearm of their product. That failure alone is a “not ready for prime time” classification. This product at its best is useless “styling.” Appearance wise – I’ve seen more modern looking tractor jacks. For almost the same money you can buy another AK – if you shop well – and actually create a real force magnifying effect.

  • GuidoFL November 9, 2015, 9:20 am

    The AK is a simple to maintain platform by design. This item is just a over complicated and expensive add on. Most of us AK owners will simply use the side rail for scope/red dot mounting per the AK design. The wood forearm with heat shield works well also. So why mess around except to spend money for “looks” ?

  • Mahatma Muhjesbude November 9, 2015, 9:13 am

    Brad, it’s like the the anal retentive mythology of the .45 v. the 9mm. Even though the FBI conducts exhaustive extensive studies and tests on ‘ballistics’ –when they are not spying on law abiding civilians in their fleet of single engine Cessnas with special cameras (and spying on other cops)–courtesy of your tax dime, and ultimately determined what the German Arms Meisters already knew way back in the days, that for all pragmatic purposes of tactical effective killing in the general military conflict context, all factors weighing in, that the 9mm is the best all around choice, and this is certainly true today with the new psycho rounds available, but you’ll still get an old Jeff Cooper wannabe who ‘needs’ to carry his tricked 1911 which still retains the same disadvantages as it did when it was invented that preclude it from being an optimal CQB sidearm…like say…a Glock 17, or 22…OH LAWDY, now I’ve REALLY sinned!

    Well as long as I’m going to burn in the hell of intransigent mindsets of mythology, let me add one more thing on the ‘Pimped AK’s’. I’ve said it before countless times and once more can only help SAVE LIVES! There’s only one thing an AK can do better than an AR. And that is NOTHING! And I’m not an AR fanboy. I’m a ‘fan’ of NO Guns. It’s just that I’ve unfortunately had an unholy, but necessary, relationship with them, and just about every other military weapon, all my life. And the popularity both militarily of the AR-15 platform and in every other shooting venue today speaks for itself. After all the equally mythological ‘bugs’ were worked out and the AR platform was improved to modern criteria and performance, not much at all beats it. All the so called entirely ‘new age’ ‘modern’ weapons that were expected to replace it never materialized. It was just too hard to beat and still is. To wit: The DHS recently rejected the standard ‘Darling’ of Police State tools, the pricey and archaic H&K MP-5 option for ‘special mission applications’ and instead chose the new ultra compact super functioning LWRC IC-PDW 5.56 AR-15 platform. The DHS–and doubtless other secret alphabet agencies–issued a solicitation requisition for 7,000 of these bad ass puppies on our tax dimes.

    As far as Ak’s, ‘putting lipstick on a pig’ doesn’t change the horror of what you woke up with next you in bed in the morning…or after a firefight. Having carried an AK in combat at times, instead of the issue AR’s we had–but not for the reasons you may imagine–I, and others, immediately realized the AK’s shortcomings. And it’s not only the inaccuracy. That wasn’t too much of an issue if you had it sighted in properly in the type of CQB firefights we mostly engaged in. But a particular shortcoming in modern tactical CQB certainly was. The AK was obsolete when Stoner entered the game. Period. And dressing it up like a fat girl at the Senior prom doesn’t mean it dances any better.

    The only reason, by the way, that it developed a ‘reputation’ of any measure of ‘reliability’ over time is not really because of the ‘action’. The dirty little esoteric fact is that the design of the 7.62×39 round with its tapered shell along with a robust heavy pressure extractor contributed much more to its functional reliability mechanics in terms of feed and extraction.

    Bottom line is that if you cannot–even with psychotherapy–exorcise your anal retentiveness on the 7.62×39 round, then skip the AK platform and just get an AR upper chambered in 7.62×39, or something like the dedicated new ‘Puritan’ model. That will be much superior to a regular AK no matter how fancy pancy you make it, and probably not cost much more than this thing in the article.

  • Brad R November 9, 2015, 7:44 am

    Are you kidding me…pimping out an ak. Oxymoron. Spend money ammo.

    “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of someone else’s money”…..Churchill

    • Evan November 9, 2015, 12:30 pm

      That was Thatcher who said that, not Churchill.

      But yeah, AKs with rails and whatnot are basically sacrilege.

      • Brad R November 9, 2015, 10:26 pm

        Thanks Evan – Thatcher is correct….Churchill & Thatcher a lethal combination – miss em both

      • Nemo November 16, 2015, 11:00 am

        Then denounce me as a heretic if you must, but I cut my teeth on weapons that had long forestocks, and as much as I favor the AK, those short forestocks expose too much. And if you do bump-fires, you can imagine how hot that barrel gets. I shouldn’t have to wear freakin’ gloves to shoot. I’ve got TAPCO furniture, but I’m a-gettin’ me some Troy, and soon.

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