A gun review 2 years in the making has finally happened, and I for one could not be more excited! The M10X has finally arrived, and what timing! We rarely see true innovation in the firearms industry, and rarer still in 7.62×39. But this one is going to rock your socks off.
Why the wait? A stranger story than you think, especially if you have seen the M10X for sale everywhere but the United States. That isn’t uncommon for imports, as they do the State Department and ATF dance to get approval to bring them in. But the M10X is 100% made in Colorado, by M+M Industries. Huh?
The reason the rifle was available in overseas markets but not domestically had nothing to do with legalities and a lot to do with production capabilities. The manufacturer assumed that the M10X would sell like hotcakes domestically, but didn’t have the capital to tool up and machine them at volume. So, despite the fact that the rifle was ready for prime time, it made sense to push them into the very limited world market for semi-autos. No 10,000 rifle backorder, but the investment money needed to scale up.
And here we are. With an assessed capability now to meet US demand, the M10X has hit the ground running. And it is everything we thought it would be. The best way to describe the M10X is as a hybrid. In simpler terms, it’s like you tossed an AK-47, AR-15, and SCAR in a blender, and this is the dream that spit out the other side.
The M10X runs off of AK magazines and retains the AK-47 style magazine release. Not my favorite component to keep, but I will not deny that AK mags are tough. Perhaps this was the only plausible way to keep that ultra-reliable bit. Not to mention it solves a logistics problem in 99% of the world. Other pure AK parts are the stock (in this case a Magpul Zukov side folder) pistol grip, and trigger.
Now that trigger requires an asterisk. You could, in fact, drop in an AK trigger from anywhere in the world. But trust me, you wouldn’t want to. The M+M trigger is built in house, and apparently from Unicorn dust. While it does have some typical AK take up, it breaks crisply at 2 pounds, 8 ounces. Consistently. That is not a typo. It is a sub 3 pound, very nice, AK-47 trigger. I was actually so blown away by its awesomeness that I had to stop recording the video for a while, just to press it over and over.
The safety is an AR-style switch, with the bonus of being a 45-degree throw. This is something I am just adopting on my AR platforms, but I like it a lot. I’ve never had a problem with the normal AR’s full 90 throw, but I see no downside to the 45. My one minor complaint about the rifle, however, comes from the safety length. A minor issue, but I wish the lever was just a bit longer. With the geometry of the house-built pistol grip, I did have a bit of trouble consistently hitting the safety off. This would be an easy fix with training time, but elongating the lever would also solve the problem. It is also ambidextrous, a nice bonus.
The receiver is actually high-grade stainless steel, which is then coated to remove the shine. Milled, not some stamped together rivet nonsense. The receiver is also where we really start to see some changes from the AK design. The upper and handguard are monolithic, with a full-length Picatinny top rail. The handguard is also M-Lok compatible, a must in modern rifles. The lower does away with the old AK takedown button and replaces it with one accessible just above the pistol grip. It requires either a tool or a loose 7.62×39 round because it locks up like a bank vault. No more rattle trap Kalashnikov around these parts.
The action is again a hybrid of good ideas. The M10X is still a long stroke piston action, much of what gives an AK 47 its reliability. But, the bolt is something entirely new. The charging handle, which is reversible, actually retains the piston to the bolt. The gas system is something entirely new. With a large knurled knob for takedown, the piston feels significantly more robust than the peasants rifle. It features settings for suppressed and unsuppressed fire, a significant development.
The barrel is also 100% USA made, as in not drilled by some vodka swilling Com Block “machinist”. It has a 1/ 9.25 twist, with a 5/8-24×1 right-hand thread pitch. A nice change to the modern, that means real 30 Caliber suppressors screw on with ease. No more bargain basement “hope it works” cans for the x39 crew. The included 4 prong flash hider is also built in house.
On to the performance! Now to be fair, I was expecting miracles. I have heard nothing but good things about the accuracy of the M10X. And I’ve had AK’s that wouldn’t hit the floor if you dropped them. The M10X was a vast improvement over other things I have shot in caliber, but not quite AR-15 level accuracy.
I was shooting Hornady Black 123 grain SST, and Hornady Black has been remarkably accurate across the lineup. But, due to budget constraints, I did only have one bullet combination to test with. Also, the manufacture straight up told me that groups would shrink by half if I port loaded, one round at a time. However, I didn’t do that. I don’t test any other semi-auto that way, so it seemed unfair to do this one.
With an Accutac bipod and Leupold Mk5 (two things I never thought I would bring to a 7.62×39 test), I was able to average 2 to 2.25 MOA groups at 100 meters. For an AK platform, that is extremely impressive. For an AR platform, that would be outside the norm for a gun in this price range.
All things considered though, I am still pretty happy with that level of accuracy. First off, it is well within the bounds of a battle rifle, and you would be hard-pressed to find an M-14 or (non-Daniel Defense) M-16/4 that would do better. Second, the caliber is a bit restricting anyway. While 7.62×39 outpunches 5.56 at closer ranges, it really starts falling out of the sky after 300 meters. You can do some miracles with it, but the hold offs are so extreme it gets to be a party trick rather quickly. It is absolutely sufficient for most purposes.
I am also told the manufacturer is working on a single side feeding magazine, for accuracy improvements. I also did not have a drum magazine on hand, some of which feed from one side only.
The absolute best part of shooting the M10X, for me, is absolutely the Picatinny top. Not only was I able to do a real test with a scope, but then it was simple to slap a modern red dot on top. And this is where the rifle really started to shine. With that sub 3 pound trigger, up close blasting was fast and furious. It also showed some very real improvements in recoil mitigation.
I am not a huge AK guy, but I do have one I take out every year or so to play with. It always amazes me how sharp the recoil actually is. Part of that is the cheap Commie factory furniture on mine, and part of it is the snappy 7.62 round. But the M10X was incredibly soft recoiling, to my surprise. Even one-handed, holding it off the shoulder, it is very manageable. All that adds up to a gun that is super easy to keep on target, which would make the 7.62×39 absolutely devastating at CQB ranges.
All in all, the M10X is an amazing rifle. It was a long wait, but absolutely worth it. At a price tag of $1499, this one is an absolute steal. I have shot a fair number of AK-47s in my day, including some very pricey ones. The M10X leaves them in the dust. This is the first rifle I have seen in a long time that actually makes me consider swapping my truck gun over to a non-AR platform, and that should tell you a lot.