Optics That Mount On The AK-47?Are There Optics For The AK-47?
Are There Optics For The AK-47?
The AK-47 is a well-respected, powerful assault rifle. It is gas-operated and has an automatic firing mode. The AK-47 is so popular that there were an estimated 85-90 million of them around the world, just a few years back.1They are also generally cheap weapons to purchase, and can be cheap to upgrade. Many AK-47 owners agree that one of the most useful upgrades to install is an optic. The AK-47 is not truly a great marksman rifle, and it most certainly is not match grade; however, it does have impressive accuracy for its class. And having a good optic on the this rifle can make a major difference in combat, hunting, or sport. Scopes also turn this rifle into a bit more of an animal, especially with a good shooter! In fact, a good shooter can achieve successful engagement of targets over 400 yards away with magnified optics.2
That said, before considering the best AK-47 optics, it is important to understand how AK-47 optics mount.
How Do AK-47 Optics Mount?
There are many different types of sights for the AK-47. And fortunately there are also an impressive number of mounting options. These are the ways optics are mounted to an AK-47. Please note that these mounting options are in alphabetical order.
The dog-leg rail is a versatile option, being utilized for magnified and reflex optics. This is a well-balanced mounting point, but installation does require removing the rear sight. They are very generous in rail space and keeps the sensitive optics away from the barrel heat. They usually have a dust cover and a quick release hinge. Dog-leg rails do tend to be more expensive, although well worth it.
Drill and Tap
Drill and tap rails are literally mounted directly into the AK-47 receiver. This creates a maximized stability and can allow the ability to mount optics onto milled AKs which could not normally mount a scope. Drill and tap kits also mean allowing the iron sights to remain in place. A gunsmith is usually required for this mounting modification, and the alteration is permanent.
Railed Dust Cover
The railed dust cover is a replacement of the factory dust cover installed on the rifle. This transforms the “already essential” dust cover installed on the AK, into an optic and laser attaching rail.
Railed Gas Tube
Railed gas tubes are extremely simple to install, is a forward mounting point, and replaces the factory gas tube. It also requires removal of the factory handguard. This mount creates a heavier weight on the nose of the rifle and can be susceptible to gas tube heat (damaging optics). They are typically made of aluminum and/or steel, and are installed without permanently modifying the AK.
The rail handguard (aka railed handguard) replaces the factory gas tube. It creates 5” of picatinny rail space which can be used for a variety of optics. This mount does not require a gunsmith to install and looks a lot better than the standard handguard, which is usually made of wood or plastic. The positioning of this mounting point allow for a maximized field of vision and much faster target acquisition.
Rear Sight Rail
The rear sight rail replaces the rear sight assembly. It creates additional length for mounting smaller sights (e.g. micro red dot). The weight increase is minimal, leaving the rifle feeling balanced. It is a rather cheap rail and easy to install. They are commonly made of aluminum and adjustable.
The side rail is a very common mounting point, allowing for some of the best magnified scopes. They are easy and quick to install, and rest forward of the trigger hand (balance is unaffected). Unfortunately, it should not be used for taller sights like holosights. These rails also have some zeroing issues occassionally.
Choosing The Right AK-47 Rail
The best mounting option depends upon the sight, the shooter, and the purpose for the optic. There are many considerations in choosing the best mounting position for the job, but one of the biggest concerns is the weight and balance. A reflex mount, such as a red dot, is generally installed on a far forward mount. It is typically always worth using the lowest possible mounting point for these types of mounts. That type of setup is light to carry, yet versatile in mission. The dog-leg rail greatly accommodates holosights, which need to be close to the bore due to their incredible height. The side-rail very commonly sees magnified scopes, but comes at the expense of significant increased weight. Selecting the right rail / mounting point means considering the application, target distance, and optic choice.
The Best AK-47 Optics
There are obviously different types of optics for the AK-47. Choosing the right optic means considering the desired application. Some are meant to improve close quarters combat. Others are meant to increase the AK’s accuracy at greater ranges. Here are some of the best AK-47 optics options (bear in mind, these are all different types of optics, so they are in a logical order).
Redfield Revolution 3-9×40 Accu-Range® Riflescope
The hard to find Redfield Revolution is a great variable scope for any of the Kalashnikovs. This is the scope to get if seeking to get better accuracy out of the AK-47 and AK-74. Redfield is owned by the renowned Leupold brand and it shows in quality and lens clarity. The Accu-Range® reticle aids in rapid target acquisition, making the Redfield Revolution an exceptional choice for medium range scenarios with an AK-47. Typically used for more powerful hunting rifles, the Redfield Revolution is bound to hold up for a long time when attached to a rifle firing an intermediate cartridge such as the 7.62x39mm.
Kalinka Optics POSP 8×42 Riflescope
The Kalinka POSP comes in sleek styling, a larger size than ever, and with windage and elevation turrets. The major advantage of this scope is that the mounting system is built into the scope. Therefor no additional mounts are needed to fit this scope onto a AK-47. It is a current issue scope in Russia and made from magnesium alloy. There are two choices of marked metering grids (400m Simonov or 1000m Dragunov). It has an extremely useful height-based rangefinder with graduated scales. It can be used well standing or in the prone position.3
Trijicon ACOG 4×32 BAC Dual Illuminated Riflescope
This scope makes it very easy to use both eyes without losing sight on the full field of vision. They are great for use in any lighting condition and the dual-illumination requires no batteries. The housing is cast in aluminum, therefore being light weight, yet durable. This optic also allows the shooter to select a preferred reticle.4
HI-LUX Close to Medium Range Series (CMR1)
The CMR1 by HI-LUX is an exceptional scope that is very popular among special operations combat veterans and competition shooters. This is a 1-4x24mm, super precision, versatile optic. It allows the shooter to switch between a tactical 1x magnification and a longer range 4x magnification. This scope is ideal for close combat, being used like a red dot, but also great at identifying targets at range.5
Nikon Monarch 3 1-4×20 German #4
The Monarch is a super low profile, compact scope that provides an excellent exit pupil range. The field of vision is impressive and the 1-4 magnification range is perfect. Reticle adjustments in easily-felt and heard, 1/2 MOA click-stops. It is a lightweight scope that is durable (made from aircraft grade aluminum).6
Bushnell AK Optics 1-4×24 Riflescope
The Bushnell 1-4×24 Optics for the AK is extremely durable, great for close quarters or mid-range engagement, and reliable. It is argon purged for fog-proofing and has a waterproof construction. Bushnell is well-known for their ironclad lifetime warranty, too!7
UTG 3-9×32 1” Bugbuster Scope
The Bugbuster is completely sealed and nitrogen filled. It is fogproof, shockproof and rainproof. The scope sports maximum light transmission with a crystal clear view. There is a large field of view which provides optimum eye relief. Dual illumination (red/green) creates great versatility in a variety of applications.8
Aimpoint Patrol Pro Comp Series
This scope was designed specifically with professionals in mind. It was specifically created to aid law enforcement. There is a transparent rear flip cover for engaging targets in an emergency, and a black front flip cover. Each battery lasts up to 3 years and it is always left on. The housing is hard anodized aluminum alloy. The Aimpoint Patrol Pro is waterproof at depths as far as 150 feet.9
Vortex Strikefire II Red Dot
Red dots are extremely popular for close quarters combat and tactical engagement. The Vortex Strikefire II allows for a maximum field of vision, making shooting with both eyes open much easier. It is reasonable in price, has easy-access rear-facing controls, and ten dot intensity levels. It is waterproof and fogproof, as well as durable.10
Holosun Paralow Red Dot Sight
This paralax-free 2 MOA dot is extremely lightweight and widely versatile. There is a 50,000 hour battery life with an “auto wake” feature built-in. The scope turns on as it is moved! It is waterproof at depths as great as 1m and overall pretty weather-resistant.11
EOTech Model XPS2
The Model XPS2 EOTech sight is super small, lightweight and extremely short. It is common amongst hunters and law enforcement. It uses a single 123 battery and leaves enough extra rail space for magnifiers. It is worth mentioning that the XPS3 model has nightvision built-in.12
Burris Fastfire 3 Reflex Sight
This is one of the most versatile and effective red dots available. It is a compact and very lightweight sight which does not affect balance or handling. It is a paralax-free 1x magnification sight, offering maximum eye relief.13
Pro Tip: Choosing an optic can make the most out of the AK-47 and its shooter’s talents, however, picking a practical scope is always best. Remember to take the application of the optic into consideration, as well as the mounting point.
Final Notes About AK-47 Optics
There is a reason the AK-47 has reigned for so long and still has a super large following today. The gun is powerful, effective, and really fun to modify. There are plenty of attachments, and optics are in no shortage. In fact, part of the reason there are so many options is because of how popular the gun has become. Optics are important because the rifle’s iron sights are absolutely insufficient for longer range targets. A real sight is essential for achieving the gun’s full potential. Fortunately there are high quality sights for any application and many brands to choose from. The above mentioned options are an excellent start!
Bottom line: after finding the right scope, the AK-47 is a much more efficient and impressive firearm.
Disclaimer: Always remember to check local, state, and federal laws before making any gun modifications or adding any attachments.
1The Globalist. 20 Facts Mikhail Kalashnikov AK 47. Retrieved from:https://www.theglobalist.com/20-facts-mikhail-kalashnikov-ak-47/
2Lucky Gunner. Mounting Optics to An AK Rifle. Retrieved from:https://www.luckygunner.com/lounge/mounting-optics-ak-rifle/
3Kalinkaoptics. POSP 8×42 Pro Focus. Retrieved from:https://kalinkaoptics.com/rifle-scopes/posp/ak-vepr-saiga-slr/posp-8×42-d-pro-focus-1000m-rangefinder-ak.html
4Optics Planet. Trijicon ACOG 4×32. Retrieved from:https://shop.opticsplanet.com/trijicon-acog-4×32-bac-dual-illuminated-riflescope-w-chevron-m193-reticle.html
5Hi Luxoptics. Hi-lux Close to Medium Range Series. Retrieved from:https://hi-luxoptics.com/products/hi-lux-optics-close-to-medium-range-series-cmr1
6Nikon Sport Optics. Monarch 3 1-4×20 German #4. Retrieved from:https://www.nikonsportoptics.com/en/nikon-products/product-archive/riflescopes/monarch-3-1-4×20-
7Bushnell. AK Optics Riflescope 1-4×24. Retrieved from:https://www.bushnell.com/products/riflescopes/ak-optics/ak-optics-riflescope-1-4×24-with-illuminated-reticle/
8Leapers. UTG 3-9×32 1″ BugBuster Scope. Retrieved from:https://www.leapers.com/index.php?act=prod_detail&status=best&allids=714&itemno=SCP-M392AOLWQ
9Aimpoint. Aimpoint Patrol Pro. Retrieved from: https://www.aimpoint.com/product/aimpoint-pro/
10Palmetto State Armory. Vortex Strikefire II Red Dot. Retrieved from:https://palmettostatearmory.com/vortex-strikefire-ii-red-dot-4moa-red-green-dot.html
11Optics Planet. Holosun Paralow HS403a. Retrieved from:https://www.opticsplanet.com/holosun-paralow-hs403a-red-dot.html
12Eotech Inc. Holographic Model XPS2. Retrieved from:https://www.eotechinc.com/holographic-weapon-sights/model-xps2
13Burris Optics. FastFire 3 Red Dot Reflex Sight. Retrieved from:https://www.burrisoptics.com/sights/fastfire-red-dot-sights
About the Author:
Mark Doberman, The Proprietary Gun Smith
The Proprietary Gun Smith is a marksman, expert gun handler, ammunition specialist, survival guru, and lifetime gun enthusiast. He owns (or has owned) nearly every legal firearm and ballistic available, has fired nearly every gun, and regularly consults professionally in the firearm world. He has studied firearms and similar tactical lifestyle for more than 40 years. In addition to writing for ArmoryBay.com, TheProprietaryGunSmith has guest written for more than a dozen other sites and/or magazines in the industry.
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