Gun Review: AMD-65 and Accessories

Capitalizing on the success of the AK-47 design, military engineers in the 1950’s and 60’s began designing lighter, more compact AK platforms that would be used by airborne forces as well as secondary troops, such as tank crewmen, supply convoys, military police, ordinance folks, and various other REMF types. The Hungarian AMD-65 is one of the more ubiquitous designs produced as a result of this experiment. Think of it as commie version of the M-1 Carbine – but with a little more bite…

Though once obscure, the AMD-65 has seen a bit of a renaissance lately due to its service in Afghanistan and the recent importation of parts kits. In fact, semi-auto AMD-65 builds made from surplus parts kits are a fairly common sight in gun shops around the country.  In this article, we test the TG International (“TGI”) SA 2000M “AMD-65”, a frequently-encountered build based on the FÉG SA 2000M. The SA 2000M is a single stack, 10-shot Clinton-Era AK variant designed during the dark ages of the Assault Weapon Ban (“AWB”) for the U.S. market. In this article, we test this puppy and let you know if it’s worth the $500-$600 asking price. As an extra bonus, we test the UltiMAK’s M7-B rail and AMD65Tech’s stock adapter, sling loop, and recoil buffer, too.

Ok, before we get into the specifics of the TGI rebuild being tested here, let’s talk a bit of history and doctrine, so we know exactly what this weapon was originally intended to accomplish.

A Brief History of FÉG and the Evolution of the AMD-65

The original AMD-65 was made in Budapest, Hungary by FÉG. From what I understand, FÉG is now defunct. The name most recently stood for Fegyver És Gépgyár, which, according to Wikipedia, translates into “Arms and Machine Factory,” although at one time it stood for other names, including Fegyver És Gazkaszulekgar (Arms and Gas Appliances Company.)  Interesting combo, eh?

Prior to its demise, FÉG had been in business in various guises and ownership since the late 1800’s. It manufactured most, if not all, of the small arms for the Hungarian Defense Forces. The company went bankrupt in 2004, when, according to Wikipedia, “many of its traditional export markets were put under embargo.”   

Students of history will recall that Hungary was a nominal ally of the Germans in WWII, and the country was the scene of vicious fighting in the early months of 1945. In fact, it was in Hungary that Hitler’s most elite division, SS-Liebstandarte, was finally reduced to shambles by the Soviets. Well, payback, as they say, is a bitch; the Soviets turned Hungary into a puppet state in 1945.

The Hungarian military came under the umbrella of the Warsaw Pact and as a result, adopted Soviet military doctrine and equipment. The USSR was more than happy to sell arms to all of its puppet states, but some of its new “friends,” Hungary included, were too proud to buy Russki imports. Hungary developed its own milled receiver AK-47 clone in the mid-50s. In 1963, FÉG developed the AKM-63, which was basically a stamped receiver (i.e. “AKM”)  type weapon with some modifications. Two years later, in 1965, FÉG developed the AMD-65, which was intended to be a lighter, more compact version of the AKM- 63. It featured a short 12.5 inch barrel, a thin hollow wire stock, a vertical foregrip, and a muzzle-brake, all coming in at under 6 pounds.

The design criteria for the AMD-65 emphasized the following attributes:

  • Smaller, lighter, and easier to carry than the AKM-63
  • Same caliber, manual of arms, and operator interface as the AKM-63
  • useable by both officers and airborne troops
  • compensator for reduced muzzle climb
  • 20 round magazine
  • tubular folding stock which allowed trigger operation when folded

As the “D” in the AMD name indicates, it was intended for use by paratrooper (“descent”) units, but various other branches of the Hungarian armed forces, such as mechanized infantry, armor, and support units, also took interest. This was consistent with 1950’s-era Soviet doctrine, whose TO&E called for issuing folding stock “AKS” rifle to their elite airborne forces and mechanized infantry.

In World War II, the Soviets equipped most of their elite forces, such as their Guards units, with as many short range, fully-automatic submachine guns (PSsh 41, PHs 43, lend lease Thompsons M1928s, etc) as they could get their hands on. In fact, soon after WWII ended, the Soviets transitioned from submachine-sized cartridges and full-power Mosin-Nagant (7.62 x 54R) cartridges in favor of the “one-size-fits-all” intermediate round that we all know and love: the M43 (7.62 x 39).

The Soviets knew that they would have numeric superiority in any battle, so their doctrine called for mechanized infantry to rapidly close with the enemy and engage in aggressive close-range combat after debarking from battle taxies such as the BTR-50P, BMP-1, BDM, and BTR 60. Rifles that fire 600-800 meters accurately were not considered very important. Rather, small compact bullet hoses that could be used inside vehicles and had sufficient output rates to gain fire superiority at short range (<200 meters) were highly favored.

Viewed in this light, the AMD-65 seems to be a natural outgrowth of Soviet TO&E and doctrine: a short, lightweight assault rifle chambered in an intermediate range / power cartridges intended for achieving fire superiority in short-range combat.

Of course, shaving a couple pounds and a few inches of barrel and stock off of a gun is going to introduce some new issues not apparent on the original gun. Critics of the AMD-65 generally cite three problem areas: decreased range and accuracy due to the short barrel, heat burns from the unshielded metal handguard, and reliability concerns.

Perhaps the biggest complaint is the AMD-65’s reputation for having a limited effective range. It stands to reason that shortening an AK barrel from slightly more than 16 inches to slightly more than 12 inches will result in making a relatively inaccurate design even more inaccurate, or so one would think. Although some of this perceived inaccuracy may result from a shorter barrel, the primary culprit lies in the shorter sight radius.  Obviously, the shorter the distance between the front and rear sights, the greater potential for aiming errors. In order to accommodate a longer muzzle brake, the front sight is set back further from the muzzle than it is on many AK designs. The photo above shows a comparison to a standard AKMS.  You will notice that the AMD-65’s front sight post is four (4) inches closer to the rear sight post than the AKMS (~11 inches vs. ~15 inches).

But that is not the only culprit. IMHO, the biggest factor leading to the lack of perceived accuracy with the AMD-65 is the lack of a cheek-weld on the butt-stock.  The butt-stock is a single piece of hollow steel and it’s shaped so that it gives plenty of clearance for the charging handle and safety lever. Unfortunately, it gives the shooter nothing to rest his or her brain carrier on, and therefore prohibits good accuracy for all but the best trained shooters.

The second complaint concerns the forward handguard which is made of sheet metal (see photo above). Most conventional AK variants feature wood or polymer handguards with built-in metal heat shields. The AMD-65’s bare metal, non-shielded handguard conducts heat. According to at least one report from Afghanistan, Afghan police equipped with the AMD-65 complain that when they fire several 30-round magazines through their AMD-65s, the handguard can become too hot to touch. But the reported problem is most likely a reflection of poor training – more aimed fire and less jihad-inspired over-the-head-without-aiming mag dumps would cure that problem in all but the most heated battles.

The third complaint concerns alleged problems with reliability. Unlike many variants in the Kalashnikov line, the AMD-65 is reported to have a reputation among Afghan police for untimely stoppages. Personally, I am skeptical of this complaint. While I have little doubt that the Afghan police units probably do a poor job of maintaining their weapons, I find it hard to believe that any AK variant would be less reliable than the AR platform in that part of the world. Nonetheless, the AMD-65 seems to have gotten some bad press lately, so even more reason to test it out and see for myself. Of course, Portland, Oregon, is a long way from Afghanistan (thank you, Lord), so my testing won’t be able to replicate the conditions in the “Graveyard of Empires.”

TG International SA 2000M Conversion

TG International (“TGI”), located in Knoxville, Tennessee, sells military surplus parts and accessories. According to their website, they “have been proudly importing the finest quality surplus from Russia, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Finland, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, and Austria for more than a dozen years.” A few years ago, TGI got a hold of a bunch of FEG SA 2000M’s which were a post-ban single-stack AK design that came with a proprietary single-stack 10-round magazine and a Choate Dragunov-inspired thumbhole stock.

The FEG SA 2000M was originally made in Hungary and imported in 1999-2000 by KBI and RSR.  The SA 2000M apparently didn’t sell very well so there were still quite a few sitting around in dealers’ warehouses when the AWB rode off into the sunset in 2004.  Freed from that stupid law, many of the remaining inventories of SA 2000M’s were converted by TGI and others to handle conventional double-stack AK mags.

The sample gun features Tapco fire-control parts, the original FEG receiver, and the original FEG chrome-lined barrel, which has been cut to 12.6″ inches. In order to keep the gun from being deemed an NFA short-barrelled rifle by the BATF, a combination barrel extension and muzzle brake is permanently welded to the barrel to reach the magic total barrel length of 16 inches. TGI also expanded the mag well to accept standard (double stack) AK-47 magazines.

Overall quality of the conversion is pretty good: functional but not pretty. Of course, my primary concern when I buy a gun built from surplus parts is that it functions properly and is reasonably accurate. In these two departments, TGI got it right. The sample gun has been 100% reliable and, as discussed in more detail below, it’s surprisingly accurate. Another pleasant surprise was the fact that the sights were dead on right out of the box.  So, considering the price (roughly $500.00), I think most gun enthusiasts would be satisfied.

There are, however, two disappointments. First, many of the TGI builds (the sample gun included) have a lot of play between the rear magazine lug and the magazine catch in the trigger guard. As a result, the magazines have a tendency to wobble up and down and side to side by a 1/16 of an inch or so. None of this seems to affect the gun’s reliability, but it is kind of annoying. Certainly, the noise generated by mag rattle could be an issue in a tactical situation. I’ve found that some mags fit better than others, so it pays to shop around. TGI ships the gun with what appear to be Pro-Mag waffle mags which are U.S. parts that are probably needed to achieve “922” compliance.

A second disappointment stems from the fact that TGI really cut corners on the paint job.   I’m not sure if they used a regular can of Krylon straight off the shelf at Home Depot or not, but they may as well have. Whatever they used, it sucks. With less than 1000 rounds downrange, the commie carbine re-build is showing considerable wear and tear already, as the photos below demonstrate:

Maybe the sample gun happened to be made on a Friday afternoon at 4:30. I was at a gun show last weekend I saw a dealer with a TGI AMD-65 that exhibited far better fit and finish than this sample gun. It also had the beechwood handgrips, which are better looking, albeit somewhat less comfortable. So maybe it pays to shop around if you are in the market for one of these guns.

In any event, I figured this review would be more interesting if the test sample was customized a bit. So I called the good folks at UltiMAK and AMD65Tech and ask them to send me some accessories for testing and evaluation. Both kindly obliged.

UltiMAK M-7B Rail

I have never been a fan of the typical tangent sight arrangement on AK style weapons. As a kid, I learned how to shoot using the tangent sights on the Ruger 10/22 and they always seemed to work fine. But in high school, I was introduced to the aperture sights of the M-16 and the HK-91, and everything changed: I got spoiled. Since then, I find that there’s something about the AK’s iron sights design that makes them difficult to use with accuracy. And as my eyesight gets worse with age, these types of sights become even more problematic. So for me, having optics on an AK is mandatory.

Unfortunately, Mikhail Kalashnikov didn’t design the AK-47 with optics in mind, so installing them on an AK can be a bit of a challenge. Anyone wishing to install optics on a typical AK variant will have four basic options:

(1)  “Scout” mount which replace top hand guard & gas tube assembly

(2)   Side rail mount assembly.

(3)   Rails that attach to the rear sight post mount.

(4)   Rails that replace the receiver cover, including, for example, the Dog Leg™ Scope Rail with integral dust cover.

While it’s beyond the scope of this review to discuss the relative merits of each of these designs, it’s fair to say that each presents its own set of challenges and limitations. In this case, we decided to settle on a scout mount design because it doesn’t interfere with the dis-assembly of the rifle.

Cashing in on the tacticool craze, AK scout rails are now available from Midwest Industries, Krebs, Samson, as well as less expensive offerings from Tapco, UTG, Leapers, and others. The original UltiMAK rail is still the best, in my opinion, because it’s low enough to allow you to maintain your cheek weld and co-witness your iron sights.

UltiMAK is a small, family-owned-and operated business based out of the small town of Moscow, Idaho. They originally began manufacturing scout-mount rails for the AK platform in 2000 and immediately found a receptive audience from the gun-buying public. Motivated by their initial success, the company now makes similar rails for M-1 carbines, M-1 Garands, M-1A’s, Ruger Mini-14s, and Saiga shotguns.

The “M7-B” rail is the model that fits the AMD-65. Like all of the rails in the UltiMAK line, the M7-B is CNC manufactured from a solid billet of 6061-T6 aluminum alloy. The rail is hard anodized in a flat back finish. Overall, the fit and finish is first class, with very tight tolerances and no visible machining marks.  The rail clamps directly to the barrel via two “U” shaped clamps and four beefy Allen screws.

Installation of the AMD-65 version of this rail is a bit more tricky than the standard AK rails because the AMD-65 has a handguard that’s made of metal as opposed to the standard wood or plastic designs. Installing the M7-B on an AMD-65 requires the removal of approximately an 1/8 of an inch of the handguard for approximately a 3-inch strip on both sides of the upper side of the handguard.

If you’re handy with a Dremel tool, this should be no problem. Unfortunately, the manufacturer’s instructions weren’t specific to the AMD-65, so you are left to your own devices as to exactly how much material to remove from the steel handguard. Hopefully, UltiMAK will add some AMD-65-specific photos or an AMD-65-specific template to their instructions at some point.

I had recently purchased a Dremel tool, and this project was my first time using it. Turns out I was a bit of a Dremel Neanderthal, but after about two hours of incremental cuts, I finally managed to get the handguard to fit over the rail’s retaining brackets. Unfortunately, I also managed to grind off a big chunk of paint from the handguard. Rut-roh, Rel-roy. So much for me getting a job at Les Baer Custom any time soon.

Because the UltiMAK M7-B rail mounts directly to the barrel, I was expecting to have a major POI shift. Fortunately the shift, though noticeable, was very minimal and easily fixed by drifting the front sight.

I have made about five trips to the range with the UltiMAK rail-equipped AMD-65 and I am highly satisfied with this product. After almost 1000 rounds, it didn’t loosen up at all, and the finish has been very durable. I first mounted an Aimpoint Comp 2 on the carbine, but decided that I didn’t like having that much extra weight on the front of the gun. So I ended up installing a lighter optic: the Vortex SPARC. Maybe one day I’ll spring for an Aimpoint T-1, but for now I was trying to keep the gun under a grand. The SPARC is light enough that you barely notice it so, unlike the Comp 2, it doesn’t change the balance of the gun.

Some people have criticized the UltiMAK design, alleging that the rail will get so hot that it will melt your optic. Whatever. Maybe those Rambo wannabes who like cranking five or six 75-rd drums through their AK as fast as they can pull the trigger might have an issue.  Of course, those guys really should be shooting RPKs, not an AMD-65. On the other hand, if you’re one of those guys that actually aims when you shoot, you shoudn’t have a problem. We ran through several “combat” courses similar to those set up for three-gun competitions and the UltiMAK didn’t heat up sufficiently to give us any concern for the optics. Yeah, the rail got hot, but not THAT hot.

AMD65Tech Accessories

One great thing about America is that the entrepreneurial spirit is still alive and well.  There are lots of talented folks out there that will buy a product, figure out how it can be improved, and start a small business aimed at producing products to address perceived needs and existing deficiencies. Gio Vanderhider is one of those guys.

Gio and his wife Valerie run AMD65Tech.com out of their home in Grapevine, Texas. Gio is a U.S. Air Force vet who loves gunsmithing and machining and has a ton of raw talent. He has developed a loyal following amongst AMD-65 enthusiasts for his accessories. Gio was kind enough to send me some of his products for testing, and I can’t say enough about how grateful I am.

Gio saw promise in the AMD-65 design when he built his first one from a parts kit. He quickly zeroed in on its shortcomings and decided to do something about them. First, he fixed the biggest design limitation by designing a simple riser for the AMD-65’s stock.  His stock adapter is made out of solid steel and tightly wrapped in rubber vacuum tubing.  The unit is attached to the stock using two screw sets with lock washers. It’s finished in semi-gloss black using high temperature, high abrasion-resistant paint. If only the gun were painted so well.

The stock adapter makes a huge difference in the shooting and handling characteristics of the gun. By keeping your “Mark I Eyeball” in the same location shot after shot, you get more precise and repeatable sight alignment, greatly increasing the accuracy of the weapon.

As another bonus, the adapter has no effect on the operation of the bolt handle. If you mount it in a precise vertical plane over the stock, it could interfere with the manipulation of the safety lever when the stock is in the folded position. However, you can adjust for that by slightly offsetting (canting) the adapter from the vertical to allow clearance for the safety.

For my purposes, it’s not an issue regardless. If I had to carry the weapon with the buttstock folded, It would be in a modified Condition 3 (i.e. locked full magazine on empty chamber, safety off).  If you’re operating in an area where you expecting hostile contact, the AMD’s butt-stock should be extended, as it’s not the easiest thing to deploy on short notice.

The previous photo, above, also shows the AMD65Tech’s sling loop. This is a handy little accessory if your AMD-65 doesn’t have the factory sling loop attachment. It simply bolts on to the buttstock, and provides a solid attachment point for the sling. The paint that’s used on this little device may require some touch up occasionally with Duracoat™ or something along those lines.

The last product Gio sent me was a recoil buffer. This device is nothing more than a solid block of rubber that he’s expertly cut and fitted to the AMD-65. Gio reports the following performance enhancements from the recoil buffer:

  • Decreased felt recoil
  • Reduced stress and fatigue due to metal-to-metal contact
  • Increased speed of the action, due to the springing effect of the rubber
  • Noise reduction
  • Tighter dust cover fit
  • Prevents jamming occurring in guns that may have worn receiver rails

Now I have to say, I’ve had mixed experiences with recoil buffers. They can be great in full-auto guns because they often lower the cyclic rate. I religiously run Buffer Technologies buffers in my HK 91 and HK 93. But I once purchased a Buffer Technologies AK/Valmet Recoil Buffer and all it did was cause my Vector Arms AKMS to jam repeatedly.

Nonetheless, I tried Gio’s buffer in the TGI AMD-65 build and was pleased with its performance. The biggest effect is  – as you’d expect – reduced felt recoil. The effect is subtle at first, but gets more noticeable after a long day of shooting. The effect is most pronounced on warm days, when the natural rubber is at its softest. The unit is very rugged and I don’t see it wearing out any time soon.

One thing to keep in mind if you use the buffer is that it reduces the distance that the bolt travels to the rear. If you have a bolt hold-open cut into your safety, you may need to get a new safety because the location of the “cut” will change as a result of the buffer.  Gio sells safety levers that are pre-cut to work with the buffer.

And speaking of paint, Gio’s also one heck of an artist. The photos displayed above showcase Gio’s skills with a paintbrush. The top picture highlights one of Gio’s personal AMD-65 builds, which is finished in a Vietnam-era tiger stripe pattern. The second photo showcases a Romanian AK painted in a snow camo pattern. The TGI paint on the test sample gun is so atrocious I’m going to send it to Gio to have it tiger striped once I squirrel away some extra dinero. These are highly labor-intensive paint finishes, so I don’t expect it to be cheap project. Stay tuned for the results.

Shooting and Accuracy Results

 

AK-47s and their variants have never been known for being particularly accurate weapons. From my experience (owning eight AK variants and shooting dozens of others),  I would estimate that most AKs shoot in that 3-4 MOA range. Nonetheless, it’s my personal observation that it’s difficult for most American shooters to achieve better than 4 – 8 MOA at 100 yards using a stock AK variant with iron sights, regardless of who manufactured the gun.

Having said that, much of the inherent accuracy potential of the AK is simply lost due to the fact that primitive WWI-era sights are both poorly designed and have a short sight radius (the front and rear sights are only 15 inches apart from one another on a typical AK variant). As discussed earlier, this latter problem is even more magnified on an AMD-65, since the sights are only 11 inches apart.

Because I wasn’t expecting very much out of this weapon in the accuracy department, I have to say that I was completely blown away by the field results. Using an Aimpoint Comp 2 (4 MOA) non-magnifying red dot sight, I achieved the following 3-shot groups at 50 yards (all results measured in inches):  1.0, 1.2, 1.4, 1.6, 1.75, 1.8, 1.9, 2.2, 2.2, 2.4.  I was using decent quality 123-grain ball ammo from Remington (UMC) and American Eagle, although admittedly I did not make any notes as to which ammo shot which groups  (I know, I know… amateur mistake. Sorry).

These shots were made from a shooting bench, and the rifle was rested on sandbags.  The front pistol-grip does tend to get in the way when shooting that way, but I tried to get as steady as possible. I attribute the high degree of variation in group size to two factors: 1) the vertical foregrip makes it difficult to bench-rest, and 2) the Aimpoint’s rough 4-MOA dot is designed to maximize speed, not precision.

I figured the little carbine could do even better than that if I could get the benefit of a little  scope magnification. So I went to a local sporting goods store intent on purchasing a scout scope, but they didn’t have any in stock. Instead, I purchased a Vortex Tactical “SPARC.” SPARC apparently stands for “Speed Point Aiming for Rapid Combat.” I’ll bet the mall ninjas will eat that sh*t up.

I really don’t expect to be in any “rapid combat” anytime soon, but I picked the Vortex over the virtually identical (made in same Chinese factory?) Bushnell TRS-25 because the Vortex comes with a screw-on 2x coupler which I thought might be useful for testing the accuracy of the AMD. For this second test, I also picked up 80 rounds of Winchester “white box” 123 grain ball at Wally-World.

The results were again surprising. Out of ten three-shot strings shot at 50 yards, two were in the 1 MOA range (.475 inches, .552 inches) and another two were in the 2 MOA range (1.03 in. and 1.193 in), with the remaining falling in the 3 to 4 MOA range (1.5 to 2.0 inches). The 2x magnification made things somewhat easier compared to the Comp 2, and undoubtedly accounts for those half- inch groups.

Problems Areas

I did encounter one fairly significant problem with the TGI build. After shooting it aggressively on a particularly cold day, the weld that holds the barrel extension onto the gun cracked, leaving the muzzle-brake loose. That could be a dangerous situation, because a round can hit the muzzle brake as it exits the barrel. This may be a one-off problem with this particular gun, as the TGI AMD-65 I saw at the gun show last week appeared to have a much larger, more aggressive weld. Fortunately for me, a local gunsmith who specializes in AK work re-pinned and re-welded the break in a stronger fashion, for only $40.00.  If you are Oregon, and need some AK work done, call Jesse at  http://762llc.com/

The Bottom Line

Overall, I am very pleased with the TCI AMD-65 build, all cosmetic issues aside. Most important, it’s light, accurate, and reliable. Moreover, it didn’t display the common foibles typical of many of the lower-end AK builds such as canted sight post, loose folding stocks, etc. The rattling sound from the over-sized magazine well is a bit of a bummer, but it doesn’t seem to affect reliability so I guess I can live with that. TGI’s crappy paint finish is aesthetically off-putting, but doesn’t affect function.  Those seeking a good-looking, high durability finish will want to consider Duracoating the carbine themselves or sending it to   AMD65Tech to let Gio work his magic on it. I also highly recommend using optics with your AMD-65, which makes something along the lines of the UltiMAK M7-B rail a necessity. And speaking of necessities, I simply can’t imagine owning an AMD-65 without that AMD65Tech stock adapter.

SPECIFICATIONS

Caliber:  7.62x39mm
Action: classic AKM: Gas operated semi-auto, rotating bolt, piston / tappet rod.
Capacity: 5, 20, 30, 45 round staggered row detachable box magazines, 75 round drums.
Overall Length: 27 inches folded, 33.5 extended.
Barrel Length: 12.5 inches (16.125 in.w/ permanently attached muzzle break)
Weight:  5.8 lbs. unloaded.
Sights: Tangent sight graduated 100-800/1000 meters.
Finish:  Crappy paint?
Price: $500-600 (Retail “Street” Price) as of Dec. 2011.  During the 2009 Obama-scare days, prices on these puppies was up to around $650-800, so you may encounter some sellers seeking to re-coup their (bad) investment.  Having said that, if – cringe – Obama gets a second term, expect another run on ammo and “evil black guns.”

RATINGS (out of five)

Style & Aesthetics * * *
Ever since I was a kid, I thought the AMD-65 was cool looking. Maybe it’s that sick-looking muzzle-brake. On the other hand, I’m sure whoever had the bright idea to use a second pistol grip (installed backwards) as a vertical fore-grip received some sort of Communist Party “Peoples Engineering Efficiency” award. And what exactly possessed the Hungarians to make those polypropylene grips that weird gray/blue-green color? Aftermarket grips are available here:

http://shop.roninsgrips.com/Hungarian-AMD-63-AMD-65-AMD65Grip.htm

http://www.tnguns.com/shop/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=6_13

Ergonomics (Shooting)
Without AMD-65Tech Stock Adapter  * *
With AMD-65Tech Stock Adapter  * * * *
The front vertical grip is canted to the front at a weird angle which leaves a lot to be desired. The standard AMD-65 “wire” stock doesn’t provide the operator with any sort of cheek-weld, which severely impedes accuracy. The latter problem can be fixed with the AMD65Tech stock riser, while the former can be solved with UltiMAK’s AK Modular Rail Forend System – Compact Model.

Ergonomics (Carrying)  * * * * *
The AMD-65 is small, light, and compact. It reminds me of a folding-stock M-1 Carbine both in terms of size and weight. If your AMD-65 doesn’t have a rear sling mount, AMD65Tech’s sling loop is the ticket.

Reliability  * * * * *
The test gun worked with typical AK efficiency – 100% reliability. Use the excellent Lubriplate Aero lithium grease to keep it lubed up right. http://www.lubriplate.com/webstore/detail.aspx?ID=14

Customize This  * * * *
While the options for customizing an AK variant aren’t as great as an AR, there are still sufficient after-market products to satisfy even the most hardcore mall ninja. However, AKMS variants aren’t the type of rifle you want to weigh down with a bunch of doo-dads; KISS is the way to go. I do highly recommend the stock riser from AMD65Tech as well as the excellent M7-B rail from UltiMAK. If you have a few extra Benjamins burning a hole in your pocket, UltiMAK’s “AK Modular Rail Forend System – Compact Model” and an aftermarket vertical foregrip are good-looking add-ons.

Accuracy  * * * *
Conventional AK designs aren’t going to win any awards for accuracy. However, based on my two half-inch 50 yard groups, I’d say this particular sample has the theoretical capability of shooting 1 MOA at 100 yards. Its practical real-world accuracy is somewhat less than that – probably in the 2-4 MOA neighborhood.

Overall  * * * *
If someone were to ask me what role the AMD-65 is best suited for, I’d have to say that it’s the ideal carbine for jungle environments. I’ve had the opportunity to spend some time in swamps in Louisiana and Florida, as well as jungles in Hawaii, Panama, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, and I can say if I had to be armed in any of those environments, I’d be reaching for the AMD-65 over any other gun – bar none. The 7.62×39 round is ideal for bustin’ through heavy cover, and the short lightweight carbine would be much easier to wield in the tangle of vines and thickets you’d encounter in those environments. And it’s great at the range, too.