There are a few great debates among hoplophiles that will never be resolved. GLOCK vs. 1911, .45 ACP vs 9mm, AR vs. AK. If you’re one of the legion who answer AK in the great rifle platform face-off, you’re in good company. While Mikhail Kalashnikov’s design may not offer the modularity that Eugene Stoner’s gun does, it makes up for it in robustness and reliability.

If you’re planning on dropping a few hints with Santa about what you’d like to see under the tree on Christmas morning, here’s our list of six great options under $800. We’re sure the jolly old elf will appreciate the suggestions.

32 COMMENTS

  1. I will say that it is an interesting reversal that AR type rifles now cost more than AK’s
    One of the main selling points of the AK was it’s lower price point

    • I think you meant to say that AK rifles are now more expensive than AR rifles.

      And, where is the list? Should I just link to an online store and look at all the models under $800?

    • The only reason they were cheap was that the soviet block countries flooded the market with them, and by extension parts kits etc. They were certainly less complicated, but not inherently “Cheap” compared to all the alternatives out there. Plus there’s a wide quality spectrum in AKs.

  2. That’s a link to Brownells, not a list. I think their were also four, not six, but I was annoyed enough I didn’t count carefully.

    I can do a web search for inexpensive AKs – or whatever – myself. What would be useful is a summary of features, pros and cons, et ceteta. Which I can also find myself but if you’re going to publish an “article” titled like this, it’s what I would expect you, TTAG, to have done.

    Really, better to just not have published this as it stands.

  3. I have no idea what an APM70B2 is, but I don’t think Zastava ever made it. Maybe some outfit made their own take from M70 kits. Plus the O-PAP is widely regarded as better than the N-PAP. And if you can find an Arsenal for under $800, good on you; buy it immediately.

    I call the video 50/50 sense/nonsense. And that’s being generous I think.

  4. Well, I’m glad I got my 10-63 with accessories, for ‘under $500’, just a few years ago.
    That ain’t happening anymore!

    Happy Motoring, Mark

  5. AKs are okay in the US, but banned (mostly) in Canada. Conversely, the Type 81 is legal in Canada, but not allowed in the US. This is a good example of stupid laws getting in the way- otherwise, we’d be able to do a nice comparison between similar rifles and see how it would turn out. I’d like to know about the different strengths and weaknesses of the AK-47 vs Vx.58 vs Type 81.

    • I.O. Inc really needs to go out of business for good. They went on record in a thread over on AKFiles that they don’t care if their customers are harmed by their wildly out of spec products. They were selling 5.45 barrels with gas ports drilled out to around 5mm.

      There are far too many other affordable AKs on the market now to bother with the AK shaped products I.O. Inc produces. Too many honest reviewers have shown that I.O. Inc products are not reliable firearms and there have been far too many reports from customers complaining about shit tier support from the company to ever trust it again.

      • I agree – sort of. When IOINC started, they had a lot of quality control problems. But – Two years ago, a friend and I went to the gun show and he purchased a AKM247 from IOINC. I was skeptical because of their prior quality issues, but after checking his out, I was surprised. We put some rounds through it with no hickups. The trigger on his was smooth as butter. Even better than my Tapco G2 on my MAK90. It was all parkerized (nitrided barrel) with a polymer stock and it was all for a paltry $550 at the time.

        There was an added benefit too, being all US made, the IOINC doesn’t require any replacement parts for 922R compliance, if you want to change the configuration of it.

        Now – I can’t attest this to all IOINC Ak’s made recently, only to this one.

        • Wait till he actually shoots it. No I.O. AK makes it past 1.000 rounds without something breaking on it. The new ones made in Florida are no different than what they did in NC. Still out of spec junk.

          You fell for a gimmick and shiny paint.

          Your friend and the others like him are what keep scumbags like Uli, who owns I.O., in business.

          If you have to buy All-American at least do it from a company that knows what it is doing. Riley Defense and PSA are much better than I.O. will ever be.

    • Palmeto bought DDI and the DDI rifle I got was a piece of crap. The trunion is already showing serious wear after less than 2000 rounds and the extractor flat out cracked in half about 200 rounds into my ownership of it. (Had to salvage an extractor from my WASR while I waited for Brownells to get me a new one.)

    • The 2nd gen PSA ones (GB2) with a billet front trunion passed the AKOU 5k round torture test. AFAIK, they’re the only US made AK that has so far.

  6. Please address all comments about TTAG’s editorial stance or style to [email protected].

    [I’ve read all the comments about this video re: its playability and the fact that you have to watch it to find out which guns the author recommends.]

    • My comment isn’t about the editorial stance or style of this article, it’s about the content:

      Where is the content promised by the headline? Surely TTAG wouldn’t just link to a product search on a sponsor’s site (which, as of this moment, is only four rifles, not six) and pretend like that’s an article? Pretty half-assed, guys.

  7. Read the headline and thought this was gonna be like the release of the Mosin-Nagants a while back…6 AKs for only $800! What a deal.

  8. I’m getting these alerts for new articles only to find they are nothing more than lazy 2 paragraph summaries of some other webpage. They don’t even include the relevant information within that short summary.

    I wonder if maybe I should just drop TTAG and start following the good and useful websites that they are parenting using for a crutch?

    Straighten up TTAG

    • ^Agreed.
      Evidently quality is like an ocean… ebb and flow… high and low.
      Too much low.

      Try harder, work smarter; not the other way.

    • That is oversimplified and not true.

      Second-hand AK’s from the 90’s and early 2000’s are great guns for the value and to deban without costing an arm or a leg. Numerous Romanian, Hungarian, and even Egyptian post-ban guns are fine.

      Saiga’s are also good if the conversion was done by someone who knows what they are doing.

      Same with parts kit builds.

      Atlantic Firearms right now is making an excellent Polish AKM clone with new, imported Polish parts and imported FB Radom barrels that are excellent quality.

  9. Thank you Bill Clinton, if it hadn’t been for your AWB I’d never have bought that MAK 90, cost then, $250 with drum mag and some sticks. LOL I’ve still got 500 rnds of Norinco 7.62 and 200 with the steel core. After your AWB, it was a gun a month.

  10. Is it possible to get a companion article:

    “6 VZ-58 Rifles Under $Gazillion”

    I’m quite confused with Century, Czechpoint, D-Technic, etc.

    • Century makes okay guns but as typical with Century, they are hit or miss. They are made from parts kits on a U.S. receiver and barrel. They have the barrel threaded for AK muzzle devices which are not interchangeable with Vz ones. Prices these days are $700-$900.

      D-Technik/Czechpoint/TGI are original Czech made rifles with better quality parts, better build, hammer forged chrome-lined barrel, all the bells and whistles of a quality gun that Century lacks.

      D-Technik, original builder of imported Vz’s from 2007 up until the last few years, have morphed into Czech Small Arms.

      Czechpoint is sole U.S. importer of new Czech guns that are not modern CZ firearms primarily from the Czech Small Arms company.

      Other importers before Czechpoint took over were CZ themselves and TGI (now defunct).

    • Not just a cast trunnion, all the cast parts are all brittle and weak.

      Just to give an example, they took out massive chunks of the bolt carrier to “save weight” but only made the gun less reliable and more prone to failure. The Russians have been cutting the weight of the AK since 1959. One area they never touched was the frickin’ bolt carrier and for good reason. There are pictures of the crappy cast RAS bolt carriers snapping apart that a regular, imported part would never have an issue with.

      Receiver is also weak and prone to bending, cracking, and generally out of spec.

      The RAS is a polished turd.

  11. Well a couple of things I have to nitpick.

    -PAP AK’s are hit or miss. There have been issues with weak factory springs, extreme overgassing, receivers cracking, and FCG holes egging. So their receivers are not solid and are 1.0mm. thick. Also they use external proprietary parts that are not interchangeable with the AKM.

    -WASR uses the rivet in place of the dimple for two reasons. 1) 10-round single stack mags 2) to cut costs. It is the only currently importable AKM.

    -Bulgarian SLR’s are not cheap and you won’t find any for under $800 unless you know someone who is selling them for that low. Their stamped versions are in high demand/low supply and their milled receiver versions sit at $1,200 but you can find AWB-era ones for a couple hundred less.

    -Saiga’s are Russian modern AK-100 series of AK’s based on the AK-74, not the AK-47.

    -Hungarian SA-85 imported rifles are fairly uncommon. You must have confused it with the recent batch of Century parts kit builds calling themselves the AK-63 series which is the legit military designation but these are not factory imports since FEG, who made Hungarian AK’s, closed its doors back in 2004.

    -Also you forgot to mention Egyptian Maadi AK’s. Apart from their crude and rough finishing they still work, functional, durable, and reliable. These are the guns used in Red Dawn and many movies/TV shows during the 80’s/90’s as the Russian AK since they are identical to genuine Russian AKM’s. The only Maadi to avoid is Century’s MISR-90 since they dangerously cobbled together Chinese and Egyptian parts which are not compatible with one another since the Chinese use their own proprietary parts.

    • Also forgot to add only the Serbian M64 AK’s had the bolt-hold open feature.

      The PAP’s do not have it and you are confusing it with their factory mags which have a bolt-hold-open follower that will hold the bolt back after the last round but fall forward once the mag is released.

  12. I had an IO SSG2000 in 7.62×39. Loved it. Swapped it for a PSA AR Pistol in 7.62×39. My first AR pistol. Very good swap.

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