Palmetto State Armory PSA AK-V review PCC pistol caliber carbine
Palmetto State Armory AK-V 9mm braced pistol. Image courtesy JWT for
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I probably shouldn’t be the person to review the Palmetto State Armory AK-V 9mm braced pistol. I don’t really like semi-auto PCCs. And I don’t like pistol braces. AKs should be chambered in 7.62×39 and the best ones have only been dropped once.

And yet here I am, having an absolute friggin’ ball with this gun.

Image courtesy JWT for

I don’t know what it is about the AK platform in general, but they’re all a hoot to shoot. The PSA AK-V is no different. Simple to operate, dependable, easy to move and fire, and in this particular case, adaptable as well.

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Part of that adaptability is the brace itself. This one attaches to the rear of the pistol via a Picatinny rail. Don’t want it? Take it off. Conversion to an SBR is bolt-on easy, and so is just running the gun super compact as a traditional pistol. The brace folds easily and stays in place. It snaps open solidly without any discernible play at the connection point.

The folding pistol brace is made by SB Tactical and in general it works well enough. Strapped to the arm as it was originally designed, it keeps the gun in place and allows for fun, accurate fire, once you get used to it.

Image courtesy JWT for

I tend to find the adjustable models fit more forearms for a better, more secure hold during single-handed operation of the pistol. I’m just not a fan of pistol braces when shouldered, at least not when compared to an actual stock, but they certainly work better on firearms chambered in traditional pistol calibers, as there’s less motion in recoil to tame from the outset.

NOTE: Compatibility with the BATFE’s proposed illegal, unconstitutional, convoluted, intentionally vague and confusing rule is impossible to assess as the determination changes based on who’s reading it and on what accessories are attached to the rifle.

Adding something like a reflex sight, or including a brace that’s adjustable for length, both of which are features that specifically make it easier for people with disabilities to fire the weapon safely and accurately, may or may not change whether the gun is considered a pistol or an SBR, according to the new rule.

A lot of my friends are missing fingers, a hand, or an arm and it’s like the BATFE set out to make sure they screw over these disabled veterans as much as possible. But I digress.

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One of the reasons the AK-V 9mm is so much fun is that, with the supplied muzzle brake, there’s very little recoil. Beyond being just fun, this is a perfect firearm for those who are particularly recoil sensitive, but still want or need a lightweight, easy to handle gun.

What’s really great is that the factory muzzle brake screws on and off without any tools at all, using the standard muzzle detent included on most AKs. This one is right-hand thread.

There’s even less recoil, and none of the annoying blast, if you run the gun suppressed. Target transitions are fast as there’s not a lot of weight away from the shooter’s body, even with a can attached.

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The Magpul forend is at least partially responsible for the easy handling and low recoil of the AK-V 9mm. There’s something I never thought I’d write, but it works on this gun, especially if you run it with the brace folded or removed entirely.

The wide forend, with that big flat ledge at the muzzle end allows your hand to get a full grip on the gun…not to pull back, but to push forward. With a single point sling and a high mounted red dot, it makes fast shots on 19″ silhouettes at 25 yards a breeze.

That wide forend and a relatively light trigger with a hard reset also provides another advantage. It takes a little attention to detail and some practice, but with a bit of finesse, it’s not too terribly hard to push/bump fire this pistol with the brace removed.

With the 35-round magazine and the very low recoil of the 9×19 cartridge, mag dumps fired in this method put a big ol’ smile on my face. At 25 yards, several rounds in the magazine even hit the target!

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I had initially intended the familiarization fire stage of the review to be spread out over a few days, but I ended up shooting the allotted round count much faster. Time (and money in the form of ammunition) just flew by.

Even with the single supplied 35-round magazine, I put 500 rounds through this gun in a hurry. Four hundred rounds were shot in one day. All of those 400 were suppressed, shooting through a direct thread AAC 9mm silencer. I shot lots of assorted 115gr FMJs, some Winchester 124gr +P, many boxes of Armscor’s 147gr FMJs, and some loose rounds of assorted types.

All accuracy testing was done without the silencer and with the supplied muzzle brake. These rounds included the aforementioned Armscor and Winchester rounds, Remington’s 115gr FMJ, IMI’s 115gr Die Cut rounds, and Wilson Combat’s 147gr Hornady Round Nosed cartridge.

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At no point did the gun fail in any way, with or without the suppressor attached. Any time a direct blowback PCC or braced pistol doesn’t fail at all I get a little surprised, as feeding problems used to really plague these platforms. That said, looking back on my recent reviews of these kinds of guns, I haven’t seen any of them with that problem in quite a while.

For a PCC or braced pistol in a pistol caliber to make any sense, the trigger needs to be light and fast. The whole point in using a pistol caliber instead of a rifle caliber is that in close range applications it’s enough bullet to get the job done, and you can shoot a lot of them quickly and accurately since recoil is so minimal.

The pull on the PSA AK-V is nice and light, averaging just 3lbs. 0.5oz over five pulls with my Lyman digital trigger scale. That’s great. What’s not great is that it’s anything but crisp. It’s got 10mm of travel before the sear releases somewhere in there and then it resets hard 5mm(ish) forward. That makes precise shooting a bit difficult, depending on what you mean by precise.

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Using the factory iron sights, precision was acceptable, but nothing spectacular.

A protected front sight post is important on any of these types of guns, as a big part of the draw is their use in small spaces where they are more likely to bump the muzzle. The front sight is so appropriately guarded. The rear sight is fixed to the flip-up dust cover and isn’t adjustable in any direction.

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Shooting from a Caldwell Stinger shooting rest at 25 yards, the inexpensive and often well performing Armscor 147gr FMJ bullet averaged 1.4″ five-round groups over four shot strings. That was the best-shooting of all of the rounds I tried, although nothing hit above the 2″ mark at this distance.

At 50 yards, nothing shot less than 3″, but almost everything I shot hovered around that group size. The only round shooting worse was Sinterfire’s 100gr Special Duty Defense round, which was a bit outside of all the others.

The decent but unremarkable accuracy is likely unrelated to any issues with basic components or build quality, but instead a squishy trigger and most importantly, the short 8½” sight radius.

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These guns were made for a red dot optic. It doesn’t matter if you shoot it braced, SBR’d, or simply as a basic pistol, these guns are perfect for any number of 3 MOA or greater red dot optics.

The included Picatinny rail makes mounting a red-dot simple. There’s also enough rail space that, if for no other reason than ridiculousness, you could attach a magnified scope via a cantilever mount. It would be a whole lot of fun to screw on a can, put a night vision-capable red dot on this gun, throw on a set of goggles and take head-shots at wild pigs in the warmer months when you can sneak in nice and close.

Unlike most AKs, the PSA AK-V has a last round bolt hold open feature when using the supplied magazines. There’s also a bolt release on the left side, similar to where an AR’s would be. That means magazine changes could be a second or two faster with this set-up as opposed to a traditional AK, but you sacrifice some of the simplicity of the platform for it.

The PSA magazines are pretty cheap at $14.99 on the PSA website and they work just fine. The website also says the PSA AK-V 9mm takes CZ Scorpion magazines but I had none to test this with.

Magazines are fed straight in, without the need to rock them into the magazine well. The mag well is huge and funneled enough that it’s hard to miss, and they release with a traditional paddle release forward of the trigger guard.

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I always doubt the utility of these kinds of guns, at least when compared to their intermediate rifle chambered parents. Sure, they have a place, it’s just much more specific than the traditional rifle caliber chambered guns.

But there’s no doubt at all as to how much fun they are to shoot. PSA’s made a good-looking, great-shooting little gun, with perfect reliability and loads of adaptability. For a guy who doesn’t usually like these kinds of guns, it was hard to give this one back.

Specifications: Palmetto State Armory AK-V 9mm Braced Pistol

Forged Front Trunnion
Forged Bolt/Carrier
Stamped 1mm Steel Receiver
10.5” Nitrided 4150 Steel Barrel with 1:10 Twist
2 Port “Tanker Style” Muzzle Brake
Picatinny Top Railed, Hinged Dust Cover
Fixed Rear Sight
Enhanced Extended Safety Lever
Fire Control Group: Single Stage, Single Hook
Magpul AK Polymer Grip, Black
Magpul Polymer Lower Handguard with Cheese Grater Upper Handguard
PSA AK Picatinny Stock Adapter with Triangle Side Folding Brace
U9 35 Round Patterned Magazine (Will also work in CZ Scorpion 9mm Firearms)
AKV w/ Triangle Brace Extended: 27”
AKV w/ Triangle Brace Folded: 19” Weight: 6.7lbs
Price: $1,024.90

Ratings (out of five stars):

Style and Appearance * * * *
The finish is smooth and even throughout. The cheese-grater is a nice touch, and since it’s a simple blowback design, it never gets too hot. PSA didn’t try to make this gun look too fancy and ended up making it look just right.

Customization * * * * 9/10
I took something off because you can’t swap out the rear iron sight, but man, that’s being really picky. The PSA AK-V 9mm gives you tons of options right out of the box.

Reliability * * * * *
Perfect with any round I tried, suppressed or not.

Accuracy * * *
Average enough. There’s no reason you couldn’t hit a 19″ silhouette at 100 yards all day long and there’s no reason you can’t hit a 8″ target at 50 yards just as often.

Overall * * * *
A mediocre trigger and average precision keep it from the five-star category. But have no doubt, just as it is, this is a fantastic firearm, something I didn’t expect I’d say at the beginning of this review.

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  1. PSA is good to buy from in respect to making the FFL end smooth, communicating and fast secure shipping. However when it comes to asking pertinent questions about their .308 receivers their incompetent responses will drive you to Aero Precision and I thank them for that.

  2. “A lot of my friends are missing fingers, a hand, or an arm and it’s like the BATFE set out to make sure they screw over these disabled veterans as much as possible.”

    What would be required to challenge the AFT’s new ruling using ADA guidelines? As stated in the article. the new rule is unconstitutional, but the leotards really have a hard on to stick it to business using ADA. Make them play by the same rules.

    • “What would be required to challenge the AFT’s new ruling using ADA guidelines?”

      That’s the real question to ask, and may be a chink in the armor to exploit.

      I really hope we have some smart legal people right now interested in exploring that option, and filing some lawsuits…

    • Practical value= Minimal, but as he said “fun to shoot” create’s a value all it’s own. I have a SAA clone in .38spl that has less than zero functional use, but I like shooting it and pretending I am a bad Hombre on the frontier.

    • These are awesome little guns that just feel right if you’re used to handling AKs. Reliable, customizable, and one of the most fun guns to shoot that I can think of.
      My only complaint is that they’re bump-fire machines, which can really surprise new shooters and draw undue attention at the range.

  3. Why would someone choose this over the same in 7.62×39? I know people do, I just don’t understand. If it’s ammo price per round, I think most people would prefer a different pcc in 9mm. Same with recoil although if you’re too sensitive to enjoy shooting a intermediate cartridge like 7.62, then why not shoot .22 instead of 9?

    This is a fun gun range toy and while it might serve the purpose, I don’t think most would want this for home defense.

    But to each their own I guess. At least PSA keeps the prices reasonable.

    • I’ve got one in 7.62. The draw for me was the native folding brace to fit in a backpack during travel, as apposed to an AR variant that would need moding for the same length package. The 7.62 is perfectly tame, but im sure there are plenty of recoil sensitive folks looking to trade power and range for more rounds and faster follow up shots. These will do you better than a pistol in 90% of scenarios, just not as much as a rifle cartridge. I’d sure still not want to be shot with one though, especially if it was followed by several more well placed rounds.

      • Side note, out of that short barrel the 7.62 loses a lot less than the 5.56. While the 9 doesn’t measure up to the 5.56 still, it’s still no slouch out or 10inches.

    • Greater furniture compatibility. Mounting the upper hand guard is impossible without those tabs on the gas tube for which you need the gas block or some approximation thereof, rather than re-engineering the entire hand guard and front mounting system too.

      Benefits to the latter would be capability of having possibly a free floating barrel, at the expense of losing the AK aesthetic which is important for many potential customers, and this is largely targeted at those who want a PP-19 Vityaz, that is impossible to even get anymore, afaik.

      Would be also useful with a railed gas tube as well if you like your RDS mounted out front, which is otherwise a pretty dumb spot to mount it with a functional piston. Heat has horrible effects on the lifespan of certain electrical components. Sure, it’s not fully insulated against heat, but it is to a far greater degree than on a functioning piston.

      Expounding: Capacitors, of which are relegated to a temp tolerance of 105 C, or much less mostly, outside of some very expensive special edge use cases. Batteries moreover especially. Acids (& sometimes base’s) found within become vastly more corrosive when heated, eating though the pile plates and casings at a greatly accelerated rates, correlation being hugely reduced lifespans.

      And that’s all I can think of of the top of my head.

      • WWIII:
        You are on the right track regarding reliability of electronics. Electrolytic capacitors and batteries are the biggest threats. It sucks to spend all the money you had just to find out it went for poser quality junk that used entertainment grade electronic parts.
        Hard and sharp firing pulses will threaten every single solder joint and those pesky, microscopic gold wires that are welded to the silicon chip pads where you won’t even see them. Heat along with voltage murders silicon integrated circuits and power handling devices. Newer technologies like SurfaceMount are better. So are replacements for Silicon and Germanium, but those are really not here aside from power transistors. At least on the civilian market.
        Your best bet now is to smear just a smidge of grease on your battery ends and on the interior and contacts of your battery box…ONLY if it will not leak onto optics or into other areas.
        Best to avoid crappy ChiScam toy products and buy American stuff that has a solid reputation… and a phone number. Replace batteries often, then remove them for storage. Unertl had the right idea – keep the scope still and let the ‘03 recoil right past it!

      • To William Wallace,
        you have a lot of theoretical reasons not to put a red dot on a railed gas tube.
        I can only tell you that I have an RPK type AK that I run with a 75 round drum.
        I have an Ultimak railed gas tube on it and I have runboth an Eotech and a Holosun out there and both have worked just fine after literally hundreds of rounds at a time.
        When I bought that Ultimak, I was worried about the effect of heat on the red dot.
        In my practical experience both Eotech and a Holosun can handle the heat generated by a railed gas tube without any ill effect

    • Just like the Russian PP-19 Vityaz they add the required weight to the blowback bolt where the piston would be on a gas operated AK. It’s the only place to put it unless you want to use a longer receiver.

  4. AKOU gave this one an endorse after a 5k round destruction test. High praise indeed, even it I don’t really see the point of this over 7.62 models.

    As for the rear sight, that’s not a large problem at all. Kochevnik makes bolt on replacements for the rear leaf which substitutes 1913 rail milled with a functional, if minimalist, rear sight for emergency use.

    Which I usually mill a couple of spots for color filling, works well with a fiber optic or tritium front post. Like the tritium more for it’s smaller width profile. Careful dab of GiTD chartreuse around the vial is an easy & cheap high contrast upgrade.

    Dissident removes the rear leaf for a tig welded piece of rail, which also requires refinishing the gunm obviously, albeit with a much lower profile compared to the Kochevnik if that’s your thing.

  5. I already loved Palmetto State Armory for their more affordable, but still very decently made rifles and pistols, so when I read about their AK-V 9mm pistol on Reddit, I had to get one. They were kind enough to send me one for testing and review. Here you check this Here you get and learn more new steps for construction. and get more new ways for roof washing. Note that this isn’t a traditional “gun review” in the sense of just explaining the technical specifications of the gun and how it functions since I don’t have access to a range or a way to chronograph it; this is more of an overview of my impressions of it after going through the various features and firing it for myself.

  6. Overall, I was impressed with the performance and quality of the AK-V. The gun is well-built and durable, with a solid construction that feels comfortable and secure in the hand. The folding brace is a nice touch, providing added stability and support when firing, and the traditional AK-style controls make it easy to handle and operate.


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