Skip to main content

AK-12 in my Basement? Part IV

AK-12 in my Basement? Part IV

As I moved forward with my pursuit of replicating function and features of Russia's new AK-12 rifle and with the stock and hand guards already in place, I embarked on perhaps the most interesting and intriguing feature the top cover rail.

For years Russians were mounting their optics on the AK rifles using the unique side dove-tail mounting rail. In fact, the first accessory mounting rails appeared on AKs back in 1950s. Since the first introduction of a mounting system every model of AK-based weapons had it installed, for use mainly with night optics. Thus, designating those models as "N."

More modern and current issue battle AK-74M rifles and RPK-74M light machine guns all had a side rail installed as standard equipment. Though well-designed and solid, the side rail mounting system has limited shooters to use of ComBloc designed optics or separate side rail mounts with a 1913 rail. In both cases, it puts an optic or collimator sight rather high, preventing an ideal cheek weld as well as offering limited space for any of tandem configured options.

The solution came in the way of AK-12's top cover rail. It is hinged at the rear sight block and offers an approximately 8 inches of rail space that, when matched with upper handguard rail, provides more than adequate space for any sighting implement configuration.


Luckily, I had not one but several options at my disposal. There are several hinged type rail systems available on the market. The one I chosen was the Parabellum Armament Group's AKARS (AK Adaptive Rail System). It is simply the closest to the one on AK-12, has a built-in "U"-slot rear sight and I also have considerable experience with it.


The new AKARS came with all the hardware I needed to install it. The tools I needed I readily had or came with the kit. First, using a large flat heat screwdriver I popped the original rear sight out. Then, without removing the leaf spring, I placed the AKARS upper rail's three-pronged hinge into the rear sight block and aligned the pin holes. I used a 4-inch screw clamp to hold the rail in place and tapped the hinge pin in with a rubber mallet.

Last, I tightened the set screw at the hinge joint and the rail was on. Next I had to attach the top cover to the rail itself. The AKARS system comes with an original AK non-ribbed top cover that is modified with a slot where the rear mounting block slides to account for different dimensions of various AK receivers.

I loosened the two bolts that attach the block to the top cover so that the block would freely move in the slot and inserted two pins into the hinged rail. I snapped the top cover onto the receiver, made sure there were no gaps and tightened the block's bolts.

And just like that I was done. It must have taken me total of five minutes. I checked the hinge action and rigidity of the whole rail. It worked well and locked solid every time.


Next I checked whether my new rail was aligning with the upper handguard rail and found it was slightly lower. Not to worry. Using regular and low rings I was able to achieve perfect tandem alignment for optics. On the other positive side the AKARS rail was low enough to provide perfect co-witnessing and eliminate the need for the cheekpiece.

I was happy with the final result. My plain Jane AK-74 was starting to look like the modern rifle.

Russia's new AK-12

Russia's new AK-12 features probably the most interesting upgrade the AK's seen in recent years: the hinged top cover with 1913 rail. Luckily it wouldn't be very difficult to replicate.

Parabellum Armament Group's AKARS system

The installation of the new Parabellum Armament Group's AKARS system wasn't complicated. Most of the tools needed were provided with the kit.

The AKARS system

The AKARS system uses the original AK non-ribbed top cover that has a mounting block that could be adjusted to accommodate variety of the AK receiver types.

Rifle

After a check for proper installation and functionality Vorobiev was satisfied with the result. His rifle started to look like its newly introduced descendant.

AKARS rail

Although the AKARS rail did not match the upper handguard rail, Vorobiev was able to place optics in tandem perfectly aligned using normal height and low rings.

Optics

With the ability to mount my optics low, Vorobiev felt no need for an additional cheekpiece.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Brownells Model BRN-601 AR-15 Review

Brownells Model BRN-601 AR-15 Review

Firearms News editor Vincent L. DeNiro took the Brownells BRN-601 AR-15 to the range for a test drive.

Leupold Freedom RDS

Leupold Freedom RDS

Patrick Sweeney reviews the Leupold Freedom RDS optic with bullet drop compensator!

Springfield Hellcat OSP Review

Springfield Hellcat OSP Review

Patrick Sweeney takes the Springfield Hellcat OSP to the range to test it out!

SilencerCo MSR Hunting

SilencerCo MSR Hunting

Hunters, save your ears! Patrick Sweeney reviews suppressors from SilencerCo.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Unless Democrats rescind their proposed Gun Issuing Board, threats and anti-rights promises don't matterGun Control Speeches at DNC Misleading 2nd Amendment

Gun Control Speeches at DNC Misleading

JPFO - August 21, 2020

Unless Democrats rescind their proposed Gun Issuing Board, threats and anti-rights promises...

The Masada is IWI's first striker-fired pistol and is an accurate, good looking polymer handgun that has a great trigger.IWI Masada Pistol Review Handguns

IWI Masada Pistol Review

Bob Taubert - August 19, 2020

The Masada is IWI's first striker-fired pistol and is an accurate, good looking polymer...

Governor Mike DeWine's STRONG Ohio anti-gun bill is facing strong, unified opposition.Opposition to 'STRONG Ohio' Remains Strong 2nd Amendment

Opposition to 'STRONG Ohio' Remains Strong

Buckeye Firearms Association - August 24, 2020

Governor Mike DeWine's STRONG Ohio anti-gun bill is facing strong, unified opposition.

We go behind closed doors at the factory to see how SIG Sauer's ammo is developed and manufactured!SIG Sauer Ammunition — How Good Is It? Ammo

SIG Sauer Ammunition — How Good Is It?

Tom Beckstrand - August 20, 2020

We go behind closed doors at the factory to see how SIG Sauer's ammo is developed and...

See More Trending Articles

More Rifles

The ultralight S101 Highland XTC carbon-fiber rifle is the newest addition to SAUER's S101 rifle series.SAUER Introduces Ultralight S101 Highland XTC Carbon-Fiber Rifle Industry

SAUER Introduces Ultralight S101 Highland XTC Carbon-Fiber Rifle

Firearms News Staff - November 10, 2020

The ultralight S101 Highland XTC carbon-fiber rifle is the newest addition to SAUER's S101...

Wilson Combat's .300 HAM'R could be the .30 caliber cartridge you've been waiting for. David Fortier put the cartridge to the test in the Tactical Hunter rifle.Wilson Combat .300 HAM'R Tactical Hunter Rifle Review Rifles

Wilson Combat .300 HAM'R Tactical Hunter Rifle Review

David M. Fortier - October 15, 2020

Wilson Combat's .300 HAM'R could be the .30 caliber cartridge you've been waiting for. David...

Savage Arms introduces its first straight pull rifle: the Impulse.Savage Arms Impulse Straight Pull Rifle - First Look Rifles

Savage Arms Impulse Straight Pull Rifle - First Look

Firearms News Staff - January 05, 2021

Savage Arms introduces its first straight pull rifle: the Impulse.

The Kel-Tec SU-16C rifle is survivalist rifle gadgetry at its best!Kel-Tec SU-16C Rifle Review Rifles

Kel-Tec SU-16C Rifle Review

Vincent L. DeNiro - November 23, 2020

The Kel-Tec SU-16C rifle is survivalist rifle gadgetry at its best!

See More Rifles

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW OUR CURRENT ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Firearms News App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Firearms News subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now