January 07, 2013
By Gus Norcross
I got a call a couple weeks ago from a guy who said the front sight windage drum on his AK-style rifle wouldn't budge. He was trying to drift it with one of the little C-clamp tools commonly found at gun shows. No go.
I told him to swing by the shop and rummaged around in a drawer for my AKFST (AK Front Sight Tool) from Maga-Matic Defense. You may be able to get by with average tools in most cases, but then again the day may come where you're trying to adjust the rusty windage drum on a rifle your buddy built from a $199 kit and you start thinking about torches and hammers because the damned thing seems like its welded in place.
Made from in the USA from zinc-plated solid steel, the AKFST is advertised as being 400% stronger than conventional C-clamp type tools and carries a limited lifetime warranty. One look at it and you won't doubt the claims of strength.
The main body of the AKFST fully encircles the front sight tower during windage adjustments and the long stainless steel adjusting arm provides plenty of torque. The elevation adjustment wrench fit snugly over the Romanian, Bulgarian and Hungarian front sights I had on hand and in fact required a tap to seat it on all three.
As impressed as I was with the AKFST, I was surprised to learn that an even heavier duty "gunsmith" model, the AKFST-GS, is now available and claimed to be 900% stronger than the C-clamp tools. The "gunsmith" model is 2 1/4 inches in diameter, 1 inch thick and weighs over a pound. The adjusting arm is over 6 inches long. Magna-Matic Defense says it will be replaced under their limited lifetime warranty if it breaks. I doubt they have replaced any of them.
The AKFST-GS fully encircles the front sight housing and the 6-inch long handle makes windage adjustments a breeze. This tool will crack loose the most stubborn front sights.
The slotted nipple of the AKFST-GS tool fits snugly over the front sight post for elevation adjustments. Norcross had to tap it on for full seating, which is what you want.
Gunsmith level AKFST-GS
The gunsmith level AKFST-GS in its fitted case. Most of us probably don't need this level of capability, but if you work on lots of AKs, you may find it pays for itself.