As someone accustomed to AR-15, M14 and M1 rifles, I can't say I'm a huge fan of the AK-47, but I do have a couple and I have fun shooting them on occasion. The ammo is cheap, the rifles are more reliable than most, and when used at short to medium ranges the cartridges are effective.
I looked at my old home-built Romanian 7.62x39 rifle with a critical eye recently and decided that one of its shortcomings could be corrected with a little help from the aftermarket. Follow along as I attempt to inject a bit of "user friendliness" into the old Soviet warhorse.
Be honest, the standard AK safety lever leaves a lot to be desired. If you are used to manipulating the selector on an AR with your thumb without changing your firing grip, you'll be disappointed in this sheet metal stamping that forces many operators to change their position to make the weapon ready. I have short fingers, so the standard "two fingers extended and swipe down" drill isn't going to work well.
Krebs has added a second shelf to his enhanced safety about 1 inch to the rear of the standard tab so the trigger finger can reach it easily. A quick downward swipe and you are back on the bang switch ready to go. Like all AK safeties, this sheet metal stamping can be bent slightly to adjust tension for ease of manipulation.
Of course, you could simply modify your existing safety with scrap steel and a TIG welder. The $60 price of the Krebs lever seems a bit steep for a stamped piece of sheet metal. But not everyone has access to welding gear and a skilled operator to run it.
On my rifle, the new safety was a simple drop-in: remove the top cover, swing the safety lever so itÃs 90ˆž to the receiver pointing straight up and pull it out. Plug the Krebs safety into the hole and swing it down. Done. It is possible that the hole in some receivers may need to be opened up slightly.
The crossbar of the Krebs safety is slightly thicker than the original, but I didn't encounter any problems installing it in my DC Industries receiver. You'll note from the photos that the Krebs bar is notched differently from the original part, presumably so it won't function correctly with a full-auto trigger group.
Another feature of the Krebs safety is the bolt hold-open notch. While not important in a fight, this feature is handy at the range where a bolt locked to the rear indicates a safe weapon. With a little practice, the thumb of the firing hand can pull the bolt handle to the rear while the fingers pull up on the safety lever to lock the bolt open in one movement.
In a real world gunfight, safety manipulation wouldnÃt be important to me. I would run the rifle like a Glock until the threat was gone. But, I'm not likely to use a rifle anywhere except on the local range, and we want our ranges accident-free, so a safety that is easier to use and a bolt hold-open device to show everyone else on the firing line my rifle is clear are handy features.
The Krebs safety comes nicely finished in black. It has both a finger tab for fast operation and a hold-back notch for safety when you're range shooting.
The Krebs safety installs easily in most AKS, though its shaft is a little larger than the original. Note the large tab directly over the trigger.
The bolt-hold open notch locks the bolt to the rear if so desired. This is very handy when changing magazines or when benching the gun while range shooting.
Note the difference in the milspec and Krebs safeties. The Krebs model is notched to preclude use with a full-auto trigger group.
To remove the safety lever, rotate it so it is pointing straight up and pull it out of the receiver. Put it in the same position when replacing it.
On some receivers, the hole for the safety may have to be opened slightly, but Norcross didn't experience that with his rifle.