When one thinks about the ultimate villain gun, the terrorist’s right hand and the indestructible rifle seen in films. You will be right in thinking AK 47. It is an iconic piece, hell it’s a symbol in it’s own right. I am not going to delve into the history of the Ak 47 nor who used it in which conflict (we know all conflicts right?). We will be focussing on how to improve ergonomics on the Ak variant known as the Type 56. The T 56 is a chinese variant of the well known Ak 47 but she has snuck in in more places we know. The T56 is is cheap, well made and available. Even Rick Grimes has one modified to look like a Russian AK (From The Walking Dead if you have been living under a rock).
My T56 that I will be discussing was manufactured in the 313 Factory, some state it is from Bangladesh but I am uncertain. You cannot trust everything you read on the internet – including this. So check yourfacts, ask questions and be objective. This is how I did my modifications and in no way are you inclined to do so, I share this because I know how big of a pain in the ass this can be. So lets get to it. Below you can see what my rifle looked like coming out of the factory. Mounted bayonet aka Pig Sticker, red furniture and of course the stock designed for midgets or anybody with hands at the elbow.
This picture was sourced: Source
Below you is what I have today. The bayonet removed, extended charging handle, stock, fore-handguard and pistol grip changed
Now before I get into the current setup I will mention some failures I had and how this managed to fuck up many a peachy day. I will, because I’m a nice guy and this just happens to be my damn page, tell you where to find and how to fit all these components.
1. Rifle – T56 Chinese Ak Variant – Bought at TacShack Johannesburg.
2. Sling – South African Defence Force – Found at a military fair few years ago.
3. Charging Handle – 3% Engineering Worx – Bought at TacShack Johannesburg.
4. Stock – Magpul zhukov – Bought at Dave Sheer Guns Johannesburg.
5. Pistol Grip – Magpul MOE – Bought at Dave Sheer Guns Johannesburg.
6. Front Grip – Magpul – Bought at Dave Sheer Guns Johannesburg.
7. Hand guard – NcStar – Bought at Blades and Triggers Clearwater Mall.
8. Magazine – CAA – Bought at Dave Sheer Guns Johannesburg.
Let’s look at why I chose these modifications to my rifle and why they work for me and wont necessarily be to your liking.
Firstly the fore-end is heavy, I prefer it due to my stance and the fact that it feels better while shooting. The counterbalance is what I needed to assist in my accuracy and muzzle climb. The 45 grip was comfortable and there is a well known issue of the magazine rock action that cock blocked my vertical grip. More on that later. The pistol grip was for the obvious fact that the factory grip could not accommodate my hand comfortably – if you are missing a finger or two I’m sure you’ll be fine. The stock was the best option because it is super comfortable and adjustable as well as it assisted in transport of the rifle. Folding stock for the win. The sling was a bit of a doozy. I could not find something I liked. I do own a single point sling that is amazing but if you can find a good spot to attach it please feel free to enlighten me. Last but not least the CAA magazine with round count window. It is polymer, it looks cool and a quick glance keeps me updated on how much fun is left in the magazine.
Let us start at the end that goes bang, the hand guard. Yes I did say it was NcStar, yes it is cheap and most of you might ask why. The reason I chose this handguard is that it can be considered generic, you can compare it to the UTG version 1 and we all know everything comes from China in any case so why fight it? Fitment on this was a sonofabitch. Tools you will need is a steel file, screw driver and patience.
This picture was sourced : Source
Step 1: Remove the bayonet by filling the edge of the rivet/lug where the bayonet pivots on. Once you remove enough of the material you can tap it out using your hand and screwdriver. Remember that you need patience.
Once the lug is out you can go ahead and remove the bayonet and wood hand guards. There are many videos online on this process, go and have a look. Quick Tip, if you want to get the gas tube wood out, get a shifting spanner and spin it out. See below.
Keep this little guy in place as you need it to keep the hand guard system from slipping.
Now your weapon system will look like this:
Now by this time the average red blooded man or woman would have noticed that this new addition to their rifle does not fit. This is why (look at the picture below as I do not know what it is called). That shiny bastard is preventing you from enjoying your next episode of Keeping Up with The Kardashians.
Get your file and start going at it on the following areas. We won’t be removing material from our rifle because maybe you sell it or long for the 70 year old look again, who knows. Once again be patient and be sure to attempt fitment as you remove material. You will need to remove 2mm on each side.
It will look like this when you succeed.
Once your bottom hand guard fits, replace gas tube and be sure to test the action as sometimes when fit under strain it manipulates the piston tube and this will prevent the piston from cycling smoothly. If this is the case then remove more material. When all fits and works well go ahead and add a thread locker to your screws and there you go. The grip is pretty straight forward. Remove screw and slide into position. Now take picture and send to your mates to show them your mad smithing skills.
Next we have the charging handle extension, you’ll need a hex key set. Slip over the tip (insert funny innuendo here) and fasten very tight. On mine I added an epoxy urethane hybrid adhesive that can absorb the shock. I don’t intend to remove it so at least it is secure.
The next furniture change is the pistol grip, grab your screwdriver. Remove dust cover and guts. Look out for this retainer thingy that it bolts into.
Flip and unscrew the current grip, watch out for this little thing, it can be a pain in the ass to keep in position.
Fit the new grip and screw the new grip in place.
Next up we have the famous Magpul Zhukov stock. Take note on this guy, I did this on a fixed stock Ak variant which it was designed for, if you have an under-folder or side-folder you’ll need more than my little guide.
Firstly remove the current stock screws and pull out hard. – There are screws outside and inside the receiver. You can follow the exact instructions that came with the stock, but you need to be aware of two little issues. Firstly the tang will not line up properly. The tang is that little piece of metal poking out back your receiver that went inside the wood stock. To remedy this, take your vile and shave material off it. About 3 – 5 mm all round. Once again, work a little and test it constantly.
Second issue you will experience will be the angle of the back screw might be funny. Remedy to this little problem is to just go for it, the stock is polymer so it can flex. You’ll end up with this.
Next up is the CAA magazine. If you don’t know how this works then put on your velcro shoes and eat some more crayons.
Last but not least I feel I have to mention the parts that I tried but didn’t work. The first winner is a vertical grip, yes one might love the sight and feel of one but stay clear. The reason for my negativity is not performance wise at all, it has to do with practicality. It interferes with the magazine rock which means it has to be set quite far forward. Next issue is the fact that it won’t allow you to use 40 round magazines. If I have to use it I’ll make use of my bulgarian 20 rounders as it seems to work better with less magazine.
Here is the number one fly in the ointment and pain in the ass. The famous railed dust cover. Yes folks, I have tried the NcStar railed dust cover and the question is: Does it work? Yes and no. Actually sometimes but not really. On my system it held zero pretty well, no complaints there, but it pops off. It fucking pops off like a bottle cap. No matter how slow I fired, which ammo I used or optics it all went flying eventually. I did use it for a while but once wiser I shelved it.
So there you have it ladies and gentlemen, this is how I managed to do my home mods to my Chinese Type 56 AK. I am by no means a professional but I share my experience as I struggled and had no assistance.
I welcome any feedback or good ideas.