Like every good comrade, you love your AK. And like every good AK, yours gets hungry. You need to satisfy your rifle’s emptiness by refilling it with a reliable magazine. But what brand? Just like its freedom-loving rival, the AR, your AK has the glorious feature of cross-compatibility. AK mags fit pretty much every AK. That Mikhail Kalashnikov guy was no fool. He understood his brainchild would become the most popular rifle in the world, so he wanted to be sure everyone could use it for decades to come, long after its 1947 introduction.
Just because a mag fits into a gun, however, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good choice or gets you the best bang for the buck, pun fully intended. Some magazines are clearly better than others. While you could surf the web, ask the experts, and dig around for yourself to find the best one for your AK, you could instead just read this article and save yourself some steps and a lot of time.
With that in mind, here are our picks for the top AK mags.
1. Century Arms MILITARY SURPLUS Weiger, WASR3, SAR3 AK-47 .223 30-Round Steel Factory Magazine
If you want authentic, this is about as authentic as it gets. Created in East Germany (remember that country?) way back in the Cold War when the AK was in its heyday, the MILITARY SURPLUS Weiger, WASR3, SAR3 AK-47 .223 30-Round Steel Factory Magazine is the genuine article, straight outta Soviet-era factories.
Note, however, that these are not 7.62mm, the traditional AK round. Instead, they are .223, the anti-commie capitalist pig round. But if you have a .223 AK, you’re in luck! Don your woolie Red Army hat and your American flag on your way out the door.
2. US Palm AK30R AK-47 7.62x39mm 30-Round Magazine
There is a certain delicious irony of AK parts and accessories – and whole rifles, for that matter – being made in the USA. Imagine the look on Stalin’s face if he saw his greatest enemy profiting off his homeland’s coveted design. It brings a giggle to every red-blooded American. But US Palm does exactly that with its full polymer AK30R AK-47 7.62x39mm 30-Round Magazine.
Outside is US Palm’s signature “waffle and thread” pattern featuring wide with shallow indents along the sides and aggressive tank-tread style serrations along the front and rear of the magazine, providing lots of traction for reloads without losing your grip. In spite of the robust texture, the outside surface is snag-free, allow for easy extractions both from the mag well and your mag pouch. Inside is a steel mainspring and self-cleaning, low friction polymer follower provide smooth, reliable feeding.
3. Bulgarian AK-47 7.62x39mm 30-Round Steel Lined Polymer Magazine
For over 50 years, Bulgaria has produced some of the fines, most authentic AK magazines on the market, basing their designs on the original Soviet-era Kalashnikov. These standard capacity slab side magazines feature a sure grip finish, steel reinforced feed lips & internals, and a full 30-round capacity.
Remember when we questioned the reliability of Eastern Bloc-produced goods? Well, don’t worry about these AK magazines. If anyone knows how to make them it’s the people who have shot them since 1947. Each magazine has passed rigorous military testing for function, strength, sand/dust tolerance, water, and temperature tolerance.
4. Magpul PMAG AK/AKM Gen M3 7.62x39mm 30-Round Magazine
From the name synonymous with top-quality rifle magazines comes their variation on the AK 30-rounder that upholds Magpul’s longtime reputation for magazines that last.
Designed for Kalashnikov pattern rifles in 7.62x39mm (AK-47, AKM, AKS, SIG556R, and others), these lightweight yet durable polymer ammo feeders are all made in the USA and feature Magpul’s signature steel-reinforced locking lugs, which help ensure positive seating for faster, easier, more reliable reloads. The top-quality reliability and durability essential for operating in the field come from durable stainless-steel internals and ribbed gripping surface, along with thicker sidewalls and other key innovations.
5. Zastava AK-47 Bolt Hold Open 7.62x39mm 30-Round Steel Magazine
Again, who better to service AKs than a former Warsaw Pact country? This time it’s Serbia, the home of Zastava and their AK-47 Bolt Hold Open 7.62x39mm 30-Round Steel Magazine. In fact, Zastava predates the AK-47 by almost a hundred years, with origins as far back as 1853, when it made cannon barrels and howitzers. Since then, they have specialized in AK parts, including magazines.
Made from all steel, these combat-ready surplus AK Mags are crafted from durable steel with a ribbed gripping surface and steel spring internals. Chances are the original of these magazines saw some pretty extensive combat in the Serbian during the many years of conflict in the region, so the folks at Zastava might know a thing or two about firearms.
David Workman is an avid gun guy, a contributing writer to several major gun publications, and the author of Absolute Authority. A logophile since way back, Workman is a quickdraw punslinger and NRA RSO and Certified Pistol Instructor. He helps train new shooters on basic handgun skills and CCW requirements and is a strong advocate for training as much as practicable. “Real-world shootouts don’t happen at a box range.”
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