Zenitco AK Hardware from Russia
Occasionally even AK47/74 owners want to be like their AR-15 owning friends and add lights, grips, and optics to their rifles but what options did they have ? In order to mount optics on some of the rifles you could use the factory side mount option with an Arsenal SM-13. What happens if you don’t have a side mount like my Arsenal SLR-106 ? Are you shit out of luck when it comes to optics ? Well not exactly, that’s where Zenitco comes in.
Zenitco is a Russian company headquartered in Moscow, Russia and has been the premier maker of AK rails, stocks, lights and other goodness for the Russian special operations units, as well as regular Russian Army units and most law enforcement agencies in the country who utilize the AK pattern rifles in either of the two traditional caliber, 5.45 x 39 & 7.62 x 39.
Are you asking yourself exactly how good Zenitco rails and gear really is ? Well Larry Vickers a man who knows more about firearms and combat operations than the average guy chose some key pieces of Zenitco gear when he built his own “Alpha Clone” a copy of the Rifle used by the Russian FSB Security Forces. Prominently displayed on his rifle is what has become the classic rail set up the Zenitco B30 and B31 rail combo.
At about the 1 minute mark Larry starts the list of goodies
Not Cheap But Worth It
Often times when it comes to anything in the firearms world we try to save some bucks but occasionally you get what you pay for. The Zenitco rails are not cheap but they are built out of high grade aluminum to take years of pounding and use. Some samples of the B30/B31 set up have even been blown up with tannerite and drug behind trucks in a now famous video by Robski of the AK Operators Union Local 47-74
One Size Does Not Fit ALL
Despite what the 60’s rumor mill tells you AK’s can be accurate if built correctly and they are not all created equal. What that means is that when you get a Zenitco part you have to anticipate some fitting issues. The differences between Saiga, Arsenals, WASRs, Romanians and domestic built AK’s might be slight but over 60 years of manufacture things get off a few millimeters or countries took some liberties in the designs. The difference between the thickness of receivers and trunion length and receiver depths is something you will encounter when fitting parts.
When you stop to consider the number of countries, manufacturers, models, calibers that the AK-47 has covered it starts to make a little more sense. It’s not an obstacle to stop you from looking into Zenitco gear if you are wanting to add rail space to your AK or make it different from many other rifles on the range. A potential user will just need to be aware of and plan ahead when wadding into this type of project.
Rail Space, Stocks and Hinged Covers
Zenitco currently makes 166 parts that fit a wide range of AK’s and AK inspired rifles like the Vityaz KP-9. This includes more than a dozen types of rails, lights to include three varieties of folding stocks. Until recently the Zenitco rails were only available in Picatinny configuration like what is shown in our above photos. That has now changed and the company has embraced the current times and makes a new series of rails known as the “Sport Series” as well as the new “U” series.
The new series of rails takes the classic designs and removes the picatinny from the sides and offers a flat side version. This new pattern allows for smaller sections of rails to be added where the user desires instead of the full length. This is a M-Lok inspired design with a Russia twist. It’s new and continuing to develop as a series and will be interesting to see if it catches on or users stay with the old tried and true set ups.
Where to Purchase
If you are looking at the videos and images and wondering if you wanted to change up your old AK and where to purchase Zenitco rails we have your answer. There are very few places that I would trust to get authentic Zenitco rails and accessories and that would be Ivan Tactical, Legion USA, or AKStuff.Com, all the links are provided below.
Thoughts and Vendors
As you can see we used our own dollars to outfit or test Arsenal SLR-106 for an extended test and eval period. I will say up front the set up is expensive, takes a considerable amount of time to arrive and will test your patience on the installation if you aren’t careful.
That being said the system when installed correctly gives the user considerably more real estate to and grips, lights, laser designators or whatever tactical gizmo you might need for your AK-47 patterned rifle. With this much space available you can even add a bipod if you feel the urge to try to stretch the performance of your 5.45 or 5.56 mm AK
If you are a Zenitco fan or user we would love to see pics of your rifles and hear your stories. If you are a reader who has seen or used them in combat like our feature photo (Courtesy of google) we would really like to hear from you. What did you see and where was it at, of course with OPSEC considerations. The world is changing and with millions of AK’s in civilian hands it’s about time that someone starts to support them with tactical goodness like the AR-15 boys get to enjoy.
Vendors We Trust
Ivan Tactical : www.ivantactical.com