5 Best AK-47 Rifles Under $800 [Budget AK-47 2020]
With increased talk of an Assault Weapon Ban, specifically bans on AK-style rifles (such as AK-47s and their clones), more and more Americans are looking to pick up an AK-style rifle before it’s too late.
If you’ve been researching AK-47 style rifles already… good luck! You already know that there’s a nearly endless supply of information on variants, features, pros/cons, etc.
It’s so much information that many can’t even decide what AK-47 to buy! Or, you (like me) might want to default to a higher-priced option just to make sure that you aren’t getting something that is a piece of junk (or worse, dangerous). This can work, however, spending $1,000 or more on an AK-47 defeats the purpose for many shooters.
Best Budget AK-Style Rifles
- Century Arms VSKA
- PSA PS-AK47 GF3 MOEkov Rifle
- Century Arms WASR-10 AK-47
- Century Arms C39V2 AK Rifle
- Zastava N-PAP M70 AK47
Century Arms VSKA
Zastava N-PAP M70 AK47
So, we’ve collected the 5 best AKs for under $800. We were compiling a list and noticed a great video (from a great source) so we decided to share the video by AK Operators Union with you below and just list the AK rifles he features (after all, he’s one of the best authorities on these rifles).
Each of these links to the rifles show the best prices online (yes, you can buy guns online)
Reviews of the Best Budget AK-Style Rifles
#1 Century Arms VSKA (American)
A “fixed” model of the CAI rifles, the CAI VSKA was a good move for Century Arms. Great for shooting and easier on the budget.
FINAL GRADE : A
CAI VSKA Background
As you’ll see, Century Arms is the most popular name in this list. This is because Century Arms is the biggest importer AND manufacturer of AK-47s – especially budget varieties!
They made a very popular American AK-47 called the RAS-47…BUT… it had some quality issues (serious ones) and it got a bad name quickly. Do not let this turn you off to all CAI rifles – there are plenty of good ones and this rifle, the VSKA, is their answer to the previous issues.
Previously, in the RAS-47, they used cast trunions and bolts. In this VSKA, however, they use S7 tool steel and mill the parts out of forgings (this is great news).
CAI VSKA Pros and Cons
- Nice improvement over RAS-47
- Great value
- American made (something weird about that)
- No bayonet lug/cleaning rod
#2 PSA PS-AK47 GF3 Moekov Rifle (American)
PSA PS-AK47 GF3
Given the nature and history of the AK-47, the PS-AK47 has many added upgrades already installed. This is a solid winner in my book, but not as good as pricier models.
FINAL GRADE : A
PSA PS-AK47 GF3 Background
Palmetto State Armory is known for budget firearms.
This is both good and bad.
It’s good because someone with a tight budget can get a functional firearm. It’s bad because many folks believe that Palmetto State Armory firearms are just as good as more expensive options.
Here’s the truth: these rifles are a great value and, for the money, you’ll be happy with it. However, it is not better than higher-end options.
PSA PS-AK47 GF3 Specs
If you’re looking for “upgraded” Magpul furniture on your AK-47 (especially the folding stock), then this may be a great option for you because this rifle already comes with the “upgrades” installed. The downside to this is that there is less money left for the quality of the base rifle underneath – we are amazed that they had enough money to make a functional rifle (they did).
This rifle is the cheapest AK we recommend because it’s the only one that passed the torture test below:
PSAK-47 GF3 Pros and Cons
- Comes with Magpul AK furniture and folding stock
- Incredible Value
- American made AK (something weird about that)
- Lowest level of quality we’d recommend
#3 Century Arms WASR-10 AK-47
WASR-10 AK-47 RIFLE
The WASR-10 is an excellent model of the AK-47, even though it is the cheapest. I don’t hesitate to recommend.
FINAL GRADE : A
WASR-10 AK-47 Rifle Background
The WASR-10 is where it’s at!
I know, I know, there’s some AK purists out there laughing at me right now for typing that. But, hear me out.
The WASR-10 has long been known as the bottom of the barrel/cheapest possible AK-47. Guys that like expensive AK-47s look down their noses at WASR-10s.
However, they are really great rifles (especially for the money).
WASR-10 AK-47 Rifle Specs
First, they’re made in Romania where they have a LONG history of knowing how to make quality rifles. I have heard WAY WAY WAY more complaints about American AK-47s (even pricier models) that I have every heard about a WASR-10.
Of course, there are some complaints about “I don’t like them” but I don’t hear about reliability nor safety issues like I have with other AK-47s.
Yes, they’re cheap. No, they’re not very accurate.
They’re not supposed to be! You are probably going to be shooting the absolute cheapest Russian ammo you can find anyway!
Cheap/Plinking/End of the World Rifle: AK-47.
Accurate, premium, precision, etc rifle: AR-15.
Something about the WASR-10 just screams AK-47 (in a Russian accent) whereas the American versions seem like AK-like rifles, kind of.
With all the talks of an AK-47 ban, these will go quick.
WASR-10 Pros and Cons
- Made in Eastern Europe!
- Insanely Reliable
- It’s a great AK, but not a premium rifle.
- Usually don’t include a cleaning rod
#4 Century Arms C39V2 AK Rifle
CENTURY ARMS C39V2
Century Arms is probably one of the the only US manufacturers we trust when it comes to a US made AK-47. So with that being said, the C39V2 is a solidly made AK firearm and can be trusted to deliver.
FINAL GRADE : A
Century Arms C39V2 Background
The C39v2 by Century Arms is their milled-receiver AK-47.
If you want a milled receiver under $800, then this is your only option.
Why a milled receiver vs a stamped receiver on most AKs? Well, it’s actually a matter of personal preference.
If you want an AK-47 style rifle that is more traditional, you want a stamped receiver. The stamped receiver is lighter and it is more flexible allowing for some forgiveness when shooting.
CENTURY ARMS C39V2 Specs
A milled receiver is NOT necessary, but if you’ve decided that you want one, the C39v2 is your best bet for this price range.
C39V2 AK47 Pros and Cons
- Milled receiver
- Milled receiver
#5 Zastava N-PAP M70 AK47
ZASTAVA N-PAP M70 AK47
Given that the AK-47 can be modified in lots of different variations, the Zastava does not disappoint. It has many different specs that allow it to be just as versatile as any AK-47 on the market today.
FINAL GRADE : A
Zastava N-PAP M70 AK47 Background
Honestly, we don’t have much (any) experience with the Zastava AK offering but it comes recommended by AK Operators Union and it passed their torture test (in the video below) which is good enough for us!
Zastava N-PAP M70 AK47 Specs
Zastava M70 Pros and Cons
- Novel design, small, can utilize same cartridge in pistol
- No real prcatical use, expensive ammo
History and Buyer’s Guide for the AK-47
If you’re looking to pick up a new budget AK-47, you should at least learn a bit about one. It’s a gun full of rich history and uses.
What is an AK-47?
The AK-47 is a select-fire, and was designed to be a very simple and reliable automatic rifle. It touts a 7.62×39mm round, air-cooled, long-stroke-piston gas-operated, magazine-fed rifle, with a rotating bolt…that is a mouth full and no I cannot say it 10x’s in a row fast!
The goal for this firearm was to be able to be mass produced for a very low cost. The Soviet Union adopted the AK-47 in the late 1940’s and over the years, it has developed and is the most widely recognized firearm in the world today. The barrel and bolt were milled out of steel and hardened chrome, with a sheet metal receiver . The furniture on the Ak-47 is wood which was specific and helped the Soviet Union achieve the type of weapon it was hoping for in mass production.
Now days the Ak-47 has had so many overhauls and updates, that it has changed quite a bit. However, the process and guts are fairly the same today as when it was created so many years ago. A Lot of the parts now days are metal casted with a number of synthetic and plastic pieces added. There is an estimated 100 million AK-47’s that have been manufactured to date around the world.
How does it work?
The AK-47 is the most widely used, and a favorite, of fighting forces around the world. A big reason is because of how easily the firearm operates. The AK-47 is made up of fairly simple and large pieces, which allow for it to cycle in many different conditions, like sand, mud, and even water.
The moment the operator pulls the trigger, it releases the firing hammer then striking the pin. This will then ignite the bullet primer which ignites the gunpowder to launch the bullet. The pressure and gas that pushes the bullet out also pushes back on the bolt carrier, ejecting the empty shell, and resets the hammer to fire again.
The bolt will then grab a new round from the magazine, and place it into the barrel. During that action, the bolt hammer does not move because of the sear that is holding it in place, that is until the carrier returns to its original position.
What should a buyer think about when purchasing?
As much as I would like to say you can get a good AK-47 in the US, they’re just hard to find. The top things to be aware of when you’re looking for an AK-47 are the following:
- Canted Sights– If you find an AK-47 with these type of sights, it’s probably more headache than its worth. There are better options, so I recommend staying away from these.
- Safety and Trigger– make sure the safety moves easily and locks into its grooves on the frame. The trigger needs to be a clean pull and strongly resets.
- Magazine– This needs to fit “easily” into its slot, and if it does not, it is likely the gun is not cut to spec and you should walk away.
With so much information out today, many can’t even decide what AK-47 to buy! In our 5 best AK-47 Rifles under $800 Review you will see which made the cut!
The 5 Best AK-47s in 2020
AK-47s are one of the most famous assault-style weapons out there – they are also one of the most vastly misunderstood. If you are looking for an AK today, you are going to find hundreds of different styles and hundreds of different opinions on what is best.
This buyer’s guide is meant to make it all a little simpler. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know about AK-47s, what to look for if you are in the market for one, and give you a detailed review of the 5 best AK-47s in 2020.
We might as well start out with the best. The Arsenal is one of the best AKs available on the market right now, in terms of quality and price.
You can get ahold of this rifle in two different types. The standard is a 36.9 inch model, which looks a lot like the stereotypical image of an AK-47 you might have in your head. This one is easier to get, because it comes exactly as it was manufactured. The other option is a shortened 34.5 inch model. It comes with a shorter handguard and a shorter gas tube, and you can also shorten the barrel – but bear in mind, shortening the barrel of a rifle requires a pretty significant legal process.
The forend, pistol grip and stock of the Arsenal SLR are all made out of polymer instead of the traditional wood production, which makes the whole gun lighter and easier to handle. The barrel is chrome-lined, and the stock folds up so that you can easily transport it or store it when you are not using it.
This is a stamped receiver rifle, so you can expect a slightly shorter lifespan than that of a milled receiver – but remember that shorter is a relative term. You are still going to get up to 100,000 rounds worth of use out of this gun comfortably. (If you don’t have a good reference, that’s a decent lifetime’s worth of shooting).
The modern SLR is improved from past models. It has accurate rear-sights that adjust to up to 500 meters, and a smooth two-stage trigger system for improved accuracy. The trigger is also equipped with an anti-slap mechanism.
The downsides: this rifle is not optics-ready as is. It can be converted with a few slight changes (swap out the polymer handle for one with handrails) to make it optics-ready, but it will require a little work on your part. It also does not come with a muzzle device. Again, you can add one, but you’ll have to put in the elbow grease.
All things considered, this is truly one of the best AK-47s out there. It is sturdy, reliable, accurate and well worth the price.
Century International Arms Red Army RAS47
As we mentioned earlier, Century Arms is one of the best all-American producers of AK-47s. They’re not known for astounding quality, but for putting out really affordable and constantly reliable rifles. As long as you have realistic expectations for the price you are paying, you’ll never be let down by a Century Arms rifle.
The Red Army RAS47 is their standard, run-of-the-line AK. That’s not to say it is bad – this is a classic and reliable gun, that beginning to advanced shooters will enjoy without ever having to maintain.
Sticking to tradition, the stock and frontend are made out of wood. The pistol grip is polymer, so you get a little weight reduction without losing that classic look of the wood. There are some recent improvements to this gun, that make it a little easier to handle than past generations. For one, the sights are improved, adjusting up to 300 meters.
There is also a safety selector and bolt hold open notch that makes bolt lockback a little easier, a t-shaped magazine release so you can reload faster. The trigger is improved too, for smoother shooting and increased accuracy.
The barrel is the most improved part of this rifle, with a chrome steel lining that helps you to shoot more accurately and will prolong the life of the rifle in the long run. There is a slant-cut compensator on the barrel as well – but if you prefer a different muzzle, the cap can be removed and the barrel is threaded for customization.
The biggest drawback to this rifle is that it is not optics-ready and cannot be fitted with optics. If you are looking to customize, this might be a problem for you. Other than that, though, this is a solid rifle that will perform well, especially for someone without much shooting experience. Consider it an “entry level” AK-47.
If you are a more experienced or a competition shooter, we would recommend jumping up a price range.
I.O. Inc. AKM-247C
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s take it up a notch with this I.O. Inc. gun. I.O. Inc. produces top-quality mil-spec rifles, bringing military grade quality to recreational shooting. This particular rifle is actually a step above their more standard guns, and not that much more expensive.
It looks a little different from other AKs you’ll find out there, especially more traditional styles. The furniture is all polymer, so it is super light and easy to transport and handle. On top of that, a foldable wire stock, made from stamped steel, takes even more weight off compared to other rifles. You can fold the stock up to store it or carry it with you. The gun is just under 7 pounds all together – awesome for portability.
The magazine release is extended, in contrast with older models of the gun, to make reloading faster and easier. There is also a hold open notch on the safety. Best of all is the accuracy. The trigger is improved and sharp, and the barrel is treated with nitride, which makes it as accurate, if not more accurate, than a chrome-lined barrel as well as corrosion and scratch resistant. The sights are adjustable up to 1000 yards – honestly more than you will ever realistically need with the accuracy of an AK, but the thought is nice.
One area that I.O. Inc. occasionally falls behind in is ensuring the quality of all their guns. Some owners have reported issues with the rivets on the AKM-247C in the past, making it harder to install their upper and lower receivers. This is a small problem, though – the chances of you encountering it are low, and it is fixable if you do.
The other major issue with this gun is the recoil. Because of the large gas port, the recoil is a lot stronger than what you would experience with other modern AKs. It’s not a huge issue, as long as you are prepared for it.
All in all, this is an awesome mil-spec gun. It especially excels in its lightness and portability – awesome for someone who wants a gun that won’t take up much space.
Arsenal SAM 7K
We should clarify right off the bat, this is not a standard AK-47, but an AK pistol. You can add a stock to it to make it standard size, but remember that this is going to take a lot of paperwork and certifications.
If you are looking for an AK pistol, though, this is an awesome choice. It’s solid, compact and super durable. You can find it with a full set of rails, or with no rails, depending on which model you buy. The SAM7K-01R, with full rails, will allow you to mount optics, which you might want – the sights on this pistol aren’t its best quality.
Part of what makes the SAM7K so durable is its milled receiver. It also has a chrome-lined 10.5-inch barrel that is manufactured by cold hammer forging (honestly, probably the coolest method of producing a rifle barrel, and the most reliable). There is also coned flash suppressor on the barrel.
Despite the heavier milled receiver, the gun is fairly light. It has polymer furniture with a sleek corrosion-resistant coating. A double-hook trigger allows you to fire the gun smoothly and easily.
The downside: because it is a pistol, it’s just not going to be as accurate as a full-length AK-47. But the trigger is smooth enough that you can add a stock and convert it into a rifle without too many hitches. It is also pretty heavy, for a pistol.
We would recommend this AK pistol to anyone who is looking to customize or build their own SBR. Because of its compact size, it also works well as a home defense pistol.
Czech Small Arms VZ.58
Last up on our list is one of best AKs out there in terms of pure, high-quality build. Actually, if you want to get technical about it, the VZ.58 is not literally an AK-47 – it is a Czech offshoot built largely like the AK. But it looks and operates essentially the same, and it’s really top quality, so we thought we would include it on our list of the best AK-47s.
The quality starts in the milled receiver, which offers a longer lifespan and a sturdier build all together. The thumb-operated safety switch is quick and smooth, and it automatically locks open when the magazine is empty, so you can reload as quickly as possible.
Furniture is made of a wood and polymer blend, so you get the classic wooden look on the stock and frontend, without adding too much weight. Unfortunately, some people have complained that the blend looks cheap – but that is a matter of preference.
The barrel of the gun is both chrome-lined and nitrate-coated. It is completely corrosion resistant and much more accurate than a lot of standard American AKs. Adding to that accuracy is a smooth, crisp trigger.
The sights is one area where this gun actually fails compared to some other AKs on our list. They are comparable with standard, 300-yard AK-47 sights, like what you might find on the Century Arms Red Army. It can be mounted with optics, though, without too much of a headache. The barrel is also threaded for any muzzle to be installed. With a little customizing, this could be the perfect competition shooting rifle.
What is an AK-47?
It may sound like a dumb question, but you’d be surprised how many people out there can’t accurately answer it.
The AK-47, or more formally the Kalshnikov Model 1947, was first developed as a Soviet assault weapon by Mikhail Kalashnikov. Because of their rugged durability and the relative ease of producing them, they quickly became one of the most commonly used shoulder weapons in the world.
Today, there are tons (and we mean tons – as many as 500 million) different types of rifles that can be attributed to the AK family. The most common, or at least most recognizable, is probably the AKM, which was produced as the original Kalshnikov Model’s successor in the late 1950’s. AKs are still produced on a mass scale, and recreational shooters tend to have a love-hate relationship with them. We’ll go into a little more detail about why that is.
What We Love About Them:
People love the AK-47s for one main reason: their reliability.
There are definitely more accurate rifles out there. There are cooler, more unique looking rifles. There are more durable rifles. But nothing shoots quite as reliably as an AK-47. Gun owners love AKs because they are more dependable than any other rifle on the market – every time you pull the trigger, your AK is going to fire, no matter what the conditions.
We also love AKs for their affordability. Because so many manufacturers have started producing their own take on the AK-47, the market is flooded with them now, so it is easy to find a dependable one for a low price.
What We Hate About Them:
So, what’s not to like about an AK-47?
For one, it has a bigger recoil compared to similar rifles, like the AR-15. This isn’t true for every AK on the market, but it is definitely a general stereotype. It’s not like the recoil is going to seriously impact your shooting, but you will notice it.
For another thing, AK-47s are generally not as accurate as comparable rifles. Because of its piston system and looser tolerances, the AK-47 doesn’t perform as well at long distances as others.
Finally, there’s the ergonomics. Remember that this is a generally mass-produced gun with a fairly out-of-date design. It can be a little more awkward to handle than other, more modern rifles.
All that said, this is still one of the most popular rifles in the world. For the dependability and the cost, you make a few sacrifices.
What To Look for in an AK-47
Before we get into our review of the top AKs on the market, lets talk about some of the factors that you’ll want to keep an eye out for when you are shopping for an AK-47,
Where Was it Made?
Like with any product, the country of origin matters. Originally, most AK-47s in the US were imported from former Eastern Bloc countries. Politics has changed that today. You can still get your hands on some of those imported guns, and you would definitely get some of the best quality out of them, but it is going to cost you.
American-made AKs are a little different, but increasingly gaining in quality as the gun continues to gain popularity and more and more American manufacturers are producing them. An all-American rifle like one from DDI or Century Arms definitely won’t let you down these days.
Milled vs. Stamped Receivers
These is the most important, or at least the most commonly-cited, factor that sets one AK-47 apart from another. It refers to the manufacturing of the main receiver, and, according to a lot of shooters, can have a huge impact on the overall quality of the gun.
Milled receivers are made by hollowing out a single, solid piece of steel. Originally, all AKs had milled receivers. These are generally a little heavier, and you won’t see rivets on the side, because it was made with a single piece.
Stamped receivers, on the other hand, are made by taking a thinner piece of steel and molding it into the shape of the receiver, then using rivets to add the additional parts. They are much lighter and a lot easier to mass produce – which is why most modern AKs will have stamped receivers.
So what’s the difference?
Well, milled receivers are higher quality. They will last longer and stand up to long-term use better than stamped receivers. That said, it doesn’t really impact the quality of the gun’s performance either way, and it would take a lot of use to really wear down a stamped receiver.
So, while every shooter obviously has their preference, from our stance, you’ll probably be fine either way.
The AK-47 is one of the most popular rifles in the world, and consequentially one of the hardest to shop for.
We recommend talking to friends, trying a few out if you can, and considering your preferences before you settle on the AK that’s right for you. There are a lot of different options out there for beginners, experts, competition shooters and those interested in customizing their rifle.
Whatever your preference is, happy shooting.
The 5 Best AK-47s in 2020 AK-47s are one of the most famous assault-style weapons out there – they are also one of the most vastly misunderstood. If you are looking for an AK today, you are going