9mm AK-style firearms have been mostly nonexistent until recent years. Two years ago Palmetto State Armory came out with their AK-V pistol and it has been hugely popular. Surprisingly, we have not reviewed an AK-V, that is until now. When PSA asked if we wanted to review some of their firearms, I jumped at the opportunity to check out the AK-V pistol. I had some issues out of the gate, some of it was the gun and most of it was the ammo but other than that, the gun is awesome. Let’s take a closer look at this AK-styled PCC.
Palmetto State Armory @TFB:
For those of you who are not huge AK fans, there is a Russian 9mm AK called the PP-19 Vityaz. This is why Palmetto State Armory called their 9mm AK the AK-V. “V” for Vityaz. It is mostly similar to the PP-19. Both are chambered in 9mm Parabellum and are blowback operated. They both have hinged and railed top covers. What separates the Palmetto State Armory AK-V pistol is the magazine they use. Palmetto State Armory decided to go with CZ Scorpion EVO style magazines. I think this was a smart move. The magazines are polymer and have that gentle curvature similar to the Vityaz. Also, Palmetto State Armory had their own magazines made that hold 35 rounds. They retail for a mere $20. Or you can get the Magpul PMAGs for the Scorpion. The Magpul PMAG D-50 EV9 drum magazine fits and feeds the AK-V pistol.
The barrel is threaded 1/2×28 and while it has an anti-rotation detent like an AK, it is not at 12 o’clock but offset at 10 o’clock. See the photo below. You can see the detent and the muzzle brake that comes with the AK-V pistol.
AK-V Furniture and controls
Palmetto State Armory have a wide variety of AK-V pistols with various furniture options. They sent their railed MOE version. The handguard and gas tube cover are made of aluminum with M-LOK slots. The gas tube cover is also railed.
PSA installed a Magpul MOE pistol grip and this version of the AK-V comes with an ALG AKT-EL trigger.
PSA also includes an extended safety lever which I love. I can easily manipulate this safety with my trigger finger rather than breaking my fire control grip to flip the AK safety near the ejection port.
Something you do not find on typical AKs is a last round bolt hold but the AK-V has it. My Zastava M90 has a last round bolt hold but it is the magazine follower that is holding the bolt. The AK-V has an actual bolt hold device. So the bolt stays open even throughout a mag change. You can slide the bolt release down or pull the charging handle to close the bolt. Just below the bolt release is the paddle release for the magazine. Due to the use of the Scorpion EVO magazines, you cannot use the typical AK mag change where you use the fresh magazine to hit the mag release and knock the empty mag out. Mag changes on the AK-V are similar to an HK MP5 magazine change. You have to pull them down to remove them from the mag well tunnel.
At the back of the receiver, this AK-V has a railed trunion for attaching stocks or side-folding braces. I did experience this trunion getting loose after some shooting. You can see the gap below.
The screw circled in blue tends to come loose from recoil. So I end up having to remove the buffer and spring to re-tighten it a number of times. Thread locker would solve this.
Speaking of spring and buffer, the AK-V pistol has a different style buffer than normal AKs. This limits the travel of the bolt and increased reliability for ejecting spent cases.
The AK-V pistol is a direct blowback so there is no gas piston. What you see is just weight to keep the bolt closed when the AK-V pistol is fired.
The iron sights on the AK-V pistol are adequate but I prefer to mount a red dot to the railed dust cover.
Due to the ammo shortage, I had acquired some reloads and some of them had issues. This was not the fault of the AK-V pistol. The reloader had used some Russian primers that were too hard and his OAL on these 124-grain powder coated bullets were a smidgen too long so the gun would have a failure to fire and the bullet would get stuck on the lands and grooves resulting in a very difficult extraction. So difficult I would have to mortar the gun. Then the gun would continue to malfunction with constant failures to feed.
I tried using the PSA AK-V pistol at Red Oktober After Dark and experienced this malfunction. Because it was dark, I was unable to diagnose the problem. On a later range trip, see photos above, I discovered the problem was due to the bullet itself getting lodged in the lands and grooves. When I mortared the AK-V pistol, it extracted the case but not the bullet. See the photo below.
Once I discovered this, I pulled all the defective rounds out of my ammo case and later ran the AK-V pistol in a local night match. No issues.
Final Thoughts On The PSA AK-V Pistol
I feel like the AK-V is a better version of the CZ Scorpion. I remember in the early days of the Scorpion EVO, people, myself included, would upgrade the right-hand safety for an HB Industries AK style lever that you could sweep with your index finger. The longer safety lever was easier to manipulate due to the increased length and leverage. However, the CZ Scorpion is mired by some instances of catastrophic failures. I have seen cracked receivers and blown-up guns. With the PSA AK-V pistol being made of steel, I do not see that happening with 9mm.
I did find an example (in a private Reddit group) where a shooter reported experiencing a failure with an out of battery detonation.
Even hearing and reading about infrequent issues I am not concerned. I have confidence in the steel containing the explosion a lot better than the polymer receivers of a CZ Scorpion. You can get inexpensive CZ Scorpion mags for the AK-V and even use the Magpul drum. The ALG AKT trigger is phenomenal and makes it easy to have quick follow-up shots. I like this AK-V a bit more than my neighbor’s Kalashnikov KP9 although he has their cool left-hand charging handle that works like an MP5 and I wish I could use that on the AK-V but they are not compatible.
For more information check out Palmetto State Armory’s website.
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