Kalashnikov co-witness drama…

Rifles used by one of the Spetsanz groups. Note optics.

Rifles used by one of the Spetsanz groups

Once upon a time, some “internet warrior” declared that only correct way of using optics on Ak is, to have them installed in so called co-witness setup. Faithful crowd quickly followed his advise and very often, when reading many online forums, if operator has no co-witness option on his rifle, he is basically doomed by “co-witness police”. Now please don’t get me wrong, if you really like co-witness, there are options available for it. Go and knock yourself out. However if we will take a deeper look into this issue, we can quickly discover that co-witness isn’t that popular among the Special Forces operators at all. From my conversations with Russian, Polish or Serbian operators,  I know for sure that many of them just don’t care about co-witness. Please have a look at this picture on the left – this “hardware” belongs to Spetsnaz operators from FSB. You can clearly see how high optics are mounted and there is no chance for co-witness. Even with Russian made optics which were design to utilize original Ak side rail, optics still are sitting very high – clearly Russians didn’t care for co-witness. Going even farther, I have discussed this topic with Travis Haley, when attending one of his classes. He said that many times, in close combat engagements, because of all the adrenaline, he couldn’t even see red dot when moving gun from target to target to eliminate them…now one has to ask, how realistic is acquiring targets with co-witness in situation like this? Would you really pay attention to your iron sights alignment and red dot? Based on what I know and what I heard from others, chances are you wouldn’t.

Ak with EOTech red dot, used by member of Russian Anti Drug Unit "Grom". Photo by Михаил Михин

Ak with EOTech red dot, used by member of Russian Anti Narcotic Unit “Grom”. Photo by Михаил Михин

However, one of the big arguments from co-witness supporting crowd is believe that you need co-witness in case of red dot going down. When I have asked about it one of the Russian operators, he couldn’t compute at first what i was trying to tell him. This confusion came from the fact that he has been using his optic in many “combat zones” for years, and he never had a single problem with it. Worst case, he said, he would just remove the optic and switch to iron sights. Genius, right!? Another factor to remember is that optics made by reputable companies like Aimpoint or EOTech, have seen combat for years now and their quality really is outstanding. Chances of these going down in the fight are really slim and Special Forces units from both side of the ocean are relying heavily on using optics when conducting their operations, but somehow, most of casual Ak users are led to believe that only correct way to have red dots on their rifle is co-witness way…As i’m always saying, don’t let anyone to tell you how to setup your rifle. It is you, who is going to use it, when needed most. You must feel comfortable with equipment installed on it. This is your rifle and your tool! That being said, I will provide you with some very good co-witness mounting options in one of my next posts on this blog. Please don’t forget to vote in our pool below. Voice your opinion now!

– Rob Ski

Customizing your Ak rifle – hand guards.

MVD Spetsnaz team member sporting hand guards made by MFT

MVD Spetsnaz team member sporting hand guards made by MFT, Picture by Михаил Михин

For many Ak operators, this is one of the most controversial subjects. Should they customize their wood furniture on their Ak’s or leave it “as is”? Especially in US I have witnessed many times how so called “purists” ripped apart across the online forums poor guys who were trying to modify their rifles. I honestly think that there is room for everything. If someone is happy with bare “wood” and has no need for forward grip, light or etc, more power to them. However, if you are looking to get most out of your Ak, customization of hand guards is probably very high on your  priority list. For me, modifying front end on my rifle was extremely important, because I’m using top portion of the hand guard for my little optic. So I have decided to go with full rail system for top and bottom portion (currently I’m using AK-47 Modular Forearm Assembly MkIII from Damage Industries). But some need only some small pieces of rail available at the bottom and on the sides – like something used by this MVD Spetsnaz operator from picture posted above. It is hand guard made by MFT . There are many other choices out there. You can even try to import some rail systems out of Russia, but usually prices are really high, besides, as we can see from our picture, even Russian operators are using US made accessories.

MVD Spetsnaz Hardware Picture by Михаил Михин

MVD Spetsnaz Hardware Picture by Михаил Михин

Also please remember that just because someone else is using equipment “A” it doesn’t automatically mean that the same equipment will be good for you. The best option is always to test in person some of the components before purchasing these; however, this is rather difficult in today’s internet shopping era. So please don’t let anyone tell you how your Ak should look like, it is all up to you – an individual operator – it is you, who’s going to use your rifle most, not anyone else…

Please don’t forget to vote in our voting pool – Have you customized hand guards on your Ak yet?

-Rob Ski