The Best AK-47s That Will Last a Lifetime

Last Updated on January 12, 2021.

The AK-47 is one of the most well-known rifles in the world. What are they known for?

Insane reliability.

There are more accurate rifles. There are better looking rifles. There are more ergonomic rifles.

But very few rifles deliver dependability like an AK-47.

If you want a rifle that will fire every time you squeeze the trigger, no matter what, you get an AK-47. That’s just life.

But the AK-47 design has been picked up by a lot of manufacturers. All of them bring the same reliability as the classic AK-47. However, each manufacturer has added their own touches that make their model a bit different than the rest.

So, which one is the best?

That’s what we’re here to tell you.

  • Milled 4140 steel receiver
  • Nitrided chrome moly barrel.
  • Accepts standard AKM furniture.

First, if you just want a straight answer, the Century International Arms C39V2 is the best overall AK-47 you can get. It’s an exceptional AK-47 that’s made in America, and features a few improvements to the original AK-47 and AKM designs.

If you’re interested in seeing all the options, check out our best AK-47 reviews.

The Top AK-47 Models on the Market Today

1. Century International Arms C39V2: Best Overall AK-47

The Century International Arms C39V2 is a true American-made rifle. Technically, it’s an AK-47 clone. But, the initial tests have shown that it delivers the same performance and reliability you’d expect from an AK-47.

First, the receiver is milled from a block of 4140 ordinance steel. This is the most durable construction for a receiver, and will last a lifetime. And, the receiver has been milled to tolerances that retain the reliability of a stamped steel receiver.

The barrel is nitrided chrome moly, which offers excellent corrosion resistance and performance. And, the barrel is threaded and fitted with a muzzle brake that offers better recoil reduction and flash suppression than the standard AK-47 angled muzzle brake. This rifle is comfortable to shoot, right out of the box.

The safety features a bolt hold open, which actually improves the function of the original AK-47 and AKM designs. And, the magazine release is an enlarged T-shape to make it easier to seat and release magazines, which means faster reloads.

Lastly, all the furniture is real wood. And, this rifle accepts any furniture that will fit an AK-47 or AKM. So, you can add any upgrades you like.

An American-made AK-47 has been a long time coming. But, Century International finally made one. If you like American-made reliability and durability, this is the rifle for you.


  • Milled 4140 steel receiver.
  • Nitrided chrome moly barrel.
  • Improved AK-47 muzzle brake.
  • Excellent ergonomics (for an AK-47).
  • Accepts standard AKM furniture.


  • A bit expensive, as AK-47s go.

Century International Arms is the king of affordable, but well-built, AK-47s. They’re not the highest quality AK-47s on the market, but they meet all the reliability and usability standards of the platform.

The Century International Arms Red Army RAS47 is their basic, no frills model designed to give you maximum bang for your buck.

The RAS47 is built with mostly wood furniture. The only exception is the pistol grip, which is polymer.

However, there are some enhancements to the controls that help improve the ergonomics.

The magazine release is t-shaped to make reloads easier and faster. There’s a bolt hold-open notch on the safety selector for easy bolt lockback.

The sights are standard AK-47 sights, that adjust up to 300 meters.

Where they added a bit to this model is in the barrel. The barrel is 4140 chrome moly steel, which helps with accuracy and improves the service life.

The barrel is capped with a classic slant-cut compensator. However, the compensator is removable and the barrel is threaded so you can easily add a different muzzle device.

Another decent improvement is in the RAK-1 enhanced trigger. It’s not a match-grade trigger, but it’s smoother than the classic AK-47 trigger and would work for competition if you needed.

Unfortunately, there are no attachment points for optics or accessories. There’s also only two sling attachment points. So the configurability of this model is limited.

Overall, the RAS47 is best for builders who want a good base model to customize with their own furniture and accessories or those who are new to the AK-47 world and want a solid entry-level rifle.

If you want a competition-ready rifle out of the box, you may need to move up to a slightly higher price point.


  • Good ergonomic features.
  • High quality barrel.
  • Equipped with a compensator.
  • Nice trigger for a rifle at this price.
  • Excellent base model for a custom build.


  • No attachment points without changing the furniture.
  • Limited sling attachment options.
  • Sights only adjust to 300 meters.

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The next step up in the Century International Arms line is the Century International Arms WASR-10. The main difference between the WASR-10 and the RAS47 is the country of origin. The WASR is manufactured in Romania. The RAS47 is made in America.

The WASR-10 is the king of affordable reliability. This rifle has been stress tested and held up for well over 10,000 rounds. People have even buried these rifles, then dug them up, and the rifle still fired.

However, there are no rails for optics or attachments. The wood furniture can be replaced with furniture with rails. There are also optic mounting systems designed to work with AK-47s.

The barrel is fitted with a slant-cut compensator, which can be easily replaced since the barrel is threaded.

Lastly, the trigger is only okay. Unlike the RAS47, the WASR-10 comes with a standard AK-47 trigger, which works fine. But competition shooters may want to swap it out first thing.

The main complaint about the WASR-10 is that it’s prone to quality control issues.

When they ship from Romania, the receivers are cut to accept single stack magazines. The magazine wells are machined in the U.S. to accept standard AK-47 magazines. Often, this milling is done poorly. So the magazine well is sometimes loose, which causes the magazine to rattle when it’s in the gun.

The iron sights are also often so far off that it takes a ridiculous amount of adjustment to get them zeroed.

However, none of this affects the function. The WASR-10 is the go-to AK-47 for those who want a rough and tumble rifle that just worksThose who are looking to get their first AK-47 and shooters who tend to abuse their rifles will love this gun.


  • Mind blowing reliability.
  • Incredibly long service life.
  • Threaded barrel and slant-cut compensator.
  • Great platform for custom furniture.


  • Magazine well is sometimes too big, so magazine rattles.
  • Sights are often not aligned well.

I.O. Inc brings the U.S. military specifications to the AK-47 platform. The I.O. Inc. AKM-247C is a decent upgrade over the basic models that comes with only a small bump in price.

The most noticeable upgrade on this model is the all polymer furniture. This is a nice touch, since it brings the weight down a bit.

What brings the weight down even more is the wire folding stock. The stock is just stamped steel and weighs very little. So the whole gun comes at 7 pounds. Additionally, the stock is foldable so this rifle can get small for easy storage and transportation.

I.O. Inc. added a few features to improve the ergonomics as well. There’s an extended magazine release for faster reloads, and a bolt hold open notch on the safety for easier weapon manipulations.

On the accuracy side, the barrel is nitride treated for corrosion resistance and is nearly as accurate as a chrome lined barrel. Additionally, the trigger is quite crisp, and set at 3.5 pounds. It’s an excellent defensive or tactical trigger.

The sights are adjustable up to 1000 yards, which may be a bit optimistic, even with the solid accuracy features.

The finish is parkerized, which isn’t traditional to the AK-47 platform. But it offers excellent corrosion resistance and serves as a good base for those who want to paint their rifle.

Where the AKM-247C comes up a bit short is in the operation. Although the rifle is plenty reliable, it has a very large gas port. So the recoil impulse is a bit stout. Some shooters may find this rifle to be downright unpleasant to shoot.

Also, I.O. Inc. has had some issues with quality control, particularly in relation to the rivets they use in their lower receivers. The rivets are occasionally overpressed, which can cause them to fail earlier. However, the issues are repairable should you encounter a poorly riveted rifle.

Even with these troubles, the AKM-247C is a solid performer for the price. It’s a good option for those who want a rifle that’s light and easy to store.


  • All polymer furniture.
  • Folding stock.
  • Very lightweight.
  • Strong, anti-corrosive finishes.
  • Excellent trigger.


  • Recoil impulse is pretty severe.
  • Quality control issues with rivets sometimes come up.

An AK-47 is a great rifle. However, it makes a decent rifle-caliber pistol as well. The Arsenal SAM7K is an excellent option for those who want an AK pistol, or perhaps want a stripped down AK-47 to build an AK-47 SBR.

Keep in mind that putting a stock on this gun makes it an SBR, so you’ll need to go through the compliance process for possessing a short-barreled rifle in your state.

Arsenal offers two furniture configurations: the SAM7K-01R, which sports a full set of rails, and the SAM7K-01, a slick version with no rails.

The SAM7K-01R is best for the majority of shooters, since AK-47 sights aren’t that great. Most will want to add an optic at some point.

The SAM7K is built on an incredibly strong platform. The receiver is milled from a solid block of steel.

The barrel is a cold hammer-forged barrel with chrome lining. The barrel is 10.5 inches long, including the coned flash suppressor. It’s a great length for CQB or home defense contexts.

All the furniture is polymer, so the overall package is quite light, even with the milled receiver. This model comes in at 8 pounds.

Lastly, the trigger is a double-hook trigger that offers a very smooth pull and consistent break. This isn’t a precision rifle, but the trigger is smooth enough for a full length rifle.

The only real gripes with this gun are the sights and the weight.

Since it’s a pistol, it has pistol sights. The sights are fixed and not adjustable. So if you do want to build an SBR, you may want to change out the sights.

Second, it’s fairly heavy for a pistol. Some of the full length AK-47s available weigh less than this gun. But, that’s largely due to the milled receiver. So the weight comes with additional durability.

But, this is still an outstanding AK-47 pistol. It’s a great option for those looking to build a CQB or home defense pistol or SBR.


  • Milled receiver.
  • HIgh quality barrel.
  • All polymer furniture.
  • Excellent trigger.


  • Fix, non-adjustable sights.
  • Somewhat heavy for a pistol.

The Arsenal SAM is the next step up from the SLR. The Arsenal SAM is built the same way as the SLR, but with higher quality parts.

The first improvement is the receiver. Most AK-47s are built with stamped steel receivers. The SAM is built with a milled receiver. Milled AK-47 receivers are so durable that they hold up for more than 100,000 rounds.

Arsenal fitted the SAM with all polymer furniture. The stock is a folding wire stock for low weight, easy storage, and convenient transportation. However, the wire stock is sturdier than most. So the rifle comes in at 8.5 pounds, which is a bit more than some wire-stocked variants.

The barrel is hammer forged and chrome lined using Steyr technology for exceptional accuracy and durability. On top of that, the trigger is an enhanced trigger group that offers a smooth pull and a consistent reset.

The trigger and barrel are nice enough that this is a legitimate option for competition and tactical shooters who need precision at varying distances.

However, the sights are standard 300 yard, AK-47 sights. So you may want to get an optic for longer shots.

On the downside, the SAM comes without a muzzle device. The barrel is threaded. So you can add any muzzle device you want.

Also, this model is one of the most expensive AK-47s you can get. There’s a significant price jump between the budget models and this higher end variant. So the price may be restrictive for casual shooters.

Overall, this is an excellent option for competition and tactical shooters who want a rifle that’s competition ready without many modifications. However, the price point makes this rifle most ideal for enthusiasts.


  • Milled receiver.
  • All polymer furniture.
  • Folding stock.
  • Excellent trigger and barrel.


  • A bit heavy for a rifle with a wire stock.
  • No included muzzle device.
  • Expensive.

Technically, the Czech Small Arms VZ.58 is not an AK-47. It’s a competing Czech rifle created by a handful of Czech firearms designers. However, it boasts the same reliability as the AK-47 and has somewhat similar ergonomics, even if the internals are quite different.

The VZ.58 is built with a milled steel receiver, which is a step up from most of the stamped steel receivers used in AK-47s.

Additionally, the receiver on this model is much more streamlined than an AK-47 receiver. There’s just fewer things on the outside of the gun.

Also, the ergonomics are much better than an AK-47. The safety is on a simple, thumb-operated fire selector switch. The bolt also locks open when the magazine is empty and stays open when the magazine is removed. This makes for faster reloads.

The barrel is machined by Walther in Germany. It’s chrome lined and nitride coated for excellent corrosion resistance.

Since the VZ.58 is similar to a striker fired gun, the trigger is smooth, with a crisp break. Combined with the high-quality barrel, this makes for a very accurate rifle.

Unfortunately, the sights are very similar to 300-yard AK-47 sights. So you may want to add an optic for better performance at long range.

Also, the VZ.58 comes without any muzzle device.

Lastly, the furniture is a wood and plastic blend that’s durable, but feels cheap like those fake wooden panels in an 80’s car. There are no rails for accessories on the furniture. However, polymer furniture with rails is available.

While the VZ.58 may be a bit pricey, it’s easy to make a case for taking it over an AK-47. It’s an excellent option for competition and tactical shooters who want the reliability of an AK-47 without the ergonomic pains.


  • Milled steel receiver.
  • Easy-to-operate fire selector switch.
  • Chrome lined, nitride coated, German-made barrel.
  • Excellent trigger.


  • Plain, 300 yard sights.
  • No included muzzle device.
  • No accessory rails.

Final Shots

If you’re looking for an excellent alternative to the AR-15, or just want something a little different, you can’t go wrong with an AK-47. It’s a service rifle that will probably last longer than you.

If you want the best AK-47 for your money, pick up the Century International Arms C39V2. It’s a cut above some of the other affordably priced AK-47s in terms of quality, and it’s more ergonomic than a classic AK-47.

Now that you’ve got the scoop on which AK-47s are the best, we know you’ve got your eye on one. So get yourself a new rifle, and go put some rounds through it.

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