AK enthusiasts, please jump in to correct any inaccuracies...
But to correct any suggestions and open new dialogue in the AK world in the last 2 years since so much has changed, I figured I'd sum up some recent news that I've watched happen:
1. PSAK rifles that are GB2 series (gen two, I guess) fixed all of the casting issues on PSA's first run of AKs (now run forged parts). From what I understand, the GB2 PSA AK rifles are pretty good for a $500-600 gun. I think AKOU confirms this: the gold standard. I have no experience with a PSAK, but that may change in the next year when I'm looking for a new 7.62 AK.
PSAK's are crap. Period. POOR QC. POOR MEtal. And the rifle AKOU tested is not the rifle PSA is selling at all. I follow Robski and respect that channel a lot. I think they just got hoodwinked on this one. Go read their own vendor section on AKfiles. And you'll stay away from PSA like the plague. We're talking firing pin retaining pins hammered in with what looks like a crescent wrench. ANd your left without the ability to change firing pins. Without a shop, a drill and a new firing pin and retaining pin. That's just one example. Go look at the pics. It's atrocious. Worse than the worse home build you've ever seen. I wouldn't buy anything from PSA.
2. I would stay away from CAI AKs unless you get a stellar deal. The C39v2 is ok, but I would run away from the RAS47 (C39 runs less cast parts than the RAS or something like that). I've only held them, and they seem really nice, but I guess they are still plagued by the shitty metal. Some people still swear by them, some people don't. I wouldn't roll the dice.
C39's and RAS47's both suffer from inferior metal. Check out the facebook group "AK-47". Read their rules first. They won't even discuss CAI. Except for the WASR. Which is still apparently an ok rifle if you get one QC inspected or inspect yourself. Here's their rule number 9:
"9. I.O, Century's manufactured C39 v1 and v2, Their hungarian kit builds, RAS47, Hesse, Blackheart, Lee Armory, PSA and , Clearview's Hungarian builds Riley Defense are NOT recommended here. 100% clear, no pics or posts of these, or questions about them. If you want to know why, use our search feature and read for hours and see pictures. DO NOT post your new subspec Ak here and then get offended by people saying you made a bad choice, and act like an angry child. You should have researched FIRST. DO not get angry with members here because you made a bad decision. Do not recommend them as we want true, correct information here so members can have a place for verifiable truth, and correct information. Look here for pics https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set ... 210&type=3
3. WASR and AMD rifles are still on the market and still fair/good/decent/ok/usable from most reports. I've shot some and liked them but they were all low round count guns.
WASR's are fine. Most AMD's are crap now too. Especially the ones made by Clearview. I don't have a lot of links or information to back this up. It's just the concensous amongst those of us that follow it closely. I read a lot. Good and bad.
The current state of US made AK's is abysmal. Don't buy one. They all have issues. Bad issues. Like blowing up in your face after a thousand rounds abysmal. When I say US made AK's I mean ones where they make the parts here. Not the ones built on good foreign parts kits. It's really quite sad. Like 80% of the market share is total crap. IO, CAI, Riley Defense, see rule #9 above.
So, the DDI story. Once hailed as a hero and now defunct company...
...So... DDI bought Waffen Werks. WW AKs were pretty excellent for a while then QC started to slip at the end of their business lifespan (I have very intimate experiences with Waffen rifles... if you know what I mean). Then comes in DDI to buy WW and to be the AK saviors as all the importation bans with Russian guns are limiting good AKs.
DDI gun's specs were awesome and initial reviews were impeccable. I almost bought one. But then, they hype bubble popped and everyone on the internet went on to rip apart DDI for terrible QC and parts usage (even with their good customer service). Google searches will review witch-hunt forums and poor video reviews.
Then, in another turn of events, before DDI could turn their business around, PSA comes in and buys DDI. As far as I know, DDI does not even have a website anymore. PSA also had a rough go of it with their Gen 1 rifles. But, with the merger of DDI and PSA, it seems the Gen 2 rifles are finally something to say is a decent (maybe not great) but decent American AK.
On a side note, with the prices of Arsenals dropping, I'd still buy one of those for $800. Or a BLEM PSA gb2 for $500. OR an AMD for $400 and change.