The debate "AR-15 vs AK-47" has been a long, frivolous dispute for decades. The biggest cosmetic difference I have noticed is the quality of aftermarket furniture available to the AK platform, compared to the AR type rifles. There are plenty of options out there, but very few are truly as robust as the classic Kalashnikov warhorse itself. Sadly the best buttstock options open up when an adapter installed to make use of a buffer tube that accepts AR-15 stocks. Purists would argue against such blasphemy.
Gun enthusiasts don't agree on much, but when Magpul Industries
introduced a pistol grip for the AK platform just a few years ago followed by 7.62x439 PMAG magazines, users have been clamoring for more furniture for their beloved rifle ever since. In 2015 thousands of wishes came to fruition as the Magpul MOE AK and Zhukov handguards and buttstocks were debuted at SHOT Show. Designed and priced as two tiers, the MOE and Zhukov hanguards only differed in length, while the Zhukov-S stock is much more enhanced than the MOE stock.
The Zhukov-S is a side-folding and telescoping stock that fits right into the AK receiver and rear trunnion and is compatible with many stamped-receiver AK type platforms with a single trunnion. How Magpul made one stock compatible with all the different tolerances of varying regional AK pattern rifles without modification is by a very cool wedge block that when tightened during the installation process, makes for a very reliable fit. The concept is so simple yet efficient and expanding to fit most stamped receivers. I was very curious how they were going to accomplish this, and I'm genuinely impressed by how easy it was to install myself. Made of the same high strength polymer as Magpul's other products, the Zhukov-S stock is a modern, sleek but highly functional upgrade from a traditional fixed stock. It's biggest accolade is its folding capability. While not novel on an AK, the design of the stock and its hinge mechanism are extremely well executed. Using the button on the left side of the stock just rear of the QD stud, the overall length of the rifle reduces by 7 inches when folded, making the rifle easier to store and transport.
I was interested in how resilient the hinge mechanism was going to be on a polymer... after all the AK47 is a quintessential tank that is supposed to survive the worst of apocalyptic conditions. Fortunately it uses a solid steel hinge pin, and is designed by some of the best engineers in the business. I can report that watching some other more physical reviews on Youtube, the stock's hinge will not survive being ran over with a vehicle. I don't know of any stocks that would (even the fixed wood stocks will certainly crack) so I won't hold this product to impossible standards.
After weeks of use including multiple folding and unfoldings, butt-stroking asphalt, push ups while folded, and just about everything short of dragging it behind a truck, the stock has held up very well. Interesting enough, the lock mechanism is designed to compensate for wear over time, allowing it to fold to the right with a positive detent with no slop whatsoever. When deployed the stock is very rigid with no play either.
In the folded position, spring loaded delrin plungers keep stock pretty secure. It's not a lock sp theres no latches or buttons needed to deploy. It only takes about an inch of movement before the detents release and the stock can be deployed quietly and quickly. This stock is capable of abuse I wouldn't dream of subjecting other polymer stocks to, its really that good. The only issue I had experienced during the first weeks and still do to the day of writing this review, is the collapsing mechanism is very stiff. Gripping the stock's end like the toe of a boot, you squeeze the lever with your index finger and it pivots a polymer latch, which allows the user to pull out the stock along the 5 positions like a collapsable M4 style stock, however the amount of friction between the parts makes this a sort of stubborn feat. It's gotten slightly better with use, but I don't adjust the length of pull enough to make it as easy as other adjustable stocks.
The stock also has several sling mounting options, with a QD sling mount on the left side near the trunnion, as well as ambidextrious QD compatible ports in in the rear (QD sockets sold separately). There is also a sling loop built into the stock's "toe" that will accept slings up to 1.25" wide. I really commend the company for embracing user preference and giving us multiple options for using sling attachments, especially the forward QD mount that facilitates single point slings, a popular choice for AR15 users that has attainable for AKs but unnecessarily complicated to do so. I feel the MS3 Multi Mission Sling by Magpul (or MS4's) shine when used with the Zhukov stock.
The buttpad of the Zhukov (an often overlooked but essential component of the modern stock) is different than the first generation of MOE recoil buttpads due to the angled, serrated toe that allows for easier mounting of the rifle, and a slight curve at the top ensures positive, comfortable seating on the shoulder during firing while reducing the chance of snagging on tactical gear. It of course offers an anti-slip surface and some recoil cushioning, but not much. Later in 2015 a new buttpad was released called the MOE SL Enhanced Rubber Butt-Pad
that is compatible with the Magpul MOE SL, MOE AK, and Zhukov-S stocks. This pad features a thicker vented design for better comfort as well as approximately 0.50” additional length of pull.
Now for the million dollar question: Can the rifle be charged and fired when the stock is folded? Why yes it can, however only if no cheek riser is installed. Did I mention the stock accepts Magpul's cheek risers, available in multiple heights? Picture below is the half inch riser, which does impede the bolt's charging handle when folded. This is disappointing but not a deal breaker, so you will have to sacrifice either having a raised cheek weld or firing from the folded position to enjoy either capability. C'est la vie!
Overall, this is arguably my favorite upgrade for the AK47 platform. Available in multiple colors and designed to compliment other Magpul AK products, the Zhukov-S stock is well worth the price tag.
Firearms Insider Reviews – 8 Key Points
Claim to Fame: The Magpul Zhukov-S Stock is a no-compromise folding stock for the modern AK.
Target Market: AK variant owners. WOLVERINES!
FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):
- Made in U.S.A.
- Mounts to most stamped receiver AK-47/AKM/AK-74 pattern rifles with fixed stock, single tang trunnion
- 5-Position length of pull adjustability
- Consistent cheek weld in all positions
- Adjustment lever is unobtrusive and anti-snag
- High strength, wear compensating lock mechanism allows stock to fold to the right
- Solid steel hinge pin
- Positive detents in the stowed position prevents movement while still allowing the stock to be instantly deployed
- Weapon may be charged and fired while stock is folded (without Cheek Risers installed)
- Cheek weld risers are available
- Rubber butt-pad offers an anti-slip surface and increases impact protection
- Rollover on the toe allows for easier shoulder transitions and better fit when using body armor
- Sling Mounts:
- Front – Left-side rotation limited sling mount accepts push-button QD swivels for one-point sling usage (swivel not included)
- Rear – Optional Sling Mounts (Type 1 and Type 2) accept push-button QD swivels
- Bottom - 1.25" sling loop
What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?: Black, Stealth Gray, FDE, Ranger Green, and Plum
What others are saying?:
"I bought this product from Brownells to replace the stock on my 84S (Chinese AK clone in 5.56 cal). Right out of the box I was impressed by the quality and features of the stock, and it displayed the quality that I have come to expect from Magpul products. However, if you are buying this to install on a Chinese rifle such as a MAK-90 or Type 56S, be aware that some modification of the stock will be necessary, as the Chinese AK rifles have a longer tang and different bolt spacing than European Comm-Bloc rifles. Ten minutes with a Dremel and needle file and I was in business. The stock locks up tight, and the spring detent that keeps it in the folded position is a nice touch. Overall it is the best option for a folding stock that I have found for the AK, as it does not require modification to your weapon." Brownells User Review
"There are already plenty of options for AK butt stocks, most which we are not impressed with. Most modern stocks for the platform are less than ideal, being heavy, complex, expensive or a combination of all. Many of our minions are fans of the AK family of firearms, but we all have different views of what is considered ideal.... Regardless of your preferred setup, it looks like Magpul is going to have something to appeal to all AK owners... Of all the new AK products, the Zhukov-S stock is arguably the most badass. We wanted to check out this new folder in person, so we went to Magpul’s booth to handle it ourselves. The Zhukov-S is a very streamlined, visually appealing stock." Breach Bang Clear Review
I need it now! Availability: Brownells or local gun shops
- Folds to the right side, ensure side mounted optic rails are unobstructed
- Wear compensation hinge mechanism with solid steel pin
- Positive detent leaves folded and deployed positions very sturdy with no slop
- Design ties well with Zhukov or MOE forearm and MOE AK grip
- Adjusting length of pull is stubborn and difficult especially right out of the box
- Cheek risers interfere with charging handle when folded and force user to compromise
- When folded, the stock interferes with my firing hand's grip slightly, but not enough to prevent use
Score: 8.5 Great
For FFL services I choose Promised Land Firearms in Toulon, IL.
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