The AK Ratchet Charging System to Ship in January


A non-reciprocating, left-side charging handle for the AK platform is set to go on sale in January.  The Ratchet Charging System, or RCS, is a drop in replacement gas tube that incorporates a charging handle with bolt hold open.

The RCS has been under development for several years, and the production model appears to be the third major revision of the design.  Steve wrote about the first generation here and the second generation here.

Dublin AK Systems developed the RCS, and the product will be sold through Parabellum Armament.

Richard Johnson

An advocate of gun proliferation zones, Richard is a long time shooter, former cop and internet entrepreneur. Among the many places he calls home is


  • Joshua

    How does this work in regards to heat? Considering it sits right where all the gases go I can imagine it would get quite warm.

    • st4

      I second this question.

      • Nick

        Given how hot the bolt carrier on an AK can get…

        I imagine this is gonna be a gloved hand only affair if your putting a decent amount of rounds through it.

        • iksnilol

          Not hating on this but what about learning to shoot left handed?

          • big jeffrey

            I guess don’t buy it since the normal charging handle on an ak isn’t that difficult to get at with your right hand.

          • iksnilol

            Never thought about it not “feeling right”, its a good point but you shouldn’t have a problem taking your hand of the pistol grip to charge it. You do that for every shot on a bolt action and nobody complains.

          • yup

            Because bolt action guns and AKs are the same type of weapon used in the same role… oh wait.

          • iksnilol

            Both put a big hole at a distance and are quick if you know what you are doing. So your argument is a bit weak.

          • Esh325

            For most people, I don’t think it’s ever going to feel right for them shooting from their non dominated hand.

          • Chris

            I use my left hand to charge my AK anyways, I just reach over the top of the gun and let it fly.

          • KC

            if you shoot an ak left handed, you don’t have the same issues with charging handles. You probably wouldn’t get this kit unless you wanted a bolt hold open. However, the charging handle functions the same

      • milo

        i imagine the handle must have some sort of insulator or heat coating to stop people’s fingers from becoming a delicious cooked snack.

  • BOB

    Cool, additional parts to complicate an uncomplicated weapons system. “The AK is too reliable, we should really add some more non-essential parts to it to increase the odds of failure!”

    • Zius Patagus

      The AK is reliable but not very ergonomic.Updating the design in this manner improves the weapons system IMO.

  • Esh325

    When you make internal changes to the original design, I think that’s the recipe for having unforeseen consequences down the road. I think the conclusion the Russians came up with was that it’s just better to start with a new design (the AK-12) rather than try to overcome engineering hurdles with trying to apply modern changes to an old design.

    • Joshua

      Wasn’t the AK-12 disqualified from the state trials due to reliability issues? Last I heard the AEK-971 was looking like their next rifle if they choose to replace their millions of AK-74’s.

      • Esh325

        There’s a lot of conflicting information out there.

  • Flyingchipmunk

    The way I’ve been taught to do AK reloads is to tuck the stock into my armpit and then rotate the gun clockwise a quarter turn so my left hand can easily strip the mag and add a new one. The problem is that then I have to rotate the gun 180 degrees to reach the charging handle with my left hand. This would make it so that I can work the charging handle faster with less manipulations. If it’s cheap Id seriously consider getting one. Also locking the slide back is a nice feature.

    The Ak is already so elegantly simple and functional it’s hard to justify changing anything, but this still piques my interest. AR fanboys get every mod they could imagine so it’s nice to see something for AK shooters, regardless of how good it turns out

    • Hunter57dor

      except its a somewhat work around way of doing things.

      i have been beat over thead my whole life “SIGHTS ON TARGET”

      all my weapon manipulation is done with the rifle pointed where im shooting, without turning it.

      an AK is no different. place your left hand over the dust cover in an “L” shape, and sweep the charging handle back. its not too difficult and saves alot of time and fumbling.

      • iksnilol

        Or you can just hold the handguard with your left and charge the gun with your right. Why complicate things? Even better, dont shoot your gun dry – always keep one in the chamber. That way you only have to change mags.

        • therealgreenplease

          Easy in theory but hard to do in practice especially if you were under any sort of stress (e.g. a combat situation… which it seems everything is designed for these days)

          • iksnilol

            How is it harder? It doesn’t require angling or twisting the rifle.

          • therealgreenplease

            Hard to keep track of rounds fired.

        • Too Old for This Crap

          Or you could just get an AR and stop playing stupid games to work around the shitty ergonomics of the AK.

          • iksnilol

            Not a big fan of AR’s. Mainly if I hit somebody in the face with AK magazine, their face is going to break. If I hit somebody in the face with AR magazine, magazine is going to break.

            But in all seriousness I prefer the AK because its easier to supress and run suppressed. Dont need expensive .300 BLK when I can reload 7.62×39 subsonic. And easy to use. No excuse for not learning to count your shots whether you shoot doubles or MGs.

      • erwos

        In the training classes I’ve taken, the “sights always on target” method has fallen out of favor, and the new hotness is now “lift gun into eye box”. Too many people, even people with excellent training and real experience, were fumbling reloads under combat stress with the method you’re describing.

        Note that I agree that economy of movement is a good thing…

      • John Daniels

        “an AK is no different. place your left hand over the dust cover in an “L” shape, and sweep the charging handle back. its not too difficult and saves alot of time and fumbling.”

        And if you have optics mounted over the dust cover?

  • John

    Well, I guess this is the product to get if you ever wanted to HK Slap your AK….

    • therealgreenplease

      Now that you mention it…. I kind of want an AK just so I can HK slap it 😀

  • Nicholas Mew


  • DougE

    Am I the only one curious about cost or am I just a cheap-skate? Not that I’m going to install it anyway since I have a high walled Galil style handguard on my AK, but I still like to know if a company is down to earth or high on meth.

  • Ryan

    “Keep that **** off my AK!”

  • Suburban

    Galil charging handle is a simpler solution, and ambidextrous. At some point, I’ll mail out my bolt carriers for modification.

  • Suburban

    The Israelis solved this problem decades ago by extending the charging handle upwards. At some point I will mail out bolt carriers for modification.

    I was looking forward to the Bump Safe, but I think I can put one together like the current version over the weekend with a ball peen hammer, vise, and riveter.

  • fnx

    I can’t count the people I’ve known with AK’s who wind up taking all their, “high-speed, low-drag,” custom parts such as this in the end. Myself included.

    • fnx

      *taking off

  • Idrathergofishing

    Guy in the video knew he would loose his zero..

  • José Pulido

    Reminds me of when the AR-15 had the charging handle attached to the carrier, riding inside the charging handle. Seems interesting.

  • Mikel Crees

    When did it become so cool to toss your mags away? When I was in service we were taught to “shoot to cover, reload, shoot from cover, repeat as needed”. Wth did this OK Corral shit come from?

    Anyway, does the system cycle with the rod and bolt carrier?

    I might be interested if it could be used within a hand guard or more precisely, a bullpup stock.