A Slight Twist On The AK Reload

S.T.A. Training Group walks Lil Red thru the fundamentals of a tactical reload using an AK style weapon. The twist comes in when he hits the mag release with the fresh magazine. He bases this on the possibility of inducing a malfunction when utilizing the top end of the magazine. The instructor says that if you miss the magazine release with the mag in your hand, then that mag will strike the one in the gun. Which could cause the top round to slide forward due to inertia. If the top round shifts position, it can create a malfunction when loading it into the weapon.

Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick found his passion through competitive shooting while living in NY. He participates in USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.

Any questions please email him at nicholas.c@staff.thefirearmblog.com


  • Ryan

    Just a bearded dude in shades? He needs more tactical range wear!

  • Gregor

    Type “ak reload” in YouTube and you will find up to 6 year old videos of these technique. And this reload technique is probably around for way longer 😉 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvZwkv_NUmU

    • billyoblivion

      Letting go of the pistol grip while “in contact” and trusting that you can keep control of the firearm by just holding the bolt back is a bad, bad idea.

  • USMC03Vet

    I can’t wait until beards become non tactical due to all the hilarious malfunctions that could occur.

    It’s only a matter of time.

    • SM

      Once someone popular gets his Dwarven beard stuck somewhere, they’ll wise up.

      And I won’t be so ridiculed by all my bearded friends.

      • RocketScientist

        Nope. You’ll still be ridiculed by your bearded friends. Because ridiculing their friends is what men do (along with growing beards).

        • SM

          At least not for my poor beard growing skills.

      • USMC03Vet

        It’s getting to the point where I’m unsure if high speed low drag tier 1 tactical god, or just some bum from the street.

        • instructorzerowannabe

          and that second you think is when I hit

    • Chase Buchanan

      Exactly, they’ll get caught in things. Merlin knows what’s up.

    • TheFalseFlag

      ISIS doesn’t seem to have any troubles.

      • USMC03Vet

        Doing what. Getting killed and beating up on defenseless women?

        • the gathering storm

          at least if any ISIS fighters get wounded they receive top notch medical assistance at Israeli field hospitals

    • Lasis

      Beards must be braided, see how Vikings did, or a beard my obscure ones own vision or even get ‘eaten” by a gun or be “misfed” into gun along with a mag. 8D

    • Will

      The simple answer is use the forward edge of the magazine to engage the magazine release, then the empty magazine.
      Beards make great hand holds in close quarters. 😉

  • Matt Grimes

    Reinventing the wheel IMO. I can hardly get my rounds out of my AK mags when I want to let alone accidentally while changing mags. Trying new things is great. Trying to invent new things that have no real advantage except trying to overcome muscle memory built up over decades seems unproductive to me. I’m sure some high speed low drag newly EAS’d vet will be along to tell me I’m stuck in my old ways, gonna get myself killed blah blah blah. Guess I have a lucky rabbits foot stuck up my ass cause I ain’t dead yet.

    • Patrick R

      You aren’t dead yet because paper doesn’t shoot back.

      • waffen ss

        internet badass alert! internet badass alert!

        • Patrick R

          You couldn’t handle my level of badassery. Do you even operate bro?

          • Dan

            My ops are blacker than your ops

          • Patrick R


          • waffen ss

            I taught Chris Costa everything she knows- so yeah- I operate bro.

          • Patrick R

            Waffen SS’ School of Tactical Candy Cane Arm Shooting.

        • justme


  • Yup. Seen this happen a bunch of times.

  • ColaBox

    Was Kalashnikov left handed? I see very little about the AK platform besides the eject port that would indicate this was for right handed people by design.

    • Paladin

      It was designed to mimic a bolt action rifle to make it easier to train conscripts. The original manual of arms was to charge the rifle with the right hand, as one would with a Mosin-Nagant. Charging with the left hand is more of a western thing. You’ll notice that the SKS and SVT are also right side charging. The safety selector is actually copied off of an earlier Browning designed auto-loader (the specific model escapes me at the moment). It’s on the right side so that it can act as a dust cover for the charging handle slot. There is no left side safety lever in order to simplify the design.

      Remember, the AK was designed before the modern tacti-cool operator was ever conceived of. It’s manual of arms and ergonomics were designed with uneducated conscripts in mind, not HSLD mall-ninja types.

      • ColaBox

        Ah, that makes sense. Was under the impression it was an L design as the safety, known to be sticky, was in such close proximity to the thumb if you hold it in the left. The charging handle seemed to be evidence of that. Like the old Colts, pull the cap and load with your right.

      • SP mclaughlin

        Remington Model 8 selector.

        • Paladin

          That would be the one.

      • Pete Sheppard

        The M1, M14 and M1 carbine are the same. Europeans went with the charging handle on the left side (FAL, HKs)

        • Chase Buchanan

          Although it isn’t on the right side, the M16’s charging handle was also originally pulled with the right hand.

      • Phil Hsueh

        Probably also designed before the concept of ergonomics came about. I wonder how many other old Russian/Soviet designs are like that in where things weren’t designed for ease of use but for ease of training.

  • Lance

    Fear the beard!!!!

  • waffen ss

    why is he explaining this to a chick?

    • Nicholas Chen

      Perhaps she wants to rock an AK? Good for her.

      • waffen ss

        he should be showing her how to clean the house and make him a sandwich- but she should know how to do that anyway

        • rjackparis

          Oh so clever.

  • n0truscotsman


    I’ve always reloaded by AK mags by hitting the magazine catch with the bottom of the new mag first. I thought it was always supposed to me that way 😐

    • JSmath

      As long as I’ve ever seen AK mag reloads: it’s been top-strike swipe, rock in, reach under, “the old way”.

  • Tony

    That is not a tactical reload by any common definition of the term.

    Besides, the whole hitting-the-old-magazine-with-the-new-magazine thing is pretty old. Personally, I’ve come to prefer the method taught by Travis Haley – using the support hand thumb to both activate the magazine release and to eject the old magazine.

  • 3Gunner

    I really like her.

  • Stephen

    I remember seeing this ‘new’ technique about 7 years ago by a number of people.

    I think most people have a short memory.


  • dan citizen

    I may be old school, but I prefer my tried and true, operator. tactical. muscle-memory, no-fine-motor-skills, krav-maga method.

    1) pull new mag out of molle drop pouch (army seal team six surplus)
    2) grasp charging handle with primary hand, racking bolt
    3) strike mag release with feed lips of new magazine
    4) drop hot pocket (philly cheese is the most tactical)
    5) discover mag has not released, strike again
    6) drop rifle
    7) pick up rifle, dropping new mag
    8) pick up rounds released from new mag by mangled feed lips, load them
    9) realize I forgot to clean dropped rounds, remove them, clean, reload
    10) tap mag on helmet
    11) get tactical hello kitty band aid after realizing I’m not wearing a helmet
    12) Spend several minutes trying to find bolt hold open on AK
    13) Jam cell phone in ejection port to tactically hold bolt open
    14) insert new magazine nice and straight
    15) pick up new magazine from where it dropped
    16) reattempt to insert new magazine, rocking it
    17) hear cell phone ringing, try to find it
    18) find cell phone stuck in ejection port
    19) remove top cover and bolt carrier group to extract phone
    20) return call from hipster militia group
    21) use phone to look up how to reassemble rifle
    22) attempt to pick shell casings of dropped hot pocket
    23) through away hot pocket
    24) use phone to order pizza
    25) reassemble rifle, rack bolt, drop hammer
    26) explain negligent discharge to range officer
    27) try to assess why rounds are pouring out of new mag into receiver
    28) notice mangled feed lips
    29) straighten feed lips with tactical leatherman (air force green beret surplus)
    30) reinsert new mag
    31) rack bolt 25 times attempting to load rifle
    32) Blame steel case ammo
    33) go home
    34) go on forums and lament lack of AK ergonomics

  • cal poop

    What if you only have a stubby 10 round SGM magazine?

  • cawpin

    It seems that it would be faster to flip front to back than top to bottom. Hit the release with the back of the top of the mag. It would also make it easier to do closer to the body so you don’t have to put the rifle so far out in front of you.

  • 1911a145acp

    Beards and the old school M-4 stocks are NOT compatible.

  • 1911a145acp

    Excellent point on the AK reload. I would add to NEVER whack the mag release tab with either the top or bottom of the mag.- but rather place the mag against the release tab and then push. If you keep hitting hard, the mag release will eventually bend, break and fail. I have seen Gung-Ho types hit the mag release so hard the TRIGGER guard was bent fwd and was acting like a trigger stop. One option is to push the mag release fwd with the thumb of the hand that has the fresh mag. -which puts the fresh mag in good position be rocked and locked into the mag well.

  • shooter2009

    Who cares “how” it’s done…just get it done the way it works for you and get back into the fight.