Matador Arms SKS Sabertooth Chassis

Matador Arms Sabertooth SKS Chassis

I recently had a brief range day with Matador Arms and put some rounds through their SKS and Sabertooth Chassis combo. Matador is a Canadian company, and produces a variety of accessories for the domestic market.

The Sabertooth is arguably their flagship product, a machined aluminum chassis for the SKS that adds AR-15 stock & grip compatability, a slim picatinny quad rail, and a magazine well for duck-billed magazines. The idea is that no permanent modifications to the rifle are necessary, and that the entire thing can be reverted back to “pure” without any gunsmithing.

The rifle I shot also had Matador’s full length optics rail installed. This setup locks into the rear sight base and the rear takedown pin to provide a full length of picatinny rail that promises to retain zero. Installing the optics rail does require you to remove a tab on the factory dust cover retaining pin, so it does mean a small permanent modification. The optics rail is a stand-alone part that can be put on any SKS, but it means that you’re no longer feeding the rifle from stripper clips. So be prepared for either duckbill mags or loading individual rounds one at a time.

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Factory sks stocks can run anywhere from 1.1lbs to 2.5lbs depending on the style and model, while the Sabertooth weighs in a 2.2lbs before adding a grip & stock. Part of their goal is to be a cut above the Tapco and ATI offerings in terms of strength of materials, quality of coating, and compatibility with additional accessories. And in that it’s quite successful. I definitely appreciate being able to use proper optics, and the ergonomics of the Sabertooth are miles from the original feel of the rifle. Nothing rattles or slips like some of the polymer setups I’ve handled.

You’ll notice that the SKS in this article has an enlarged hooked magazine release. This release is another “non-permanent” addition that makes swapping mags a little easier. By pulling it rearward toward the trigger guard, the duckbill magazine can rock out similar to how a factory release works.

Sabertooth SKS Chassis Matador Arms

I’ve clearly been spoiled by my recent Vz58 shooting, and asked if a more transformative AK style magazine release was in the works. The answer was yes, but with the caveat that it would require some more advanced tinkering with the rifle. Nolan at Matador is hesitant to build products that require gunsmith assistance, and I can understand why when your target market is SKS owners.

I asked Nolan straight out “Why should someone spend $350 on a chassis for a rifle that cost them $200?” And he had a reasonably good answer: the SKS isn’t really a $200 rifle. We just treat it that way because its surplus. If a modern manufacturer like Browning, or even a Russian plant decided to tool up and manufacture new SKS rifles, they would cost substantially more than $200. Just because you paid $200 doesn’t mean the rifle is only worth that.

I can understand his point, but I’ve honestly never felt a strong desire to own and improve an SKS. I hadn’t fired one since I was in University and essentially lived off cheap 7.62×39 and ramen noodles. While the rifle gets kicked around online as a “budget plinker” there is a potential for the SKS to be more than that. This was a brief hands-on, and while enjoyable it should certainly not be taken as a full review.

The Sabertooth is sold in Canada for $359 CAD by HiCal.ca and was recently imported into the USA by Mounts Plus, who is selling it for $259 USD.

Authors Note: Hey you, friendly commenter who’s already spotted the deployed bipod and is about to post “why shoot with an open bipod?” Look at the angle of the magazine. Now envision the reload process. The bipod might make this rifle stand up nice for photos, but has it’s limitations. It’s not like I didn’t notice.



Edward O

Edward is a Canadian gun owner and target shooter with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. Crawling over mountains with tactical gear is his idea of fun. He blogs at TV-Presspass and tweets @TV_PressPass.


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  • Hellbilly

    Dressing up an SKS like this has always been analogous to a boy wearing girls’ clothing. It can be done, but it just doesn’t look right…

    • tigers are awesome

      Wow that’s a ignorant post….

      • UWOTM8

        It was funny. Chill.

      • Cal S.

        Uh-oh, we got a PC cop here.

        C’mon, you know that Jaden Smith in a skirt raised your neck hairs a little. Whether it was the skirt or that it was on Jaden Smith only you can decide.

    • Anonymoose

      Welp, we’ve crossed that line into the weird part of the internet again. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/06d097b8161b675991f14aa314ae6e8c6b789fd58930808374d0a5a4bd9e5355.jpg

      • Giolli Joker

        …and you’re always there ready to catch the moment!

  • MihoshiK

    All over the world, people are hearing a faint sound in the background. That faint sound is the sound of Ivan Chesnokov having a MASSIVE aneurysm.

  • JT303

    Whatever floats your boat, I guess. It definitely does look a lot better than the Tapco offerings, but these chassis systems for rifles like the 10/22 and SKS always look odd. I suppose that’s to be expected, and if it feels right and works right, that’s all that really matters.

    • gunsandrockets

      I’ve even seen a chassis system for the garbage rod!

  • thedonn007

    I thought you were limited to 5 rounds in Canada?

    • Joshua

      we are, the SKS’ internal magazine even has a riveted block added to the floor plate. and we can get the duck bill mags, but they’re pinned at five

      • UWOTM8

        that just…man that just f@ckin SUCKS

  • gunsandrockets

    And the funny thing is, if you keep the original SKS magazine this chassis system is even Commiefornia legal, uh I mean California.

  • gunsandrockets

    The days of $200 SKS are long over.

    • datimes

      In1990 or 91 I bought 2 SKS’s. The first was $99 and the second $79.

      • Cal S.

        Check your elder privilege, those of us young bucks in the room are turning green.

        • Twilight sparkle

          Triggered

      • Dave D

        Best I saw in person was $69 /each. Had crates of ’em with the crate being free if you bought all the rifles. I’ve spent many a night wishing I had bought one of those crates.

    • Komrad

      Not in Canada where there are far fewer import restrictions on Russian firearms (and where Matador is based)

    • Some days I really do love living in Canada

  • De Facto
  • Sks defender

    The sks was an overbuilt, beautiful rifle, just had unfortunate release timing(ak, 2 years later). If they were built in modern times, the cost would be over 2000 dollars. U guys can make fun of the sks all u want, but ive always been intrigued by these rifles. So many variants to collect, and i havent seen a 200 sks for years, unless bubba had his way with it severely

  • Vizzini

    I just don’t see why I should spend more than my SKS cost me to try to make my SKS into an AR/AK type thing.

    $259 US would be a good start toward a 7.62×39 that’s built from the start the way you want it.

    • Ken

      Because AK’s are in the prohibited category in Canada, as well as more heavily restricted than the SKS in some ban states here in the US.

  • iksnilol

    Was sorta hoping it’d take AK mags.

    • 40mmCattleDog

      Same, not an SKS fan but I was vaguely interested until i heard “duckbill magazine” then i was out.

      • Twilight sparkle

        You’d have to do a lot of grinding on the receiver in order to get an ak mag to get close to fitting. There’s a company that makes an at mag adapter though.

  • Jim N Jenna SK

    No… No way

  • Yuck

  • Andrew Miller

    Spending 350 on a rifle that now costs 450 or so, to have it perform almost, but not quite, like an AK which costs $700.
    With the duckbill magazines to boot.

    In Canada, would it not be smarter to just get a Vz58 or has the RCMP made them illegal?

    • ckZ

      Yes smarter and No still unrestricted.

  • Bradley

    I would like to know where you can still buy any sks for $200.

  • “Factory sks stocks can run anywhere from 1.1lbs to 2.5lbs depending on the style and model, while the Sabertooth weighs in a 2.2lbs before adding a grip & stock.

    So that adds over a pound to the gun, even in the best circumstances.

  • jerry young

    I like the addition of the picatinny rails, adjustable stock and hand grip, as far as the copycat AR look I don’t like it if I want to shoot an AR I’ll shoot one not another gun made to look like one, if I want to shoot a different caliber than normal AR then I can convert my AR to 7.62 or 9mm or what ever I can get, I want my SKS to look and feel like an SKS that’s why I bought it