Advice For Shooting An Old AK-47

    Editor’s note: This article was written by Claymore. His previous blog posts can be read here.

    Back more than a few years ago I was with my usual partner in Thal Pakistan where Ho Chi Lynn had built an inclosed area for training of our Afghan Muji fighters.

    This is one photo that I won’t have to disguise myself. Here I am standing in front of “the fort” when we first got there after a hairy ride down from Peshawar .

    photo 1

    The place was full of Muji from Afghanistan and on this trip my partner and I would be supplying “realistic” gunfire while the students were being run through an field training exercise (FTX).

    As you can see in this photo we also were letting off explosive charges to try and raise the students stress levels to see if they can function in battle.

    photo 2

    The added stress we apply can be seen in the faces of the student medics.

    photo 3

    We try and make things a realistic as possible out in the field and the students performance is watched and graded at to how well they did. It also helps us develop training when and if we notice more then one student making the same mistakes.


    OK you guys are saying to yourself what in heck does this have to do with shooting an AK?

    I was just trying to set the stage for giving the advice I’m about to impart to our readers.

    So the scene is almost set we were getting our gear together to make the explosions and we needed a couple of AKs to provide the sound effects. So I went to Mr Lynn and he handed me an AK that he took from one of our guards and said “use this”.

    As we walk across the street carrying all the piles of equipment for the students needs and our effects I got to thinking that this was a hell of a place here where one can saunter across the road with explosives, AKs and run a full fledged FTX with about 50 people right off the main drag while continuously firing Aks and letting off high explosives.

    When we got to the area for the FTX we had a bit of down time and I began to look over the AK as I always do. I was not surprised to find it in good working order and nice and clean because I knew Mr Lynn was serious with the guards that their weapons MUST be up to snuff.

    But one thing had me scratching my head. The front end of the forearm was wrapped with a dirty old rag. Sorry I never got and photos of it but it wrapped around both the upper and lower parts and I thought it might be because they always rattle or something like that.

    The guard that I got it from was not at the site so I couldn’t ask him about it and my inner MARINE jumped out and I untied that unsightly old rag and took it off.

    My inner Marine felt better but that was a big mistake as you are about to find out.

    It seems that the rag was covering the metal “rivet” that is inserted into the lower forearm of the older models or Aks and AKMs as shown in this photo.

    photo 5

    My partner and I were finally ready and what a day it was going to be as we had full auto AKs, a bunch of ammo and the best part was one of the new students there making sure he knew how to load AK mags by being our ammo bearer for the day.

    The FTX started off well and we got down to blasting away full auto fire as fast as we could to provide realistic sound and smell effects to get the student medics heart racing and put them under pressure.

    Things were going along real well and we had settled in and had begun switching off firing to try and cool off the AKs just a bit.

    By this time the AKs were smoking they were so hot from all our continuous firing and it didn’t help that the air temp was also a quite warm 110F.

    Then IT happened I found out why that dirty old rag was there the hard way!!

    My support hand was moving forward on the forearm trying to find the most comfortable position when I felt something like a HORNET STING on my fingers and the back of my thumb. I couldn’t figure out what the heck was happening but I knew it hurt like hell.

    Well after I stopped jumping around swearing profusely and shaking my hand I looked at it and found blisters on the inner and front side of my fingers and my thumb.

    And the light bulb came on!!


    We discovered that my hand slid far enough forward to touch the rivet and forearm part and they we BLAZING HOT from all our continuous firing in 110F degree weather.

    We had work to do and I quickly picked up that dirty old rag and wrapped it around my hand like a hot pot holder and finished the day with my hand hurting like hell.

    In this photo you can make that rag out AFTER I started using it like a potholder LOL.

    photo 6

    The guard that was the keeper of that AK laughed until tears were rolling out his eyes when we got back. I didn’t have to say a word just showed him the removed dirty old rag in one hand and my blistered fingers on the other hand.

    The moral of the story is if you don’t know why something is done leave it alone until you can find out why somebody did it. In this case WATCH OUT for that stupid HOT AK rivet and forearm part. I STILL HAVE THE SCARS to this day a whole bunch of years later.

    I’m not sure if you could get a semi only AK that hot but if you have the older style forearm on yours be careful of the rivet and don’t move your hand far enough forward that it touches the metal part that holds the forearms together.

    Steve Johnson

    I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!