Iron Claw Tactical has introduced the second generation of their AK magazine well. Once installed on AK rifles, this magazine well allows straight magazine insertion. The Gen2 magwell is compatible with AK-47 (both milled and stamped receivers) and AK-74 pattern rifles and magazines.
This magwell has two installation modes: single tab and dual tab. The former is a simpler process that can be done by the end user, however, it won’t allow the straight magazine insertion. The dual tab version does allow straight magazine insertion but its installation will require milling the receiver and modifying the side folding stock latch. According to the manufacturer, the installation of the two tab version must be done either by them or by a qualified gunsmith.
I contacted the company to find out the differences of the Gen2 magwell compared to the first generation one and here is what they told me:
The gen 2 has many changes over the one. Larger opening flare, new profile to make compatible with AK-74s, shortened and enhanced mag release, and the addition of the accessories mount. The accessories mount will allow future products to bolt directly to our mag well. Current products that are available are the Bad Company Tactical R2S dovetail, allowing you to holster your rifle!
The enhanced magazine release lever has extended latches and also assists the dropping of the magazines. You can use this magazine release lever in standard AK fashion or you can use your index finger to push the magazine release lever extension located under the trigger guard.
The Iron Claw Tactical Gen2 magazine well assembly has an MSRP of $200. Installation on the rifle will cost you additional $60. The magazine release lever can be purchased separately at $70.
So why would anyone need to do such conversion of the magazine well? There can be several reasons. First, the straight insertion is arguably faster and more intuitive process. Second, as Iron Claw Tactical notes, the magazine changes with this system are much easier when there is an under barrel grenade launcher installed. I think this magazine well can also be a useful solution when designing bullpup conversion kits. It would probably make bullpup AK magazine changes easier and allow locating the bullpup pistol grip a little bit closer to the magwell making the length of pull shorter.
Images from www.ironclawtactical.com