AKs are not ARs. They are not as modular as the AR platform when it comes to the overall design of the weapon and how it is assembled. With really basic skills and a minimum amount of tools, you can put together an AR-15. That’s why oftentimes the AR-15 is referred to as a “Lego for grown-up kids“. That’s not the case with the AKs – it’s way more difficult to build an AK and it requires more skills, time and special tools.
You may ask, isn’t the whole point of using rivets, stamping and press fitting to make it cheaper and easier to produce the gun? Yes, it is. But it is true if we are talking about mass production. For example, by having the proper machines set up to make stamped receivers, you can crank them in a much higher rate and at a much lower unit cost compared to machining a similar part. However, when it comes to one-off or small scale production, things can get really labor-intensive and time-consuming.
One solution that makes the AK builders’ life easier is designed by a gentleman named Alex Rice, the owner of a company called Requiem Arms. It is an AK building jig called AK Barrel Population Jig (BPJ). At first, I didn’t even think to write about this gadget because let’s face it – an AK jig – sounds boring … it is like talking about a vise or a wrench. But then, when I watched a video showing how this thing simplifies and speeds up the mounting of barrel hardware onto an AK barrel, it was clear that I should tell our readers about this device. Let’s watch the mentioned video showing how the BPJ works.
Impressive, isn’t it? By simply placing the barrel hardware in proper positions, clamping them in the BPJ and pressing the barrel in, you’ll mount the rear sight block, gas block and front sight block in one operation. The handguard retainer will also get captured in its position – between the rear sight block and gas block.
According to Alex, this device allows assembling 50 AK barrels (including headspacing, drilling and pinning) in an 8 hour day. Many US AK manufacturers use the BPJ to build their rifles and Requiem Arms is also the exclusive supplier of AK tools for the United States Armed Forces.
Are you into building AKs? What do you think about the Requiem Arms BPJ? Is it something you would invest in? What production volume do you think will justify such an investment? Sound off in the comments section.
Images by www.requiemarms.com