[SHOT 2020] Accurate, Gas-Adjustable AK! The Arsenal AK-20

    James Reeves visits with Arsenal at SHOT Show Range Day 2020 to discuss the new Arsenal AK-20. Per Hrachya H. of The Firearm Blog:

    “The AK-20 rifles will be initially chambered in 7.62x39mm and later will become available in 5.56x45mm, too. There is also an AK-20 chambered in .50 Beowulf available upon order. The Arsenal officials told me that in general, they are planning to bring more 5.45x39mm guns into the country, so I guess there is a chance that there will be a 5.45 AK-20, too.

    AK-20 rifles will be available in rifle, pistol and SBR configurations. The rifle version has an AR-15 buffer tube adapter, whereas the SBR and pistol will come with a Picatinny rail section at the rear of the receiver allowing to attach Picatinny rail compatible stocks and braces (e.g. those designed for SIG MPX/MCX). The milled receivers also feature QD sling swivel sockets on either side, right above the pistol grip where the pivot points of underfolder AK stocks are normally located. I took the top cover off to see how these QD sockets are designed and fortunately they are connected inside the receiver and there is no way for dirt and debris to get into the receiver through them.

    One of the key features of the AK-20 is the free-floated handguard system. The handguard consists of top and bottom portions. The top section covers the new gas tube and provides a top Picatinny rail that starts at the gas block and extends back over the top cover of the receiver. That rearward rail protrusion still allows using standard top covers and does not interfere with the disassembly process. Apparently, the top section is fixed via a barrel nut and the lower handguard is hung underneath the top section and also fixed on the barrel nut. The result of such design is that the handguard does not come in contact with the barrel thus free-floating it.

    Another important design change is the addition of an adjustable gas block with three settings – normal use, suppressed/subsonic and the third position completely closes the gas port turning the gun into basically a straight-pull bolt action rifle. According to Arsenal, the latter setting will be useful when shooting suppressed allowing utmost report suppression because there are no side noises associated with reciprocating parts and gasses vented into the system.

    The adjustment plug has no retention mechanism, however, it feels like it is snug enough not to unintentionally change the setting when being dropped or snagging on something, yet it is easy enough to rotate by hand. In case if the gas block became stubborn (e.g. due to carbon buildup) or too hot but you need to change the setting, there is a hole in the gas block plug that will allow you using a cartridge to get some leverage and isolation. The gas block plug is removable allowing access to the gas tube for cleaning. By the way, shotgun brushes work perfectly for cleaning such permanently or semi-permanently attached gas tubes.

    In April of 2020, the company will start selling the custom shop versions of these rifles which images you see in this article. These will be limited edition guns with only 50 to 200 made depending on the configuration. All the parts of the custom shop guns will be milled and the rifles will be shipped with the aluminum lower handguards shown in the pictures. The MSRPs of these custom shop guns will be from $1,999 to $2,650. Later, at the end of the year, the production AK-20 rifles will be released both in milled and stamped receiver options. Some parts of the production guns will be cast then machined to decrease the cost of manufacturing.”

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    Arsenal AK-20

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    James Reeves

    • NRA-licensed concealed weapons instructor, 2012-present
    Maxim Magazine’s MAXIMum Warrior, 2011
    • TFBTV Executive Producer
    • Former Regional Sales Rep, Interstate Arms Corp., MA
    • Champion, Key West Cinco De Mayo Taco Eating Competition
    • GLOCK® Certified Pistol Operator, 2017-2022
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