When it comes to AK upgrades, the average Kalashnikov aficionado is torn between American made accessories and Russian products that are often unavailable in the US and worldwide. For me, that seems odd, since, over the years, at least 30 countries produced different variants of the AK rifles. Why all those countries do not produce AK accessories? Turns out they do, most people just don’t hear about them. One of the best examples is Finland, a country with proven manufacturing capabilities and a huge demand for AK upgrades. The Finnish vision of Kalashnikov evolution is called AK 2.0.
Finnish army has been using their own AK rifle variant, RK 62 (often called “Valmet” in the US) for over 50 years, and even at the time when the army didn’t care for new accessories, a lot of civilian shooters and reservists groups, who use semi-automatic versions of military rifles, tried to come up with solutions for mounting of modern optics, adjustable stocks and other upgrades.
Apart from domestically made AK variants, both military and civilians in Finland have thousands of Kalashnikovs manufactured in Hungary, China, East Germany and as time went by, the demand for quality AK accessories was rising.
One group of reservists went further with their shooting hobby and created Valman – the company that developed the AK 2.0. AK 2.0 is an upgrade package that includes a modern aluminum handguard with M-LOK slots, side mount for optics, adjustable stock, flash hider and suppressor.
All accessories were designed to fit most AK variants – for example, there are several different stock adapters: for stamped receiver, for SAKO M92, for standard milled receiver, for AK 100 series folding stock rear trunnion and even one for slanted receiver of Valmet Hunter (Petra). There are also several versions of the handguard with different amounts of M-LOK slots.
Most Finnish-made rifles lack a standard side mount, so Valman came up with their own installment system for a receiver side rail that does not require rivets for installation.
The accessories designed for Finnish SAKO and Valmet rifles will also fit Israeli Galils and South African Vector R4/R5/R6 rifles since these weapons are direct descendants of Finnish RK 62. In the US, both Galils and Vectors are collectible items, but in other parts of the world, those rifles are just reliable workhorses with very limited options when it comes to upgrades.
Despite draconian restrictions, some European countries still have plenty of gun owners who like AKs and very often, US-made gun accessories are difficult to import due to various restrictions. In that environment, a new manufacturer might have a chance to grow and develop new products. Will a small Finish manufacturer succeed in that task? Only time will tell.