Palmetto State Armory KS47 Pistol: An AR15/AK47 Hybrid

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AK pistols are pretty much the hottest thing to happen in America with the Kalashnikov platform since the introduction of parts kits, the KS47 is the best thing to happen to 7.62×39 since the first import of WASRs. Allowing folks to mix the reliable and easy to use AK rifle with the “ATF Special” aspects of a pistol is the recipe for having your cake and eating it too in the US.


Pistol vs Rifle In America 

Real quick, in case you didn’t know about this situation, let’s discuss it briefly. Rifles in the US must have a barrel over 16”, among other qualifications. This is well and good, except that the most interesting variants of some rifles have barrels shorter than this; and this presents a problem, “rifles” cannot (easily) have a barrel under 16”. One can submit a Form 1 to the ATF and shorten a barrel, but this involves a host of issues. Pistols however CAN have a barrel under 16” but cannot be designed to be fired from the shoulder (like a rifle). This has led to a number of products known as “arm braces”; which are products designed to be placed on the end of a pistol that looks like a smaller version of a rifle and strapped to your arm to aid in controlling the pistol. When this “arm brace” is closed, the ATF has stated that it is okay to place the brace against your shoulder, as it was not intended for this. What all this allows you to do, is purchase a miniature version of the rifle you want, as a pistol, and put a brace on the gun that will allow it to function similar to a rifle, without any of the Form1 hassle, or violating federal law (keeping your dog safe). This brace, from SB Tactical, is one of the original arm brace products and has sold hundreds of thousands of units in the years since introduction. Pistols also can be transported across state lines without informing the ATF of your intentions, so this can be a great choice if you’re worried about asking for permission.


Palmetto States AK/AR

Now then, the KS47 is one of Palmetto State Armory’s forays into the Kalashnikov platform, but also into making a hybrid AK/AR firearm the benefits of which we will discuss shortly. Palmetto State Armory is one of the largest online (and “brick and mortar”) retailers of firearm products in the country. They generally have extremely low prices, various specials, and with all of that success comes cash flow which has been placed into new development programs for things such as the AR, AK, and HK roller lock platforms. While these programs are nothing new, and definitely not rocket science, Palmetto State is able to do all of this at a cost that rivals almost every other company and maintain quality that exceeds some of the highest end manufacturers. The KS47 design is not something that is 100% original, as it has been sold by Colt originally for use in Arabic markets, and a few other companies. PSA however, got it right with the feature set, parts compatibility, and of course the price point.


The KS47

The Palmetto State Armory KS47 Hybrid

The KS47 is chambered in 7.62x39mm, the most common AK caliber for many years (5.45 has overtaken it overseas) and takes standard AK47 mags; the gun also takes many standard AR aftermarket parts, so nothing on the gun is PSA only. The Nitride barrel is a definite plus, as nitriding is a fantastic way of preserving a gun barrel against rust and physical damage. Nitriding is a process that involves soaking the barrel in different kids of salt baths at extremely high temperature to develop a layer of protection from the elements. Care should be taken when shooting surplus ammunition however and if the primers are corrosive, any gun shooting corrosive ammo should have precautions taken to mitigate the rusting that occurs, and it occurs very quickly. Most folks pour a mixture of Windex and hot water down the barrel and slightly into the action, then the rifle is cleaned, especially the bore. This is not something normally needed with AR style rifles and should be paid attention to when purchasing this weapon.

Suppression 

One aspect of AK’s that is not often mentioned is the ability to suppress the round. 300AAC (300 Blackout) is remarkably similar to 7.62×39 and anyone who has heard a 300 Blackout suppressed gun can attest to the fun of shooting something so quiet. The KS47 should definitely be considered as a suppressor host, and with some small accessories like an adjustable gas block and a suppressor bore checking rod (like the offerings from Geissele), putting a .30 caliber can on your KS47 will make it endlessly more enjoyable. 9” is plenty of barrel to develop some serious velocity on 7.62×39 and the barrel made by PSA provides wonderful accuracy especially with a 1 in 10 twist which is optimized for short barrel AK builds. A great “use case” for this gun would be pig hunting. 7.62×39 has a lot of energy to give, even in a subsonic application, and the ability to use an AR platform allows for night vision, lasers, and suppressors much more easily than AKs. Hog hunting is often done at night and with easy sighting options the KS47 might just be the ultimate hog gun.

Sights

Sights are available exactly the same as any AR style firearm, which is a huge advantage over the traditional AK styles of sighting systems. Those involved complicated cantilever mounts, removing the iron sights, and tough-to-execute field strips. Any red dot, back up iron sight or LPVO will work the same as on your AR. A great choice for optics on these guns would be a red dot, as the nature of 7.62×39 lends itself to shooting less than 200yds and the size of the gun lends itself to smaller optics. The value of this cannot be overstated, anyone who has shot an AK can tell you the sights, while acceptable in comparison to other weapons of the time period, is lacking significantly when you try to upgrade this at all. Truly this is a leap forward for anyone loving the round and wanting to make sure that their rifle is as modern as possible.

Weight

PSA KS47
Palmetto State Armory KS47 Hybrid

Another aspect of the AK/AR hybrid that may be overlooked before handling this gun is weight. Milled AKs which are made from a milled block of steel, are the standard for reliability and sturdiness in AKs; however, they are extraordinarily heavy. Stamped AKs are known for being light and handy but being very sensitive to screws and rivets in regard to placement and process. Compare this to the AR platform, which uses a CNC aluminum upper and lower to provide strength and sturdiness with light weight, especially when compared to a milled AK. All of this is before mentioning that the KS47 can be broken down into an upper and lower and stored in a smaller container than a traditional AK pistol, even when the pistol has a folding stock.

Room For Accessories 

MLOK rails are provided on the handguard of the pistol, this will allow any MLOK accessory to be attached to the front of the rail, and will provide zero retention as well as a sturdy platform for accessories such as a light, angled foregrip (more in a moment), and possibly a tape switch for the light. MLOK vertical grips are a thing and should NOT be purchased for this pistol. ATF definitions of a pistol do NOT include a vertical foregrip and adding one could put you at risk of a federal law violation. Let’s just say however that you’re not loving the included rail, well, the KS47 can also accept other front rails; perhaps you’re needing something that encloses your suppressor, or need something lighter weight, all of this can be accomplished with a simple swapping of parts on the upper. This is light years ahead of traditional AK design, which allows you a very simple selection of front handguards and certainly no way to change out parts that retain zero, quickly and with minimal tools. For someone trying to stand out from the crowd of AK platforms, this can become an expensive proposition.

Ergonomics 

AKs are notorious for being much less ergonomically friendly than ARs and this product truly bridges the gap; from charging handle placement to safety manipulation, the AR is faster, easier to learn, and let’s face it, just plain nicer to use. PSA has been listening to the markets exceptionally well, especially when they decided to include a trigger finger magazine release as well as the ability to use drop in trigger kits (except for one piece drop ins). This trigger issue solves another big AK problem, the trigger. Recently some companies have started to make nicer AK triggers, but they are expensive and difficult to install (watch out for that shepherd’s hook!), AR triggers are much easier to install and can be purchased pretty much everywhere online. Some people are diehard AK fans and love the intermediate cartridge, rock and lock magazines as well as the availability of surplus ammo. This offering from PSA really takes the cake for being the best of both worlds.

PSA KS47
Palmetto State Armory KS47 Hybrid

I want to talk one more time about the ergonomics of this gun. Please, please go watch a video of a person loading, charging and then taking an AK off of safety if you haven’t seen it before. Watch someone particularly fast do it with a traditional AK, go ahead I’ll wait. Look at how awkward and eccentric that is. Something as simple as charging the weapon requires you to either take your hand completely away from a firing grip, or awkwardly place your left hand backwards and reach under the gun. ARs usually must be charged away from the face, but in comparison it will look much more elegant and have less wasted motion. Placing the gun on safe from the fire position and vice versa is also MUCH easier. AR’s require a flick of the thumb in one direction or the other, while a stock AK requires taking the firing hand off of the grip, moving a large, usually hard to move lever, and then reversing this to put the gun on safe. This is just not realistic when comparing to todays modern sporting rifles. The AK industry does make parts to help with this, but with the KS47 you can install everything from a 45* safety to a push button safety exactly the same as you would install it on an AR platform.

The Barrel 

Another feature of the KS47 that is just plain genius, is the barrel. Traditional AKs when built have the barrel pressed into the trunnion and once it’s in there, it’s a tough job to get it out. With the KS47, if you want to change the barrel for any reason, be it caliber, length or material, you can quickly swap it out with any AR15 armorer tool kit. This is a big difference from the presses and vices needed for any gunsmith work on an AK and anyone who prides themselves in being able to fully service a firearm will be impressed when comparing the platforms. KS47 has taken all of the mystery of AK assembly and basically made it so easy you can assemble this thing with a vice and an armorer’s wrench. Try that with an AK and tell me how far you get.


Parting Shots…

The KS47 is a really wonderful hybrid firearm platform. Pistol firearms are becoming one of the fastest selling versions of rifles in the country and don’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. Combining the best of AKs and ARs at a price point that anyone can afford is a great recipe for success, and PSA is the one to deliver it. Pick up a KS47 if you’re in the market for a cool new AR that will make people at the gun range look twice when you open a “spam can” of ammo and proceed to whip out an “AR”.

By

Chris Frenchak has over 20 years of firearms experience between sporting and responsible concealed carry applications. Chris is a member of multiple pro-second amendment organizations including USCCA, NRA, and just as importantly, his local range. Chris is continuing a legacy of support for our rights by working with his family to increase firearms education and awareness as the lead editor of GunBacker.

The Daily Ammo

The latest firearms reviews, gear reviews and safe shooting tips for responsible gun owners.

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