The Ultimate Firearms Destination for the Gun Lifestyle

Palmetto State Armory “Krink”: Shorty AK Goodness



At RECOIL, we review every product fairly and without bias. Making a purchase through one of our links may earn us a small commission, and helps support independent gun reviews. Learn More

Comrade, listen to me. The Krink isn’t just a gun. It’s a status symbol. A trophy from a war that America didn’t technically fight, but still won. Like Rambo and Die Hard, it’s a product of the 1980s that lives on today.

Ignore practicality, ignore ergonomics, ignore ballistics. Krink is life.

Why? Let me tell you a story.

WHAT IS THE “KRINK”

If you’re like me and AKs aren’t your passion, you might look at the Krink and say “So what?”. And honestly, that’s kind of fair if you’re just looking at the specs. But like most great works of art, the Krink isn’t cool because of what it is. The Krink is cool because of the story behind it.

Practically, the Krink from PSA is an AK pistol chambered in 5.56 NATO. 

Originally, the Krinkov was a Soviet rifle designed in the late 70s and fielded starting in the early 80s. 

Officially, this was the AKS-74U.

Origonal Soviet AKS-74U

But… the story is more complex and weird than just that. There is a lot of lore and myth surrounding the Krink and most of it is complete nonsense. What is true is that it boils down to being an AK-74 but with a short barrel and different sights. The action is pure AK, the ergonomics are AK, and the function is AK. 

Sure, a shorter barrel also meant the Krink had a shorter gas system and different twist rate because 5.45 didn’t work out of shortened AK-74 barrels, but that’s about the only design change.

What makes Krinks, Krinks is their place in history. No battle was won because of the Krinks, no massive change in small arms occurred because of the Krinks, and arguably the Krinks were kind of the wrong weapon in the wrong place at the wrong time, but they still managed to create a cult following even to this day.

The AKS-74U was adopted by the Soviets moments before their invasion of Afghanistan at the end of 1979. Issued mostly to BMP drivers (Boyevaya Mashina Pyekhoty or what we would call an infantry fighting vehicle) and Hind helicopter pilots, this rifle was perfect for small spaces and used by people who didn’t expect to need a full-sized rifle, but still needed something better than a sharp stick or worse, a Makarov.

This by itself doesn’t make the Krinks very interesting. What makes them interesting is the Mujahadeen.

As far as we can tell, the name “Krink” or “Krinkov” comes from the Mujahadeen, but exactly why is not clear. Before someone repeats the myth about the Mujahadeen capturing a Soviet officer by the same name and naming the weapon after him, no, this has been proven absurd.

Soviets in Afghanistan with a AKS-74U using an RPK 45-round magazine with the side cut out

An 8-inch barrel 5.45 rifle with iron sights is a 200-yard problem solver, maybe 300 if you’re good. But as American and NATO forces learned in Afghanistan during the 2000s, Afghan firefights are often a 400- to 500-yard affair. A 20-inch barrel M16A4s and ACOGs weren’t ideal in the 2000s, so you can imagine how well the Krink did.

That said, Krinks quickly became a status symbol that persists today. Why?

Because Krinks were hard to get during the 1980s and the primary way for the Mujahadeen to acquire them was to shoot down a Hind or blow up a BMP. When a war trophy requires you to go to such lengths, the trophy becomes highly prized.

Two Soviet pilots armed with AKS-74U in rarely-seen hip holsters

Think about American forces in WWII and getting Lugers to take home. And getting a Luger didn’t require you to first shoot down a gunship and then loot its smoldering wreckage.  

Imagine you’re a freedom fighter who did all of that. That is why the Krink became so very highly prized and respected.

And while you didn’t get an epic loot drop from a Hind or BMP, you can still enjoy the flavor of the Krink. 

SPECS

  • Caliber: 5.56x45mm
  • Barrel Length: 8.4″ 
  • Barrel Twist Rate: 1:7
  • Barrel Material: 4150 Steel
  • Barrel Finish: Gas Nitride
  • Muzzle Device: Krink Booster
  • Muzzle Thread: M24x1.5 RH 
  • Receiver: Stamped Steel 
  • Front Trunnion: Hammer Forged 4340AQ
  • Bolt: Hammer Forged 
  • Carrier: Hammer Forged 
  • Handguard Type: “Bakelite”
  • Grip: Checkered Grip, “Bakelite”
  • Brace: JMAC Customs Stock Adapter with Black Triangle Side Folding Brace
  • Fire Control Group: Single Stage, Single Hook
  • Side Rail: Yes
  • Sights: 90 Degree Combo Sight/Gas Block, Dustcover Rear Sight
  • Magazine: 30 Round Magazine (1); Where Allowed by Law

ON THE RANGE

Honestly, this gun is exactly what you should think it is. A short-barreled 5.56 AK. Soft shooting? Not really. Big fireballs? Hell ya. Fun? Definitely.

Big thanks to TrueShot for providing the GGG 55gr 5.56 used in testing!

The triangle brace is pretty decent, I love the look and it works well enough to get shots on target. Irons for the Krink are surprisingly solid and usable. While just a notch and post with a fairly short sight radius, the rear sight is permanently affixed to the dust cover and came decently zeroed.

What the Krink does have is bark. A lot of bark. 10.5 inches is normally as short as anyone sane will go with an AR-15, but the PSA Krink is 8.4 inches (Soviet Krinks were made with 8.1-inch barrels in 5.45×39) making this the Dachshund of AKs. Short, a lot of bite, but a whole lot more bark. 

Other than that, it’s an AK. Manual of arms is AK, disassembly and maintenance (Ya, right, as if any of us clean our AKs!)  is AK, grip angle, reload, it’s all AK.

But it works. From the first shot to the last, the Krink ate every flavor of ammo it was given and rolled through targets with ease. 

Furniture

PSA’s Krinks are designed for 100-series muzzle devices, so if you’re looking for a brake or can, that’s what you want.

My Krink features PSA’s “Bakelite” to mimic the look of that old Soviet style. While it looks great, I’m not sure I would recommend this style. The “bakelite” dents and scratches very easy and heats up even faster. Granted, AK’s aren’t known for being cool shooters, but this doesn’t soak heat much at all.

Unless you're really into this look, I'd recommend wood.

The triangle brace performs a lot better and is one I like shooting with the most. The downside of it on the Krink is that PSA uses their standard triangle brace that uses 1913 Picatinny rail to attach. Instead of using a normal AK folding rear trunion, the Krink has a 1913 rear.

The good news is that if you want to SBR the Krink, even the models that come with a 1913 rear still have the side folding lower complete with a retention button on one side and a latch hole on the other.

Unlike the original Krinks, PSA has a side mounting optic rail should you choose to go that route.

PRATICAL?

If we’re getting down to brass tacks, I really can’t think of why you should opt for a Krink instead of a normal AK pistol. They are basically the same price at PSA and the normal pistols might have better furniture depending on what you’re after.

On the other hand, there isn’t a reason to not get a Krink if you’re looking for this size and like the furniture.

This isn’t a gun that is meant to be 100 percent practical. This isn’t designed to be your number one home defense gun or the gun you take to Nationals to try for the gold. The main point of the Krink is the cool factor.

In my view, the PSA Krink nails this. Maybe not for die-hard purists, but for the rest of us who want to enjoy our AKs, the PSA Krink brings a piece of history to life that would otherwise be inaccessible. 

Just in case you’re wondering, finding a real Krink is almost impossible in the USA. A full-auto, American-made “Krink” sold at auction for almost $40,000 in 2023. Semi-auto Bulgarian Krinks built from kits commonly go for about $4,000.

At 1/4th the price for PSA’s Krink seems pretty good.

My caliber of choice will always be 5.56 because that is the ammo I can source with ease. But if you’re looking for something with more flavor, PSA is going to release the Krink in 300 Blk, 5.45, and even 7.62×39.

LOOSE ROUNDS

For what it is, I like the PSA Krink. Not every gun needs to be the most tactical highspeed shooter on the range. For a gun that is fun, looks awesome, and shoots well, the Krink nails everything that it is trying to be.

Enter Your E-Mail to Receieve a Free 50-Target Pack from RECOIL!

NEXT STEP: Download Your Free Target Pack from RECOIL

For years, RECOIL magazine has treated its readers to a full-size (sometimes full color!) shooting target tucked into each big issue. Now we've compiled over 50 of our most popular targets into this one digital PDF download. From handgun drills to AR-15 practice, these 50+ targets have you covered. Print off as many as you like (ammo not included).

Get your pack of 50 Print-at-Home targets when you subscribe to the RECOIL email newsletter. We'll send you weekly updates on guns, gear, industry news, and special offers from leading manufacturers - your guide to the firearms lifestyle.

You want this. Trust Us.



Add a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to the Free
Newsletter