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PSA AKV: Ruggedly Reliable 9mm AK

At virtually any match or any range nowadays, you’ll see a pistol caliber carbine (PCC) running at some point. While they’re usually AR platform variants – like old-school Colts with stick mags or more modern platforms that run Glock “extendos,” AK patterned PCCs were plagued with malfunctions, shoddy workmanship, and issues sourcing parts. Then, enter the Palmetto State Armory AK-V, or for short, the PSA AKV.  

Dating back to 2018 and the release of their own line of AK variants rifles that shoot the standard 7.62×39 cartridge – they have rolled out the PSA AKV: an AK-inspired large-frame pistol chambered in 9mm that debuted at SHOT in 2019. 

psa akv split

LOOKS

First and foremost – and most striking – is the aesthetic. These pistols just look alluring, pairing one of the most recognizable rifle profiles the world over with the prevalence of one of the most widely used pistol cartridges ever. While AK purists might scream that Mikhail Kalashnikov as rolls over in his grave, but the PSA AKV shares much of the reliability of the AK platform by selecting a simple, but efficient operating system. A blowback-operated weapon chambered in 9mm, this is patterned after the Vityaz-SN Russian subgun. In addition, it takes CZ Scorpion mags on top of its own AK-V mags, that top out at 35 rounds for a noticeable advantage over AR variants, many of which cap out at 31-ish rounds of 9mm. (As an aside, PSA factory magazines for this platform are only $14 at the time of writing, and Magpul makes a CZ Scorpion magazine for $20 that should be compatible – this was not tested) 

PSA AKV FEATURES

Complete with a forged front trunnion and bolt carrier group, the stamped receiver gives the weapon a rugged feel. The combination of a 10.5″ barrel and 2-port “tanker style” muzzle brake grant the PSA AKV confidence to engage targets at 100 yards. The tanker-style brake mitigates the already minimal recoil and adds to the aesthetic. At the same time, what makes this gun really cool though is the 1/2 x 28 threads on the barrel, making this an excellent suppressor host. You can direct thread a can without the need for a booster or other device. 

psa akv muzzle

Since not every firearm plays well with suppressors out of the box, we added a Dead Air Wolfman to the mix when fleshing out the PSA AKV. Identifying itself as optimized for sub guns, the calling the combination of AKV and Wolfman quiet is an understatement. With the right loads, this thing is a whisper, John Wick quiet. What's more, it had exactly zero issues cycling while suppressed, without any tuning needed. Thankfully, adding a suppressor to the PSA AKV blowback system alleviated us of the typical adjustments that come with direct impingement or event gas-piston operated firearms. This thing ate everything we fed it, and quietly spat it out, without problems, even when running a suppressor. 

To get a more accurate evaluation of both recoil and reliability, we tested an array of ammunition, ranging from 115 to 147 grain 9mm cartridges:

  • 3 different types of 115 Gr – Freedom Munitions Reloads, Winchester White Box, Federal 
  • 2 different types of 124 Gr – Aguila and Winchester Service Grade
  • 1 type 130 grain – Syntech PCC by Federal
  • 2 different types of 147 – Aguila, Freedom Munitions Factory New

Cycling loads ranging from 115 grain to 147 grain, and the negligible recoil partly comes from the heft of the platform. What's more, a recoil buffer on the spring assembly reduces the already scant recoil of 9mm loads.  A bit heavy for a weapon it's size, it weighs in at 7 lbs, 4 oz. For context, a PSA 16″ AR, with a red dot and keymod handstop and typically weighs 7lbs 2 oz.

The PSA AKV sports a picatinny rail on the dust cover which, pinned to the receiver, flips up to reveal the operating system for disassembly. This makes reassembly much easier than other AKs as you just lower it and slap it into place. Most low-mounted red dots co-witness with the relatively spartan iron sights, lacking a windage leaf at the rear. The front sight post, however, is protected on either side by sight ears. While the irons confine the PSA AKV to closer ranges and give it that aggressive aesthetic, the ease of adding a red dot to boost the precision stat of the wielder should not be overlooked. The precision of a red dot compliments the 9mm amalgamation as a whole. 

sig romeo sight picture

Sight Picture with AKV and Sig Sauer Romeo 5 Red Dot

PSA AKV FIRE CONTROL & ERGONOMICS 

The PSA AKV fire control group provides a more user-friendly experience than other AK-based guns, especially if directed towards competition shooting. The AK-V sports a single hook, single-stage trigger at a relatively light 3lb average trigger pull, according to a Lyman digital trigger gauge. A shelf on the safety lever allows quick, one finger manipulation and has a positive, tactile click into the “fire” position; replacing the whole hand sweep taught in many AK Operator courses. 

Perhaps one of the most impressive things about the AK-V though, would be the last round bolt hold open – rare in both AK platforms and most AR PCC platforms. The bolt release resides on the left side of the mag well; and while it may look “tacticool” to reach under the fire control group to rack the bolt to chamber a fresh round, with this platform you simply need to hit the paddle, slap in a fresh magazine, and depress the bolt catch to bring it back into battery.

psa akv bolt release

Note bolt catch above magazine release paddle.

Reloads feel like you're shooting the 2nd cousin of an AR with a magazine catch in the wrong place, since you can slap in a magazine, press a button, and be ready for action again.  With practice, this is almost as simple as running an AR in 5.56 when it comes to reloads. The magazine well does have some sharp edges, and if you're moving fast you can hurt your hand or conceivably open it up pretty bad. Gloves would be a good call with this weapon if you're going to be running and gunning. Otherwise, the machining, fit and finish leave nothing to be desired.

psa akv magwell edge

Note the sharp corner at the edge of the magwell.

Equipped with MOE furniture and an SBA3 Adjustable brace (with all of it's features like a sling mount), the PSA AKV feels familiar to an AR considering Magpul's ubiquitous accouterments. This lends to a comfortable ergonomic feel, which combined with the overall size, completes the firearm as the micro soul of an AK. 

FUNCTION

The action on the PSA AKV shares some that dragging feeling found in other AK's, when the bolt travels over the trigger as the shooter cycles the bolt by hand, but this does not affect reliability or functionality. Some AK variants that fire rifle cartridges have this quirk, while some we've handled do not. It breaks down like any other AK – save for the dust cover which is affixed to the receiver. It's worth noting that the gas tube on this particular platform is purely decorative, so if replaced with a Picatinny option, the user doesn't have to worry about it melting any forward-set lights or lasers. 

psa akv open

Those that have done their research on this firearm know about the “Mac Bracket.” Every single AK-V has either left the factory with this bracket, or had it retrofitted by PSA (at no charge).

EVALUATION

All of this being said, the PSA AKV collaborates cool factor with reliability, complete with the rough edges expected in an AK platform. If the spirit of a Combloc firearm is something that gets better with age, the PSA AKV follows this lineage as a PCC with sharp edges that soften by use, and an action that gets better over time. The trigger is outstanding out of the box, especially for a single hook design, and with practice, double taps splits can be dropped below .2 seconds. Taking cues from Western Influences, the last-round bolt hold-open combined with a left-side release leave the old manual of arms in the dust. 

Ultimately, the heart of the PSA AKV resounds as a great suppressor host, PCC platform, and reliable truck gun or home defense weapon with an above-average magazine capacity and a soft-shooting recoil impulse. They're hard to find in stock lately, but if you want a 9mm, with reliability, maneuverability, interesting aesthetics, and inexpensive magazines, the PSA AKV is worth more than just a look. 


PSA AKV Spec Sheet

Weight as configured: 7lbs 4 oz
Overall Length: 26 3/8 inches with SBA brace fully collapsed, 29 inches fully extended
Street Price: $979 approximately (if you can find them in stock)
Cost Per Magazine: $14-$17 for PSA Factory Magazines


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