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Krebs Enhanced AK Safety

by Gus Norcross   |  May 7th, 2014 5

As someone accustomed to AR-15, M14 and M1 rifles, I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the AK-47, but I do have a couple and I have fun shooting them on occasion. The ammo is cheap, the rifles are more reliable than most, and when used at short to medium ranges the cartridges are effective.

I looked at my old home-built Romanian 7.62×39 rifle with a critical eye recently and decided that one of its shortcomings could be corrected with a little help from the aftermarket. Follow along as I attempt to inject a bit of “user friendliness” into the old Soviet warhorse.

Be honest, the standard AK safety lever leaves a lot to be desired. If you are used to manipulating the selector on an AR with your thumb without changing your firing grip, you’ll be disappointed in this sheet metal stamping that forces many operators to change their position to make the weapon ready. I have short fingers, so the standard “two fingers extended and swipe down” drill isn’t going to work well.

Krebs has added a second shelf to his enhanced safety about 1 inch to the rear of the standard tab so the trigger finger can reach it easily. A quick downward swipe and you are back on the bang switch ready to go. Like all AK safeties, this sheet metal stamping can be bent slightly to adjust tension for ease of manipulation.

Of course, you could simply modify your existing safety with scrap steel and a TIG welder. The $60 price of the Krebs lever seems a bit steep for a stamped piece of sheet metal. But not everyone has access to welding gear and a skilled operator to run it.

On my rifle, the new safety was a simple drop-in: remove the top cover, swing the safety lever so itís 90∞ to the receiver pointing straight up and pull it out. Plug the Krebs safety into the hole and swing it down. Done. It is possible that the hole in some receivers may need to be opened up slightly.

The crossbar of the Krebs safety is slightly thicker than the original, but I didn’t encounter any problems installing it in my DC Industries receiver. You’ll note from the photos that the Krebs bar is notched differently from the original part, presumably so it won’t function correctly with a full-auto trigger group.

Another feature of the Krebs safety is the bolt hold-open notch. While not important in a fight, this feature is handy at the range where a bolt locked to the rear indicates a safe weapon. With a little practice, the thumb of the firing hand can pull the bolt handle to the rear while the fingers pull up on the safety lever to lock the bolt open in one movement.

In a real world gunfight, safety manipulation wouldnít be important to me. I would run the rifle like a Glock until the threat was gone. But, I’m not likely to use a rifle anywhere except on the local range, and we want our ranges accident-free, so a safety that is easier to use and a bolt hold-open device to show everyone else on the firing line my rifle is clear are handy features.

  • Gordon L. Scott

    Anyone with even rudimentary hand tools can modify their existing safety lever for this function using a 1/4 inch rat tail file. But even then, this mod has marginal value as its only function is to serve as a bolt hold open that is not automatically engaged, but must be manually operated. The only purpose would be to lock the bolt open to satisfy range requirements, but that can be done without modifying your weapon…just stick a spent cartridge in between the bolt and breech.

    • Billy BoB

      Your a smart guy, Don’y you like the way the author is AKphobic. He actually admits to being scared to admit he is a true fan. He likes to shoot them but he not a fan because he’s afraid some one will tell him they are killer guns. And if it meant losing a friend he’d let congress ban them. But friend woundn’t ban your weapon. Would he? A true friend wouldn’t have anything to worry about, he’d know you have his back. Hilary Bloomberg are you listening?? They are not your friends………

      • Doug

        you got that right!! I bought a Chinese ages ago not really knowing what I was buying. actually can’t stand the thing not only due to the weight but the chrome lined barrel that won’t let me shoot consistent groups! it is all over the board, but part of it could be my scope not being as tight as I think it is. never was worried about the bolt or the safety, just popped it off and kept my finger off the trigger until ready to use it!! granted it has always been more of a spray and pray weapon and it ain’t pretty but it serves the purpose.

  • fled

    You need some time with Sonny Puzikas, he can explain all the wonders of the unmodified AK platform and show you their fabulous unconventional uses!

  • Jason Lewis

    Keep your old lever. Cut your own notch to hold the charging handle. Find a piece of scrap metal and make a “L” bracket. I cold blued the bracket. You can paint it if you want. Small screws and nuts or pop or solid rivets attach it. Now you got the same thing for free. That’s how I did it anyway. It’s an AK. Who cares about being pretty.

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