Originally written by me and posted on the Brushbeater Forum. Come join the conversation. – NCS
The AK does a lot well, but one of the classic drawbacks has always been that YUUUGE flash at night. Its been said that the Russians developed the M43 with a higher burn than technically necessary, and this was done to ensure proper cycling under all conceivable conditions. That may or may not be true, depending on who you ask, but one thing we do know- the AK puts out a hell of a fireball at night.
That’s a problem.
If you’re running the Kalash in any small unit capacity you have to understand that night operations are critical to a guerrilla, and absent 100% night vision capability (a reality for pretty much everyone), a guerrilla band must learn that any attempt to mitigate their nighttime signature is imperative while understanding how to effectively target the enemy’s same mistakes. Noise and light discipline comes first, followed by taming that muzzle flash. Nothing gives guys a better target than a huge fireball.
The late, great Peter Kokalis noted from his advising of the Atlacatl Battalion during the El Salvadoran civil war that that the Vortex became mandatory due to its effectiveness on night ambushes in the Central American jungle. I share his opinion, having ran it on an AK in the southeastern woodlands for many years now. It works very well on any platform- from the ARs I’ve had it on, the M24, M14 EBR, M240, and even the AK.
That said though, there’s a bunch of even better options that have hit the market, particularly since the first iteration of the War in Donbass. The units there have figured out something a handful of guys tried over here some years back- running a flash can on the AK. Back in the day this thing hit the market…a short, single baffle can that was a step up from the old Krinkov booster cone. Those were designed to increase the backpressure of the shortened AK gas system but did little to mitigate the flash. The Bulgarians first developed the can (aka the Bulgarian 4 piece flash hider) to mitigate the impressive flash and ran it on their short 5.45 guns. It wasn’t long before guys started putting it on their other AKs for the same reasons. I tested it with Hawkeye a few years back and we videoed it:
Fast forward a few years, and the market has literally exploded with even more effective devices. One of the best ones I’ve found is the AK Darkness flash hider, which completely kills the flash off your AK. While its not a suppressor, it also has a bit of noise reduction at the ear- and it cycles with subsonic brown bear ammo. I’m a fan, and so is everyone ]who’s run it in training.