What’s up American Partisan family. Have you ever had one of those “off the shelf” AK-47s or AK-74s? The ones with no mods or custom work done at all? It has characteristics such as basic mil-spec wood furniture, off the shelf factory trigger, a stock selector lever, and more? If so, I am about to show you simple AK-47 Safety Selector Lever Mods to make “driving” that beast a little more comfortable, look cooler and, with any luck, run a little faster. Ready?
Disclaimer: The mods described in this article are for information purposes only. This article is not meant to make you a gunsmith, nor could it. That takes years of training and experience. If you are unsure about what you are doing, take it to a pro. Try the modifications in this article at your own risk. You’ve been warned.
AK Safety Selector Lever BHO Mod
For those that don’t know, the AK safety selector lever (or “safety” if that floats your boat) is a stamped piece of metal, with a machined or cast piece of steel designed to interface with the trigger mechanism and receiver, attached to it at a 90 degree right angle. In the civilian version of the Kalashnikov, the selector lever has but two positions: “safe” and “fire”. In the military versions of the Kalashnikov (and the few REAL AKs we have here in the states), the selector lever has 3 positions: “safe”, “rock -n- roll”, and “semi-auto”. We are going to concentrate on the BHO Mod first, then transition to the rest of the mods.
The average AK comes with a factory safety selector lever, no bells and whistles, very basic. (See Pics) As “average” as it is, we can still make adjustments to it, which if done correctly, can take that “Nay-Kay” to a “HEY-K!”… as in “HEY, I wanna shoot that AK!” Check out the 2 SSLs below, one custom example on top, and one factory example below.
Mod The Steel?
So, what are the mods and how do we do them Dane? First, check your gun and make sure it’s not loaded. No ammo, no mag. Next, take it to a “Cold Room” or a room with no ammo in it. Then, check it one more time! Don’t get complacent. With that out of the way, let’s take a look at the first operation.
To begin with, you want to remove the AK-47 safety selector lever from the firearm. Or, you may already have it out of the gun if you were working on the Simple AK-47 Safety Selector fix from my previous article. If you do need to take it out of the gun, keep the firearm pointed in a safe direction, remove the top cover, the recoil spring assembly, and BCG. Then, rotate the safety selector lever to the 12 o’clock position (Pointing straight up). No, you didn’t break it. Once you have it in the 12 position, pull it out the side of the receiver. You may have to press down on the disconnector to press it out of the way to get the safety selector out, but it shouldn’t be too hard. Remember, this is all about EASY, SIMPLE, AK-47 Safety Selector Lever Mods. It doesn’t have to be complicated.
NOTE: If you have the “Shepards Crook” type of trigger retention spring set up, there are multiple types of these from many countries. If you are smart, you will look up how this spring comes out and follow the directions to a “T”. Or, if you’re even smarter, you will take out that “Shepards Crook” and replace it with an “FCG Pin Retention Plate.” They are made by Krebs, Tapco, Ronin’s Grips, Red Star, and a bunch of others. ALL of my AKs and variants have these retention plates in them. Another upgrade… it’s a “no-brainer”.
Measure The Steel.
Once you have that safety selector lever out of your AK, you will want to check out how wide that sucker is close to the finger shelf and about 2 inches back. (See Pics) It should be roughly the same size as the other safety selectors on your AKs that live in your safe. The reason you will want to measure it is to be sure you have enough “meat” to cut and grind the BHO out of the Safety Selector Lever (SSL).
That being done, you will want to mark two areas. Get your pencil or silver Sharpie and make a line about 1.150″ inches back, and 1.700 inches back from the front end of the safety. Your lines should be about .300” deep into the body of the SSL, and about .560″ wide from line to line (Cut to Cut). If you have an SSL that has the BHO cut already, all the better, because you can use it as a template. (See Pics)
Cut the Steel.
Once you have drawn on these lines, you can use a hacksaw, bandsaw, a grinding wheel, or other tool to cut away the piece of the ssl that isn’t needed. Remember, you will want to make your cut-out at about 1.150″ back for the front cut and about 1.700″ back for the rear cut. (See Pics)
Grind The Steel.
We aren’t done yet though. Once you have cut that metal out of there, you will want to use a Dremel or Foredom tool grinding wheel (See Pics) to flatten out the rear side cut-out and bottom of the cut-out to make it smooth.
Next, you will notice on other safeties with the BHO cut-out, the front “face” of the cut-out is rounded to accept the charging handle extension. (See Pics) You will want to take your grinding wheel or wheels and grind that rounded portion into the BHO cut-out. It will need to be about 9/32” diameter, give or take. After all, it’s an AK, not a precision microscope.
De-burr The Steel.
Once you have measured, drawn your lines, made your cuts, and ground everything down to where it should be, it’s time to de-burr that cut-out. You will want some Cratex, which is basically diamond impregnated rubber in various sizes and shapes. I use the cylinder and wheel shapes for many gunsmithing tasks. Cratex comes in many grades and shapes. Get the sizes that fit your Dremel or Foredom tool. They make de-burring a quick and easy task. Be sure to get all of the edges on each side. (See Pics)
Once this is finished and the edges are good and smooth, you should check and make sure it works for your AK-47 Bolt Carrier Group and fits your AK Charging Handle. As soon as you know it fits well, you can go two directions. You can go ahead and use the “bluing” and finish up this project. I personally use Black Magic by Kleen Bore for my cold bluing. Or you can take it a step further by smoothing out more areas of the safety selector lever to make it more comfortable to use. Continue reading if you want to see what else I do to my AK-47 SSLs to make them a little more comfortable to run.
More AK-47 Safety Selector Lever Mods.
In the pics below, I am de-burring and grinding the leading edge of the horizontal finger shelf on the AK safety. I didn’t grind off a lot, I only rounded it off to make it a little more comfortable to use.
The grinding I did ended up measuring about a 9/32″ diameter on the leading edge. You don’t have to copy mine exactly. Do whatever is most comfortable for your hands. In these pics, notice the forward tip of the AK-47 SSL, there is a “pointed” extension of steel… like a little sharp “tab”. I also ground this off on my Krebs AK Safety. I didn’t want anything on my AK Safety that could catch on my hand or rip it up for any reason. Granted, there are many other areas on an AK that can tear up your hands. However, I wanted to keep the safety as smooth and sleek as I could.
Do you see the little pointed “tip” sticking out at the top right hand of the screen? That is what I am referring to in the previous paragraph. This piece does not serve any functional purpose, so it was ground off, and the area de-burred for comfort.
De-Burr The AK-47 Safety Part 2.
Here you can see the forward tip area of the SSL has been ground off by the diamond bit in my Foredom Tool. It sits along side a specific type and shape of Cratex diamond impregnated rubber. With the safety itself set aside ready to be de-burred. You can also see the factory AK SSL being de-burred in the next picture. That wheel is one of the many diamond impregnated rubber Cratex wheels I use regularly. After which it will be cleaned up and readied for cold bluing.
Grind the Krebs AK Safety.
In this picture, you can see I gave the Krebs Safety the exact same treatment. I ground the forward tip of the safety, the edge of the lower horizontal finger shelf, and de-burred both areas. Following that, I used the Black Magic to give the areas I worked a uniform finish.