DISCLAIMER: Modifying or altering any safety device, on any firearm, in any way, will void your factory warranty and can be extremely dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. YOU are liable for any injuries, wounds, scratches, cuts, bruises, incurred costs, wounded pride, etc. This article is for info purposes ONLY. You are responsible for your own actions.
The Simple AK-47 Safety Selector Fix
How many of you have had a Safety on a firearm malfunction? They aren’t supposed to, right? But they can, and they do. There is a way to perform a simple AK-47 safety selector fix. As a gunsmith, I have witnessed this fact, seen first-hand multiple reasons why it happens, and fixed many different types of safety malfunctions on many firearms platforms. One of those firearms was my own custom Izhmash Saiga 7.62x39mm AK-47.
The AK47/74 weapons family is the most wide-spread family of firearms in the entire world. So, knowing how to use them is extremely important for any shooter, but knowing how to fix them, on-the-fly if necessary, is just as important. This is merely ONE WAY to fix this… it is not the ONLY WAY to fix this.
What do I need?
What is needed to fix an AK safety in this manner? (See Pics)
-Hammer or Small Sledge or Dead-Blow Hammer, etc.
-Anvil or vise or large block of steel, etc.
-Big ass punch or anything you can use as a punch, etc.
-Dial/Digital Calipers or a way to measure length precisely, etc.
So, what went wrong you ask? Well, I took my custom Saiga 762 out of the safe (Yes, of course I store my guns safely….) to pack it up and take it out behind my property to try out a new brake. As always, I did a basic function check on it before packing it up. How do you do a “Function Check” you ask? Keep reading.
The Basic AK Function Check
A Basic AK Function check is similar to an AR15…
- Take your AK into a “Cold Room” aka a room with NO AMMO in it.
- Before ANY checks, you must check that the AK is unloaded. Then, do it again, just for good measure. (if you leave the room in the middle of this, check the gun when you get back too.)
- Rack the charging handle completely to the rear, and let it “slingshot” forward. Is the Bolt fully forward and locked?
- Manipulate the safety lever to the safe position. Then press the trigger… Did the hammer fall or did the safety block the trigger from firing? (Hint: the hammer should not fall.)
- Manipulate the safety lever to the “fire” position. Press the trigger… and keep the trigger held to the rear. Did the hammer fall? (Hint: it should.)
- With the trigger still being held back, rack the charging handle again, and let the BCG “slingshot” forward. (Hint: It may be hard to rack it, put some effort into it.)
- Now, you should still have the trigger pressed/held to the rear. Its time to release trigger real smooth-like. Nice and slow. Did you feel the “click” of the trigger reset? If so, that good… the hammer should be retained during the trigger reset.
- Now, press the trigger one more time. The Hammer should fall like normal.
Function checks can seem like they take a long time, but they really don’t once you get it down. The function check revealed that the safety wasn’t working properly. The exact malfunction was simple, when I had the safety lever in the “SAFE” position, and pressed the trigger, the hammer fell. In other words, the safety wasn’t working properly. I took the top cover off to see if there was anything in the receiver that would have caused the malfunction, or some other reason for the safety malfunction. I repeated the function check I had done previously and there it was, the tab on the safety that engages the rear of the trigger, keeping it from firing, was slipping.
More on Safety Selectors
Now, some AK safeties are much wider for “reasons”, but the Krebs Custom Safety I have on this Saiga engages on the right-hand side trigger tab at the rear of the ALG AKT trigger. These are the same tabs that the legs of the hammer spring interface with and hook over. (See Pics Above)
The safety extension/tab that interfaces with the trigger tab had simply been worn down over years and years of use. Metal on metal wears, imagine that. The ALG trigger has a hole at the rear that a roll pin can be put into for the adjustment of safety engagement. The ALG comes with a couple of those pins and the pins can be ground down to fit perfectly. I chose not to use the roll pin cause initially, the engagement was stellar. And, although the ALG AK triggers are great, I don’t prefer that method for that particular function.
Functional AK Safety vs. Fixing an AK Safety
Below are two pics showing a functioning AK Safety Selector in both positions. In these pics of my Norinco MAK90/NHM90, you can see that the top cover and recoil spring have been removed and safety engaged and disengaged.
How do I fix this safety issue?
I’m going to show you how. So, to get the safety out, I removed the top cover, recoil spring, and BCG. Then, I rotated the safety to the 12:00 o’clock position, and removed it from the receiver. I made sure to pay attention to the “keyhole” cutout in the receiver. Once I removed it, I measured the overall length from the top of the safety lever to the bottom of the interface tab. (See Pics)
The OAL of the Krebs Safety was .512” or just over a half inch. I grabbed my hammer, a larger diameter flat-faced punch, the safety, and took them over to my little anvil. (See Above)
I laid the Krebs Safety on the anvil… and hit it hard. (See Pic Above)
After this, I re-measured the safety again, and it came in at .521” or about 10 thousandths longer. (See Above) Following the safety fix, I re-installed it into the Saiga 762 and it works great.
Wrapping it up!
A very simple fix, with minimal tools and no experience necessary at all. Again, this is just one way to do it. You can use the roll pin in the trigger, you can use a different type of safety, and more. Let me say though, if you have an AK that uses a “Shepards Crook” type trigger group retention spring, be sure to do your homework on how to remove your safety properly and re-install it properly.
I am planning a couple more AK articles that will dive a bit deeper into some of the mods I like to do to my AKs and more. Also, dont forget to check out NC Scouts article on his AK Mods. So stay tuned.
I hope this quick article was useful to you. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at: [email protected]