[Review] Palmetto State Armory PSAK-47 GF3: American Made

There’s something to be said about American-made, but there’s also something to be said for affordability, as well. When it came to getting both, however, AK aficionados were just straight out of luck–until recently, that is.

Palmetto State Armory’s long been hailed for their cheap-yet-quality AR builds, but they’re getting into the AK-47 game now, and bringing the heat.

Their latest generation of the PSAK-47 GF3 MOEkov edition was a pleasant surprise to our reviewers, so we’re going to dig in and show you just why you should give one of these babies a try, especially if you want to dip a toe in the AK-47 pool.

PSAK-47 GF3 MOEkov Edition

PSAK-47 GF3 MOEkov Edition

Pros

  • Hammer forged bolt, carrier, and front trunnion
  • Gas Nitride 4150 steel treated barrel
  • 7.62x39 Caliber

Cons

  • Requires some break in

Fit and Finish

First off, we were interested in the quality of the PSAK-47. Foreign-made AK-47s can be pretty hit-and-miss when it comes to quality, and PSA can have their issues, too. Hey, those $500 AR-15s work, they just don’t look all that pretty.

Suffice to say–we were seriously impressed. As Larry Vickers put it, this is the “Cadillac of AKs.” While the quality of this American-made AK is head-turning, we also are a big fan of the price–just under $800!

PSA AK-47 Full View TGO
PSAK-47 Full View (via TN Gun Owners)

The design of the PSAK-47 is completely fresh, drawing the best traits from Russian, Chinese, Bulgarian, and Romanian AK designs. PSA outdid themselves in developing this new take on what an AK-47 could be.

And, of course, they also rigorously tested and retested the gun during their development to make sure that you get a rifle that is ready for anything.

You can especially see the care and attention PSA poured into the PSAK-47 in the details. The ranch-gate safety selector is precise and secure. The action cycles like a dream, despite its rather forgiving tolerances. It’s chambered in 7.62×39, just like you’d expect.

Everything is made in the U.S., except for the trunnion and the bolt, which are sourced from a Korean and an Israeli company but are finished by PSA. 

Since PSA went back to the drawing board when imagining their take on an AK-47, it’s interesting to see what elements were incorporated from different varieties of AK designs. The bolt comes from the Bulgarian design, while the trunnion is similar to the  Russian version with a curved rear radius.

PSAK-47 Bolt Loose Rounds
The Bulgarian-styled PSAK-47 bolt–with some machining marks
(via Loose Rounds)

The sight is a pretty classic 800-meter rear sight and adjustable front sight, but this thing is still miles more accurate than some of the AKs we’ve used. There isn’t a cant to be found, though, some reviewers have mentioned one. It also has a side mount to allow you to mount a scope, too.

PSA has done a bit of retooling to help the PSAK-47 more versatile when it comes to swapping out aftermarket furniture. If you’ve ever played with other AKs, you’re probably well-aware of how finicky they can be about upgrades, but PSA has definitely helped alleviate that.

There are a few different editions of PSAK-47 out there, but the MOEkov is one of the more popular ones. This edition features Magpul MOE handguards and grips and a Magpul Zhukov folding adjustable stock.

Zhukov Stock
The folding, fully adjustable Zhukov stock

In the past, we’ve had some issues with poor anodizing jobs or machine marks from PSA. We were pretty tickled to see that the finish was really consistent across all the components and there wasn’t a machine mark in sight. 

Some other important specs to note: the barrel is 16.2” long with a 1:9.5 twist and six-groove rifling. It’s forged from 4150 steel and melonite-treated, with a classic slanted muzzle brake.

Trigger

PSA used a mil-spec double-hook trigger in the PSAK-47 which was surprisingly good. We don’t really like mil-spec triggers, and obviously will talk about upgrading them in a bit, but we have to tip our hat to PSA for making a decent stock trigger.

PSAK47 Trigger Fish and Game
PSAK-47 Trigger and Safety
(via Texas Fish and Game Magazine)

The pull weighs in at 4 lbs, 5 oz, so it’s actually pretty darn good compared to foreign-manufactured AKs. Our reviewers did discover that the trigger didn’t reset well during the first few shots, but the problem disappeared as they continued to break in the gun.

We also were a little bummed–but not surprised–to see that the “Auto” setting on the safety was only another setting of semi-auto. PSA was going for cool points there, and we can’t really blame them. It is pretty cool.

Accuracy and Recoil

Sighting in the PSAK-47 with a scope can be a little touchy, since the cheek weld just isn’t great for avoiding accidental parallax. You’ll get on paper, but this rifle definitely plays better with a red dot or iron sights, especially since it excels at close- to mid-range shooting. 

It’ll get down to anywhere between 2 to 4 MOA, according to our reviewers, which puts it well within mil-specs. And honestly, it’s not a precision gun. It’s really good at taking care of bad guys, and with that–you don’t need pinpoint accuracy.

Recoil can be a little sharp, but the Magpul-furnished PSAK-47 is significantly lighter than the traditional wood-stocked version, so it is much easier to control.

The slant brake doesn’t do very much to soften the recoil, but the polymer Zhukov stock and low iron sights may also mean that you feel a bit like you’re getting slapped with each shot.

Changing out the brake for a compensator helped a lot, but so did mounting an optic that was higher off the bore than the iron sights. 

Reliability

So, AK-47s are pretty dang reliable. They can take a beating and they don’t need super tight tolerances to work well. That being said, the PSAK-47 did pass some pretty serious torture testing but it wasn’t the smoothest process. 

As we mentioned above, there were some issues with the trigger reset, but the gun did go bang successfully every time we pulled the trigger.

Other reviewers didn’t have any such problems, and successfully fed the PSAK-47 an assortment of ammo qualities, dirt, and mud, and it still just kept shooting.

Magazines and Mag Release

The PSAK-47 comes with a single 30-round Magpul magazine, but it’s not picky about accepting other magazines, including Pro-Mag and foreign-made mil-spec magazines. If you already own some AK magazines, you’re probably good to go.

Magpul AK PMAG
Magpul AK PMAG

The mag release is pretty standard and magazine insertion is clean and sure with a nice click every time. It’s a great feeling.

Maintenance & Disassembly

First off, let’s note that AK-47s take a beating and keep kicking, much like our beloved ARs. After all, both are made to work under extremely demanding conditions without jamming or fouling up.

The action is seriously roomy, which makes it a breeze to work on for those of us without elfin fingers. It also is the reason this thing is just so dang reliable. There’s a lot of room for gunk before it starts to become a problem.

Bang for Your Buck

AKs aren’t cheap, even if they aren’t made in the U.S. PSA, however, has found a way to bring us an All-American take on an AK-47 for less than $800.

For us, it’s a great deal, even if you end up with one that isn’t as pretty as it could be.

PSAK-47 Light
A fancied-up PSAK-47

Upgrades

AK upgrades are booming pretty well right now, so there are quite a few options out there to choose from. Fortunately, PSA made the PSAK-47 pretty upgrade friendly. 

Let’s take a look at a few recommendations to get you started!

Trigger

As we know, upgrading your trigger is a great way to get more accuracy out of your rifle, fast. That being said, we’d like to suggest you take a look at the ALG AK Trigger.

It’s a drop-in trigger with a super-easy install, and it brings your trigger pull down to about 3 pounds. This upgraded trigger also will reduce your trigger’s pre- and post-travel, for a much more pleasant shooting experience.

ALG AK Trigger

ALG AK Trigger

Pros

  • Smoother and shorter trigger pull
  • Machined from triple alloy steel
  • Corrosion resistant Manganese Phosphate finish

Cons

  • May require minor fitting

Red Dot

We like our red dots around here, and we can definitely recommend the Aimpoint PRO, but if you don’t have a spare $400 to toss around, we also recommend the Holosun HS403C.

The HSC403C has stood up to some pretty severe torture testing and it’s made it through like a champ. It’s got a 2 MOA dot, a seriously long battery life, and a solar panel to help extend the charge!

Holosun HS403C Red Dot

Holosun HS403C Red Dot

Pros

  • Solar panel for battery savings
  • 50k hour battery life
  • Waterproof up to 1 meter

Cons

  • Battery is hard to remove

Looking for other red dots? We’ve got you covered–check out the best red dots.

Side Optics Mount

One disappointing thing about AKs is that they don’t have a great way to mount an optic–but side mounts make it a whole lot easier. 

A really versatile option is the Midwest Industries AK Railed Scope Mount. It adds a short section of Picatinny rail to the top of your AK, perfect for slapping on an optic or other accessories.

It’s highly adjustable and has a quick detach method that’s easy enough, once you learn how to read it. Be sure to give the directions a look-see, unless you want to struggle with it because you put it on too tightly.

Midwest Industries AK Railed Scope Mount

Midwest Industries AK Railed Scope Mount

Pros

  • ADM auto lock system allows for repeat zero
  • Low profile
  • Attaches to the common AK side scope rail

Cons

  • Can be a challenge to get off the first time

You’ll have to remove it to access the internals of your AK, but it seems to hold zero pretty well, even if you reinstall it.

Magazines

The PSAK-47 takes quite a few varieties of magazines, including those made by foreign manufacturers. We think, though, it’s pretty hard to go wrong with a Magpul PMAG, especially since they’re nice and lightweight, while still being plenty sturdy.

Magpul 30-Round AK/AKM PMAG

Magpul 30-Round AK/AKM PMAG

Pros

  • Constant-curve internal geometry for smooth feeding
  • Anti-tilt, self-lubricating follower
  • Impact and crush resistant all polymer body

Cons

  • Tight fit in the magwell

Sling

And, of course, we can’t leave you without talking about a sling for your new toy. Single point slings, like the Blue Force Gear UDC Padded Bungee Single Point Sling, are a versatile and comfortable option for many shooters.

This particular sling has easy-to-change attachment connectors, soft padding, and just a little bit of stretch to make it comfortable, hassle-free, and simple to use with the rifle of your choice.

Blue Force Gear UDC Padded Bungee Single Point Sling

Blue Force Gear UDC Padded Bungee Single Point Sling

Pros

  • Short bungee sections absorb shock
  • Padded for comfort
  • Versatile attachment adapters

Cons

  • Runs large

There’s plenty of other options in our guide to the best rifle slings.

And, of course, there are pretty much endless options when it comes to upgrading your buttstock, grips, handguards, muzzle devices, and more–but we think that the ones PSA includes are pretty nice. 

Conclusion

 All things considered, we’re pretty thrilled with the PSAK-47. Not only is this a well designed and manufactured rifle, it’s pretty dirt cheap, too. In our opinion, PSA really outdid themselves this time.

We’d like to see a little more accuracy out of the rifle, and maybe have an easier time sighting it in, but it’s and AK–there’s only so much you can do about that. With a few tweaks, it manages a respectable degree of accuracy, and it won’t pinch your face, either.

PSAK-47 GF3 MOEkov Edition

PSAK-47 GF3 MOEkov Edition

Pros

  • Hammer forged bolt, carrier, and front trunnion
  • Gas Nitride 4150 steel treated barrel
  • 7.62x39 Caliber

Cons

  • Requires some break in

Overall rating: 7/10 stars

Have you shot the PSAK-47? Do you want to? Share your thoughts about it in the comments! Looking for an AK alternative? You might be interested in our review of the Ruger Mini Thirty.

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