The AK rifle system is one of the most common encountered in world conflicts and in the American shooting market. Knowing how to quickly and effectively load this weapon with a magazine (mag) is a key skill for any sport shooter or survivalist. Having been around firearms for several years, unloading and loading an AK mag into a receiver comes naturally to me. But what always surprises me is when I take new shooters to the range and they struggle with loading the rifle. I’ve even seen a few try to put it in backwards! So I’ve put together a quick little guide for how to remove a mag from an AK rifle and insert a new one.

As always, follow the basic gun safety rules when handling an AK. Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction and always treat the rifle as loaded.

Loading a Magazine into the Rifle

  • First, switch the safety lever to its upper most position, blocking the bolt carrier from moving back. Hold the handguard in your left hand.
  • Next, grab your loaded magazine with your right hand, placing your palm on the right side of the mag, wrapping your fingers around the front of the mag and your thumb around the rear.
  • Tilt the mag at about a 45 degree angle.
  • Place the mag into the magazine well and move the mag up and back until it snaps into position.
  • Slap the bottom of the mag to ensure it’s solidly placed in the mag well.
  • After you’ve loaded the mag and you’re ready to fire, switch the safety lever to the firing position, pull back the bolt carrier handle, let it ride forward and a round is chambered.

Unloading a Magazine from the Rifle

  • After expending all the cartridges in a magazine, clear the rifle by manually cycling the bolt to ensure a round is not chambered.
  • Hold the handguard with your left hand and grab the mag with your right.
  • Reach behind the mag with your right thumb and depress the mag latch in front of the trigger guard.
  • Pull the mag out smoothly, check the chamber one more time to make sure the rifle is clear and then switch the safety to on.

With these pointers in mind, you’ll be loading like a pro in no time.


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