New silencers and silencer-ready versions of proven designs were big hits at this year’s SHOT Show. Not wanting the storied Kalashnikov to be left behind the quiet-shooting wave, Arsenal, Inc. will begin offering suppressor-compatible variants of their Bulgarian AKs in 2016.

The guns are the result of a partnership with well-known suppressor manufacturer Gemtech, which will be producing a line of silencers designed specifically for Arsenal’s AKs. Arsenal will be offering suppressor-ready versions of both their stamped (SLR) and milled (SAM) guns in 5.45x39mm and 7.62x39mm.

As most anyone who has used AKs and/or suppressors for some time will know, effectively mounting a can on AK is no easy endeavor. First off, the threads on an AK’s muzzle or front sight base are not always precisely concentric to the bore, meaning that a large muzzle device like a silencer can be struck by projectiles exiting the barrel. “Fixing” non-concentric threads usually entails taking an expensive trip to a good gunsmith.

In addition to the concentricity issue, Kalashnikovs are often difficult to suppress due to their vented gas tubes or gas blocks—no matter what’s on the end of the gun, gas escaping from those vents results in a whole lot of noise.

One of the suppressors on an Arsenal gun.
One of the suppressors on an Arsenal gun.

Arsenal’s new suppressor-ready guns solve the first problem. During the manufacturing process, the company takes the extra time and effort to ensure that the centerline of the bore is the center of the circumference of the barrel. This allows a silencer to be attached to the muzzle without any fear of a baffle strike.

To help deal with the gas-venting obstacle, Arsenal will also be releasing a line of subsonic 7.62x39mm ammunition (hopefully they’ll release subsonic 5.45x39mm at a later date).

While some of the suppressors shown off at this year’s SHOT Show were directly threaded to their host guns, some featured quick-detach mounts. An Arsenal representative indicated that both direct-thread and QD mount options will be offered.

I had the chance to shoot test models of the new AKs at a range event during SHOT 2016. A suppressed 7.62x39mm milled underfolder was on the firing line and was probably my favorite out of all the guns available. The combination of the heavy gun, its silencer, and subsonic ammunition made the entire shooting experience quite pleasant. Even indoors, shooting the 7.62x39mm subs was incredibly quiet.

Nick Chen shooting a suppressed SAM7 underdfolder.
Nick Chen shooting a suppressed SAM7 underdfolder.

The suppressor-ready rifles will run roughly $150 to $175 more than their standard counterparts. The suppressors themselves will sell for approximately $800 to $900. Arsenal hopes to have the guns and suppressors ready for retail sale within 30 days. They will be available through K-Var.

Images by Matt Korovesis

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