Definitive Arms is one of the best AK shops in the United States and has created some of the coolest custom and production Kalashnikovs around. At last week’s Big 3 East fall event in Daytona Beach, they brought out an exciting prototype: an extensively customized Vepr AK rifle chambered in 6.5 Grendel that was quickly dubbed the “GrendAK.”

The GrendAK features DA's signature AR-style magwell and a collapsible stock.
The GrendAK features DA’s signature AR-style magwell and a collapsible stock.

The base gun used in the GrendAK project is a Russian-made Vepr rifle. The 6.5 Grendel Veprs just recently came into the United States, with the first models offered up for retail sale last month.

6.5 Grendel is seen by many as the perfect compromise between smaller intermediate cartridges like 5.56x45mm and larger ones like 7.62x39mm. It is lightweight, flat-shooting, and still hits hard beyond 500 meters. Wolf Performance Arms recently began offering Russian-made, steel-cased 6.5 Grendel in the United States, making plinking with the cartridge much more affordable.

A Magpul pistol grip and Zhukov handguard round out the GrendAK.
A Magpul pistol grip and Zhukov handguard round out the GrendAK.
"6.5x39" is the Russian term for 6.5 Grendel. Its parent case is 7.62x39mm.
“6.5×39” is the Russian term for 6.5 Grendel. Its parent case is 7.62x39mm.
DA's magwell is solidly attached to the receiver of the GrendAK. It allows the operator to use 6.5 Grendel AR-pattern magazines, and features a bolt hold-open device and a bolt release.
DA’s magwell is solidly attached to the receiver of the GrendAK. It allows the operator to use 6.5 Grendel AR-pattern magazines, and features a bolt hold-open device and a bolt release.

The rifle sports a heavy, 16.5-inch chrome-lined barrel attached to an RPK-style reinforced front trunnion and receiver (RPKs are the light machine gun versions of the AK). A brake on the muzzle helps further tame the mild recoil of 6.5 Grendel. Definitive Arms fitted a tuned Tapco G2 trigger to the gun, lightening the somewhat-heavier Russian trigger’s pull.

Definitive Arms added a slightly modified version of their signature AK-mounted AR magazine well to the rifle, making magazine swaps (utilizing AR-pattern 6.5 Grendel mags) a breeze. The magwell also incorporates a bolt hold-open device and a bolt release, bringing some of the best features of the AR to the reliable AK platform.

Jim Grant takes aim with the GrendAK. It was quite the crowd pleaser at Big 3 East.
Jim Grant takes aim with the GrendAK. It was quite the crowd pleaser at Big 3 East.

During Big 3 East, a Hi-Lux CMR 1-4x scope in an RS Regulate mount was added to the GrendAK to stretch its legs at longer distances. After it was sighted in, Rich from MarksmanshipTrainer.com was repeatedly landing hits on steel silhouettes set up at 500 yards.

Chase (foreground) and Karl from Definitive Arms sighting in the GrendAK.
Chase (foreground) and Karl from Definitive Arms sighting in the GrendAK.

Definitive Arms also outfitted the GrendAK with a custom-fitted Magpul Zhukov handguard, CTR buttstock attached via a Bonesteel Arms folding hinge and buffer tube, and MOE AK grip. The Magpul furniture is a significant improvement over the Vepr’s standard wooden furniture. The Zhukov handguard was particularly welcome, as it allowed shooters to get their support hands farther out on the front-heavy Vepr.

The author shooting the GrendAK. Image by Jim Grant.
The author shooting the GrendAK. A steel casing from a Wolf round is being ejected. Image by Jim Grant.

Definitive Arms is considering offering converted rifles in this configuration, but has no solid plans for a run just yet. Having witnessed the quality and care they put into each rifle (and having had significant time with the GrendAK itself at Big 3) during a build class with them, I’m confident a line of DA-modified 6.5 Grendel Veprs would be quite successful.

Images by Matt Korovesis unless otherwise stated

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