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09/19/2004 Archived Entry: "AK Vertical Front Grip"


Blogispondent Ian here again. I recently ordered a vertical front grip for my AK, and just yesterday I took it out to the range for the first time.

I ordered it from Inter Ordnance of America, and it was my first time making a purchase from them. The good news was that my grip showed up in the mail less than a week after I ordered it. The bad news was that I didn't think to ask them about shipping charges, which ended up costing me $9 on a $23 order. Next time I want something like this, I think I'll spend a lot more time looking for an individual selling one.

At any rate, when it arrived it was in good shape.

Well, good shape for Romanian military surplus. InterOrd has two types of these grips - a short one for use with underfolding stocks and a fullsize one for fixed stocks. I ordered one of the fullsize ones. It's really, really ugly (as you can see in that first link) but it fit right onto my WASR-10 without any trouble at all, and didn't rattle or wobble at all.

Anyway, I don't have much trigger time at all with rifles that have vertical front grips (if you can't picture an AK with one, take a look here). I was hoping that having one would make the rifle more comfortable to maneuver and fire at close ranges. I figured that having both hands oriented vertically would be more natural and improve the rifle's handling.

After installing it, I played around with it in an apartment. It seemed ok, but didn't impress me very much. It weighed a bit more than the regular front handguard, which was noticeable when holding the rifle with one hand (changing mags, opening doors, etc). And speaking of mags, it did force me to change my mag-change technique. Normally, I hold a new mag close to parallel to the barrel, hook the nose in, and rock it back until it locks. With the vertical front grip, there wasn't much clearance for rocking magazines into place, so I had to start them much closer to vertical.

When I got to the range, my hopes for the grip died completely. I found no noticeable advantages while firing, and it was significantly less comfortable to carry. The front grip tended to get in the way of my sling, and carrying at a low ready was much more comfortable with the regular grip. When firing, I like to pull both of my arms back towards my body as much as possible, but the vertical grip precluded this and made for a less stable shooting stance. Finally, with the vertical grip, there was no effective way to hold down the sling. Normally I use the pinky finger of my support hand to hold the sling tight, preventing is from catching on things or being grabbed by someone in front of me. With this new grip, I couldn't find any way to do this, and had to let the sling hang loose.

Needless to say, the regular front handguard went back on when I got back from the range.

Posted by Ian @ 02:49 PM CST

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