We’d like to take a moment to follow up two previous AK pistol articles “Best of Both Worlds” and “The Ultimate Truck Gun“.

Both of these firearms are Kalashnikov style pistols available from Century Arms.  M85 PAPs are imported from Serbia and C39s are made in the USA.


After the original article was published, I switched the stock AK pistol grip for a new one from MagPul. The MagPul AK pistol grip is hard plastic and has a small accessory or storage area inside of the grip much like their AR-15 grips.

Century Arms made in the USA C39 pistol

Century Arms made in the USA C39 pistol

I was a bit disappointed that the hardware shipped with the MagPul AK pistol grip did not include a lock washer as most do, and the screw seemed to be the cheapest version they could find.

The most notable change on the C39 was the addition of the DuraCoat® Coyote Brown finish. I applied DuraCoat® using their new aerosol “can in can” technology.

One final addition was the new MagPul AK P-Mag. I have only used it for a short time, but I am pleased.

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As for the “Best of Both Worlds” review, the M85 PAP in 5.56mm continues to impress. Being true Americans, we felt the need to make a few adjustments.

The addition of a new Ergo Grip AK pistol grip was a welcome change. This hand-filling extension improves the overall feel and control of the gun.

You will note that the original wooden handguards were replaced by an aluminum forearm from Midwest Industries. This allowed for easy installation of an Aimpoint Micro T1 optic.

M85 PAP chambered in 5.56mm with a new DuraCoat Uzi Green color.

M85 PAP chambered in 5.56mm with a new DuraCoat Uzi Green color.

Though not necessary for function, a DuraCoat UZI Green finish was applied to the entire package. Again, I used DuraCoat® Aerosol at our home shop.

While I refinished the M85, I replaced the stock trigger and hammer with a set from K-VAR.

The initial range session showed that the factory trigger was rough, a bit rougher than we would have liked. We coincidentally had a new-in-the-box K-VAR AK trigger set on hand.

Swapping out AK triggers requires only the appropriately sized punch and a bit of know how. YouTube is an excellent source for “How to Change an AK Trigger” tutorial videos. Believe it or now, they are not all terrible. We also took the time to install an AK Trigger/Hammer pin retaining plate to replace the factory spring. This feature is a nice aftermarket option and it is simple to install.

There you have it folks, two excellent AK style pistols with some practical and cosmetic upgrades. If you want one, get it before it’s gone.

Paul G. Markel ©2014

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Paul G. Markel has worn many hats during his lifetime. He has been a U.S. Marine, Police Officer, Professional Bodyguard, and Small Arms and Tactics Instructor. Mr. Markel has been writing professionally for law enforcement and firearms periodicals for nearly twenty years with hundreds and hundreds of articles in print. Paul is a regular guest on nationally syndicated radio talk shows and subject matter expert in firearms training and use of force. Mr. Markel has been teaching safe and effective firearms handling to students young and old for decades and has worked actively with the 4-H Shooting Sports program. Paul holds numerous instructor certifications in multiple disciplines and a Bachelor’s degree in conflict resolution; nonetheless, he is and will remain a dedicated Student of the Gun.

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