The C39 7.62x39mm

Century’s Intriguing AK Pistol

When it comes to Kalashnikov variants, Century International Arms has the field surrounded. They offer: under-folders, side-folders, bullpups, high- and low-capacity models, wood stocks, metal stocks, synthetic stocks and calibers 5.45×39 as well as 7.62×39. Making its debut is their 100-percent American made, C39 Pistol, a family offshoot of their Centurion 39 Sporter Rifle, which raised the bar on AK accuracy, performance and quality last year.

An AK pistol? It does seem strange at first, but the concept goes back to the 1970s when the Russians designed the diminutive AKS-74U in 5.45×39 as a submachine gun for use by armored and helicopter crews. The AKS-74U combined an AKS receiver with an 8.26″ barrel and a side-folding stock. With the stock folded, it has an overall length of 19.29″, and weighed 7 pounds fully loaded. The AKS-74U hit the ground running during the Russian-Afghan war. The Russians gave it the nicknames “cigarette stub” and “little bitch.” The mujahedeen gave it the name “Krinkov” or “Krink,” and regarded it as a Class A1 Russian war trophy. It was certainly handy, concealable and very cool looking.

Scrolling up to the present, true AK/AKM-type pistols in 7.62×39 without an AKS-74U type folding stock emerged in Iraq. According to Frank Iannamico in his definitive work, AK-47: The Grim Reaper, “the Iraqi pistols, so far recovered, seem to be of local manufacture and basically, modifications of existing stores of AKs.” As pictured in his book, they are essentially short-barreled, 7.62×39 versions of the AKS-74U; highly concealable and probably somewhat marginally useful for close quarter combat in an urban setting.

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