The Draco AK Pistol Name Origin

What are the origins of the Draco gun and how did it get its name? In this article, we’ll answer that and many other questions concerning the Draco gun, its design, use cases, and variants.

The Draco has a long and storied history that has reached an almost mythic status since its humble beginnings in the southwestern part of Romania.

Imported by Century Arms and manufactured in the Cugir Arms Factory, the Draco is patterned after the PM md.90 and was specifically made for the civilian market, so you could say the Draco gun’s real name is the PM md.90.

Being one of the most popular guns in all of Hip Hop, and showcased in dozens of Rap Videos by artists such as Soulja Boy, the Draco is one of the most well-known and beloved AK-47 variants of all time.

The original Draco PM MD90

Also made popular by the Call of Duty franchise, this mini-AK is all the rage in the minds of youths and old farts alike. Popularity aside, what audience was this pesky cousin to the AKM made to serve, and for what purpose does it exist?

In this article, we tackle all of the most frequently asked questions regarding the infamous “Draco” to find out exactly what it is and if it’s right for you.

We’ll start by answering the most frequently asked questions about the Draco AK pistol that you might not know.

Why is it Called a Draco AK?

If it’s not immediately obvious how the Draco got its name, it might become clearer if you spoke a bit of Latin and shot an SBR at dusk.

Draco Gun
Short-barreled AK pistols like the Draco produce large fireballs with an excess of unspent gunpowder. The muzzle device can increase this fireball like the one depicted in the image above. Source: Interwebs

The Draco AK gets its name from the Latin word “Draco”, which translates into “serpent” or “dragon”. Dragon is especially fitting since a short-barreled AK will literally shoot fireballs with every squeeze of the trigger.

And nothing screams dragon like a Draco blowing fire after dark!

Is the Draco a Good Range Toy?

Draco AKs are great fun at a private range but don’t think for a second that you should bring your Draco to a public range- especially indoors! Short-barreled rifles (aka SBRs) are a rude awakening for anybody standing near you at a gun range.

They spit fireballs and are much louder than standard-length carbines. It would be best if you left your Draco at home on range day.

Are Draco AKs Good for CQB?

Draco AKs were designed to be used in more confined quarters where a standard-length carbine would be detrimental to combating a threat.

With a shortened barrel and removable stock, they are easily stored in a vehicle and can be deployed and operated quickly in tight spaces.

For civilians, this could be a good car or truck gun and a home defense option. For the military, this would be used by paratroopers, Spetsnaz fighters, or tankers.

Is The Draco AK an SBR or Pistol?

The Draco is the compact variant of the AK-47. Since they lack a stock and have a barrel shorter than 16″, they’re considered “pistols” when imported.

With a pistol brace added, they gain much more functionality and usability in CQB scenarios but are still considered pistols under the ATF guidelines. If you add a rifle stock, you must register it as an SBR (short-barreled rifle) and pay a $200 tax stamp.

How Does a Draco Compare to an AK47?

The Draco is affectionately known as the “Baby AK” in most AK circles. They are a Romanian variant of the modern AKM pattern of rifles originally designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov.

They shoot the same 7.62×39 cartridge and use the same 30-round banana mags but have a much shorter 12.25″ barrel and come without a stock.

They have a shorter gas piston and front sight post but share the same trigger group, pistol grip, rear sight block, dust cover, and upper/lower handguards.

The closest thing out of Russia to the Draco in design is the AKS-74U Krinkov.

Is a Draco a Submachine Gun or a PDW?

The Romanian PM md. 90 is a PDW chambered in 7.62×39 and used for CQB Military operations.

Technically speaking, Draco’s don’t quite fit either definition since they were made specifically for the civilian market in a semi-auto configuration only.

Submachine guns are fully automatic select-fire weapons chambered in pistol calibers such as the 9x19mm NATO or .45 ACP cartridges.

The Draco is a semi-auto civilian version (minus a stock) that is based on the PM md. 90 (chambered in 7.62×39), which is the Romanian military’s PDW of choice for Spec Ops (or at least they used to be).

PDW’s (personal defense weapons) are fully automatic, select-fire weapons chambered in rifle cartridges and are more effective against body armor due to their superior velocity and penetration capabilities.

If the Draco was capable of full-auto fire, it would be considered a PDW. PDW’s are basically cut-down versions of their full-sized counterparts, while submachine guns are, for lack of a better word, overgrown pistols.

Where is the Draco AK Manufactured?

The Draco is manufactured by the Cugir Arms Factory in Romania and imported exclusively by Century Arms International.

In 2017, Century Arms started making its own version of the Draco to make up for an import shortage at the time.

Since the Draco is considered a “pistol” under the ATF’s rules, it is made entirely out of Romanian parts with the only modifications being done by Century Arms limited to removing the tack welds on the barrel nuts.

Pistol braces can be added without breaking any laws, but adding a stock would require a $200 “tax stamp” payable to Uncle Sam to convert the Draco into an SBR.

How Many Draco Variants and AK Pistols Are There?

There are 3 Draco variants currently in production in the Cugir Arms Factory in Romanian and 1 US-made Draco:

Romanian Draco
US-Made Draco made by Century Arms
Romanian Mini Draco
Romanian Micro Draco

Century Arms started making their own Draco clone in 2017 and currently makes 3 more AK pistols with more modern features. These are AK pistols made in the USA:

C39v2 AK Pistol (milled receiver)
RAS47 AK Pistol
VSKA AK Pistol

There is one more import that makes 2 versions of a 7.62×39 AK pistol made by Zastava out of Serbia. These 2 models are the:


Most Popular Draco AK Pistol Variants

Now, let’s take a look at 8 of the most popular Draco AKs currently on the market and see how they compare and stack up against each other!


The Original Romanian Draco

The Draco is a semi-automatic pistol designed in Romania for sporting use and was inspired by the infamous AK-47 Kalashnikov rifle.

Featuring double locking lugs, an unlocking raceway, and a trigger mechanism that is derived from the earlier American M1 Garand Rifle.

It has a stamped steel receiver, polymer pistol grip, and wooden handguards. It increases maneuverability in close quarters and features a hard chrome-lined, hammer-forged barrel with a 1:10″ twist.

  • Manufacturer: Cigur Arms Factory
  • Imported by Century Arms
  • Model: Draco AK Pistol
  • Caliber: 7.62x39mm
  • Barrel Length: 12.25″
  • Overall Length: 21.5″
  • Grips: Black Polymer
  • Foregrip: Wood
  • Weight: 5.5 lbs.
  • Twist Rate: 1:10″
  • Sights: Fixed Front; Adjustable Rear
  • Magazine Capacity: 30 Rounds


Mini Draco Made in Romania

The Mini DRACO is a semi-automatic pistol made in Romania and imported by Century Arms that features a 7.75″ Chrome-Lined barrel. Each pistol comes with one 30-round magazine.

  • Importer: Century Arms
  • Model: Mini DRACO
  • Caliber: 7.62×39
  • Finish: Black
  • Barrel Length: 7.75″ Chrome-Lined Barrel
  • Magazine Capacity: 30
  • Twist Rate: 1:10″
  • Made in Romania
  • Overall Length: 17.5″
  • Weight: 5.6 lbs.


Micro Draco is Made in Romania

The Romanian-made Micro Draco pistol from Century Arms features a 6.25″ barrel and weighs in at just 4.85 lbs.

Other features of the Micro Draco include a hard chrome-lined hammer-forged barrel, a stamped receiver, and acceptance of all standard AK magazines. Each Micro Draco pistol comes with one 30-round AK magazine.

  • Hard chrome-lined hammer-forged barrel
  • Barrel 1:10 twist, 14×1 LH thread
  • Stamped receiver
  • Accepts all standard AK mags.
  • Comes with one 30 rd. mag.
  • Manufacturer: Cigur Arms Factory
  • Model: Micro Draco
  • Model Number: HG2797-N
  • Caliber: 7.62x39mm
  • Barrel Length: 6.25″
  • Overall Length: 14.5″
  • Furniture: Wood Furniture
  • Magazine Capacity: 30 Rounds
  • Weight: 4.85 lbs.


US-Made Draco by Century Arms

The US-made Draco AK Pistol from Century Arms features a hard chrome-lined 10.55″ hammer-forged barrel.

Other features include a stamped receiver, 14×1 left-handed threading, and an overall length of 17.5″. The Draco is configured to accept all standard AK magazines and includes one 30-round magazine.

  • Manufacturer: Century Arms
  • Model: Draco
  • Caliber: 7.62x39mm
  • Barrel Length: 10.5″
  • Capacity: 30 Rounds
  • Frame: Steel
  • Finish: Black


Zastava M92 PAP

The Zastava M92 PAP AK Pistol is a heavy-duty AK pistol. It is a shorter version of the Zastava M70 with precision-machined, hammer-forged steel construction and is built like a tank!

The M92 features a nickel-polished bolt carrier and a bulged trunnion for extreme durability. This 7.62x39mm rifle features a 10” cold hammer-forged barrel with adjustable front and rear sights.

Like most standard AK-47s, it is built on a stamped receiver but features a 1.5mm bulged trunnion, a corrosion-resistant hard nickel molly steel bolt carrier.

The bolt is designed for use with double-stack magazines and the safety has a bolt hold-open notch. This M92 features a wood handguard.

  • Made in Serbia at the Zastava factory
  • Stamped Receiver
  • Hinged Receiver Cover
  • Model: M92 AK47 Pistol
  • Caliber: 7.62 x 39
  • Action: Gas Operated Semi-Automatic
  • Capacity: 30 Rounds
  • Barrel Length: 10.25”
  • Handguard: Wood
  • Overall Length: 19.75”
  • Weight: 5.69 lbs.


VSKA AK Pistol by Century Arms

Century Arms HG6573-N: The VSKA pistol is designed for either home defense or plinking. This model shoots as well as it looks and features an all-new bolt carrier, front trunnion, and feed ramp machined from S7 tool steel and specially heat-treated for maximum durability.

S7 steel, often referred to as a “Shock-Resisting Tool Steel,” is commonly used for tools like chisels and jackhammer tips as it has maximum shock resistance and high compression strength while retaining toughness.

The front trunnion and bolt are machined from billet and exceed the durability goals for the project. The gas system is inspired by the legendary AK-47 rifle and should function in the worst of conditions. 

Additionally, the VSKA features a carburized 4140 steel bolt, a chrome-moly 4150 barrel, and Polymer US Palm Grip, and sports the RAK-1 Enhanced Trigger Group for a great trigger pull.

This pistol configuration increases maneuverability and utility in a compact PDW package. Along with a manganese-phosphate finish, Century adds a little style to this rugged firearm with a synthetic wood handguard. 

These unique handguns readily accept most standard AK-47 magazines and include one 30-round detachable banana-style magazine.

  • Manufacturer: Century Arms
  • Model: VSKA Pistol
  • Caliber: 7.62×39
  • Barrel Length: 10.5″
  • Twist Rate: 1:10″
  • Muzzle Device: Draco Muzzle Brake
  • Forend: Wood
  • Grips: US Palm Pistol Grip
  • Magazine Capacity: 30-Rounds
  • Overall Weight: 5.5 lbs

The Century Arms C39v2 AK pistol

The Century Arms C39v2 AK pistol
C39v2 AK Pistol by Century Arms

The C39v2 AK pistol is a high-value pistol package sharing the same features as the full-size rifle models such as a milled 4140 ordnance grade steel receiver, receiver side rail (compatible with the Century Arms AK Micro Dot Side Mount), 4150 nitride-treated barrel, RAK-1 Enhanced Trigger Group, with the addition of quick-detach attachment points for easy mounting of a tactical sling.

The firepower and reliability of an AK-47 packed into pistol form make the C39v2 pistol a perfect option for the modern prepper, the ultimate backup or truck gun, or simply something for a day of ultimate fun at the range.

  • 100% American made
  • Barrel 1:10 twist, concentric LH 14×1 metric thread, and ready for a variety of muzzle attachments
  • Chrome moly 4150 nitride treated barrel
  • Milled 4140 ordnance quality steel receiver
  • 1st AK side scope rail mount to offer a return to zero capability also offers four times clamping improvement over traditional side scope rail mounts and improves sight acquisition for follow-up shots
  • RAK-1 Enhanced Trigger Group
  • Larger T-shaped magazine catch
  • Compatibility with AKM furniture
  • Standard AKM sights
  • Retaining plate
  • Bolt hold-open notch on the safety selector
  • Front sight gas block and bird cage style flash hider
  • Bolt carrier tail heat treated to ensure maximum performance and life
  • Accepts all standard AK magazines
  • Ambidextrous QD attachment points for attaching a tactical sling
  • Comes with one 30-round standard-capacity magazine.
  • Magpul MOE AK pistol grip and MOE AK handguard


RAS47 AK Pistol by Century Arms

The Century RAS47 packs the power and reliability of the legendary AK-47 into pistol form. 100 percent American-made, the RAS47 has a precision stamped 4140 steel receiver and a 10.6′ cold hammer-forged 4150 chrome-moly barrel.

Both the barrel and receiver are nitride-treated. It accepts all standard AK magazines and is compatible with AKM furniture. This makes a great backup or truck gun and is perfect for a fun-filled range day.

  • Manufacturer: Century Arms
  • Model: RAS47
  • Caliber: 7.62x39mm
  • Barrel Length: 10.6″
  • Overall Length: 20.5″
  • Magazine Capacity: 30 Rounds
  • Weight: 6.55 lbs.

Which 7.62×39 AK Pistol is the Best?

It’s hard to say, but if I had to choose between the original Draco made in Romania and the Zastava M92 PAP made in Serbia I’d have to go with the OG Draco! The Draco is the one that started it all and has a great pedigree to boot.

The Zastava is built like a tank and is a bit too heavy and that kind of defeats the purpose of having a “baby AK” in my humble opinion (still a great safe queen!).

The US-made versions are cool to look at but they just don’t have the same pedigree as the imports. If PSA ever decides to get into the game I would definitely consider one as a budget option.

Are Draco AKs Good Truck Guns?

A Draco would make a decent truck gun size-wise but the percussion blast coming out of such a short barrel could cost you your hearing! Perhaps you should consider keeping a pair of ear pro close at hand should you decide to go that route.

A good, reliable handgun will most likely be the best option in my humble opinion. Of course, it becomes much more viable once you exit the vehicle so perhaps you can have both? Win-Win!

Are Dracos Good For Home Defense?

As a general rule, PDWs are particularly gnarly when fired indoors. You’re just as likely to take yourself out of the game as you are to tackle the threat on the other end of the muzzle.

Unless you’ve got time to grab some ear pro and sunglasses to keep yourself from going deaf and blind, I would recommend against something as unruly as a Draco.

Though you might be losing a few hundred FPS of velocity, those 7.62×39 rounds will likely over-penetrate, and possibly injure, somebody other than the intended target

So, just be careful what you decide to use as your home defense weapon or you just might find yourself on the losing end of a self-defense trial.

Final Thoughts

Surely the Draco fits into at least one useful category… right? Is it good for personal defense? Possibly, but there are much better options. Is it good for having fun at the range?

At a private range, maybe, but it’s quite a handful and unpleasant to shoot as is. What about a truck gun? Perhaps… if you exit the truck before dumping some rounds!

At the very least, it’s good to pull out of your safe from time to time to flex in front of your bros while pretending you’re cooler than you really are… well, at least the Draco is cool!

I digress, but a lot of these not-so-great problems are improved significantly if you add a pistol brace, and even more so if you SBR it and add the stock.

You still have the cons that come with having such a short barrel but you gain a much greater level of control and accuracy by adding another point of contact into the equation. Adding a sling helps tighten things up too.

There’s no question that a short-barreled AK-47 chambered in 7.62×39 is still a better option than a short-barreled AR-15 shooting 5.56 NATO (in regards to the cartridge limitations) but, for all of the concerns raised above, a pistol caliber carbine would be much more ideal in practice.

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