Exploring AK-47 Recoil and Recoil Buffers

In this article, we’ll be tackling the subject of recoil in AK 47 rifles chambered in 7.62×39. Why do some AK-47s have more recoil than others? Do recoil buffers make a difference?

Generally speaking, a properly-headspace 7.62×39 cartridge produces a mild to moderate recoil response that is affected by several factors like the weight of the rifle, length of the barrel, the velocity of the load, gassing, and dampening strength of the recoil spring.

All of these factors combine to give you what is known as the recoil impulse. Do AK-47 recoil buffers help extend the life of the bolt carrier or is it just a gimmick?

There are several things you can do to “tame” the felt recoil of an AK but right out of the box, the biggest contributor to recoil is the size of the gas port.

Some AK-47s are notoriously over-gassed on purpose as this serves the singular purpose of ensuring the rifle reliably cycles regardless of the external conditions of the environment.

Now some AK-47s take this too far and are over-gassed to the point of causing the dreaded “cheek-slap”.

This is not a pleasant experience to have when shooting your AK 47 and there are things you can do to mitigate an over-gassed AK-47 that we’ll be covering in this article so stay tuned and get ready for some tips that will help you buffer that beastly recoil!

Do AK-47 Recoil Buffers Work?

We will be addressing this recoil buffer and its effectiveness in a bit, but first, we have some pictures of what these AK recoil buffers look like.

Here’s what your typical AK-47 recoil buffer looks like installed.

This has been a hotly debated topic for some time in the AK 47 community and there are proponents on both sides of the argument.

If your AK-47 is gassed correctly, this debate need not apply to you personally but many well-loved AKs, such as the WASR-10, tend to run a bit much on the gas.

So what can you do to take the sting out of your beloved Romanian AK-47 whilst adding an extra layer of protection to keep your AK-47 from premature wear and tear?

One of the best quick fixes to take some of the stings out of your AK-47/ AKM (and minimize receiver shock & bolt carrier abuse) is to add an AK recoil buffer.

After doing our research on the topic, we discovered the now-famous AK abuse forum post that revealed that buffers do indeed take the sting out and extend the life of your AK-47!

This is especially true for full-auto fire but those same benefits can be applied to semi-auto AK47s as well.

There are a few more things you can do to tame that recoil such as using an adjustable gas piston, installing a recoil-taming muzzle brake, buying a stiffer recoil spring, and/or using a rubber butt pad. They even sell a stock that has a built-in recoil buffer but it’s not cheap!

By far the best and cheapest method to reduce recoil is buying and installing a cheap recoil buffer. They’re typically made out of high-strength polyurethane that has shock-absorbing properties.

Optics Planet sells one for under $10 that you can check out below:

Lowers Recoil Wear

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

We just purchased the AK-V, which is a PCC (pistol caliber carbine) clone of the Soviet Avtomat Russian PP-10-01 Vityaz, from Palmetto State Armory chambered in 9mm and It comes with a recoil buffer pre-installed! Century Arms AKs, like the VSKA, come with buffers installed too.

No matter what side of the fence you’re on, if you have an over-gassed AK-47 you owe it to yourself to a least give it a try.

It’s quick to install and cheap to buy, plus you’ll know after your first trip to the range if it’s going to work for your rifle. So what have you got to lose besides being on the wrong side of the debate?

Seriously, give one a try and get the “I told you so’s” out of the way.

Comparing AK-47 Recoil To AR-15s

Considering the bullet mass of the 7.62×39 round (the most commonly used weight being 122 grains) is almost double the weight of the 5.56×54 (the most commonly used weight being 62 grains), and the mass of the carrier, piston, and bolt is substantially heavier, the felt recoil is quite a bit more.

Some AK-47s Have More Recoil

Even AK-47s that are under-gassed still have quite a bit more recoil than a typical mil-spec AR-15.

The AR-15’s recoil is significantly reduced thanks to its direct impingement gas system and lightweight bolt carrier group.

This is because the lower mass and lighter bullet result in a lesser felt recoil, even though the bullet exits the barrel of the AR-15 much faster than that of the AK.

Ultimately, this speed difference does not impact the recoil experienced by both rifles.

How To Install An AK-47 Recoil Buffer

Installing a recoil buffer on your AK-47 or AKM is one of the easiest upgrades you can do on an AK rifle.

If you can remove a dust cover and recoil spring, then you can install an AK recoil buffer in less than a few minutes!

There are two methods for installing a buffer:

  • Over the spring
  • Behind the spring

Over the spring usually requires that you enlarge the hole of the buffer so it can clear the diameter of the spring.

This has the advantage of allowing quick and easy installation and removal of the buffer for testing purposes.

The disadvantage is it doesn’t add any spring compression which will lead to more felt recoil versus behind the spring.

Removing too much material can potentially weaken the plastic structure and cause premature failure.

Behind the spring installation allows you to install the buffer without any modifications and also compresses the spring which leads to less felt recoil and a lighter carrier impact on your rear trunnion.

The negatives are it is a bit harder to install and a pain to remove if you plan on testing it with and without the buffer.

Whichever way you use to install the buffer, the results should be roughly the same and you may not be able to tell the difference depending on which AK-47 variant you install it on.

We found a YouTube video from a company that manufacturers recoil buffers that shows you exactly how to perform the behind-the-spring installation here:

As you can see in this video, installing an AK-47 Recoil Buffer is as easy as making a Russian Babushka pie!

Well, that pretty much covers what we’ve learned on the topic of AK-47 recoil, recoil buffers, and their application and place in the AK rifle sphere.

Many purists hate such devices and would say “Nyet rifle fine” but think it’s worth considering (at least for range practice).

No, it’s not something we’d install on our go-to-war AKs since they can break and cause malfunctions in the field (nyet good!), but it will give you a more pleasant shooting experience at the range and that’s why we recommend it.

We hope we’ve helped you make up your mind about whether to “bite” the bullet and pull the trigger on this cheap and easy upgrade for your AK-47 rifle!

Final Thoughts

To wrap things up, the use of recoil buffers in AK-47 rifles presents a nuanced yet significant aspect of firearm maintenance and performance enhancement.

Throughout this article, we’ve explored how these simple devices can extend the life of your rifle by mitigating the impact between the bolt carrier and the rear of the receiver.

The reduction in felt recoil and the subsequent improvement in shooting comfort and accuracy cannot be overstated, especially for frequent shooters.

However, it’s crucial to remember that not all AK-47s will respond the same way to a recoil buffer.

Variations in manufacturing, model, and the condition of the rifle play a pivotal role in determining whether a buffer will be a beneficial addition. This underscores the importance of understanding your specific firearm and its needs.

For those considering a recoil buffer, it’s advisable to approach this upgrade with a balance of enthusiasm and caution. Experimentation is key!

Installing a buffer and testing your rifle in a controlled environment will provide the best insight into its effectiveness.

Pay close attention to any changes in the cycling process, and be prepared to remove the buffer if it negatively impacts the rifle’s performance.

Ultimately, the decision to use a recoil buffer in an AK-47 should be informed by personal experience and a thorough understanding of the rifle’s mechanics.

While it’s not a universal solution, for many, it can be a simple and cost-effective way to enhance their shooting experience.

As with any modification to a firearm, safety should always be the paramount concern. Regular maintenance and careful monitoring of your AK-47 will ensure that it continues to operate safely and effectively, whether with or without a recoil buffer.

1 thought on “Exploring AK-47 Recoil and Recoil Buffers”

  1. Tyson Reinstein

    You need to take part in a contest for one of the highest quality blogs online. I am going to recommend this website!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top