The AK-47 (Avtomat Kalashnikova) is one of the most iconic weapons to ever hit the modern battlefield. When you consider the rifle’s duration and breadth of use, the AK-47 is easily the most successful weapon in human history.
Although easy to shoot, easy to repair, and incredibly reliable, AK-47s aren’t exactly renowned for their precision accuracy. However, you can improve that accuracy by adding a good optic.
We’ve compiled this informative guide to help you find just the right optic for your Russian carbine. We even have a list of the best optics for AK-47 rifles to help point you in the right direction.
If you don’t have time for the details, check out the list below for the best rated scope for AK-47:
- Primary Arms SLX 4-14x44mm FFP Rifle Scope – Our Top Pick
- Trijicon ACOG – Best Tactical Scope for AK-47
- Leupold VX-Freedom – Best Hunting Scope for AK-47
- Hi-Lux Optics CMR-AK – Best Precision Scope for AK-47
- UTG 3-9X32 BugBuster – Best Budget Scope for AK-47
- Vortex Optics Crossfire II – Best Scout Scope for AK-47
- Meprolight M21 Self-Powered – Best Night Sights for AK-47
- Crimson Trace CMR-204 – Best Laser Sights for AK-47
- Aimpoint Micro T-2 – Best Red Dot Sight for AK-47
- EOTech XPS-2 – Best Holographic Sight for AK-47
Table of Contents
- Mounting an Optic for Your AK-47
- Best Scope for AK 47 on the Market Review
- 1 Primary Arms SLX 4-14x44mm FFP Rifle Scope – Our Top Pick
- 2 Trijicon ACOG – Best Tactical Scope for AK-47
- 3 Leupold VX-Freedom – Best Hunting Scope for AK-47
- 4 Hi-Lux Optics CMR-AK – Best Precision Scope for AK-47
- 5 UTG 3-9X32 BugBuster – Best Budget Scope for AK-47
- 6 Vortex Optics Crossfire II – Best Scout Scope for AK-47
- 7 Meprolight M21 Self-Powered – Best Night Sights for AK-47
- 8 Crimson Trace CMR-204 – Best Laser Sights for AK-47
- 9 Aimpoint Micro T-2 – Best Red Dot Sight for AK-47
- 10 EOTech XPS-2 – Best Holographic Sight for AK-47
- Summing It Up
Mounting an Optic for Your AK-47
Today, the AK-47 remains a popular weapon. There are an estimated 100 million AK-47s circulating around the globe. That’s one AK for every 77 people on the planet.
Although these rifles are prolific, finding a suitable optic can be problematic. The AK-47 was developed at a time when optics were considered a luxury rather than a necessity. Thus, the Kalishnakov was designed with only iron sights. However, modern shooters can benefit from some awesome aftermarket options .
Mounting an optic on an AK-47 is a no-brainer. A quality optic is crucial to extending the effective range of any rifle, especially the AK-47. However, mounting an optic on a Kalashikov can be a pretty frustrating endeavor.
Here are your standard mounting options.
Optics mounted with a side rail install easily on an AK-47. You can probably do it in under a minute without any tools.
This is a great mounting option for magnified optics, and the added weight sits just forward of the shooting hand, so it doesn’t throw everything completely off balance.
However, the off-center mount can cause some serious zeroing issues, plus it isn’t compatible with side-folding stocks. Also not a good option for holo sights, the side rail mount has them sitting too high for proper use.
Rear Sight Rail
The best thing about a rear sight rail is that your optic won’t interfere with your folding stock. This option works best for minimalistic optics, like compact red dots. There isn’t a ton of real estate here, so you’re definitely going to need to keep it small.
Railed Dust Cover
Optic installation on a railed dust cover is practically idiot-proof, and it gives you plenty of room for larger optics. However, because the dust cover is held in place by the recoil spring, expect your optic to lose zero pretty quickly.
Railed Gas Tube
A great option for holo sights, reflex sights, and scout-style magnified optics, this mounting option gives you a nearly unobstructed field of vision. Just be careful. Heat from the gas tube can damage some sensitive optics.
This is probably the best mounting position for rapid target acquisition. Depending on your optic, an optic mounted here can add significant weight to the front of the rifle. That extra weight can weigh down the nose of the rifle and make it difficult to maneuver in close quarters.
Dog Leg Rail
A dogleg rail provides the lowest mounting option. Since the rail runs the length of the dust cover, you have plenty of space for a red dot or holo sight AND a magnifying optic. However, mounting optics so far back on the weapon can severely limit your field of vision.
Drill and Tap
If you want a rock solid mounting option, this is it. Mounted right to the receiver itself, once your scope is installed, it isn’t going anywhere. This mounting option puts your scope above and behind your iron sights, so you always have a back-up option. However, permanent holes in your receiver could depreciate the value of your weapon.
Best Scope for AK 47 on the Market Review
Here are our favorite optics for the Russian Automatov Kalashnikova.
1 Primary Arms SLX 4-14x44mm FFP Rifle Scope – Our Top Pick
Although a relative newcomer to the optics industry, Primary Arms produces American-made optics with a near perfect balance of performance and affordability.
With 4-14x variable magnification, the SLX scope pushes the effective range of the AK-47 to its limits. While the ARC-2 MOA reticle may seem a little cluttered for shooters who like simplicity, the hash marks extend well below the crosshair to assist with holdover at longer ranges. Plus, the first focal plane (FFP) design keeps the marks true through the entire magnification range, so you always have consistent BDC (bullet drop compensation).
The SLX scope features partial red illumination with 6 brightness settings, so you can easily adjust for optimal visibility in low light or bright sunshine.
Primary Arms makes some seriously durable scopes, and this one is no exception. It features a durable aluminum construction, and the scope is nitrogen purged, making it fog resistant, even in cold, wet weather.
2 Trijicon ACOG – Best Tactical Scope for AK-47
The Trijicon ACOG (Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight) is the epitome of a battle-ready optic. In fact, no other magnified optic has seen more actual combat.
This battery-free optic uses a combination of tritium and fiber optics to illuminate a green BDC reticle. The user-friendly reticle allows for bullet drop compensation for subsonic and supersonic ammo without any manual adjustments. Trijicon makes a version of the ACOG TA33 that features a 7.62×39 reticle. However, this model can sometimes be difficult to find. If you can get your hands on a TA33 with a .300 Blackout reticle, the two have similar ballistic characteristics.
The ACOG’s BAC (Bindon Aiming Concept) illuminated reticle lets you easily shoot with both eyes open. This helps you retain peripheral vision and situational awareness, making this optic perfect for CQB.
This lightweight optic tips the scales at just over 10 ounces. Although lightweight, it has a durable design and is forged from 7075-T6 aircraft grade aluminum alloy. It’s also backed by Trijicon’s limited lifetime warranty.
3 Leupold VX-Freedom – Best Hunting Scope for AK-47
Leupold’s optics have some of the best quality glass in the industry. Also featuring durable construction, Leupold Optics stands behind their products with a full lifetime warranty.
The VX-Freedom is waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof. It is also tested to perform flawlessly in temperatures ranging from -40 degrees to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Perfect for deer hunting, the VX-Freedom features Leupold’s patented Twilight Light Management System. This unique system reduces glare and maximizes light transmission, adding up to ten extra minutes of shooting time at dawn and dusk.
The 3-9x magnification range and duplex reticle are also perfect for shooting whitetails at typical hunting ranges.
4 Hi-Lux Optics CMR-AK – Best Precision Scope for AK-47
While the AK-47 is far from a precision rifle, this scope from Hi-Lux Optics can help improve your distance accuracy. The CMR-AK has a reticle designed specifically for the 7.62x39mm cartridge. The reticle features an illuminated center dot and ranging brackets for quick distance estimation. For long-distance targets, the reticle features BDC hold over lines for up to 900 meters. The scope also has 11 settings that allow you to adjust the reticle brightness for almost any lighting condition.
Just like the Russian AK, the CMR-AK is built to last. Built with a rigid 30mm aluminum tube, the CMR-AK is compact, yet robust. This optic is durable enough for rough use, without adding unnecessary bulk or weight to your rifle.
The fully multi-coated lenses are polished to photographic quality, providing images that are clear and sharp, even at 4x magnification.
5 UTG 3-9X32 BugBuster – Best Budget Scope for AK-47
The UTG Bugbuster basically has its very own fan club. One of the highest-rated scopes on Amazon, the Bugbuster has some surprising features for an economy optic.
The Bugbuster has premium zero-lockable and resettable turrets, a large FOV, and multi-coated lenses. The glass also has a special emerald coating designed to relax the eye and ease shooting in a variety of lighting conditions.
Shooters will really appreciate the range-estimating Mil-Dot reticle. This easy-to-use reticle allows you to make quick and easy range and windage estimations. You can switch between red and green reticle illumination to suit your personal preference or to optimize visibility in different light.
Highly durable, the Bugbuster is completely sealed and nitrogen filled, making it shockproof, fogproof, and rainproof.
6 Vortex Optics Crossfire II – Best Scout Scope for AK-47
Vortex Optics is well-known in the shooting world for making affordable, high-quality riflescopes. With a classic style, compact size, and a durable construction, the Crossfire II is one of the company’s most popular models.
The tube is made from a single piece of aircraft grade aluminum. It is also o-ring sealed and nitrogen purged, making it completely waterproof, shockproof, and fogproof.
The glass quality is superb, especially on an optic in this price range. The fully multi-coated lenses are treated to prevent light reflection and provide bright, clear viewing.
The medium power magnification, low profile objective lens, and compact size make the Crossfire II perfect for a forward-mounted scout set-up, where it won’t interfere with the workings or disassembly of your AK-47.
7 Meprolight M21 Self-Powered – Best Night Sights for AK-47
The Mepro M21 was designed in close collaboration with Israeli Special Forces. This battle-proven optic provides all-light aiming capabilities. Instead of batteries, the Mepro M21 illuminates the reticle using a fiber optic collector system during daylight hours and a miniature tritium light source at night.
Unlike many reflex sights, the Mepro M21 features a large 30mm diameter lens. This large lens supports rapid target acquisition and allows the shooter to keep both eyes open for improved situational awareness.
While you can use the Mepro M21 as a standalone optic, it also works in tandem with a magnifying scope for increased long-range accuracy.
8 Crimson Trace CMR-204 – Best Laser Sights for AK-47
This rail-mounted green laser/white light combination optic works well on both handguns and long guns (like the AK-47). It fits easily on a Picatinny or Weaver accessory rail and is perfect for tactical applications.
It runs on a single CR2 lithium battery that provides up to one full hour of continuous use. The CMR-204 features instant tap on/tap off controls and a programmed automatic shut-off that powers down the optic after five minutes of inactivity.
The powerful green laser is a perfect aiming aid, and the 100-Lumen white light is ideal for target identification. You can choose between four different light modes, providing the ultimate in laser sight versatility.
9 Aimpoint Micro T-2 – Best Red Dot Sight for AK-47
The Aimpoint Micro T-2 is one seriously rugged red dot, making it perfect for the seriously rugged AK-47. This red dot features a rigid design that resists extreme temperatures, making it well-suited for mounting on a gas block rail.
The Aimpoint Micro T-2 has much more to offer than durability. One of the clearest red dots on the planet, this optic features enhanced lens coatings and an advanced objective lens system. Both features work to improve shape and color clarity, while reducing optical parallax.
This optic is night vision compatible, and the 2 MOA dot has 12 different brightness settings, making it perfect for every lighting condition. It also comes with a long-life CR2032 battery that can stand up to 5 years of continuous use before you’ll need to swap it out for a new one.
10 EOTech XPS-2 – Best Holographic Sight for AK-47
EOTech is the undisputed leader in holo sight technology. The XPS-2 makes it easy to understand why. The XPS-2 features 20 daylight brightness settings, offers up to 1000 hours of battery life, and holds zero like there’s no tomorrow, even when used for rapid-fire high-recoil shooting.
With a user-friendly 68 MOA ring and 1 MOA center dot reticle, the XPS-2 is well-suited for rapid CQB target acquisition, yet still offers the precision necessary to make shots at distance.
The XPS-2 is EOTech’s smallest holo sight. It weighs just 9 ounces, and its compact design leaves plenty of rail space for a magnifier.
Summing It Up
A quality optic can help improve your shooting accuracy and consistency. However, no optic (no matter how expensive or fancy) is a substitute for range training. The best way to become a better shooter is to practice.
There are plenty of optics you can add to your AK-47. You also have multiple mounting options, so you can thoroughly customize your weapon. Hopefully, our list of the best optics for AK-47 rifles will inspire some ideas for your own set-up.
BlackCloud Carlo says
Alice, very nice article. However, Trijicon does indeed have a couple of ACOG models which are equipped with a dedicated 7.62x39mm reticle with their respective 3×24 TA50 and 3×30 TA33 (I’ve one of the TA33’s currently on layaway w/green horseshoe dot reticle).
Alice Jones Webb says
Thanks for that info. I’ll definitely be checking that out.
Great summary, unlike all the Crap online that you spend half of your life reading and ending up with a freaken Headache and more confused than before you started.
I am considering Aimpoint Pro Red Dot Reflex for a Saiga AK-47 to be mounted over the Dust cover buy don’t know what Rail mount would go on the side Mount that flips over the Dust cover.
What RAil is available for the SAIGA side mount?
I have been told that Weaver Rail mount can do the job.
Also, I am an old Man and my sight desperately needs a decent above average magnifying Scope to go with the Red Dot.
Any recommendations regarding the side Rail mount(don’t want any drilling on my Baby) & Durable (at least, x3 Scope) compatible with the Aimpoint Red Dot?
Thanks in advance