If you are looking to buy an airsoft AK, you may find numerous brands currently being offered. Arcturus, ASG, Classic Army, CYMA, D Boys, Double Bel, DYTAC, E&L, Echo1, G&G, GHK, JG, KWA, LCT, Tokyo Marui, and WE-Tech all currently have AKs models to offer. Looking at all these options can feel daunting, so you may find yourself asking, "What brand offers the best AK47?”
The best brand of AK will vary based on what your preferences are. Within the airsoft community, the consensus is that LCT reigns supreme as the overall best AK47 AEG.
Although there are many brands to choose from, only some offer gas-operated models whereas others provide electric. When one compares pricing to quality, LCT is the clear winner. In this article, we will look at what some of these other brands have to offer, and when they may be the better choice for someone. We will also cover the runner-up brands and some discontinued ones that are worth mentioning!
Looking at the list of brands, it may be confusing as to why LCT outranks the others. Once you consider the quality of externals combined with the quality of the internals, competition suddenly has a hard time keeping up.
LCT uses steel for their AKs, and this almost puts them into a higher league by itself. Even for the plastics, they made sure to stick with high quality, and it is apparent. They use a sturdy fiber-reinforced polymer to provide exceptional strength while retaining a comfortable feel.
Naturally, they use real wood, which comes beautifully done. Their current generation AKs also uses their 9mm bearing gearboxes full of parts that can hold their weight. Steel gears, steel tooth piston, a cylinder with a cylinder head that provides excellent compression, and an air nozzle with an o-ring provide attractive performance qualities.
Their tappet plates can handle builds with higher rates of fire, and their spring guides come with bearings.
Currently, the only complaint people raise is the standard motor being underwhelming. Although the stock motor may suit some players' needs, the simple task of swapping it out can provide a significant boost in performance.
Although LCT offers fantastic quality at a fair price, they are not the only name that comes up when searching for the best AK47. E&L is also ranked highly for what they provide. E&L also uses steel bodies but uses slightly thicker steel and use a blued finish, unlike the LCT.
Another point to them being the best runner-up is that E&L also uses quality wood for their AK47s. Other than the finish and thickness of steel, only a few minor differences remain with how they are manufactured, but both result in quality replicas.
Internally, E&L is remarkably similar if you ignore their Spartan Delta series. E&L uses a stronger motor, but the tradeoff is that their compression components are not as good.
With the bodies being so similar, and the E&L having a better motor, why would it fall into the runner-up category? Although E&L offers a great steel body, it is more prone to rust.
It's also important to note that due to it being thicker, E&Ls do not allow for the full range of aftermarket externals like LCT does.
Finally, quality control can cause issues with some of the internals, unfortunately limiting their performance compared to LCT.
Although players can get a high-quality AK47 or the almost-identical AKM from LCT, the average price is $320. A player looking for one of these rifles might ask what a cheaper alternative could be.
CYMA is another good brand that offers both an AK47 and AKM for lower prices. CYMA’s internals are fantastic for a budget AK, and their AK47/AKM also uses real wood.
Their ‘CM042’ is modeled after an AK47 but will not net players a steel body like LCT. Because of this and the differences with some of the internals, it will run approximately $120 less than LCT.
CYMA also has its CM048m model, which is a VFC clone modeled after the AKM. This model also has better metal than the CM042 version and is extremely close in price, costing only $12 more.
One of the most recommended GBB brands is GHK. Sadly, there are no true AK47s offered that are gas-operated. However, GHK does offer the closely related AKM. If an AKM is a viable option, rather than a traditional AK47, then GHK will provide players with fantastic externals as well as reliable internals.
The excellent external quality that puts LCT at the top list for AEG helps put the GHK at the top since GHK uses LCT bodies.
GHK also uses quality steel internals, which includes a reinforced bolt assembly and trigger assembly. These steel internals, combined with the recoil spring GHK uses result in a hard kick recoil that users love when it comes to GBB.
Their gas magazines are often touted as some of the best, using quality metal and gas valves to prevent leaks.
Although EBB is generally not recommended due to the increased strain on the internals, they do offer a way to bridge the gap between AEG and GBB. To get a true AK47, players will find Tokyo Marui’s Next Generation Recoil Shock system a worthwhile candidate.
Tokyo Marui's NGRS offers a quality option, built to better withstand the strain caused by the electric blowback. Their AK47 uses a stamped aluminum receiver and dust cover.
Since Tokyo Marui produces it, it has lower energy output, which means this gun will send BBs downrange at around 300fps.
Their wood is fake, and it has a tiny battery space, and the recoil is considered to be lackluster. That being said, if one is seeking an electric blowback AK47 that keeps reliability in mind, Tokyo Marui still offers the best option.
There are aftermarket parts available for the Tokyo Marui, so even with the extra wear from the electrically operated recoil, maintenance will not be hard to perform.
Since you are looking to buy an AK47, you may also be searching for AK47 style magazines. The real-steel AK47 uses the 7.62x39mm cartridge, whereas the AK74 uses a 5.45x39mm cartridge.
The differences between these can be seen in the style of magazines the guns use. The AK47's magazine is more curved, giving it a bit more of a distinctive look. One thing to note about this style of the magazine is how to store it.
The most common mag pouches found on vests are designed to fit M4 and AK74 style magazines with less curvature. If you plan on snagging an AK47, it will be useful to make sure you have a way to store any extra magazines, like an open top Mag Pouch!
If you choose to go with an electric rifle, you are going to need batteries. Unless you pick the Tokyo Marui NGRS AK47, all AEG AK47s will store their batteries in the stock. Since the current AEG AK47s do not come with a MOSFET, it is recommended to get either a 7.4v LiPo battery or 9.6 NiMH battery.
As the space inside full stocks can sometimes be misleading, be sure to investigate how much space your AEG offers and then find the biggest battery you can fit in there.
Additionally, for the GBB, the most popular power source is "green gas" or unscented propane with silicone added for lubrication. CO2 is also a common power source, but it will shoot hotter and cause more significant wear on the internals and the o-rings.
An alternative is HPA-tapping. HPA tapping is when an adapter is used to replace the gas fill-valve so the player can connect to an HPA tank. HPA can offer the same function of gas blowback, but the output is more consistent since there is no variation in pressure or temperature.
Some may have an issue with this as having a line between the gun and the HPA tank breaks immersion and slightly impacts how the weapon is handled.
No matter if you are trying to stay within your field's restrictions or if you want to change how your gun performs, you may want to change the internals. LCT, E&L, CYMA, GHK, and Tokyo Marui all have different options available when it comes to replacing parts.
LCT, E&L, and CYMA all use standard V3 gearboxes with standard parts, so every component can be swapped for any reason. Motors to change the rate of fire or handle stiffer springs, different gear ratios, springs for different velocities, and more.
GHK has a lot of aftermarket support to replace worn-down parts or to change the velocity. As discussed above, there is also the method of HPA tapping.
TM may have some proprietary components, but there are still brands such as Prometheus and Gate, who make parts specifically for it. No matter what you choose, there’s plenty of options to set your gun up how you like!