Eleven things I love about the Century Arms C39 v2 AK47 – and zero things I don’t

***This is the updated version of this review.  The original review was titled “Ten things I love about the Century Arms C39 v2 AK47 – but one I don’t.” The one thing I didn’t like was the lack of a side rail mount but now they include a side mount rail.  (They are also offering a cool feature related to this but it hasn’t been released yet so I sholdn’t say what it is, but it’s perfect for this gun.) So I officially have zero things I don’t like about the C39 v2!***


I read a lot of gun reviews and I don’t like most of them. They all sound the same. So I’m going to write one the way I want them to be – in the Glen Tate conversational writing style. Here goes.

Bottom line: Get a Century Arms C39 v2 AK-47.  This is especially true if this is your first AK. I’ll explain that more below.

Where I’m coming from: I’m a practical guy with limited money to spend on guns; you’re probably in the same boat. I don’t spend time on internet gun forums arguing over whether a Timney or Geisselle trigger is better, or about some new gadget (that won’t be the latest and greatest in six months). None of that will matter when SHTF.

I believe in getting good, solid guns in the hands of as many people as possible so they can defend themselves and others in the coming Collapse. I demand quality and reliability, but don’t give a crap about doodads and fads.

Another thing: I don’t raise my nose at certain gun brands.  (Well, except Hi-Points, but that goes without saying.) Let’s be honest, several years ago Century put out a couple batches of lower quality AKs. Most were solid, but some weren’t. That was years ago and they have stepped up their quality-control game by leaps and bounds.  They make seriously great guns now.  So don’t be the raised-nose snob guy who’s living in the past and out of touch with the current reality. But, hey, crap-talk Century all you want. That just means there are more Century guns out there for me to buy.

A quick note to avoid confusion: There are two versions of the C39, the version one (“v1”) and version two (“v2”). Get the v2. The v1 had a goofy rear sight and non-adjustable front sight, and furniture that wasn’t compatible with other AKs.  Century listened to feedback from all of us and fixed these things on the v2. So be sure and get a v2.

So here are the eleven things I love about the C39 v2:

1.Reliable This is the most important thing. Preppers like us are going to use these guns in all conditions and, when SHTF, we can’t ship them off to the factory to be rebuilt. I had zero malfunctions or any problems of any kind with my C39 v2 and I’ve been shooting it for over a year. By the way, the C39 v2 worked flawlessly with every kind of AK magazine I have, including Romanian 75-round drum mags.  No failures to feed or extract, no rattles, nothing coming loose, nothing breaking, no nothin’.

2. Price  These are going for about $750 now, which is a steal.  The C39 v2 compares favorably with an Arsenal AK, which is about $1,200. There’s no AK in the $750 ball park, especially any that are good. There are some cheap – and potentially low-quality AKs – for about $600. Why not spend a little more and get a good one? I note that C39 v2s were about $600 a year ago, but, because they kick so much ass, the market has spoken and now prices are higher. Get one now, before they crack the $1,000 threshold.

3. Accurate OK, I’ll be honest: I’m not a bench-rest shooter who measures groups down to the thousandth of an inch. I find that obsessing about tiny differences in accuracy hinders a shooter when it comes to how we will actually use our AKs: shooting bad guys, usually at 25 to 50 yards and probably in urban or suburban settings. Wasting precious hundreds of a second doing the mental calculations on the effect of that 3 mph cross wind when a gang of thugs is breaking down your door is stupid. Here’s what matters to me: I got one-inch groups at 25 yards with iron sights and rang an 8-inch steel gong at 100 yards all day long. ‘Nuff said about accuracy.

4. Oversized Magazine Release Sounds like a small thing, but it isn’t. Check out the C39 v2’s huge mag release paddle:


Compared to a standard AK mag release:


That extra big C39 v2 mag release paddle is a big deal when you’re doing fast mag changes. And, given that a prepper will probably be using an AK for self-defense against lots of bad guys at once, quick mag changes could save your life. I haven’t seen jumbo mag releases come standard on other AKs.

5. Safety Lever with Bolt Hold-Open Notch  Another nice feature that comes standard is a notched safety level that allows for bolt hold-open. (Why all AKs don’t come with this, I’ll never know.) Well done, Century.

6. Made in the USA!  Whoa. I never thought I’d be able to say that about an AK. C39 v2s are entirely made in America. Every single piece. I think Century is brilliant to do this. At some point there will be an importation ban on AKs and foreign AK parts. Century will be smiling and selling the only AKs on the market.

7. Milled Receiver  Most AKs, even some high-end Arsenals, have stamped receivers. This means that a piece of metal is basically bent into a rectangular shape. This works fine, but having a receiver milled out of a block of metal is better. There is no milled AK that remotely touches the $750 price point.

8. Solid Trunnions The rivets that hold key components of an AK together are called “trunnions.” A cheap AK has sloppily inserted trunnions, often with a tiny space between the receiver and the trunnion. Not the C39 v2. The only other trunnions I’ve seen as solid as this are in my Rifle Dynamics AK – but it costs $2,500.

9. Coating  The C39 v2 has a black nitride finish that seems thicker and more robust than on most other AKs. By a lot. It’s really noticeable and adds to the overall feel of quality and solidness. I think maybe the coating can repel bullets.  Well, maybe not. But kinda.

10. Trigger  Century uses its own trigger system, the RAK-1, and puts it in the C39 v2. I’m not a trigger snob, but I know what works well, and this trigger does. Like everything else with the C39 v2, the trigger feels solid. It broke at about 5 pounds and has a nice reset.

11. Side Rail for Optics  In a summer 2016 upgrade, Century Arms is adding a side rail mount for optics.  This is a huge plus. (I haven’t personally tested this mount but everything I’ve seen about the C39 v2 is solid, so I can easily presume these mounts are, too.) This is another example of Century actually listening to people using their AKs, much like they listened when people said the rear sights on the C39 v1 needed to be changed. It’s not common for a gun manufacturer to keep perfecting a product. Thank you, Century, for listening.


Final Thoughts: I said above that the C39 v2 would be a great “first” AK. By that, I meant if you only get one AK, it should be a C39 v2. I didn’t mean a C39 v2 is a “starter AK” that you’ll need to add accessories to and then eventually “move up” to a “real” AK. Not at all. If you have one AK, it should be reliable and have all the features you need, and none of the doodads you don’t – and it should be affordable. The C39 v2 is that gun.

Here are some other reviews of the C39 v2 for your reading and viewing pleasure.

Take care and let me know your experiences with a C39 v2. Email me at glentate123 AT gmail.com.