Dolomite_supafly and His Mini Draco AK47 Pistol

| November 13, 2014 | 13 Comments

This is a guest post by dolomite_supafly. We all have our reasons to pursue SBR / PDW carry; here’s one that is very, very personal. – Shepherd

Let me start by saying that I take the safety of my family very seriously. We live in a dangerous world today and must do everything within our power to remain safe. Most of my adult life I have spent carrying a gun as part of my work. I was in the Army for 10 years before being medically discharged for injuries received in Bosnia. After that I was able to heal up enough to go to work for a local sheriff’s office for awhile before going into contracting in 2005 where I worked with a few companies until 2008.

I was in a helicopter accident in 2008. The accident occurred in the remote areas of eastern Afghanistan along the Pakistan border. This accident changed our, my wife and I, lives forever. I am no longer able to do what I used to and require help daily from my wife. I walk with crutches and will for the rest of my life. And although I do not need them to walk I do need them to prevent me from falling. Because of this I feel I could defend myself if it came down to it. I definitely would not just give up. I have practiced shooting with the crutches and although it is not ideal I do not feel vulnerable because of them. After all who has shooting sticks with them all the time, I do and they do help me with accuracy.

In addition to the Mini Draco I also carry a sidearm at all times when I am out of my house, even to the mailbox. My wife also carries every where she goes, whether I am or am not there, to ensure her own safety. We also have a small, last ditch, sidearm stored in our vehicle as well as spare magazines for the AK. Some may think this is overkill but I have a reason to ALWAYS keep a firearm close by.

For years my brother “borrowed” money. He swore he would pay it back but never did and honestly I knew he couldn’t but I was doing much better than him so I didn’t mind helping him out. Every week or two he would call my wife or me to borrow some money. Towards the end my brother was even telling us he had a date with “Crystal”. I found out later from a mutual friend it was his way of flaunting the fact he was using the money we were giving to buy drugs. At the same time my mother would borrow money that I later found out would go to my brother. When I figured out the money was being used for drugs I cut the cash off for both of them. I told them I would buy them what they needed but I would never hand them cash again. My mother and brother got upset and quit talking to me, this was in July or August of 2009. Then in October my brother grabbed an AK47, assaulted our mother in her house then, according to the police, he was headed to my house to kill my family and I. Luckily my brother ran into the woods to hide before he actually got to my house. Evidently the sirens scared him. And during the standoff we had the SWAT team in a creek in front of our house watching it until my brother was caught a few hours later. My brother refused to drop the gun but the officers tackled him rather than shoot him. In the end all my brother’s charges were dropped by the screwed up courts in our county. And because he is on social security for mental issues the judge sent him for a mental evaluation where he was released a week after he assaulted our mother, tried to kill us and then had a standoff with officers. Since then he has been in all kinds of trouble for continued assaults on our mother and father. He remains out on the streets and, according to mutual friends, he has said he is going to finish what he started. We have no clue how or when he will try again so we must ALWAYS be ready.

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The AK itself is nothing more than a standard Mini Draco with a 7.5″ barrel. It uses standard AK muzzle devices and other than the forearm everything else is pretty much standard AK. I had originally bought a M92 PAP but decided against it because it was too long for most bags and it was HEAVY, weighing over 9 pounds loaded with a 30 round magazine.  By comparison the Mini Draco weighs less than 8.5 pounds with the Sig Brace, folding mechanism and magazine. And that is with a mix of 123 grain, and 154 grain, bullets in the 30 round magazine. I drilled and tapped the rear of the receiver (yes it is extremely hard) for the 10-32 screws to attach the Stormwerkz hinge. On the other side of the hinge I attached a pig nose adapter to allow me to use the extended buffer tube with the original Sig Brace.

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Now for some advice on hinges. I have tried two ACE hinges, the standard and the push button, and BOTH developed a wobble pretty quickly. I sent back the standard almost immediately and I worked on the push button to remove most of the wobble but it still has more than the Stormwerkz hinge. If I had to pick one aftermarket hinge it would be the Stormwerkz. Also, if any of these companies would make them out of steel, or even 7075 aluminum, I think they sell a ton. I know I would pay the extra $20-$30 for a steel hinge over these aluminum ones. The only thing I do not like about the Stormwerkz hinge is it locks in the closed position. I know it is a personal preference and some like a hinge that locks closed but I do not because that is one more thing to remember to do under stress.

Editor’s note: I have an ACE hinge on my Mini Draco SBR and dislike it. Definitely go with the Stormwerkz if it’s in stock (it wasn’t when I built my SBR).

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As far as what I have done to the Mini Draco it is relatively minor. I swapped in a Hogue over molded pistol grip and at the same time I added a 550 cord loop for a rear sling point. That 550 cord loop does everything a metal sling point does but a lot lighter, takes up less space when not needed and definitely a lot cheaper. I replaced the standard 500 meter rear sight with an RPK style rear sight that has adjustments for wind. I did this so I can center the front sight. I believe that the front sight ears also help to get on target faster so when the front sight post is not in the center of the wings I think it can affect sight picture under stress.

I replaced the single point trigger with a double hook trigger. The second hook was modified to turn it into an over travel stop. This significantly reduces the over travel of the factory AK trigger which is probably the single worst part of the AK platform. I also replaced the factory twisted hammer/trigger spring with a Damage Industries spring. I did this not so much because the factory unit is bad but because I wanted something of known quality.

I also removed the factory birdcage flash hider because I wanted the shortest possible package. I took a standard slant brake and shortened it. It acts more like a thread protector but because I left the internal bump in place it still works just as well as an unmodified slant brake but is at least a 1/2″ shorter.

The forearm is from a Saiga rifle, not shotgun, that I chopped down to fit the Mini Draco. The one pictured is the third version. I tried it with a rail and Magpul AFG but I felt it was just added weight and complexity that this carry gun does not need. I took a 10-32 screw and sharpened it then screwed it into the hole the forearm screw goes into with the point out. I then installed the rear of the forearm then pressed the front of the forearm onto the sharpened screw. This gave me the exact place to drill the clearance hole for the 10-32 sling swivel. After sanding the front I used a Sharpie to match the freshly sanded parts to the rest of the forearm.

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I also bought the SIG SBX Brace to try. After trying really, really hard to like it the SBX just does not feel as good as the original Sig Brace. The SBX has a lower cheek weld than the original and the original just looks, and feels, better than the SBX. Now that is not to say someone else might not love the SBX compared to the original but for me the clear choice is the original.

I have done nothing else to the gun and have no future plans to change anything else. For me this gun is as perfect as a carry gun can get.

When it came time I tried several different types of magazines and they all worked well with the Mini Draco, testament to the quality. 20 round European tanker magazines, 20 round Korean magazines and every 30 round magazine I have work perfectly with the Mini Draco. Even the last round bolt hold open magazines work great.GEDC0013

My original bag was your typical small tactical bag that would look out of place in most places I find myself so the search was one for a less obvious bag. That bag also precluded the use of 30 round magazines in the gun. So after a few suggestions from friends, and urging from my wife, I decided to try the California Pak Ransom 18 inch available from Amazon. It is perfect, with a capital P, for this setup. It allows a 30 round magazine to be in the gun, which the previous bag did not, and has plenty of storage for other items I would need like a knife, flash light, first aid supplies and the few other items I feel are necessary. Another great thing about carrying it this way is I can easily reach in and either load or unload the weapon without removing the gun.

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As far as the ammo I am using I am currently using Wolf 123 grain and Wolf 154 grain bullets mixed alternatively in the magazine. I do plan on picking up some Hornady 123 grain SST rounds at some point but I will still use the 154 grain bullets because heavy is good when it comes to defeating glass, steel doors or cinder block.

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Editor’s note: Thanks to dolomite_supafly for sharing his build with us. I hope he never has to use it.

About the Author:

Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd is a regular guy and works to make Web sites and mobile apps easier for people to use. He spends his free time attending fight-focused firearm, knife, and combatives training, motorcycling, writing, and playing games. His daily carry is a Glock 19 pistol and an AR15 .300 Blackout pistol in a backpack.
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13 Comments on "Dolomite_supafly and His Mini Draco AK47 Pistol"

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  1. Kyliewyotie says:

    Thanks for a very detailed write up; of your tools, and the reason behind them.

  2. Toshu says:

    Question…have you gotten a letter from BATF confirming that adding a buffer tube to an AK thenn a Sig Brace is Ok for a pistol? Logic says that this should not be done but ATF does not seem to follow logic, and we all want to stay out of their claws!

    • Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd says:

      Excellent question, and one that has not yet been directly addressed by an ATF opinion letter. There are the following indications that the SB47 or SB15 brace is acceptable on non-AR pattern weapons:

      • There are several companies that sell an SB15 or SB47 brace on weapons that do not require a buffer tube (including SIG’s piston driven firearms). See also: FAB Defense, Hera Arms, etc.
      • The SB47 and SBX braces ship with the SB15 opinion letter, and all of these braces come from the same company.
      • The ATF has ruled on the use of the SB15 brace, and that it is not a stock. There is some disagreement if this means ALL braces on ALL weapons, mostly due to the opinion letter being both specific and vague regarding the same issue.
      • The ATF has opined separately on the use of a buffer tube that cannot readily accept a stock. I know your question is about the use of a buffer tube on a non-AR pattern weapon, but given the other points above it is assumed this is acceptable.

      PLEASE NOTE this is not legal advice. I am not a lawyer, and I am not a lawyer. In the absence of a definite letter from the ATF (which is not necessarily a legal statement, either), some have opted to affix buffer tubes and braces on weapons that do not traditionally need buffer tubes.

      I encourage you to make your own decision, and to do what you’re comfortable with.

  3. Dolomite_supafly says:

    Adding only a buffer tube to any weapon does not change its classification. Just like adding a banana, like a friend likes to say, to the back would not either. And the ATF has already opined that the Sig Brace does not change the classification of the host weapon. So as long as the weapon was legal without the brace it will be legal with it.

    The ATF has opined that the type of buffer tube used has no bearing on the classification of the weapon. A standard carbine buffer is viewed the same as a “pistol” buffer and as long as there is NOT a stock attached to the weapon. If you have a weapon that was a pistol before adding the buffer tube it will be the same after adding it.

    Also, the ATF has never opined that the buffer tube MUST be an integral part of the guns operation. If so then there are plenty of gas piston guns with the recoil springs up front would be illegal. There are also plenty of other platforms that have buffer tubes attached but are not required for operation.

    The buffer tube and brace are nothing more than accessories like adding a different set of sights or pistol grip. It is a stock, not a buffer tube, that will make this weapon an illegal rifle if it is not registered. Now adding a VFG can change the classification as well but I will not address that here.

    You can also see on almost every weapons seller’s site AK pistols with buffer tubes attached. It does not matter how the buffer tube is attached. And as long as there is not a stock who’s only purpose is to make an NFA item or a stock that is actually attached you are perfectly legal.

  4. voodoo_msn says:

    not too shabby for such a long rifle….

  5. Pachucko says:

    SBS,

    Between your blog and some of the threads on WT, I’m gonna end up spending some $.

    So what’s the verdict: PAP or Draco?

    • Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd says:

      Thanks for the comment! I would say it comes down to your mission : the Mini Draco is better for bag carry, the M92 and its longer barrel and weight make it better for longer distance shooting. The M92 uses more common parts as well.

      As of this writing, the M92 has traded places with the Draco as far as price. The M92 is more expensive ; the Mini Draco bloomed from $450 to over $1000 at one point.

  6. Dolomite_supafly says:

    I have had the M92, an M85 and the Mini Draco.

    I still have an M85 but it is an SBR in the form of a Krink.

    The M92/M85 has the most awful sights I have ever seen on a gun. I made a peep sight for my M85 to help out but it is still pretty bad. There is no way to replace the sights on a M92/M85. The Draco, Mini or otherwise, takes standard AK rear sights so there are plenty of options out there. One of the more interesting ones I might pick up to try is the one from Law Tactical that uses standard Glock sights. It gives a wider rear notch which makes getting on target faster.

    For muzzle devices you are very limited with the M92/M85 because they use a funky 26mm LH thread. Yes there are muzzle devices for that thread but the Draco’s 14×1 LH is probably the most common one used on an AK.

    Then there is the weight issue, the M92/M85 weighs about a pound, maybe more, than the Mini Draco when ready to use. I will go by an old adage “Ounces equals pounds and pounds equal pain”. So whatever I carry I try to keep it as light as humanly possible.

    And finally, if you plan on attaching to the rear of the receiver you would really want the Draco. The reason why is the Draco’s receiver back is square to the bore. The M92/M85 has a funky downward angle and with anything other than an underfolding stock it puts the stock way to low to line up with the sights for most people. There is a fix, angled spacers, but it is an added cost that you do not have with the Draco.

    For me, when I was deciding which gun to carry, the Mini Draco was the clear choice for ME. Everyone has different criteria for their carry gun and the Mini Draco fit my needs perfectly. I did carry my M85 for a few weeks but decided it would not work because it required a big, tactical bag that just stuck out.

  7. Pinion says:

    Have you noticed any big differences in the muzzle blast and recoil characteristics between the 123 and 154 grain loads? Also, any thoughts on the terminal ballistics of the two loads out of a seven inch barrel? I know that going with heavier bullets tends to help all of those factors with the 5.56, and was wondering if weight plays as big of a role in the 7.62×39 world…

  8. Eric Hein says:

    I’ve e-mailed you about the handguard on your Mini Draco. As a machinist for 37 yrs., I consider myself fairly handy with fabricating custom accessories, and would like your help on duplicating your handguard! Please give me some info if you get a chance! Eric

  9. Forrest Karl Ragsdale says:

    Love this set up Got to have one are the C39s hard to get. and where do you get the Folding set up.

    Thanks
    FKR
    USCG AE1

  10. Joel says:

    Dear Shepherd – would you please provide the model number for the Saiga forearm you used? I *love* this look and want to emulate it. But I can’t seem to locate the forearm you cut down. This looks fantastic.

    Thanks!

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