Old Workhorse: SBR Mini Draco AK47 Fall 2017 Update

| October 11, 2017 | 7 Comments

We carry pistols because they are convenient, not because they are effective. – John Farnam

In November of 2011 I purchased a Mini Draco AK47 pistol, with the intent of converting it to a short barreled rifle (SBR) and carrying it daily.

I carried it for about two years before experimenting with my .300 Blackout AR15 pistol and my Masterpiece Arms MPA 930 SST. However, in the spring of last year I started up with the AK again, and it’s been in my bag ever since — unless I go out of state.

Last Saturday I completed the Advanced Rifle class from QSI Training. It’s one of my favorite live fire classes. We do a lot of low probability drills like shooting a rifle with one handed with the “off” hand, clearing malfunctions with one hand, etc. It’s a lot of fun.

My Mini Draco AK continues to be one of the most reliable and durable rifles in every class. After almost six years and approximately 6,000 rounds, I have some observations about Old Painless.

  • It’s still heavy. As configured today, it’s 8.5 pounds unloaded, nearly two pounds more than the AR15 pistol. I’ve mitigated the overall weight in my bag by loading a 20 round “tanker” mag and keeping another 20 rounder as a spare.
  • I’ve done a few night classes with the Draco, and the lack of a muzzle attachment (aside from a thread protector) has no bearing on my ability to shoot in no/low-light.
  • The concussion is noticeable, but not nearly as bad as a 7.5″ barreled AR15 firing .223, or even my “Mini MAC” MPA 930SST.
  • The Primary Arms MD-06 optic is still kicking, despite being kept in a backpack that has been dropped, stepped on, and thrown in car trunks and backseats. It has also survived dust, mud, and rainy training days.
  • I still haven’t gotten the rear trunnion replaced so I can run a “proper” stock. I would like a slightly higher stock to get a more consistent cheek weld without having to “hunch” down as much as I do.
  • When the Mini Draco first came out, there was a lot of concern about the plastic buffer inside. Some were convinced this part would wear out and the Mini Draco would be rendered useless. 6000 rounds later and it looks brand new. No concern, and yet another proof that we should “do” more to prove or disprove conjecture in the training world and less opining about what would or wouldn’t work. I also ran into this with my 6.75″ barreled .300 Blackout AR15, which many said would never work reliably (it does).
  • Due to the extremely short nature of the rifle and my previous experience of running a vertical foregrip, I grab the magazine well with my support hand. This is fine when shooting right handed, but I have to remember the charging handle reciprocates when I shoot with my left hand. Note: the charging handle may rip the top third of your thumbnail off, but the weapon will still cycle. Blood is Froglube for AKs.
  • I developed some surface rust on the dust cover and safety lever after a basic rifle class earlier this year. I put the rifle in the padded laptop sleeve I use to break up its outline, and then I put the sleeve in my Adidas Rydell bag. I assume the heat from the gun condensed, which encouraged oxidation.
  • I have yet to find a good way to use the iron sights should my red dot die. The optic occludes all but the top of the hooded front sight, making “shooting through the tube” impossible. I’ve shut the optic off in a few classes to simulate a dead optic, with no good result.
  • I’ve been pleased with the el cheapo offset flashlight mount made by any number of Chinese manufacturers. I have a “Monstrum” brand mount on my AK and an “Alonefire” mount on my training drone. Been about 2000 rounds without a wobble; just tighten the latch past where you think you should and then throw it flat.
  • The Nitecore P12 works well as a weapon mounted light and puts out plenty of light in the two low/no light live fire classes I’ve taken and the two force on force classes I’ve attended. According to Nitecore it’s not rated for use on firearms but so far it’s done the job (with one weird exception I will write about in a future article).

Overall, the longer I’ve owned and trained with SBRs and PDWs the more I find the Mini Draco AK47 suits me the best. I am glad I explored other options, and that I have been lucky enough to train in enough rifle classes to evaluate various platforms.

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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7 Comments on "Old Workhorse: SBR Mini Draco AK47 Fall 2017 Update"

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  1. Terrance says:

    Have you cosidered the RST from Occam Defense? It switches out the rear sight with a rear sight/pic rail combination. I think it will make the sbr “taller” than what you have currently though.

  2. van der linn says:

    are you telling me that the 9mm SBR has given you more perceivable concussion than that krink?
    I guess it is due to the muzzle being closer to your face??

    Also, I thought I saw some testing one day that demonstrated, w/ charts of metered data ect, that a Krink was actually louder than a 5.56 w/ the same or nearly so, barrel length.

    • Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd says:

      Yep, it’s pretty much in the same position as a high center Axis relock hold, maybe even closer to the face.

  3. Dolomite_Supafly says:

    I am still rocking a Draco as well. You did a write up on a previous version. My current version wears an AR style rear sight I welded on the dust cover. Still a folder but with the Shockwave “brace”. I reworked the trigger to break at 2.5 pounds with very little take up or over travel.

    Anyways, glad to see you are still rocking a Draco. I use mine every single day.

    • Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd says:

      Good to hear from you. It makes me happy that one of the top search results on our site for “sbr ak” is your build 🙂

  4. BUdes says:

    What about a quick detach optic mount, when the optic is dead you can just drop it? I appreciate your testing of other options and your open mindedness to cheaper solutions like Chinese mounts, nitecore, primary arms red dot.

    I was under the impression one could co witness aimpoint t1 (or similar mounted otpic) or Trijicon RMR with the Ak Iron sights. If your preference is upper hand gaurd mounting.

    Keep up the research

  5. TR says:

    New steel hinge

    Circle 10 AK Push Button 2-Bolt Folding Stock Hinge

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