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The 7 Best AK Optics to Buy in 2023

The 7 Best AK Optics to Buy in 2023

14th Sep 2023

The venerable AK-47 is the most common rifle in the world. When Mikhail Kalashnikov designed the AK-47, he created a workhorse rifle with loose tolerances and such simple functionality that anyone can use them. But AK-47s aren’t the only AK out there. There’s also the AK-74M, the AK-9, the AK-12, -105, -104, -107, and many more.

Today, you can find AKs on every continent (except for maybe Antarctica). More importantly, they exist in gun safes all across America — and as we all know, there’s not much that American gun enthusiasts love more than decking out their guns with optics.

When it comes to AKs and optics, there are obviously some detractors. They fall into two general categories. First comes the “nyet, rifle is fine” crowd, who believe that nearly a century of scientific advancement has left us with nothing to add to the AK’s original design. The second is a group of people that believe you can’t put an optic on an AK because it wasn’t designed to have an optic in the first place.

But this is America. We don’t care what the norms are — if we want to attach a candy dispenser on a gun, then by God, we’ll figure out a way to do it.

In reality, you can and should add an optic to your AK-47 rifle. While it may require some modification (and actually reading the instructions), it’s totally doable for most gun owners. We’ll help you learn more about mounting systems and how they work as well as explore some of the best AK optics on the market for 2023.

Our Top 3 AK Optic Mounting Systems

First, let’s get one thing straight: mounting an optic to an AK isn’t like mounting one on an AR. The main place you’d think to mount the optic (i.e. on top of the dust cover) isn’t sturdy enough to hold zero after a few shots. As a result, you not only need to consider which optic to buy for your AK-47, but also which mounting system to use.

We picked the following mounting systems because you can easily install them yourself using hand tools. Other mounting systems require an actual gunsmith to replace parts on your gun. There’s nothing wrong with that, but we’re going in a DIY direction here — it’s part of the AK spirit.

In this brief list, we’re also keeping height over bore in mind. The way AK ergonomics work, many optics will feel too high for a comfortable cheek weld. While it is possible to add a cheek riser to your stock or buy some kind of stock with a built-in riser, that’s going to add extra expense to your rifle. It’s also antithetical to the AK ethos. Instead, we’re going to try to keep the rifle comfortable to shoot, easy to aim, and relatively inexpensive.

Here are some of the best AK optic mounting systems on the market right now:

RS Regulate

If you’re looking for some of the most robust mounting systems for the AK-47 platform, RS Regulate has a reputation for making sturdy, well-designed products specifically for the AK platform. RS Regulate mounts use two separate parts (called an “upper” and “lower” mount) to affix an optic to the rifle. The lower mount interfaces with the rifle, while the upper attaches to the optic itself. Connect them together, and voila! It’s like Legos for guns.

There is a downside to RS Regulate’s modularity, though. You’ll need to get a different lower mount depending on whether you’re running an AKM-pattern (think WASR or WBP) or a Yugo-pattern (Zastava) rifle. You can choose between full-length, front-biased (for AKM or Yugo) and rear-biased (for AKM and Yugo). Front- and rear-biased lower mounts give you less space to mount your upper, but cut down on precious weight.

You’ll also need to procure an upper that corresponds to the specific footprint of the optic you choose. Some of the most popular include:

Here’s another catch with RS Regulate. To attach the mounting system to the gun, you need a firearm with a side mount riveted into the receiver. Some AKs (such as Dracos) don’t have this necessary hardware. As a result, you can’t use RS Regulate with these variants.

Midwest Industries Master Mount

The primary offering from the folks over at Midwest Industries is the Master Mount. The Master Mount is a close second to the RS Regulate system, giving AK shooters a 1913 picatinny rail that peeks up over the top of their dust cover to securely mount an optic.

Midwest Industries also offers Master Mounts with footprints for specific optics, notably the Aimpoint T1 and 30mm for red dots or prisms. Unfortunately, the Master Mount has the highest height over bore, meaning you might need a cheek riser to comfortably aim the gun.

However, the Master Mount does have one big advantage over the RS Regulate system. While RS Regulate mounts can only be attached to AKs with a built-in side mount riveted into the gun’s receiver, you’ll have no problem attaching a Master Mount to the same gun. That offers AK owners a good deal of flexibility.

That said, Master Mount does require a little more work to install than an RS Regulate mount. You’ll have to remove the trigger group to attach it correctly. However, this only takes about 10 minutes for an experienced gun owner.

Ultimak Scout Rail

The guys at Ultimak did things a little differently with their mounting system. Instead of attaching to the side of an AK like the Master Mount and RS Regulate systems, the Ultimak Scout Rail replaces your AK’s normal gas tube with a length of 1913 Picatinny rail.

This is one of the lowest mounting solutions for an AK — a big perk when it comes to achieving a comfortable aim. In most cases, you won’t need to add a cheek riser with this mounting system. In fact, depending on the optic you use, you can even lower 1/3 co-witness your scope with an AK’s built-in iron sights.

It’s important to note that the Ultimak Scout Rail tends to get pretty hot as you shoot, and this can damage some lower-end optics. However, the Aimpoint Micro T-2 is a great optic for this mount, since it’s temperature-rated up to 160 degrees.

How to Choose the Best AK Optic

If you’re new to optics or new to mounting optics on AKs, you might come across some terminology that sounds great — but what does it really mean? Besides that, buying an optic for your AK isn’t the same as buying one for an AR, a pistol, or even a classic hunting rifle. There are unique factors to consider with the AK platform as well as factors everyone should consider when buying any firearm accessory. As you’re shopping around for the perfect AK optic, here are some important ideas to think about.

Red Dots vs. Rifle Scopes

Optics come in several shapes and sizes, but for the most part, you’re looking at a red dot sight, a scope, or a prism optic for your AK rifle. While either one can serve you well, they accomplish different goals.

  • Red Dots: Often more compact and lightweight, a red dot sight can be easier to mount to your AK without adding extra weight or bulk. These optics typically use a simple reticle (such as a red dot) to allow for quick and easy target acquisition. For this reason they’re often great for self-defense and close-range shooting. However, if you are looking for more magnification to make longer-range shots, a red dot isn’t the answer.
  • Scopes: A scope has the added benefit of increased magnification. Rifle scopes are designed for longer range shots and often include more complex reticles with crosshairs and bullet drop compensation marks. Some even come with windage and elevation knobs. However, all of this comes at the cost of extra weight and bulk, which can imbalance your rifle. In any case, AKs don’t shoot that far anyway, so a high-powered, heavy scope usually isn’t necessary.
  • Prism Optics: Prisms are a great in-between option for AKs. These optics use a glass prism to refract light to create a visible, slightly magnified image on the glass. This design is perfect for mid-range and close-range shooting. Often, these optics use a fixed reticle, which is etched directly into the glass itself, making them less vulnerable to recoil and impact damage. This durability also makes the prism optic an ideal accessory for the notoriously durable AK-47.


Good optics aren’t cheap. You’re going to be spending a few hundred dollars on any AK optic that’s worth using. If that’s the case, you want to make sure it’s built with quality materials and that it’s durable enough to last for a long time.

Plus, if you’re using your AK for self defense or hunting, you have no idea what situation you might find yourself in. The good thing about AKs is that they can basically be dragged through mud, dirt, sand, and the rest of creation — and they still fire. You want an optic that can keep up with that kind of toughness.


This mostly applies to optics with more magnification features (e.g. high magnification scopes, LPVOs, etc.). The added weight of the large objective lenses as well as any internal components or mechanisms create extra weight that rests directly on the mounting system and receiver. This puts more stress on your rifle, and over time, this can wear down the key components of your rifle.

More importantly, that extra weight can also put your rifle off balance, making it much harder to acquire your target and maintain a steady sight picture. If you can’t keep your eye on the target, what’s the point of having an optic? In a self-defense situation, this imbalance can make your AK harder to maneuver as well — bad news when you’re trying to stop an attacker in your underwear.

This isn’t to say you shouldn’t put a nice scope on your AK. With the right mounting system, you can compensate for this reasonably well. But it’s worth considering the weight of the mounting system and the optic you’re choosing as well as your shooting goals to balance magnification power, stability, and maneuverability with your AK.

Read the Reviews

Lastly, there are some qualities that simply can’t be determined from the specs alone. No optic manufacturer is going to say, “This optic has a pretty durable construction, but our glass kind of sucks.” They’re just going to tell you the good stuff and avoid mentioning the bad.

Short of buying every optic and testing it for yourself, the only way to get the dirt on each product is to read the reviews. Look at what real buyers are saying about each topic, especially from people who use their AK for the same reasons you do. Their reviews might reveal problems or advantages that you didn’t realize regarding things like attachment style, heat resistance, glass quality, stability, durability, etc.

The Best AK Optics of 2023

Now without further ado, the main event! We’re going to share some of our favorite optics for the AK platform. Remember that we’re dealing with AKs here. They’re not the most effective rifle past a few hundred yards. So, we’re not looking for precision optics that let you reach out and touch a target at 1000 yards. For the most part, the maximum magnification we need to worry about with an AK is about 3x, so we’re going to talk mainly about red dots and prisms here.

Aimpoint Micro T-2

If you’re looking for one of the best choices for an AK-47 optic, the Aimpoint Micro T-2 is a safe bet. Aimpoint basically invented the red dot optic in 1975, and they’ve only been improving on their designs ever since. The Aimpoint’s closed-emitter design means that you don’t need to worry about dust or debris mucking up your dot and making your optic useless.

The Aimpoint T-2 is also super rugged, and it’s one of the only optics on this list that can stand up to the heat of an Ultimak Scout Rail. If that’s not your jam, RS Regulate also makes an upper mount designed specifically for the Micro T-2’s footprint.

Specs & Features

  • Reticle Type: Red Dot, 2 MOA
  • Size: 3.1” L x 1.8” W x 1.9” H
  • Weight: 4.6 oz
  • Eye Relief: Unlimited
  • Night Vision Compatible: Yes
  • Material Housing: High Strength Aluminum
  • Battery Life: 50,000 h at daylight setting 8 (15,000 Lux, room temperature)
  • Submersible to 80 feet

What Real Users Say

The Aimpoint Micro T-2 is praised for many reasons, most notable of which are it’s accuracy, clear glass, battery life, and durability. Some users also like its compact size which makes it lighter and less noticeable when mounted to an AK.

However, while the battery life is quite impressive, the battery type (CR2032, 3V, Lithium) can be somewhat difficult to find. Others may not like the simplicity of this optic, specifically the lack of an automatic shutoff feature (often found in other aimpoint products). However, this simplicity also contributes to its durability — with less moving parts, there’s less to break.


This optic is a bit pricey, but you certainly get what you pay for in terms of reliability. Most outlets sell the Micro T-2 for north of $800 USD, depending on the specific mount type you choose.


There’s plenty to like about the iconic EoTech EXPS2. It’s got big windows, clear glass, and it’s basically bomb-proof. The HWS EXPS2 minimizes the amount of rail space you need to use for it by utilizing a tiny footprint. It features a 1,000 hour battery life, so you won’t need to worry about the dot going out anytime soon. And if you really want to reach out and touch a target that’s far away, you can add a G43 magnifier to get either 3x or 5x zoom.

The only downside to adding an EXPS2 to your AK is that RS Regulate doesn’t make a specific upper mount for its footprint. You’ll need to use a 1913 Picatinny rail upper, which leads to quite a bit of height over bore. You’ll need to add a cheek riser to the buttstock of your AK to get a proper cheek weld.

Specs & Features

  • Reticle Type: 68 MOA ring with (1 or 2) MOA red dot (center)
  • Size: 3.8" L x 2.3" W x 2.9" H
  • Weight: 11.2 oz
  • Eye Relief: Unlimited
  • Night Vision Compatible: No
  • Material Housing: Hardcoat anodized aluminum
  • Battery Life: 1,000 continuous hours (at nominal setting 12 at room temperature)
  • Water resistant at 10ft. Depth
  • Shatter-resistant, anti-glare viewing window

What Real Users Say

Regardless of what you buy from EoTech, you know you’re getting a high quality product. Users praise the EXPS2 for its ease of installation as well as its incredibly clear glass and reticle illumination. Reviews also attest to it’s extreme durability across the board. In some cases, users report that this optic is perfect for people who typically have visual issues with red dots.

At the same time, some people have reported instances of sloppy manufacturing (something quite uncharacteristic of EoTech). Others have said the optic might be slightly out of spec with iron sights on some sporting rifles, but these reports vary. Overall, the EoTech has very high ratings from just about everyone.


The EoTech is somewhat expensive, but not as expensive as some other optics on this list. You can probably get this optic for somewhere between $550 and $700 USD. For the quality it boasts, that’s not a bad deal.

Axion Kobra EKP-1S-03

If you’re trying to create an AK that actual Combloc commandos would use, you can’t go wrong with a Kobra optic. The Kobra is an actual honest-to-goodness Russian red dot optic and mount combo that you can attach to your AK’s side mount. In the states, they’re made by defense contractor Axion.

There’s plenty to like about the Kobra. For one, they’re designed specifically to be used with AKs, unlike every other entry on this list. They’re battle-tested, too, and Russian troops have fielded them in conflicts since they started fighting Chechens in the ‘90s. It features four different reticles that an operator can scroll through at the touch of a button. On the downside, the window is only as big as a pistol red dot. Its design also features an open emitter, so dust or mud can sometimes obscure the dot.

Specs & Features

  • Reticle Type: 1.8 MOA, Red Dot, (4 reticle options)
  • Size: 5.66” L x 2.6” W x 5.66” H
  • Weight: 14.46 oz
  • Eye Relief: Unlimited
  • Night Vision Compatible: Yes
  • Material Housing: Impact resistant aluminum alloy and steel
  • Battery Life: 70 hours at medium brightness
  • 16-level digital brightness adjustment

What Real Users Say

For the most part, users report that the Kobra works just fine, even when exposed to cold weather for long periods. Expect nothing less from a Russian optic. Otherwise, people agree that it’s durable as hell and remarkably steady. Once zeroed, users say this optic should hold its position for years.

However, the real complaint with the Kobra isn’t the design — most say it’s a great optic. The fact is, there are simply better options you can get for the same amount of money (and with more battery life). The real reason many buy this optic is because it’s somewhat of a novelty and it achieves a certain style for your AK.


Prices for the Kobra EKP-1S-03 vary widely, and at times, it may be difficult to find. If you do find an authentic listing for a factory-new Kobra, you’ll likely pay upwards up $550 USD for it. While not the cheapest on the market, it isn’t the most expensive either.

Trijicon ACOG TA50

Thanks to Call of Duty, the Trijicon ACOG is one of the most iconic weapon sights on the market today. Anyone who served in an infantry unit during the GWOT will also instantly be familiar with the design. In fact, Trijicon ACOGs are still used by the Marine Corps and U.S. Special Operations Forces today.

The ACOG (short for Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight) has some huge advantages over other scopes. For one, it’s a prism optic that uses a tritium/fiber optic combo to illuminate its reticle. That means it doesn’t require a battery to run, eliminating one huge point of failure for many gunsights. Instead, the fiber optic reticle adjusts brightness automatically based on light conditions. In extremely low-light, the tritium insert takes over to still illuminate the reticle.

Its glass clarity is great, and its lenses work to maximize the amount of ambient light to give you a crystal clear picture. RS Regulate even makes an ACOG-specific upper mount, which will give you the lowest possible mounting option for your AK.

Specifically, we recommend the Trijicon Acog TA50 3x24 with a 7.62x39 reticle because of its housing height and reticle style which are ideal for AKs.

Specs & Features

  • Reticle Type: Horseshoe with 2 MOA red dot (center)
  • Size: 5.0” L x 1.8” H x 2.1” W
  • Weight: 6.1 oz
  • Eye Relief: 1.4 inches
  • Night Vision Compatible: Yes
  • Material Housing: Rugged aluminum-alloy
  • Battery Life: No Battery Required
  • Magnification: 3x
  • Waterproof/Anti-fog design
  • Shock resistant against recoil (everything from .22LR to .50BMG)

What Real Users Say

In addition to the crystal clear glass, users also enjoy the reticle design, bright illumination, and balanced magnification of this Trijicon ACOG. This combo makes it great for quick target acquisition and medium-range shots. Reviews confirm that the low profile design does in fact work well with AKs. Some even report it’s great for people with astigmatism.

While many say the price is a bit hard to swallow, one user reports, “the joy of good quality far outlasts the joy of saved money.” That person isn’t alone, either. Lots of people agree that Trijicon ACOGs are totally worth the money.


As we’ve discussed, this optic is pretty darn expensive. Of course, there are pricier models out there, but the Trijicon ACOG certainly isn’t a budget option. Most places sell this sweet optic for right around $1000 USD — and for good reason. If you decide to bite the bullet on buying this optic, you won’t be disappointed with its performance, and you’ll probably have it forever.

Trijicon MRO

The MRO (Miniature Rifle Optic) is another big win for Trijicon. The MRO is a reflex sight that’s available with either red or green dot reticles. The red dot batter lasts for around 2.5 years. It also features ambidextrous brightness control, which is great for right- and left-handed shooters alike.

The MRO has 8 different brightness settings, and two of them are even night vision compatible. Although the optic itself doesn’t have any zoom capabilities, you can pair it with a magnifier if you need to. What’s more, RS Regulate makes a MRO-specific upper optic mount, which is great news for AK owners.

Specifically for AKs, we’re looking at the Trijicon MRO HD (Red Dot) with Low Mount.

Specs & Features

  • Reticle Type: 68 MOA Reticle with 2.0 MOA Dot (center)
  • Size: 2.9” L x 1.7” W x 3” H
  • Weight: 6.1 oz
  • Eye Relief: Infinite in
  • Night Vision Compatible: Yes
  • Material Housing: Forged aluminum
  • Battery Life: (Red) 2.5 Years of continuous use at dot-only day setting "3" at 70°F
  • Ambidextrous brightness control (16 total settings)
  • Anti-reflective glass

What Real Users Say

When looking at Trijicon MROs in general, you’ll usually find positive reviews regarding the durability and ease of use. Zeroing these optics is a breeze, even for inexperienced shooters — and it holds its position well. Specifically with the MRO HD Red Dot, most people report amazing clarity with a crisp, illuminated reticle, making it easy to acquire targets quickly. Users also agree that this optic works great on multiple rifle platforms including ARs and AKs.

However, more than one user complained that the emitter circuit board is visible in the glass under certain light conditions. Obviously this can be a problem when you need to make a clear shot.


Like most Trijicon optics, you’re looking at a premium product. Most places sell the MRO HD Red Dot for north of $950 USD, and almost everyone agrees it’s a great value that will last a long time.

Holosun HS507C X2

Although it’s not the kind of thing you’d usually see mounted on an AR-pattern gun, pistol red dots are actually fairly common in the AK world. AKs are already fairly heavy guns, since they rely mainly on metal in their fabrication (in contrast to the “tupperware” AR). Using a pistol red dot helps cut back on weight while still giving an AK shooter something to use other than iron sights.

The Holosun HS507C X2 has the same footprint as Trijicon’s RMR, making it a more affordable option for those who aren’t trying to sell a kidney for a pistol optic. It’s also light weight with an incredible battery life, making it valuable for several reasons.

Specs & Features

  • Reticle Type: 2 MOA Dot & 32 MOA Circle (red dot)
  • Size: 1.78” L x 1.15” W x 1.15” H
  • Weight: 1.5 oz
  • Eye Relief: Unlimited
  • Night Vision Compatible: Yes
  • Material Housing: 7075 T6 Aluminum
  • Battery Life: 50,000 hours on setting 6
  • Auto-dimming/Shake Awake (motion activated) technology
  • Backup solar power source

What Real Users Say

Above all, most users enjoy getting this high-quality optic for a pretty low price. Considering how well this optic performs, it’s a fantastic value. On top of that, plenty of users appreciate the long lasting battery and backup solar power source as well, which isn’t common for optics at this price.

One common complaint with this Holosun optic concerns it’s size. It’s certainly the smallest optic on this list, which is to be expected from a pistol optic. However, that doesn’t mean it won’t work just fine on an AK (it may even be preferable, depending on your shooting goals).


The Holosun HS507C is certainly a great optic for budget-conscious AK shooters. Most places have this optic for around $300 USD, making it the cheapest optic on this list.

Primary Arms SLx 1-6x24mm

While we don’t normally recommend magnified scopes for AKs, this LPVO from Primary Arms is the exception. If you’re going to mount a scope to your AK, the SLx 1-6x24mm is one of your best options for hunting and target practice.

This lightweight, durable LPVO scope features Primary Arms’ patented Advanced Combined Sighting System (ACSS) reticle. The ACSS reticle design brings bullet drop compensation, wind holds, moving target leads, and range estimation all together into a sighting system that’s easy for new users to pick up on. With this LPVO, you get the best of both worlds — that means fast and accurate target acquisition from 0-800 yards. What’s more, the SFP ensures the reticle maintains its size at all magnification levels.

Specs & Features

  • Reticle Type: ACSS reticle, SFP, Illuminated
  • Tube Diameter: 30mm
  • Length: 10 inches (254mm)
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 24mm
  • Weight: 16.9 Oz
  • Eye Relief: Low: 3.50 in / High: 3.30 in
  • Night Vision Compatible: No
  • Material Housing: Hardcoat anodized aluminum
  • Zoom: 1-6x

What Real Users Say

Reviews for the SLx1-6x24mm are almost unanimously positive. Across the board, users love the level of quality and versatility they get from this LPVO for the cost. Specifically, users say the ACSS reticle design allows for more accurate shots at a distance.

However, some also report that it isn’t as durable as you might expect. Others say the brightness of the optic starts to decrease dramatically at 6x, muddling colors as well.


This LPVO from Primary Arms is a total steal for the quality it offers. Most outlets offer this optic for $350 or less, depending on where you look.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, you have no dearth of options when it comes to mounting an optic on your AK-47 or other AK-variant rifle. Optics are a great way to vastly improve your rifle’s accuracy and make nailing follow-up shots a breeze.

To choose the right optic for your AK, be sure to pay attention to both the mounting system and the optic itself. Double-check that they’re truly compatible and make sure to pick a combo that allows you great balance for an affordable price.

If you’re in the market for ammo or accessories for your AK, you’ve come to the right place. Pro Armory offers a great selection of both to get you ready for any situation. Be sure to pick up 7.62x39 ammo (and grab some Russian-made Wolf before it’s gone forever)!

Regardless of your skill level, our team of veterans and firearms enthusiasts are available to help you find the best equipment for your shooting goals. Browse Pro Armory’s selection of ammo and accessories for your AK today.

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