Zack Smith is a competitive shooter and even shoots for Taran Tactical. Just last weekend Rifle Dynamics held their annual Red Oktober Rifle match. Zack shot the match and won first place with a $500 homebuilt AK.
Zack shot in Trooper division which requires the shooter to wear rifle rated plates in a plate carrier. But clearly that did not slow him down at all as you can see from the match results shown below. This is a great example of how it is the driver and not the car that wins the race.
I emailed Zack about his win and this is what he wrote back.
Just got home after driving from Utah so I’m a bit out of it. $500 is an exaggeration on my part. I had some parts like the stock, buffer tube, handguard, red dot, ect sitting around. But it was built for really cheap. $400 AIMS 74 parts kits and a $50 receiver. Someone could build a gun just like mine including optic for under $1000 easily.
I actually decided to attend this match before I had a rifle to shoot it with. This contraption was put together kind of last minute. It was built in one day and probably not the ideal way. The trunions are welded in instead of riveted like on a proper AK. I TIG welded the rear and a buddy of mine did the front, we were comparing welding techniques and not taking things too seriously. I cut the barrel down to 14.5″ behind the front sight and rethreaded it to 1/2-28 so it would accept an AR15 muzzle brake. I had an early version of a 223/556 muzzle brake that I helped test sitting around and threw it on, permanently of course. The barrel ended up being too thin for the Magpul handguard so I wrapped aluminum foil around it to provide “proper fit”. To finish it off, some high heat BBQ spray paint was applied to the gun.
I shot armored division which requires shooters to wear rifle rated plates during the match. Wound up taking the win for that division as well as the match overall which surprised me a bit. Not because I had to shoot in armor, but because of the talent of some of the other guys shooting. We had both the current IPSC rifle and shotgun world champions shooting open division. Two guys that I have a ton of respect for, not just their skills but the work they put in.
Penalties could be devastating at this match so I did my best to not shoot out of control and get all my hits. Wound up with some minor mistakes but made up for it on the longer range stages.
Take a look at the videos from the match.The first video is a montage of his build and some stage high lights.
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From parts kit to match winning rifle on a budget. And yes, the barrel is wrapped in aluminum foil to fit the handguard clamps and the trunnions are welded in. Thanks to my On The Reg Squad homies for the help with the build on such short notice. #ontheregsquad #akbuild #ak74 #ak47 #545×39
This $500 homebuilt AK is absolutely flat. Having an ALG trigger certainly helps.
Watch how fast Zack is on the trigger when he engages the triple target arrays!