February 25, 2024

When I first got into shooting, I was drawn to affordable, reliable firearms like the semi-auto version of the Romanian AK-74, the SAR-2. The combination of light recoil, super-affordable magazines, and ammunition was the perfect fit for a college student short on cash.

In fact, I learned a great deal about shooting in general for relatively little money – at least far less than I would have spent with an AR15 between the rifle and the ammunition costs.

PSA AK-74 Brake
The PSA AK-74 muzzle brake really tames the already soft-shooting 5.45 cartridge. IMG Jim Grant

Sadly, with the unjust ban on surplus 7N6 5.45mm ammunition, the economic viability of the AK-74 for American civilian shooters vanished. And true to the tenets of Capitalism, production and importation of 74-pattern rifles promptly dried up. In fact, shooters were left without any reasonably-priced 100-series style 5.45 AK carbines for the better part of a decade. At least, that was the case until PSA stepped up to the plate.

PSA AK-74 Rifle

You read that right, the folks at Palmetto State Armory have unveiled a 5.45 American-made AK in both traditional, and 100-series patterns. While PSA never gave a definitive price on the PSA AK-74, at SHOT Show 2020 they confirmed the guns would Range in price from $699 to $899 depending on options. Presumably, that means the folding stock model will run around $900, with the fixed stock at the lower price point.

PSA AK-74 Old Truck
Looking for the perfect TEOTWAWKI gun? Stock up on 5.45, and let the good times roll! IMG Jim Grant

For those of you not familiar with the 5.45 round, it’s essentially the Soviet Union’s answer to the 5.56mm western cartridge. Lightweight, fast, and relatively inexpensive, the 5.45 round earned a reputation for brutal terminal ballistics and soft recoil. And the PSA AK-74 100% lived up the soft recoil portion – due in no small part to the gun’s inclusion of the iconic AK-74 tank brake.

Other solid features include mil-spec polymer furniture, and a mil-spec side optics mount so shooters can slap on their favorite AK optic to squeeze every last inch of performance from their small-bore AK.


Just like with the other PSA guns I fired at the event, I didn’t have quite enough time with the gun to make a definitive review of the PSA AK-74’s capabilities. That said, the gun tested encountered no mechanical malfunctions whatsoever and was more than accurate enough to hit a six-inch “A-Zone” center mass IPSC target at 100 yards with open sights.

PSA AK-74 Plum Dirt Road
The new PSA AK-74 looks as great as it runs. IMG Jim Grant

One thing I personally would like to test more in-depth, is compatibility with other magazines since we only had Magpul PMAGs on hand during the event. Regardless, given the price of the PSA AK-74 Rifle, provided it lives up the reputation for quality that the majority of PSA guns have, it should be a huge hit. I believe the gun will prove popular not just with AK-lovers, but also shooters in search of something a little different than your everyday AR-15, but don’t want to skimp on performance, reliability or have to pay out the wazoo for a collectible imported gun.

About Jim Grant

Jim is one of the elite editors for AmmoLand.com, who in addition to his mastery of prose, can wield a camera with expert finesse. He loves anything and everything guns but holds firearms from the Cold War in a special place in his heart.

When he’s not reviewing guns or shooting for fun and competition, Jim can be found hiking and hunting with his wife Kimberly, and their dog Peanut in the South Carolina low country.

Jim Grant

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