One of the more popular modifications for an SKS is an aftermarket Monte Carlo style stock.
The SKS 7.62x39mm carbine was designed and adopted by the Soviets in 1945 and remained in service for decades. It was widely exported and produced by many former Bloc nations, as well as China. With many surplus Russian, Yugoslavian, Chinese and some Romanian SKS’s offered for sale here at inexpensive prices over the years, the SKS is fast replacing the .30-30 Winchester lever-action rifle as the most common rifle in America. While a perfectly usable rifle in its issued form, the SKS quickly lends itself to customization. Let us take a look at personalizing this rugged carbine.
There are a few certain items every SKS owner needs. Since the SKS is a military surplus gun, it does not normally include an owner’s manual, the fist and foremost must-have item is the SKS/AK-47 Original Military Instruction Manual for your gun. Another one of these vital items is a sight tool such as the SKS C-type tool and TAPCO’s Mil-Grade sight tool. In order to get your shots on target, these front sight tools are required to adjust your front sight’s elevation and windage. For versatility in any reloading situation, another essential item is stripper clips for your rifle.
Of course any rifle must be kept clean and the SKS has a cleaning kit that fits right into the buttstock. A military-style sling, a broken shell extractor, and a cleaning rod are also a good idea if your rifle did not already come with them.
One of the most popular ways to customize your carbine is to replace the stock. The most popular aftermarket stock, the TAPCO Intrafuse gives the SKS an adjustable M-4 style buttstock and a SAW-style pistol grip, as well as rails on the forearm bottom and top barrel cover in several popular colors, including Dark Earth. For that classic look, ATI, Ram-Line and Butler Creek all have synthetic Monte Carlo stocks. ATI also carries their Monte Carlo stock in Mossy Oak’s Break-Up camouflage. For a synthetic folding stock that allows for easy storage of your rifle, look again at ATI, and Ram-Line. For those that need the adjustability of the M-4 type stock and folding capability, ATI offers their folding 6-position stock for the SKS carbine with the added feature of a removable adjustable cheekrest (SKS-205). For the infamous sniper rifle look, try ATI’s Dragunov stock.
For those that want a one-step compliance-legal upgrade, TAPCO packages its Title 18 USC 922(r) Compliance Parts with its Intrafuse stock, making this a quick and easy upgrade for your SKS.
Mounting a scope to your SKS is a very popular idea. The best scope mounts require drilling and tapping the receiver to install, a task beyond the expertise or resolve of a lot of gun owners. Leapers’ UTG SKS scope mounts replace the top cover and one even includes integral see-through rings.
B-Square’s SKS 56 mount installs over the receiver by replacing the cover retaining pin and includes a standard dovetail base. Either one of these designs requires no gunsmithing to install and is completely reversible.
For those of us who want to stick with iron sights on our SKS, but find the factory sights lacking, Williams offers its rear Peep sight and a front FireSight for an improved sight picture. TAPCO manufactures brightly colored inserts for the front sight.
An extended magazine release protrudes further than the factory magazine release making it more easily accessible for magazine changes or clearing your SKS.
For removable extra-capacity magazines, the new standard is the 20-round TAPCO magazines, which are also available in Darth Earth and Olive Drab. Made of tough polymer, these magazines also count as 3 U.S. Sec 922r compliant parts. TAPCO also offers these magazines in a 10-round capacity and even a 5-rounder for hunting.
Muzzle brakes and recoil compensators are devices that are fitted to the muzzle of a firearm to redirect propellant gases with the effect of countering both recoil of the gun and unwanted rising of the barrel during rapid fire. The problem with the SKS is trying to find a way to add a muzzle device without removing the front sight or designing some sort of elaborate jig for a lathe. There are pin-on brakes for the SKS, such as an AK-74 style pin-on brake and a Cutts-style compensator. There is even an AK-74 clamp-on brake.
For those with a Yugoslavian model 59/66 SKS, TAPCO makes a brake that replaces the grenade launcher.
For endless options to mount scopes, flashlights, lasers, bipods or foregrips to your SKS, look to the SKS SOCOM Universal Picatinny Tri-Rail System Mount by Leapers UTG. This mount provides 9” of Picatinny mounting rails at 12, 3, and 9 O’clock locations.
A great way to keep your ammunition handy for hauling to the range or wherever you might need it, is to keep it on stripper clips and keep those stripper clips in an SKS chest rig.
Don’t forget to get plenty of ammunition, targets, range safety gear and rifle cases to complete your SKS experience.