The AK-47 finally has a charging handle on the right side, thanks to Parabellum Armament

Kit Up! at SHOT

Parabellum Armament finally helps us out by putting the charging handle on the left hand side of the AK so us righties can charge and clear malfunctions without coming completely off the gun.  The regular charging handle can be ground off if the user prefers, or can be left in place as a back up.  Anyhow, you can watch the video to get a better idea of how the Ratchet Charging System (RCS) works:


  • Alexandar

    Thank you god, it was about time!

  • Joe

    Its not that hard to use the standard, people have been doing it for years. Check out any of the videos out there by Haley,etc. I don’t think we need to complicate this platform IMHO.

  • Go Navy!

    This is one of those nice to have on the AK. The charging handle on the right is fine. It’s been like that since 1947. What would be great if there is a bolt lock on the AK. I know there is a new safety lever by Kerbs that locks the bolt back but it’s expensive….($75). I see more use on that instead of the charging handle. I wonder if this charging handle works on all AK variants?

    • Gant

      It’s 2012 and people still use the AK if they have a choice? I get that it’s a solid weapon and all…. But why?

      Only reason I can think of is that it’s the poor mans rifle. Cheap and easy to own.

      Also, props on the upgrade. Always a welcome sight to see weapon tech improve.

      • Gant

        Didn’t meant to post it as a reply.

  • Sam

    Looks to me that the charging handle would get in the way of my grip, but maybe not, who knows…I think that the Lightning bolt is a better option IMO. but that’s my 2 cents.

  • MarkM

    It’s a gas piston mount forward, not a major problem with the location – unless you’ve already tried it on other guns like HK’s and found it a bit too far forward. Considering AR’s have had this available as an option for years, maybe this will actually sell.

    The AK is a solidly operating platform due to the bombproof mag design, but the operator controls are it’s Achilles heel – poorly located, forcing a lot of trigger hand motions that impede a quick reload. Entirely why nobody competes with one, it’s mostly bass ackward and needs a bolt hold open and off hand charging just to get even competitively. If you don’t know or care about ergonomics, it’ll do for a range toy, but there are specific reasons China has dumped it as a first line weapon and the Russians are actually out in public discussing getting something more modern. Even warehouses full of AK’s for free aren’t enough enticement now. They’d like more accuracy and ergos.

    Maybe the human wave combat philosophy isn’t all that when your citizens discover free enterprise. Now they have something to survive for.

  • Tom

    @ Go Navy!
    $75 expensive? That’s a tank of gas.

    • Go Navy!

      Tom: Hey limited budget here :) It is on my list of upgrades.

    • Matt G.


      What do you drive? A cruise ship?!:)

  • Alex

    This is awesome, especially when the last thing to do this was the Lightning bolt and it was I think $250 or $300 bucks.

  • yoyo

    Has anyone used the Lightning bolt? Oh and Alex is correct that it is $250 bucks

    • Alex

      I’ve heard good things in some forums and Travis Haley likes it, but it just seems too much money for a simple cut and weld job on an AK bolt carrier to me. I’d personally rather keep the bolt handle on the right side of the AK so I can lock the bolt back and a backup, but have a bolt handle on the left side for everything else.

      Jack, does this system require any or many mods to the AK?

  • jrexilius

    So how is it installed/added? Is it a modified receiver?

    • Alan

      Replaces the gas tube, all you need is a driver for the screws. The thin shown is actually from Dublin AK Systems. They’re on Youtube, and have a website: .

      • Go Navy!

        Does this work on every AK Variant….most importantly WASR 10s?

  • Go Navy!

    Gant: Not a problem. I like a good reply :) I have to say when I compare the AK to an AR, the AK is very simplistic. Less than 20 components. The tolerances are very lose. But you can put what ever ammo into it and it will go bang each time. Cleaning is very easy as well (if cleaning is needed at the particular time).

    • Matt G.

      Go navy;
      Strangely enough, all those things you said about AKs apply to my AR as well. I think people get a little too liberal with the facts when it comes to AKvsAR. Both were made around the same decade and both serve relatively the same purpose. They are very similar.

  • JackBlack

    Hello, since Mar 12, 2008, AK Lightning Bolt has been made.
    And Lightning Bolt Gen2 since Sep 22, 2009.

  • Lance

    Im right handed so this isn’t needed a regular charging handle works fine but to the lefties cool.

  • Here’s the website:

    Here’s a video showing installation:

  • Tim B.

    Wasted money and effort. I’m a left handed shooter and the AK works fine as-is for me. I would rather see that extra time and effort put into quality control on US built AK’s…

  • 4FingerOfBourbon

    Hmmmm. Seem to clear my AMD-65 just fine (righty Hungar….AK) Clear it okay. This would free up a hand in the **** though. I noticed many times on the range and, goh, 3 gun’n oh how I wished A, for better ammo, and B, to keep my right hang in the area of the trigger, and D, for me to use more commas in a post. ,,,,,

    • 4FingerOfBourbon

      And maybe less whiskey as D should of been C

      • 4FingerOfBourbon

        And by Whiskey I mean bourbon. Except for tonight in which I should of changed my name….

  • Morgan

    Matt, you probably have an excellent AR. But what Go Navy says applies to even the standard, mass produced AK, times the millions that have been produced, modified and ill-treated for decades. The AK is the Russian wonder of the world.

  • Johhny

    I think this product, as well as the lightning bolt, is designed with the right handed user in mind.

  • Go Navy!

    Good one Matt G. When I look at upgrades, I have to decide either save money for that upgrade or use the money towards another firearm. I don’t use the AK as often. But I use the AR a lot. So the upgrade tends to go towards AR. The AK is my AX while my AR is the surgerical knife.

  • Michael

    Be sure to check out a new book, “The Gun” by C.J. Chivers, The History of the AK-47 in great detail. He goes into the history of rapid fire–the Gatling, the Maxim, the German ST-44, etc.

  • Mr. X

    Unfortunately, while a novel and interesting idea – I feel this product is making up for gross training deficiencies and adds to the ever-abundant (if not annoying) western thinking that everything needs to be ‘run it like an AR!!!”.

    The AK is not an AR.

    With proper training on the platform, one can easily keep up with the AR platform in reload speed – even while retaining magazines (which one should do anyway). To find proper training on the AK platform is hard, because everyone out there (in the US especially) is trying to apply AR-centric training methodologies and techniques that aren’t really applicable to the AK platform.

    Recommend you check out Sonny Puzika’s “Beyond the Firearm Part II” for a truly in-depth study on how to run an AK like an AK is meant to be run from someone who’s intimately familiar with the platform. C.J. Chivers book is also a must-read on the AK platform.

    • The charging handle on the M16 family of weapons is completely different from that found on the AK family, including this modified charging handle so I don’t think it has anything to do with people wanting to run a AK like a AR. It would be misguided to even try, might as well just use a AR to begin with. Chivers book is in my stack waiting to be read!

  • Caseless

    Nice looking product. No rail on top? (to keep clear of Ultimak trademark?)

  • Alex

    I asked them and they said they’re putting a rail on it soon.

  • xcalbr

    I would say these features apply to the AR15, though on a more limited level. Of course, the Ar15 is simple and extremely reliable, though it is not as rugged as the AK. It would delight me to see future AK variants with new technologies, such as nickel-boron coated bolt and carrier group, polygonal rifling, ambidextrous charging handle (like this one) and safety, and rail system.


    You do not have to release fire control to operate the bolt handle to clear malfunctions.

  • Antony

    I personally like the right sided charging handle. The AK is super front heavy and it’s difficult to hold the gun up with the right hand on the pistol grip. I can easily hold the gun shouldered with my left hand while I crank my bolt with my right hand, since the left hand is supporting all of that weight up front. It’d be a bit more difficult to operate the bolt while supporting the weight at the rear, while keeping my rifle shouldered. Yes, your hand leaves the trigger, but you’re not shooting while you clear the chamber anyways? I just find it much easier to stay shouldered and on target if my left hand is supporting the weight.