We recently were alerted to the fact that Rifle Dynamics, well known for their high-quality AKs, is now offering AR lowers. To learn more, we reached out to Eric Tsou, Marketing Director of Rifle Dynamics.
Q: Eric, can we start with what is Rifle Dynamics, and why might our readers have heard of it before?
Eric Tsou, Rifle Dynamics – Rifle Dynamics is a custom-built AK shop started by Jim Fuller. The current owner, Mark Flinn, is Jim’s friend and someone who first backed him back in 2007. Today, we do the same thing that we’ve always done, which is building high-quality AKs and look for ways to make new adjustments to the platform.
For example, Rifle Dynamics recently came out with a tunable gas block that allows us to tune our guns better to work with suppressors. So, it’s not that we just build AK kits up; we try to push what can be done with the platform. That’s the gist of us as a company.
Q: For someone new to AKs, they may or may not know that Rifle Dynamics is a top-tier company when it comes to these guns. Can you explain your approach to building and that this is not a simple 600-dollar rifle?
Eric Tsou, Rifle Dynamics – In regards to AKs, it’s a system that can be put together very cheaply and crudely, and it will still work, but to optimize it and make an effort to make it the best that it can be takes a lot of man-hours. We build off parts kits from eastern Europe, but these parts are not always in an ideal condition as time passes.
Q: Can you explain what that means?
Eric Tsou, Rifle Dynamics – When we first started getting kits, they were in parade-level, never-been-fired condition. As time went on and government intervention came in, things changed with the quality of components we were procuring. Today, we spend hours going through parts, throwing away anything that does not meet our standards.
We also spend a lot of time fixing parts. What you’ll find is a lot of companies do not do this. They will use whatever they have or whatever they get and put the rifle together. That’s not what we do at Rifle Dynamics. We want to have a pristine product that goes to our customers. We spend a lot of time making sure everything is straight and correct, making sure our barrels are concentric once we start doing suppressor tuning and alignment.
We also spend a lot of time making sure the gun functions and shoots correctly. We do a lot of test firing to make sure your gun runs optimally. The bottom line is that we are going above and beyond to make sure that what we produce is as good as it possibly can be.
Q: Can you compare what Rifle Dynamics does to a more standard AK that our readers may have handled before?
Eric Tsou, Rifle Dynamics – When you pick up an average AK like a WASR, it’s non-refined and somewhat slapped together. It’s still a decent product because it’s built to the TDP of the time, but you’ll find that they are rough, harsh, over-gassed to make sure it works in the worst sub-zero conditions.
We have the ability at Rifle Dynamics to look at where you live, how you want your gun tuned, what kind of suppressor you intend to run, and we can adjust the gun to your particular needs. Once you get a gun from Rifle Dynamics, you can most certainly feel the work that went into it. When you rack the bolt, you can feel the difference.
I used to buy AK-47s that were milled, and they ran very smoothly because everything was milled together. We’ve given that feel to a stamp gun, which is a lot more work. They feel great, and once you shoot one, the impression it leaves on you is just amazing. We also tune the guns for semi-auto because that’s mainly what we do in America. There’s no need to make the gun work hard on full-auto as the mil-spec guns do.
Q: So, where did the idea to make a part for an AR come from?
Eric Tsou, Rifle Dynamics – In the beginning, Jim Fuller and Mark Flinn were doing lots of training. They used to teach together, and a lot of the design of our Rifle Dynamics guns comes from actually using the guns in training scenarios and trying to squeeze out every bit of performance possible. That said, to them, ARs were still an important platform to train on.
We love AKs, and we’ve put ourselves in a position where we are at the top of the AK game, but we still have respect for the AR-15. Everyone at the office here has at least one AR. Mark has been building ARs for decades now and has a lot of respect for the platform.
Around 2010, there was a time when Rifle Dynamics became a Knight’s Armament dealer selling upper components, and at that time, there was a small run of AR lowers made. They were lowers that we sold to friends and others close to us who wanted them. We were still a small shop, but it was something neat that we did.
I recently found one of those lowers in a safe here, and it was intriguing and was a pretty cool thing to see. Ten years later, we thought it would be interesting to do another run. Now, it’s not something that we’re building here in the shop because that’s not exactly our wheelhouse.
We’re not trying to be Knight’s Armament. We’re just trying to do something that’s fun for those out there who might be interested in adding something like this to their collection. It’s just a normal, Mil-spec lower, nothing too fancy. I know we could go down the rabbit hole of doing really cool billet stuff, but we thought that forged was the way to go for this batch.
Q: Can you talk at all about the manufacturing of the lowers?
Eric Tsou, Rifle Dynamics – We found a manufacturer of lowers that we liked, visited their facility, and saw the process of how they machine their lowers once they receive them from the forgery. At every step in the machining process, they have rigorous quality control checks in place.
They batch process and batch test them, putting together a gun, and making sure everything works together. They are also able to do type 3 anodizing in-house, which was also very impressive to us.
Q: How has the reception been?
Eric Tsou, Rifle Dynamics – The number of orders we’ve gotten so far for these AR lowers has been crazy. The first batch we did sold out in 45 minutes. We’re ordering more, and at some point, we might consider doing a fun run of billet sets later on.
That said, we’re not diving into the AR business. I know that’s something that we’ve been getting asked about a lot. We’re a company that’s entirely focused on the AK. However, knowing that people out there love Rifle Dynamics and that there are people out there that have been following us and what we do for over a decade, we thought it would be nice if they could look forward to small, fun runs. We all love the AK platform, but we all love the AR platform too. Being an American, it’s great to have choices. So, be on the lookout for more fun little drops like this in the future.
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