Sunday, May 02, 2010

Belarus PK-AS Black/Red Dot Sight


So ever since I started shooting I never really liked iron sights. They work OK but after the fatigue sets in with closing one eye all the time and refocusing on different far off targets, it seemed to give me a headache more and more. I also tried out a peep sight from a .308 HK Clone and that wasn't too comfortable either. In comes side mount optics designed for the AK variant.

While doing research we have everything from this PK-AS, a PK-A Red Dot, and a PK-23 Blinking Dot. Of all of these the PK-A was the only other one that had a built-in mount. I never got a chance to test one out but it looked pretty old school in the ways of technology so thus it was harder to justify blowing close to 2 bills on it. The PK-23 looked interesting and a few peeps on forums have said good things, but it didn't have an integrated mount. The closest thing to one was a model that Kalinka Optics made for an Aimpoint red dot. It was supposed to be able to co-witness with the iron sites. Some pictures from the web have shown this thing. It looks like it works but yeah if you priced out the PK-23 and the mount it would've come up to close to $300 which was not in the range I wanted to spend.

The PK-AS comes in 3 different mount types. A side mount, which is the one I have, a top mount which supposedly sits very high above the barrel, and a weaver mount which would require you to get a side mount like a BP-02. I picked the side one because I didn't want to bother with having a separate BP-02 to deal with and I didn't want the high-mount because it seemed like fewer people had this type.

I picked the PK-AS because of its optic design. It has this huge black circle and then a small 1/1.5 MOA black dot. The circle makes for easier target acquisition and the black dot is just to clue on your target. The black dot can be turned into a red dot with a flick of a switch. I have found that the red dot can't be seen all too well in the bright sun, but the black dot can be seen fine. The black dot does not require the battery in order to function so it seemed like a perfect replacement to the iron sights.

I've taken this optic out shooting twice. It does keep zero after you take off the optic which is good. Zeroing it was a bitch because you have to take a few shots, know where the reticle has to move, take off the optic, loosen the tightening nut, make adjustments, tighten the nut again, mount it again, and make test shots. I didn't have the most optimal setup in the desert so it took quite a few rounds to get it where I wanted it to be.

The while side-mount is odd. Sometimes it is easier to look through your left eye as in when you have a good cheek weld but when you are prone, looking at it with your right eye seems more normal. I can tell how some people would hate the fact that it is not center-mounted but I don't seem to mind all that much.

The side-mounted PK-AS is not being sold anywhere right now. Tantal doesn't have it, Eastwave doesn't have it, and Kalinka only has the top mounted one for an insane price. Luckily I posted a few WTBs on many-a forums and I got a response. I think this is the only way to get one of these.

Overall I would say that it's a great buy. Considering that one's options for an AK are to get a KV-04 or BP-02 and then put loctite on a weaver-mounted optic, I think having one, single unit it much better and cheaper. The black dot just drove it home. Too bad more optic companies aren't doing this, it's a great idea.

Pros
Black dot is great under bright conditions
Black circle is convenient, just like the red circle on an EoTech
Both do not require batteries to function
Built like a tank

Cons
Out of stock almost everywhere
The side-mount location != quick acquisition
A bit on the heavy side (1lbs 5oz)
Zeroing adjustments suck