Stop - H.A.M.M.R. Time!
Those of you who did not spend their time in high school looking out of the window might remember Newton's Third Law: "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." The AK H.A.M.M.R. proves that 300+ years later this law still holds true.
So every action has an opposite reaction...
ACTION: California gun laws make detachable magazines illegal on weapons that have certain "evil features" (pistol grips, telescoping stocks etc).
REACTION: Invention of the "Bullet Button", a contraption that prevents users from releasing their mags with their bare hands. Since releasing the magazine now requires a tool (like the tip of a rifle bullet) the "evil" assault weapon is now CA compliant.
ACTION: Bullet buttons become common place on AK rifles in California.
REACTION: California's 3 gun competitors and shooters shooting in and out of CA, start looking for convenient tools (other than the tip of a bullet, a pen, Allen wrench etc.) to release their magazines in, and outside of California. The AK H.A.M.M.R. is designed to meet this need.
Figure 1: The AK H.A.M.M.R. Simple but functional; just like the AK itself.
AK Hybrid Adaptive Magnetic Magazine Release (HAMMR)
Yeah. Lets just call it the HAMMR from here on.:) The AK H.A.M.M.R. is a small lever that can be slid into the bullet button. It slides onto the mag release lever and allows the shooter to get leverage on the lever to release the mag.
Figure 2: This AK has an inconvenient bullet button. Fortunately the shooter has an AK HAMMR:).
It has two small but powerful magnets that prevent it from sliding off before the magazine is released. The tip of the lever has a hole in it so that a lanyard can be attached which allows the tool to stay close to where its needed.
Figure 3: The AK HAMMER in action.
For use in free states that do not require the magazine to be "non-detachable without a tool" the AK HAMMR it has two small allen wrench screws that allow the user to easily make fix the HAMMR in place. Since the bullet button that the HAMMR sticks into is open on the side of the magazine, tightening the screws in easy and fast (sub 1 minute) using the supplied allen wrench. For those traveling in and out of state this is definitely an easier way to move in and out of compliance than removing the entire bullet button contraption.
Figure 4: Notice the two rare earth magnets holding the HAMMR mag release tool in place.
AK HAMMR Use Case 1: Casual Range Use
The use case is probably the most common one. You are a shooter who likes awesome black guns but.... You also like to live in California... You occasionally go to the range with friends to pop off some rounds and want to be able to easily release your mag while continuing to have your firearm compliant.
The AK HAMMR is really ideal for this scenario. The HAMMR is easy to use. Just remember that even though the magnets allow the tool to stay in place pretty well, particularly considering how tiny they are, there are legal aspects that make us strongly recommend you don't leave it attached. More about the legal aspects later.
First let us cover the biggest risk you run with the AK HAMMR. We are of course talking about the risk of... Losing it.:) After you buy one, make sure to attach a cord, key-chain, or whatever suits your purposes right away. If you fail to do this we think you will find that since it is tiny and black it tends to every easily disappear into the depths of your range bag...
Overall we found that the AK HAMMR is very suitable for this type of use. In a shooting bench scenario it slides on quickly and allows to remove the magazine very easily. The look and feel of the whole thing scream quality / durability. When going to the range you can use one HAMMR to for all your bullet button equipped AK's. We tested it on several AK's and found the fit on the trigger release works universally. It fits on mag releases levers that have the small indentation on the front side (like the AK-74 we tested it on) and on regular, non indented mag release levers, like the GP WASR-10/63 we tried it on.
Figure 5: HAMMR in use with an AK-74, which uses the standard slot bullet button.
We think it will work with any bullet button trap that has a bottom slit that is open on the side of the magazine (see picture).
We also tested it on our Saiga-12, which has a bullet button that has a hole instead of a slit. And while it fit (see picture) we could not not move the lever forward enough to actually drop the magazine. This could be fixed by putting on the open slit type bullet button that the HAMMR is made for. However we happened to really like the look of the "hole type" bullet button when we build that Saiga-12. Since we spend and embarrassing number of hours on making that bullet button work with the custom trigger guard and magazine well so we did not try to swap it out for a regular slit type bullet button to test. That being said; we feel confident though that it would work on the Saiga-12 if a slit type of bullet button was mounted.
Figure 6: The AK HAMMR did not work with this Saiga bullet button which is not open on the front side.
AK HAMMR Use Case 2: California 3 gun or other competition
You are a shooter who occasionally shoots tactical (3 gun or other) competition inside of California. Because you only shoot occasionally you chose not to make your AK style rifle featureless because you wanted to retain the pistol grip and other cool "evil features". But when you do shoot competion you want to drop your mags fast and easy with a minimal amount of manipulation that would require you to look down and loose track of your sight picture.
Being a website in the public domain this is a hard one to advise on for legal reasons. The thing is this: the magnets allow the HAMMER to stay on the mag release pretty well while shooting. And while the HAMMR is on the ease of dropping the mag is the same, or actually easier than with a non-compliant AK. So with the HAMMR attached with its magnets you would have no real drawbacks compared to a regular AK... Because, well... Its non compliant...:( See legal section below.
So what you would have to do to stay 100% compliant at any moment is to use the AK HAMMR to release the magazine when you are switching, but take it off the moment you are done. When you need to do you next mag change you need to take it off again. While shooting and in between mag changes the AK HAMMR would either be magneted to the side of the receiver and (or) on a lanyard somewhere.
We found that in the "heat of battle" scenario that a tactical competition is it takes a moment to seat the HAMMR properly on the mag release. Just like anything you can get handy at it if you practice it a lot. However, in this scenario you are an *occasional* tactical competitor... So if you want to remain 100% compliant and take the HAMMR off the mag release after each use, you might benefit from a more crude tool that you just ram into the hole and force forward. We use the equivalent of a ball-point pen that hangs from the guns sling for this. The advantage of this over the AKHAMMR is that it does not require any refinement: 1.) Cram in slit, 2.) push forward, 3.) Just let it go.
AK HAMMR Use Case 3: California compliant AK owners that travel out of state
You are a California resident and like to travel to free states to shoot your AK that is equipped with a bullet button. You don't want to go through the hassle of taking the whole bullet button contraption off every time but you do want to take full advantage of the freedoms that California likes to stifle.
The moment you get out of state the AK HAMMR can be used to its full potential. You can use the supplied magnets to hold the HAMMER in place, or take the minute you need to tighten it to the gun using the allen wrench. You now have a very convenient way to drop the magazine. Since it makes the magazine release lever about twice as long manipulating the mag release becomes a lot easier very easy because of this extra leverage. This would also be an advantage for people that have limited mobility or strength in their fingers because of injury or illness. This might actually be a selling point for the AK HAMMR in states that do not require bullet buttons.
The only disadvantage we can see from mounting the HAMMR permanently on a non bullet button equipped AK is that it could cause the magazine to drop accidentally if the extended lever gets caught on clothing, sling etc. However, since this is more of a shooting range and shooting competition tool I don't think we need to go do a field/patrol readiness review on this product:).
The AK HAMMR is a quality product. It's solidly build out of a quality material. The screws are tight, and the allen wrench needed to use them is supplied in the packaging. It fits on a wide variety of AK's provided that the bullet button is of the slit-type and not the hole-type. It makes removing the magazine on a bullet buttoned AK easy, particularly in a controlled environment. The magnet offers interesting possibilities. If you own bullet buttoned AK's we recommend you ad this tool to your range bag. After attaching a brightly colored lanyard of course!:)
Video Demo and Reviews
Video 1: AK HAMMR Demo by the Inventor
Video 2: AK HAMMR Review by FringeSniper
Video 3: AK HAMMR Review by GunGuy TV
Where to Buy
You can buy the AK HAMMR HERE
BORING BUT VERY IMPORTANT NOTE
For reasons of brevity This article does not provide a full overview of all California Gun laws. CA gun law is a complicated mosaic and unfortunately it is ever "evolving". Some rules can even be interpreted in different ways, for example the use of a magnet of a "magazine release tool" like the AK HAMMR is not universally believed to be compliant. This article does not constitute legal advice or guidance. Worse, it may be out out date by the time your read it! If you live in California (or anywhere else) it is your own responsibility to stay up to date on the latest and upcoming gun laws. The best place that we know of to find information about California's guns laws is on CalGuns.net. If you are a California shooter we strongly suggest you check out CalGuns.net and stay up to date on it.