WASR-10 Upper and Lower Hand Guard Disassembly

Whether you want to refinish it or replace it, there comes a time in the life of every AK owner where he (or she) will need to remove the "Hand Guard" over the Gas Tube. The good news is, you don't have to be a brain surgeon to do it. Here's how it's done:

Step 1: Removing the Gas Tube

Make sure the rifle is unloaded. Then use a pair of needle nose pliers to flip up the "Gas Tube Latch" on the right hand side of your rear sight post. It will take a little force, so use a piece of cloth to prevent scratching the paint. Moving the latch up releases the gas tube. Lift it out.
Removing the WASR-10 Gas Tube
Figure 1: "Well, here we go! Up and out!" [Willy Wonka]

Step 2: Twisting off the Hand Guard

We used a vise for this step. If you don't have a vise, use a pair of pliers to hold the tube steady. Again use a rag or similar to prevent scratching the tube's coating. Do not over-tighten/over-squeeze. With your free hand turn the wood piece 180 degrees. Do not squeeze the wood as you try to turn it, as that will cause it to lock up. If you have a hard time getting it to move clockwise, try counter clockwise. There is usually a good and a bad direction to turn it.
Removing the WASR-10 Hand Guard From the Gas Tube
Figure 2: "Timber!"

Once you have flipped the wood piece upside down you can simply take it off. Don't loose the metal spacer!
AK Gas Tube and Hand Guard
Figure 3: "Liberated Gas Tube."

To reassemble: Place spacer in wood piece. Drop wood piece back into the gas tube brackets, and turn 180 degrees again. And yes, it does have a front and back side:-).

Step 3: Removing the Fore End

On to the easy part. Removing the "forearm", "fore end" or "lower hand guard" is done by flipping up the "hand guard latch" which is located on the forward right side of the rifle. If it is stuck, use a flat screwdriver to pry it up. You can then slide the lower hand guard forward to remove it from the AK.
AK Lower Hand Guard Disassembly
Figure 4: "Latch".

Tip: Removing the fore end is much easier if you first remove the cleaning rod...:-)

AK forearm removal
Figure 5: "More Wood for the wood Pile."

If you want to remove all the furniture the buttstock is next. Removing that is not so easy, but if you really need to remove it; here is how you do it.

Now that the handguard assembly is removed, it's time to put on some tacticool furniture, or a Rommy Donkey Dong lower hand guard.