Krebs Enhanced Safety Selector Lever Mk VI Review
Like most AKM's, the WASR-10 does not come with a "Bolt Hold Open" (BHO) mechanism that holds the bolt back and the action open. Several companies make aftermarket parts that remedy this shortcoming. We had an opportunity to outfit our test WASR-10 with a BHO safety lever made by "Krebs Custom Guns". This review details our findings.
At First Glance
The "Krebs Custom Guns Mk VI Enhanced Safety Selector Lever" has three distinct advantages over the standard WASR safety selector lever:
- Better quality - This results in smoother operation; the Krebs can actually be operated with a single finger.
- Extended Shelf - Allows flipping the safety without letting go of the the pistol grip.
- BHO Notch - Great for shooting ranges and matches where the action has to be kept open between stages.
The custom fire selector lever came in a small zip-top bag without instructions. It feels very solid, well built and perfectly coated. Frankly, it makes the original safety look like its been stamped from an old sardine can. The coating on the Mk VI which is promoted as "matte" is quite a bit glossier than the Romanian matte finish sported on the WASR itself. This make the lever stand out a bit to the discerning eye.
Figure1: The "Krebs Mk VI Enhanced Fire Selector Lever vs. standard WASR-10 Safety Lever"
Installation of the Krebs Mk VI is not difficult. You pretty much just remove the old lever and drop in the new one. On our test WASR, we needed to widen the safety lever slot a little because the Krebs has a thicker cross plate than the original WASR cross plate. Read our detailed "Krebs Safety Lever Installation Tutorial" for step-by-step instructions. In this review we'll suffice by saying that the hardest part of the installation was getting the "ex-wife pin" (AKA "Sheperd's Crook" or "hammer and trigger pin retainer spring") back in place. If you are going to order a new selector switch you might as well replace this pin with a "Krebs Hammer and Trigger Pin Retainer Plate", as well. You'll thank us every time you need to disassemble the action.
Figure 2: Installation was not hard but required a little filing on our test GP WASR-10/63
The first thing we noticed after installing, is how much easier the Krebs safety comes on and off. It is really easy to move, especially if you are used to the regular WASR fire selector lever, which is about as flexible as a Tea Party activist discussing the federal budget. The new one moves so smooth that when we first started using it we were mildly worried about the safety coming off accidentally while the rifle was on the sling. We even considered bending it slightly but this did not prove to be necessary. The lever fits closely and, besides the small cutout, does not leave gaps for anything to slip under the receiver cover.
Figure 3: The Krebs Mk Vi fits closely and leaves no gaps between the lever and the receiver cover.
Trigger Finger Operation
The extended shelf is ergonomically located and easy to operate. It allowed us to flip the safety with our trigger finger while keeping the shooting hand firmly around the pistol grip. The location and curved shape of the lever allow the finger to quickly get back on the trigger in one natural movement. There is no need to lose sight picture even when using a scope.
Although the Krebs safety can be operated with better control than original ,the Krebs Mk VI lever does not really alleviate the typical AKM "alert the enemy" sound the safety makes when it snaps into its indents.
Bolt Hold Open Feature
The cut out notch in the lever holds the bolt open without risk of it slipping out accidentally. This will be a joy at the rifle range and at matches. No more fiddling with orange plastic tabs, empty casings, or other improvised implements to hold the bolt open during cease fires!
With a little practice it becomes a natural movement to rack the bolt back with the thumb of the right hand while moving the BHO lever up with the finger of the same hand to lock the charging handle in place. This will allow the shooter to change the magazine before pushing down on the lever to allow the bolt to slide forward and chamber a round.
One note here: We had hoped to be able to release the bolt carrier with our index finger while keeping our hand on the pistol grip. At first the "trigger finger bolt release" worked without too much force, but after about a hundred cycles this stopped working. At some point, the force it took to push down the safety with the bolt engaged became (way) too hard for the index finger. We assume this is caused by the corner of the cut out wearing down to the metal, resulting in more friction with the charging handle. In any case, releasing the bolt without getting our thumb off the pistol grip is now impossible without further modification.
Combining the Krebs Lever with BHO magazines
We plan to use this BHO fire selector in combination with BHO magazines, which have an extended follower that prevents the bolt from moving back after the last round has been shot. We were hoping to be able to just flip the safety up and have the indent be in the same location or very close to where the BHO magazine holds the bolt. Unfortunately, the location where the BHO magazines stop the bolt is quite a bit forward from the Krebs cutout. We still think that with some practice the combination BHO magazine and BHO lever could be pretty efficient, but probably not as smooth as we had hoped.
Figure 4: The location where the BHO magazine stops the bolt vs. the location of the cutout.
Lets start off with the "bad"... At around $50 dollars this part is not cheap. Especially if you consider what you paid for your rifle in the first place. There are definitively cheaper ways to "keep your bolt open." With its shinier finish and Made-in-the-USA look, this part will also not help your rifle retain it rugged look and feel, if that's what you're after. For us the biggest disappointment was the fact that we could not disengage the bolt with the trigger finger only. We can (and probably will) address this by filing the corner of the notch down a little. But lets be honest; if you have to pay almost fifty bucks for a quality custom part you should not need to file it down.
All in all, the custom lever offers some very distinct advantages over the regular switch. The BHO feature is really great for range and match use. The extended shelf on the switch makes it really easy to operate with the trigger finger as long as you are not expecting to release the bolt with your index finger. The part is built well and will probably outlast the gun.
For these reasons we'll give the "Krebs Custom Guns Mk VI Enhanced Safety Selector Lever for AK-47 Steel Matte" a 4 out of 5 for use with the WASR.
If you want to know more about the "Krebs Custom Guns Mk VI Enhanced Safety Selector Lever for AK-47 Steel Matte", click here: Krebs Custom USA