Yet another AK? Yup, I’ve got big plans for this one as a bit of a discrete newbie-killer gun – plain looking internals, but plenty of internal upgrades. I recently picked up this LCT AKS-74M in a lieu of credit owed from a former local retailer that was blowing out stock, in preparations for closing their doors; at the price I got it for, I really couldn’t pass up on this good of a deal for a brand new LCT AK AEG.
May I present to you – my brand new LCT AKS-74M NV. I don’t think I actually did a complete review on my first LCT, an AK-104, in one whole article, so here goes!
With predominantly steel construction, the LCT AKS-74M feels like no plastic toy gun could ever. It does feel unbalanced, with more weight being towards the front of the gun – more metal forward of the chamber block than behind it.
AK-74’s are actually longer than I remember them being. Pictured here is the way I store it when carrying multiple guns in my gun bag.
One point Russian AK fanatics on the interwebs have mentioned is that the selector position(s) are not quite accurate to the real firearm – but though I care somewhat for the details, this doesn’t bug me too much.
Many of the LCT AK models are based upon Eastern Bloc AK patterns, rather than the Chinese Type 56 as per Real Sword’s offerings – this is much more to my liking as I just prefer the overall look a little bit more.
Speaking of accurate replication of the real steel, this one is missing some of the markings… but at least there are some.
LCT does include the Soviet-style side optics mount on this model:
Skeleton side folding triangle stock being the “S” in this model’s name, which I wanted in particular since I can route wiring to the rear to house a larger battery. I’ve seen it done once before with an LCT AK-74MN by a former player “8th Army” – but that required some drilling into the plastic stock, which in itself had a smaller compartment.
Watch out for the folding stock button – if the gun is dropped on the right angle onto a hard surface, it can cause this button to bend or break. As a matter of fact, I’ve already managed to bend the button on my AKS-74M in one game day doing exactly that (luckily, my button didn’t break, so I just beat it back into place).
That being said, my AK-104 has seen plenty of abuse as I was trying to force it to break… but I couldn’t manage to do that. There’s actually wobble now from the whole rear end, as it wobbles inside the receiver now that the rivets have loosened up a bit from the whole gun being thrown around.
Sling mount on the stock is mounted to the right side of the stock (stock folds to the left, so this makes sense) – the photo below was taken before gaming my new toy, whereas the one above was taken after. On my AK-104, I usually run a one point sling through the skeleton stock and hook it onto the mount. However, with the makeshift electrical tape battery compartment I’m working with at the moment, I’m not sure if I’ll do this with this gun – at least not until I figure out a way of better routing the wiring to protect it from damage.
Speaking of batteries for the LCT AK’s – many (if not all) of the models feature battery storage in the gas tube, accessible via removing the top cover. Not the biggest of battery storage compartments out there, but it is really easy to access on the fly. On that note, the top cover fits pretty tight out of the box – it will require a little bit of wiggling to get it off the first few times.
Plastic furniture being the “M” in this model’s name. I myself like the more modern Russian plastic furniture; in my opinion this looks nicer. It does weigh less, too. Fake heat shields inside the LCT plastic hand guards.
I really like the feel and texture of LCT plastics. They feel especially solid with the dummy heat shields installed.
The “real steel” gun shoots the Soviet 5.45x39mm round, nicknamed the “poison bullet.” The “74” denotes the 5.45 model, easiest to tell which is which by whichever magazine goes with the gun. There are other specific details which one can identify an AK model with, the vast majority of which LCT has replicated. That being said, this is airsoft, so the actual round that fits in the magazine is all the same – you can essentially put whatever magazine you want into this gun, so long as it fits.
The LCT AK74 high caps which come with these guns are generally pretty crappy, I find they don’t feed as many BB’s on a complete wind as some other mags on the market can. Note on magazines for the LCT AK platform – not all airsoft AK magazines fit… do note that there are a couple of different magazine lip specs out there for AK AEG platforms.
I’ve installed a LCT Magwell Spacer in order to make fast loading of magazines easier. This drop-in part is a simple plate that locks into place to prevent over-insertion of a magazine, hence making reloads a little faster. That being said, once you get used to loading mags into a stock LCT, it’s not that bad – but there is a bit of a learning curve to it without the Magwell Spacer. One downside is that I do find that the LCT Magwell Spacer can chew into the top of some of my AK mags, though this does make for a really nice and tight fit with the slightly wider magazines in my collection.
The LCT AK line up is currently on the “NV” generation. I’m not really sure what this stands for, but I do continually see this advertised with “Real Assembly Version” – though not really all that realistic (tons of dummy pins) as per VFC style, I guess it has something to do with how the body design is constructed differently than the Tokyo Marui style of AK AEG and more along the lines of the Inokatsu assembly style. Speaking of Inokatsu kits… I remember reading somewhere that LCT used to OEM the Inokatsu AK kit prior to being more widely known as LCT, as the brand & manufacturer they are today.
To illustrate this, this is the disassembled LCT AKS-74M internally:
In order to reach this level of disassembly, start by loosening the grub screw in top cover retainer.
Remove mock bolt assembly. Side note: the actual handle does tend to break off the mock bolt carrier, but access to a welder friend makes everything okay.
Remove 2 screws holding hop up chamber to outer barrel.
Loosen 2 grub screws located inside chamber block. One of which can be accessed by removing top cover and mock bolt assembly (see above) and reaching into the chamber block, whereas the other is easily accessed by removing the rear sight and spring to expose this hole (pictured below), and then pull front end forward from the receiver. Be careful as inner barrel/hop up chamber won’t fit through the chamber block, these will have to be extracted in a different manner.
Speaking of barrel, the iron sights are a little off out of the box. Windage may or may not be adjustable via AK/SKS sight tool.
Elevation is easy to adjust.
Gearbox is built like a tank. While not the more expensive line, the plastic furnished LCT AK line has a proven track record – at least in my hands and when I was still on that former retailer’s floor selling them. On the first batch that came in at that former retailer when I still had my staff discount there, the AK gearbox in the AK-104 I purchased was-and-still-is rock solid – all the original LCT components all still are in excellent condition (though not all of them are still in that gun), save for the original LCT V3 switch assembly that got burned out after 2+ years of hard usage on 11.1V LiPo’s and plenty of semi-auto. However, I’ve heard reports of the same batch that this new one came in on of premature break-downs… so I guess time will tell.
6mm bushing gearbox shell. From what I can see from the outside, looks identical to the one I’ve got. Apparently this one has been sitting at the former retailer’s store for about 1.5 years now, whereas my LCT AK-104 was purchased about 2.5 years ago. I wonder if the colour of the piston has changed between my 2 gearboxes…
Heck, even the trigger is strong. Steel, if I’m not mistaken. Certainly doesn’t snap in half, unlike many of the other AK AEG options out there.
Hop up chambers fit a little loose between the arm and chamber – hence the arm can slowly loosen up. In mine, I’ve got a shim that appears to be factory installed to tighten up the fit (same fix most people end up throwing into their LCT’s if they have this problem). For reference, my AK-104 had an unshimmed hop up chamber, and the arm was loose enough to get knocked not only when closing the mock bolt, but during actual firing as well.
Hop up bucking is useless though – mound and material are definitely easily upgraded with almost any aftermarket rubber out there. That is the first thing I will be upgrading in mine, especially after getting what sounded like a jam of BB in the bucking.
Upon further inspection, the lip of the LCT bucking, though long, is very thin – I presume a BB must have been cycled into the chamber whilst the lip was folded.