Kalashnikov USA KR-103 SFS 1,800-Round Review

U.S.A. -(AmmoLand.com)- The Kalashnikov USA KR-103 SFS – the AK for shooters too young to have bought Arsenals at a good price who want an accurate clone of a modern AK-100 series rifle. What exactly that means, I’ll get into shortly, but for the sake of brevity, this means that the KR-103 SFS includes several desirable features found on current-issue AKs that are very cost-prohibitive to add to more traditional AKM rifles.

That said, the KR-103 SFS is by no means a cheap rifle – not in the qualitative or monetary sense of the word. Naturally, some shooters will be on the fence about spending their hard-earned money on one. So let’s delve into all the details and determine if the Kalashnikov USA KR-103 SFS is worth the money.

The KR-103 SFS is a semi-automatic clone of the Russian AK-103 rifle. Despite its appearance, it is 100% AK under the hood. Meaning the KR-103 SFS is a long-stroke, piston-driven, locked-breach, magazine-fed rifle chambered in 7.62x39mm. Consequently, the KR-103 has all the pros and cons associated with the AK platform.

The Kalashnikov USA KR-103 SFS is a truly handsome rifle. IMG Jim Grant

Kalashnikov USA KR-103 SFS Features

Thus shooters can expect flawless reliability, top-notch durability, and a little more felt recoil than a direct-impingement carbine like the AR-15. But before I get too far ahead of myself, let’s start at the muzzle and work our way back to cover every noteworthy feature of this rifle.

KR-103 SFS Muzzle Brake
The KR-103 SFS features an AK-100/AK-74 style two-port muzzle brake. IMG Jim Grant

Speaking of the muzzle, the included AK-74-style two-port brake is the first clue that this isn’t a standard AKM rifle. The muzzle itself isn’t actually threaded, but the combination gas block front sight tower assembly features an extended portion threaded to M24x1.5 RH. So your standard slant brake won’t fit on this rifle without an adaptor – and even with the adaptor, this should be avoided as the included brake is much more effective. (And attractive, in my opinion.)

Behind this threaded portion, the gas block features an integral front sight post which is adjustable for windage and elevation but requires a special tool to do so. Beneath and behind the block, the KR-103 SFS features a 16.33in, cold-hammer-forged, chrome-lined barrel ideal for shooting standard and corrosive ammunition. The chrome lining also benefits the rifle by making the barrel much more resistant to rust and wear.

KR-103 SFS 90-Degree Gas Block
Bayonet lug, check. 90-degree gas bloc, check. IMG Jim Grant

Attached to the bottom of the barrel is a combination bayonet lug and cleaning rod retainer. Further back, the barrel features a collar that retains the front of the bottom handguard, while the rear tab of the handguard fits snugly underneath the barrel trunnion.

Above the barrel, the KR-103 SFS features a steel gas tube with a 90-degree gas block port that also functions as an upper handguard retainer. And speaking of handguards, both the upper and lower are built from black polymer and feature a steel heat shield inside to prevent them from melting during extended shooting sessions.

KR-103 SFS Rear Sight
The KR-103 SFS’s rear sight is adjustable from point-blank out to 1,000 meters. IMG Jim Grant

Behind the gas tube and barrel, the KR-103 SFS features a forged barrel trunnion that also acts as a rear sight housing. This rear sight is adjustable only for elevation and features markings designating the zero distance from “point-blank” out to a very optimistic 1,000 meters.

Behind the trunnion and rear sight, the KR-103 SFS features the proper smooth dust cover and a receiver with the correct rivet style for a legit AK-100 series rifle (as well as the catch for the folding stock). It also features magazine dimples to reduce magazine wobble on slightly out-of-spec mags.

Speaking of which, I tried every magazine in my collection in the KR-103 SFS, and they all locked up, fed, and extracted flawlessly – more on that in a moment.

KR-103 SFS Optics rail
The KR-103 features a standard AKMN optics rail. IMG Jim Grant

Just behind the magazine well, the KR-103 SFS features your standard magazine release paddle that, in testing, was perfect – neither too stiff nor too loose. Above this, on the left side of the receiver, the rifle includes the standard AKMN side rail for installing optic mounts.

KR-103 SFS Safety Lever
The rifle’s safety lever is 100% AK. IMG Jim Grant

On the other side of the receiver, the KR-103 SFS utilizes the standard AK-47 safety lever that is extremely positive and large enough to actuate with gloved hands easily.

KR-103 SFS Handguard
The KR-103 SFS comes with black polymer furniture. IMG Jim Grant

Just behind this is the folding stock release button and a Russian-pattern 5.5mm rear trunnion, as well as a black polymer pistol grip and black polymer folding stock that features a spring-loaded release on the buttpad.

KR-103 SFS Magazine Compatability

As mentioned above, I tested the KR-103 SFS with a wide variety of magazines and accessories. While AR-shooters might find this pointless, AK guys are definitely familiar with the fact that not all AKs work with all accessories – including magazines. And I’m not speaking about the difference between odd-ball pattern guns like Yugoslavian N-PAPs, but standard AKM or AK-100 series guns can sometimes struggle with certain mags or even optic mounts.

KR-103 SFS Magazines
The KR-103 SFS ran with every magazine tested. IMG Jim Grant

In my testing, I utilized the following magazines without issue:

  • Bulgarian Steel
  • Bulgarian Slabside Polymer (both reinforced and commercial)
  • Bulgarian Circle 10 Waffle
  • Chinese ‘Flat-Back’
  • Chinese Drum
  • European Steel
  • Hungarian Tanker Steel
  • Korean Steel (KCI)
  • Magpul AK PMAG (all gens)
  • Romanian Steel
  • Romanian Drum
  • Russian Steel
  • Russian Bakelite

And as far as scope mounts, I had no issues with Arsenal Las Vegas, Midwest Industries, Russian Commerical, Belorusian POSP, RS Regulate, or a Venezualan PK-A reflex sight. Everything was installed fine and held zero flawlessly.

KR-103 SFS Performance

Paramount to any firearm test is reliability. And in this regard, the KR-103 SFS was nearly flawless. I fired 1,850 rounds of ammo through the Kalashnikov USA gun and encountered only a single malfunction – a failure to chamber during a shooting match when I rested the gun (and all my weight) on the magazine to stabilize it. Other than that single malfunction, the KR-103 SFS has performed flawlessly.

As far as accuracy, I didn’t do any bench shooting with the KR-103 SFS, but I did take it out to a friend’s property and shot steel man-sized targets out to 500 yards without issue. For me, that’s more valuable information than mechanical accuracy groupings.

KR-103 SFS Shooting
The Kalashnikov USA KR-103 SFS ran like a top during testing. IMG Jim Grant

Lastly, I want to talk about the longevity of the rifle. A few years ago, most shooters never bothered checking their AK’s carrier, bolt, or chamber for soft steel and signs of mushrooming. But the introduction of several sub-standard American-made AKs has made this a must for shooters looking to really push their weapon’s limits.

That said, I’m happy to report there was no visible damage or peening to the bolt itself, though the tail of the carrier showed mild signs of wear and peening. But given that I’ve run 400 of the rounds through this gun suppressed, that’s not terribly surprising. The good news is that the amount of wear shown on the tail isn’t alarming or cause for concern.

KR-103 SFS Rifle
Overall, the KR-103 SFS was everything this reviewer wanted and more. IMG Jim Grant

About Jim Grant

Jim is a freelance writer, editor, and videographer for dozens of publications who loves anything and everything guns. While partial to modern military firearms and their civilian counterparts, he holds a special place in his heart for the greatest battle implement ever devised and other WW2 rifles. When he’s not reviewing guns or shooting for fun and competition, Jim can be found hiking and hunting with his wife Kimberly and their dog Peanut in the South Carolina low country.

Jim Grant

KR-103 SFS Verdict

If you’re looking for a proper AK-103 clone and don’t want to drop $3,000 or more obtaining it, the KR-103 SFS is your ticket.

4.5/5 (4 Reviews)
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$1,499.00 in the box and without any extras.