A well made AK variant can be incredibly reliable and accurate believe it or not. It still requires routine maintenance to stay at this level of overall quality though. Sure, you can neglect the rifle or run it dry (unlubricated) but it’s not the most ideal state of operation; for any weapon system for that matter. Basic cleaning of an AK is extremely quick and easy though, it can be done with a rag and some solution alone but of course utilizing proper cleaning equipment is ideal. So for this process I will discuss the field expedient steps for cleaning it in an undesirable environment. This process will not cover all the different AK based designs and their minute mechanical differences, however it will apply to the most common variants.

Before you can clean anything, we need to break the rifle down first. Before doing any disassembly we should remove the magazine and make sure that the rifle is unloaded. After this has been accomplished, we start by removing the dust cover. To do this, push the button on the rear of the dust cover forward and lift up the cover with the other hand; It should pop right off, but some can be snug or loose depending on wear. With the dust cover removed we are going to remove the spring/buffer assembly by pushing that same button forward until the entire rod/spring pops out of its fixture in the rear trunnion.


Next we remove the bolt carrier group/op-rod assembly, make sure the hammer is down and take the safety off. Then pull the BCG to the rear of the receiver and slide it up through the opening at the rear trunnion; it should lift out easily because of tension from the hammer underneath it. the bolt should twist out of the carrier in a clockwise motion with little effort.