Another video from the Yemeni Youtube gun channel “Silahi” showing the differences between the Russian (Izhmash) and Chinese (SDM) AK-103 rifles, as an educational video for inexperienced buyers to not become victims for some unscrupulous sellers, those who take advantage of the buyer’s ignorance and impose higher prices on merchandise that may sometimes be inferior and sometimes it is a cheaper copy than the original. Although the Chinese AK-103 proved to be reliable and combat effective in the Middle East and it’s not a bad gun, it is still cheaper than its Russian counterpart. Also the mechanical and technical features are very close between the two, nearly identical. We are only distinguishing by obvious features.
Russian flash suppressor is bulged from the middle and has 2 horizontal dents/holes in the gas block and front sight post, and the sling’s swivel is attached to the lower polymer handguard. You can also feel the machining marks along the barrel’s length (it’s not clear in the pictures but it is there) and the gas tube vent holes are 2 on each side.
Chinese AK flash suppressor is bulged at the rear end and it has no dents on the gas block nor the front sight post (similar to Yemeni made AK-103), the sling swivel is attached to gas block and the vent holes are 4 on each side of the gas tube. The barrel has machining marks between the front sight post and gas block, while it’s completely smooth from the gas block to the handguard (you can feel it by running your nails on them).
The Russian rifle has the model name and caliber engraved on the receiver and the factory markings beside the serial number. Also note the protrusion beside the 2 horizontal rivets, as well as the longer dent above the magazine well in the stamped receiver.
The Chinese model is printed on the rear sight block, also note the differences between the both of them in the trunnion’s angle where the barrel pin is placed.
Another picture here showing the diagonal rivets in the receiver, also the magazine well dent is shorter and the scope mount as well.
Russian rear sight is marked to 1000m with Cyrillic “P” letter.
Chinese rear sight is market to 800m with English “D” letter.
In the Russian variant there is a safety lock button on the recoil spring button.
Chinese version doesn’t have this lock, they simply copied the regular AK-47/AKM recoil spring button. Also note that the Russian painting is more durable.
Differences between Russian butt stock release button (above) and the Chinese counterpart (below).
Another thing to notice in the Russian variant is the charging handle which is relatively big, and the fire switch markings (AV and OD in Cyrillic).
The Chinese version has smaller charging handle and (L and D) markings for the fire switch.
Last thing to notice is the gas tube lever which has a triangular end in Russian made AK-103.
Chinese gas tube lever has a square shape end.
These were the detailed differences between the two originals. If you found something else in the market or a sort of amalgamation, it’s probably a cheap counterfeit.
How to Distinguish between Russian and Chinese AK-103 -The Firearm Blog is written by Marawan Maklad for www.thefirearmblog.com