C392v2 Review: ZHUKOV Style

by Dave Chesson

December 8, 2022

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The C39V2 is an evolution of the previous Century Arms C39. It is just one of many AK47/AKM style American-made weapons now available here in the US now that AK is coming to mean American Kalashnikov. Is it a suitable counterpart to the AR (America’s Rifle) 15 you already own? Read our C39v2 review to find out!

The Century Arms C39V2 Zhukov is chambered in 7.62×39. It’s built on a milled 4140 steel receiver, with a chrome moly 4150 nitride-treated barrel. The barrel features an LH 14×1 metric thread. It maintains all the typical features of a modern ComBloc weapon, with standard AK sights and rails for accessories (including an optic).

The moniker comes from the Magpul Zhukov handguard and folding stock, which is only one of a couple of different options available.

CAI C392v2 Specs

  • Receiver Milled 4140 steel
  • Action Piston-operated semi-auto
  • Trigger RAK-1 Enhanced single stage
  • Barrel Length 16.25″
  • Twist/Thread 1:10 twist rate; LH 14×1 metric thread
  • Accessory slots M-MLOK at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock.
  • Sights Front and rear adjustable
  • Overall length 37.25″
  • Weight 8.2 lbs

Background of the CAI C392V2

Although CAI has imported AK-pattern rifles for years, the C39 series is American-made. There is an ever-increasing demand for Kalashnikov-style weapons here in the US. Happily, there is also a commensurate reduction in the visceral “anti-AK” sentiment (Kill a Commie for your Mommy!) of the 80s and 90s.

Among the improvements made were the addition of standard AK front sights, the removal of the bayonet lug (likely to make it more friendly to restrictive states), and a notch machined into the safety as a bolt-hold-open lever. It also utilizes a three-port chevron-style muzzle brake instead of a traditional slant-style AK brake.

We foresee the C39v2 and other USA-made rifles becoming increasingly common, which is a Good Thing. That trend (we hope) will continue and increase as the import of overseas parts and entire rifles become subject to increasing restrictions. It wouldn’t hurt our feelings to say the same thing about 7.62×39 ammunition either, particularly with the recent legislation forbidding its importation.

C39V2 AK Features

C39v2-Zhukov-features
1 AKM Stock Tang

Allows interchangeable use of AKM stocks.

2 Floating-nut attachment

Allows use of different grips.

3 Zhukov Hand Guard

An excellent heat sink and place for attachments.

4 Milled Receiver

Receiver is milled 4140 steel.

C39V2 Variations:

A few different C392v2 variants might interest you, including these two:

CAI C392v2 “Zhukov” Review – Our Take

By most accounts, the CAI C39v2 performs far better than previous rifles from Century Arms. It’s definitely an improvement from its predecessors, particularly the Centurion 39. If the majority of public reviews are accurate, this model runs more smoothly than many other AKs.

The C39v2 uses a standard AKM stock tang so that you can swap out the Zhukov stock with other AKM-compatible versions. We’re not sure why you’d want to, as Magpul’s Zhukov is about the best AK stock going, but it’s nice to have options.

Similarly, the weapon uses a floating-nut attachment system. This allows you to switch grips out if you so desire.

C39v2 “Zhukov” in plum. Not sure of photo credit.

Although the weapon will fire with the Zhukov stock folded, accuracy will of course be degraded. If this is an issue, one way to mitigate this would be the addition of a laser sight. Preferably a green one.

The Red Army Standard optics mount (which CAI says is an absolute return-to-zero mount) can be used for such an accessory, though it might be better used with an LPVO.

The weapon doesn’t seem particularly finicky when it comes to magazines. As best as we can tell, it will feed from just about any 7.62 AK mag, regardless of its nationality or provenance. We’re big fans of the Bulgi magazines, and Magpul’s AK mags are increasingly ubiquitous, but you should be good to go with about anything that’s out there.

It should be noted, however, that several reviewers have remarked on the weapon’s preference for heavier bullets.

C39v2 review: second from top is the model we are talking about.
Century Arms C30v2, second from top. Others are: 1. Hungarian AK-63D, 3. Soviet Type 2 AK, 4. AK-63F, 5. Bulgarian AKK. (And a Lee Enfield too.) Via @ArmoryBazaar.

AKs of all sorts have a history of wildly disparate quality, and unfortunately, the C39v2 channels some of this. It’s an extremely popular rifle, but just a cursory Google search will pull up reports of excessive wear on the bolt face, bolt carrier tail, and other issues.

That said, vast numbers of users have seen none of these deformities and experienced zero issues. It might not “set the new standard” for AKs (as some have claimed), but it definitely sets a new standard for Century Arms Kalashnikovs.

Bottom line: for the money, and for recreation, a good purchase! Would we buy one to enjoy shooting? Yes. Would this be our go-to weapon if we were defending Atropia from bloodthirsty Donovians? Not necessarily. That would depend on what our options are.

C39v2 Pros and Cons

  • Budget-friendly – Inexpensive and reliable
  • Omnivorous – Easily digests steel-case ammunition
  • Barrel bore – Bored concentrically/suppressor-friendly
  • Smooth operator – Excellent trigger pull thanks to RAK-1
  • Good grip – Grip interchangeable with other AKM grips
  • Ambi – Ambidextrous mag release (though some people hate that)
  • Furniture – Magpul’s stuff is high quality and acts as a heat sink
  • Stocked – Will fire whether stock is folded or locked in place
  • Received – Milled receiver instead of stamped
  • Thumping – More felt recoil than some other 7.62 guns (like the KS-47)
  • Left leaning – Left hand thread limits options for muzzle devices
  • Unlocked – No bolt lock on an empty mag (well, it’s an AK, so…)
  • Ammo famine – Current politics hamper acquiring ammo
  • Off safe – Safety is on the “wrong” side if you’re used to an AR15
  • No magopod- AK mag less useful as a monopod (and not magpod compatible)

Report Card

Shootability

Shooting and manipulating is easy if you are familiar with the AK platform. Experienced AKers might rate this at an A- or even higher.

B
Reliability

This would be higher, but we’re taking into some user accounts of having trouble.

A-
Ergonomics

Perfectly adequate, nothing spectacular.

B+
Accuracy

he C39V2 has proven far more accurate than expected once you discern its preferred taste in ammo.

A-
Value

Even with the slightly higher cost of the rifle and the increased price of 7.62×39, this is a good investment.

B+
C92v2 Zhukov review grade card

Our Grade

B+

Reviewed by Dave Chesson

Reader’s Grade

B

Based on 2 Reviews

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As you can see, it’s a pretty good AK 47. There are some websites that list it as the #1 on their list of best AK47. However, while I agree that it should on the list, I didn’t list it as the top one in the AK style rifles.

Gun Deals

The C39v2 AK is available from a number of retailers. Check out the links below to figure out where you can find your own C39v2 should you decide that’s what you need to do.

Best Ammo for Your Firearm

If you thought finding a gun in stock was difficult, ammo can be even trickier. However, we’ve set up some quick links to get the ammunition best suited to begin using your firearm.

Zeroing and Training

123gr Wolf PolyPerformance

Marketplace
Cost
Gun.Deals Varies
Palmetto State Armory $0.21/round
FEDERAL Federal American Eagle, 7.62x39mm, FMJ, 124 Grain

124gr American Eagle

Marketplace
Cost
Gun.Deals Varies
Palmetto State Armory $1.15

Loose Rounds

AK-decorations-Afghanistan
You can decorate your Zhukov however you’d like. We won’t judge. (AKM pattern rifle in the Pashtunistan region, equipped with an M9 bayonet and decorated with M855 5.56x45mm cartridges and “Paki tape” on the woodwork.) Hat tip: @thedixiemauser. 

Firearm Starter Pack

You may be adding to your collection, or this may be your first firearm. Either way, you’ll want to make sure you have everything you need for basic firearm operation.  This includes eye & ear protection, cleaning kits, and proper storage. 

Upgrades and Accessories

Below are a few suggestions we recommend to get the most out of your new firearm.

Vickers AK Sling

The classic Blue Force Gear AK47 sling from LAV.

Check price
10-Pack of Magpul AK Polymer Mags

You cannot have too many magazines! Probably.

Check price
Bulti polymer mags with reinforced steel lugCheck price
ALG Defense Enhanced AK Trigger with Lighting BowCheck price
Haley Strategic D3CRX Chest Rig

You need a way to haul your mags. Haley Strategic is a source for very good stuff.

Check price

How to Care for Your Firearm

Whether you’re new to the AK platform or you just want to brush up on your fundamentals, check out this video by our own Graham Baates about breaking the Kalash down.

Important Links and Manuals

Need more info on this firearm? Don’t worry. There’s plenty out there. We recommend you get started with the following resources:

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About Dave Chesson

Dave Chesson is prior Navy with a specialty in international arms dealing for the US government across multiple countries. Having traveled the world and abided by ATF and ITAR, Roy has a unique background in legal as well as practical capabilities of weapons deployment and use.

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