AK Course Necessities

Practical firearms classes are a great way to test your firearm and equipment. At a recent two-day Galil/AK Operator Course from Isreal Weapon Industries (IWI), many students found that their gear fell short or even was nonexistent. This made their life tough when it came to getting through the class but also where it really matters—handling their weapon to the best of their abilities. Below are some recommendations on slings, magazines, pouches, tools, and range gear for an AK course.

Sling and Attachments

A two-point sling was essential for this course, especially with the ability to tighten and loosen with a simple pull. As always, safety is a must with any firearm. A one-point sling just doesn’t cut it as it swings around when not handled. A two-point sling with the ability to adjust tension throughout drills is necessary to properly handle a firearm, no matter if it is close distance or far. The ability to adjust the tension with a simple pull is also important. It will allow for extra recoil management when tightened to the body but also allow you to give the sling less tension when the gun is on the body or when multi-positional shooting is needed.

Two-Point Sling Options

The Blue Force Gear Vickers Standard AK Sling comes with attachments that allow for attaching to any AK platform. Another option is the Viking Tactics sling. It is an easy-to-adjust two-point sling, but it doesn’t have the Blue Force Gear AK attachment accessories.

The AK sling from Blue Force Gear is a Vickers sling but with added AK attachment points. Notice that the attachment is a simple rubber wire loop. This loop can be made with Paracord if you don’t have one of these attachments for your AK. (Photo: Blue Force Gear)

Attachment Points

The AK platform doesn’t have the normal rail platforms that we are used to. That means different attachment points for slings and other equipment are necessary. The Blue Force Gear ULoop Sling Attachment accessory has a nylon-coated rubber loop that can be run through any type of rail system and create a strong sling point. Ensure that when purchasing you get the correct width of accessory for your sling.

If all else fails, extra paracord thrown into your range bag will always do the trick. This trick was actually used in the course when a sling that a student brought couldn’t be attached to their AK rail. Paracord was attached to the sling, attached to the gun, and the student had a practical sling on their firearm.

Magazine Pouches

This was probably the gear that people fought with most frequently throughout the class. AK magazines come in a lot of different shapes and sizes with large feed lips on the sides. Thus, it is difficult to find good mag pouches that allow you to pull them from your pouch and also allow you to put them back into your pouch without struggling. Some mag pouches can make this easier, though, by having a wider pouch while still having tension on the magazine so you don’t lose it. In a class, you will want to be able to stow your magazines with ease due to the type of drills that the classes often run.

Note: At the minimum, I recommend having two magazine pouches on your belt and another way to stow magazines on your body somewhere. Some drills downrange involve three magazines at a time before you can walk back to your range bag and reload. The amount of magazines recommended will usually be stated on the class notes as well. This class recommended four magazines at the least but did not recommend how to set up your gear.

My 7.62×39 PMAG was able to fit well in the .223 HSGI Taco Mag Pouch. Dependent on the type of pouch and magazine, you may want to try out both .223 and .308 mag pouches. Another option is the G-Code Scorpion Mag Pouch.

instructor and students with ak rifles
AK magazines can make it tough to find good magazine pouches. Notice in this class that the instructor was running a G-Code magazine pouch. The other day he was running a Spiritus Systems chest rig. Other students have HSGI magazine pouches and other chest rights. (Photo: Isreal Weapon Industries)

Chest Rigs

Instead of a battle belt, chest rigs are growing quickly as a popular item for shooting courses due to the amount of gear that you can place on the rig, allowing you to get the weight of ammo and magazines off of your hips. If you’d like to go this route, the instructor of this course was wearing the Micro Fight Chest Rig from Spiritus Systems with a 5.56 insert.

Dump Pouches

A dump pouch is simply a bag that sits on your battle belt that can be rolled to stow or unrolled to use. This bag is meant to carry empty magazines but you may hear the joke of people putting their snacks and other unnecessary things in there. This piece of equipment comes in very handy during firearms classes due to the large amount of ammo that is needed down range. While many instructors try to time their shooting drills to ensure that every student can get through it without running out of around four magazines of ammo, sometimes this just doesn’t happen. A dump pouch provides a way to carry more magazines down range and stow your old ones without having to fill your pants pockets.

Forewarning: Some instructors may harp on a dump pouch due to you either grabbing an empty magazine accidentally from the pouch or the pouch making a lot of noise as you walk. In my opinion, though, the juice is worth the squeeze and a dump pouch is great for practical shooting courses.

Personally, I like dump pouches that when fully rolled down the opening comes out wide instead of flopping down. This makes it easier to throw magazines into instead of having to fight the opening. In turn, though, it makes for a bit of a larger pouch.

Blue force gear medium dump pouch
Dump pouches are great for classes because they allow you to carry extra magazines downrange. The worst thing during classes is not being able to finish a drill because you ran out of ammo due to only having two magazine pouches. A dump pouch allows for extra magazine space and putting empty magazines somewhere other than your pants pocket. This is the Blue Force Gear Medium Dump Pouch. Notice that the opening has some structure to it. (Photo: Blue Force Gear)


As said before, AK magazines come in a lot of shapes and sizes. There were a few that functioned very well during the course and some not so much. Most magazines that functioned well had steel locking lugs.

The two brands that functioned well in various AKs were Xtech Tactical and Magpul. The instructor also mentioned that his experience with Xtech AK magazines has always been positive.


If you’re going to a class with a high round count such as 600 rounds, as this one was, the mindset of “something on this gun may go down” needs to be in your head. With that, tools need to be brought to the class. While instructors will often have their own tools, students shouldn’t be relying on them to fix their equipment. Be an asset. To do that, a good kit with various attachments such as Allen keys for scopes or screwdrivers for magazine pouches is needed. Specialized tools for sight adjustments are also needed especially in an AK course.

The Real Avid AR15 Gun Tool Pro multi-use tool is stored in a small pouch that can be easily thrown into your range bag. It has multiple Allen wrenches that fit popular-size Allen screws for tightening scopes and other equipment that may come loose during a high round count class.

In the IWI Two Day Galil/AK course many students needed their iron sights adjusted but didn’t have the tool. This meant that the instructor needed to go to each individual to adjust their sights with his front sight tool. Bringing your own tool can help with your own knowledge of the system and speed up the zeroing process during the class.


With any firearms class, the gun should always be lubed the morning of the class to ensure proper functioning. In this specific class, we actually field-stripped our firearms in a classroom setting and learned about proper lube points and maintenance procedures, thus making having your own lubrication oil a necessity. I used Breakfree CLP, a multi-purpose cleaning, lubricant, and protectant, and had no issues with my AK.


Gloves were NEEDED during this class. AK hands are a thing. The constant manipulation of the Krebs safety along with aggressive mag changes and charging of the gun makes for some sore and blistered hands. Not only that, but the gun gets HOT. I ran the course with one glove, support hand side for the hot rail. The right hand I left open for trigger manipulation but did have many blisters from the safety manipulations. Don’t be afraid to go gloved on both hands.

Pro Tip: Attach a small carabiner clip to a belt loop of your pants to hang your gloves off of when you’re not using them.

As a female that has small hands, I like to use PIG Gloves from SKD Tactical as they fight my hand tight.

stovepipe ak casing and pigg gloves
Gloves are very needed in an AK operator course due to the aggressive manipulations that need to be done. In this specific photo, we were doing malfunction drills. Notice the stovepiped casing. This will need to be removed with gloved hands. These are PIGG gloves. (Photo: IWI)

Other Range Gear

Water, electrolytes, and snacks/lunch are a range MUST when it comes to shooting courses. Many times you won’t be able to leave the range to go find lunch. Due to this, some easy-to-pack items are needed, as well as a way to transport and store these food items.

The largest hack I have found especially when flying with ammo is to use your cooler as a checked bag. Stay with me. Checking your soft-sided cooler with all of your ammo in it takes the weight out of your other bags. This ensures that your bags are not overweight. After you arrive, you now have a cooler that you can use to keep things cold on the range. It’s hard to find a spot to pack a cooler anyway, so instead of going without it, just use it as a checked bag and store things in it.

While the instructors will have a full med kit on the range, it doesn’t hurt you to have, at the least, a tourniquet on your belt.

Pro Tip: A simple way to do this is to wrap two easy-to-break-away rubber bands around the tourniquet and your belt. Mount it in a place where both of your hands can reach it. I.e. the middle of your back or front of your belt. 

Some specific electrolyes that deserve a mention is the IGNITE powder from MTN Ops. It has concentration-boosting vitamins while giving you a healthy amount of energy. I take it in the morning before any shooting match or course. I notice a change in my focus and energy but without the jitters.

mtn ops ignite products
Ignite from MTN Ops is a healthy way to ensure that your brain stays focused and has the energy to get through a mentally taxing class due to the many vitamins included in the mix. There are multiple kinds. Original has different flavors, Lite has half the caffeine, and Hot Ignite is great for cold mornings. (Photo: MTN Ops)

Maybe not at a pistol class, but binoculars are always a great staple to have in your car. In this AK class specifically, we were going out to 300 yards with red dots without magnification. The instructors only brought two pairs of binos. Those who didn’t have their own binos were out of luck until the instructor came by with theirs

Last but not least, a notepad is ESSENTIAL at a course. If you are not taking notes on what you are learning, what is the point of taking a class? No one can take in that amount of info in that small of time and remember everything. Not all classes are as gracious as IWI and supply you with the notebook at the beginning of the class. Don’t be afraid to take down some notes in between shooting drills. Plus, a real notepad always looks better than you typing into your phone.

Keep Learning!

Remember, don’t be too hard on yourself if you find that your gear setup still isn’t perfect during your next class. Part of the fun of these courses is seeing what other shooters are running and getting ideas on how to make your setup better. Put some rounds down range, have fun, and keep working hard towards finding gear that is the most optimal setup for you and your firearm.

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