Originally designed by Soviet engineer Sergei Gavrilovich Simonov, in 1943, the SKS rifle is a semi-automatic carbine chambered in 7.62×39. Manufactured at the Tula Arsenal from 1949 to 1958, it is estimated that the Soviets made roughly 2.7 million of these guns. The SKS was widely exported to Eastern Bloc nations, and also to China (where it is called the “Type 56 Carbine”). Often referred to as the AK-47’s “little brother,” the SKS is arguably as durable and robust. While most circles of survivalists spend a great deal of time arguing over whether the AK is a btter choice than the AR in a SHTF scenario, the SKS goes overlooked. It should not. More affordable than either the AK or the AR, just as burly, and capable of withstanding a great deal of abuse, the SKS is a great survivalist carbine. But it does need a few upgrades for this to be the case. The good news is, you can do this at a relatively afforbale price. Want to learn how to make an old-school SKS into a cost-effective defense weapon that has enough power to reach out and touch something if need be? It’s simple. All of the upgrades listed below can be attained by way of a TAPCO intrafuse system, for about $80 bucks or less. Here’s the rundown.
The original SKS weighs in at 8 ½ pounds with its beefy wood furniture. While this is great if you needed to use the rifle in a hand-to-hand situation (for which most SKS rifles are equipped with a bayonet), it certainly makes for a clunkier weapon. Try running and shooting with a heavy carbine and you’ll see what we mean. Changing the wood furniture to a synthetic stock system will give the gun a decent weight cut, which matters a great deal in the field.
The old-school SKS rifles were intended to be loaded with 10-round stripper clips and an internal box magazine. It doesn’t take a whole lot of math to come to terms with the fact that you m ay need a bit more ammo in your clip should SHTF around you. Modifying the SKS to accept detachable magazines is an excellent way to upgrade the rifle, bringing it into the modern era of 30-round clips. There are also 40 and 50-round magazines available for the SKS platform, once the box magazine has been removed.
As aforementioned, the SKS of long ago had a classic wooden stock. While there’s nothing wrong with that, if you take a look around at most modern carbines, they tend to come standard with a sliding telescopic stock. This upgrade serves two purposes when it comes to the SKS. Firstly, it makes the rifle easier to store when traveling. Try driving around with a full-sized SKS in your car or attempt to enter or exit the vehicle quickly with one… it is less than optimal. The addition of a sliding stock is that it makes the carbine more user friendly in that it can be used by shooters of any physical stature.