AKs to avoid, new and used.
There is not much worse than finding out you threw away your money on something, that had you done some real research on, you would not have made this regrettable, and common mistake.
Currently produced/mfg AKs:
InterOrdnance. (IO) Very long track record of horrid quality subspec materials, QC, Customer Service and failed AKs.
Century Arms. The AKs they manufacture. C39 V1 and 2, and RAS47. History since beginning manufacturing them of subspec materials, QC and breaking AKs. Their Customer Service is somewhat acceptable however and they are a long time company.
Palmetto State Armory. They bought DDI which was beginning to mfg “to spec AKs and components” first in USA for hammer forged Ak components! Sadly PSA has seemed to have done away with that, only offering cast and milled billet, not hammer forged and mostly “blem” AKs.
RIley Defense. Owner was employed at IO, left and went back to IO’s original state of NC. Was manufacturing AKs at first with same parts as IO, but with more attention to detail. Since then after a youtube reviewer informed the owner cast trunions are no-gos for Aks he changed to forged (machined billet) but to date no proof or statement of actual spec of hammer forged high quality steel in parts that count.
Blackheart AKs. Not sure if they are in business or not. Were, then vanished, now saw some recently.
Clearview/Classic Firearms AMD builds. Horrible barrels and QC, has been evidence of bolt griding to get headspace (a big No-No)
Pioneer Aks. Pioneer who likes to portray themselves as Radom (they rent a shop in the town of Radom, but are NOT the actual real Radom munitions plant with high quality AKs and parts, barrels etc). They use old school poured metal castings, and also same build techniques as IO (barrel as a bucking bar) went bankrupt a few years ago bt seem to be back now.
Hesse. Ugh. Among the worst Aks ever built. They did some weld builds and were finally forced to shut down. Run if you see the name on a Gun. Many booms.
Of course there are many unknowns out there, proceed with risk. Many like USA BWest Chicom receivers were not even heat treated, other garage builds are of course unknown quality. Buying one made by a known smith is usually a safe bet.