Chiappa RAK-9: the Italian AK pistol-caliber carbine
Following the current successful market trend of pistol caliber carbines, the Chiappa Firearms RAK-9 offers the first AK-based PCC in 9mm to be commercially available in bulk quantities
Pistol-Caliber Carbines – or PCCs for short – have been living a true heyday for a couple of years now: full-length semi-automatic centerfire carbines, chambered in calibers such as 9mm, .40 or .45, feeding through readily available pistol magazines and patterned after popular Modern Sporting Rifle platforms, PCCs were originally conceived for the United States, where firearms with a barrel shorter than 16 inches and equipped with a buttstock are subject to the 1934 National Firearms Act and restricted accordingly.
Nonetheless, they managed to earn a well-deserved place in the hearts and… safes of shooting enthusiasts worldwide, as full-length barrels allow PCCs to provide better performance in terms of range and accuracy if compared to their shorter-barrel siblings, which is a plus in competition.
If there’s a downside to this, is that most PCCs currently available on the market are based on the AR-15 rifle design or on more classic layouts. The choice is much more limited when it comes to PCCs patterned after the popular AK/AKM rifle design.
Small companies in the US have been making them in different quantities, and while recently the Concern Kalashnikov itself introduced a couple, they struggle to find their way to international sales due to international sanctions against Russia’s firearms industry.
The exception is made in Italy: the Chiappa Firearms RAK-9 semi-automatic pistol-caliber carbine is already in mass production and distribution and almost 100% faithful to the original AK/AKM rifle design, with small differences in terms of caliber, feeding, and technical features.
Chambered in 9mm Luger, the Chiappa Firearms RAK-9 semi-automatic carbine does without the AK’s quintessential long-stroke piston and adopts a straight blowback working system, as such employing a dedicated bolt that retains the outline of an AKM bolt but has been redesigned and manufactured specifically around the 9mm caliber.
In lieu of the long-stroke piston, the bolt of the Chiappa Firearms RAK-9 carbine features a full steel rod that acts as a front mass, ensuring a positive and solid locking for additional safety and stability regardless of whatever level of pressure the loads in use may develop.
To strike the right balance between faithfulness to the original design and functionality with a smaller round, the stamped steel receiver of the RAK-9 pistol-caliber carbine was also completely redesigned by Chiappa Firearms around the specs of the 9mm round, while retaining the outline of a classic AK receiver, and is manufactured in Romania by a company specialized in AK receivers.
The Chiappa Firearms RAK-9 pistol-caliber carbines features a 43,8 cm / 17.¼” barrel and a standard AKM-type elevation-adjustable rear sight and drift-adjustable front sight It also comes with a classic cleaning rod housed under the barrel and retains the original AKM’s field-stripping procedure and configuration of controls, with the only exception of magazine release.
As a matter of fact, the RAK-9 carbine features Chiappa’s own modular polymer magazine well system, with a side-mounted release button replacing the classic release paddle of the AK, that will take either Beretta 92 or Glock pistol magazines.
Each RAK-9 comes equipped with one single Beretta magazine well; Glock magazine wells are available as aftermarket replacements or factory-issued upon request.
The Chiappa RAK-9 pistol-caliber carbine comes from factory with a fixed AKM-type wooden stock, wooden handguard, and brown polymer pistol grip, and is compatible with all original or third-party non-functional component, furniture or accessory conceived for the AKM platform.
A specific version for the US market is available, feeding through a proprietary magazine and featuring a full ATI Fiberforce black polymer thumbhole stock and ventilated handguard set.
In the busy panorama of pistol-caliber carbines, the Chiappa Firearms RAK-9 undoubtedly deserves to stand out: it is, so far, the only one to be based on the AKM rifle layout that’s in real mass production and distribution; it feeds through readily available pistol magazines with two options available, allowing shooters to use magazines for handguns that they may already own; and it is not overpriced. All shooting enthusiasts considering a PCC purchase should definitely give the RAK-9 a closer look.