If you participate in or follow 3 gun, you have undoubtedly seen the Akdal MKA 1919 by now. With 3 gun unlimited (previously open) being dominated by Saigas and Vepr 12s, it is always interesting to see something new. With the MKA 1919 out for over a decade a lot of people are wondering why this shotgun is not more prolific. The answer is not surprisingly, reliability. While all semi-auto shotguns tend to have their quirks, the MKA 1919 had more than its share. The first generations were plagued with both reliability and durability issues. The GEN2 has addressed all these issues. Sadly, the US will still not get the MKA 1919 Match Pro which features an all alloy receiver due to sporting/importation limitations. Head up though, there is a large aftermarket following for this weapon. So lets take a look at this platform and the features that may finally make the MKA 1919 a Saiga killer.
On the business end there are also some updates. While still using internal choke tubes, they are no longer Winchoke pattern tubes. Winchoke tubes are 0.816" x 32. The new MKA tubes are 21mm x 32 (0.824" x 32). Because the thread pitch is the same, Winchoke tubes will screw in and even seem tight. After a few rounds that eighth thousands of an inch catches up to you, and they will loosen. So sad news on that front. Turning to the gas system and bolt, there were some much needed improvements. The gas regulator nut is still a standard right thread, but the jam/lock nut is now a left thread. So far this seems to have fixed the loosening that some earlier owners had. The feed ramps and are not metal and pretty much the entire bolt and carrier have been upgraded. With only 200 rounds through the weapon so far, it is still too early to say how all these improvements will play out. The initial results look promising though.
The one aspect that still needs improvement in our opinion are the sights. The sights are m4 style with a peep or blade option on the rear. It is hard to show in a photo, but rapid target acquisition with this set up is out of the question. While I am not generally a fan of red-dot or reflex sights on a shotgun, this platform really benefits from one.
So with a street price of around $450 USD is this the holy grail of 3gun ready scatterguns? The answer is both yes, and no. The MKA 1919 is a great platform, but far from competition ready. There are aftermarket parts out there to really make this weapon shine. Parts such off-side charge handles, billet lowers, better stocks and so on. So if you are buying this for 3 gun, expect to invest another thousand dollars or so. Even at $1450 you will be competitive for much less than a prepped Vepr or Saiga 12. The UTAS XTR is a strong option also, but for those of us who prefer a side charge I give the MKA the edge. As always if we got something wrong, tell us. MKA 1919 Match Discussion Thread.
On the strong side of the weapon, the first thing you will notice is the now standard ambidextrous safety and over sized magazine release. The logo has also been slightly changed from the previous MKA 1919 XN model. In addition, the charge handle has been updated to what I guess you would call a tactical one. All of these improvements are a massive step in the correct direction. While the safety still feels too smooth and slightly undersized, it does make an effort to support the south paws out there. The massive magazine release button is all but impossible to miss. Magazines now drop free, something that was hit and miss on previous generations. The trigger is slightly lighter than the older XN variant. Over a ten pulls it averaged 8lb 10oz. It is still very much on the heavy side, but the reset is crisp and there is no perceivable over-travel. The bolt release is now also larger and much easier to release even with thick gloves on if you use the palm slap method.
Included with the gun, you will find a plastic accessory case. In the case are the extra choke tubes, choke tube key, and the heavy load gas ring. Changing the choke tubes is the only aspect of maintenance or general usage that requires any tools. Worth noting is the gun we received was clean and oiled. It seems more and more common to get a new firearm that is fairly dirty and dry. It is nice to get something, especially in this price range, that you can just pull out of the box safety check and fire. As time goes on, we will keep you posted on reliability in the thread found here: MKA 1919 Match Discussion.
Check the discussion forums for updates as we build this up for 3 gun unlimited.
Edited by VS762