The TEC-47 From 21st TEC

The world of ARs that chamber 7.62×39 is an interesting one. Back in the days of dirt-cheap 7.62x39mm, they certainly peaked in popularity. The AR-15 has been the traditional option, but what about the AR-10? That’s the question 21st TEC asked with the TEC-47. The 7.62×39 might be an intermediate cartridge, but it’s still a 7.62 cartridge with a 7.62-sized case. It doesn’t fit all that great into the AR-15 platform, and the AR-10 gives it lots of extra room to fit and work. 

21st TEC sent me one of the TEC-47 rifles, and we decided to take it for a spin. Typically, my gun reviews are a lone Ranger affair, but it’s the holiday season. With family comes range time, and our Thanksgiving is often punctuated by gunfire as everyone brings their favorite gats to the family home to throw lead. It’s a family tradition, and I often take pride in bringing out the oddballs, and the TEC-47 took that crown today. 

The TEC-47 Inside and Out 

The TEC-47 utilizes a set of billet receivers that gives us a very nice aesthetic and makes the rifle really stand out. A 16-inch barrel wears a 15-inch M-LOK rail. The rifle comes with a carbine stock from Thrall, an adjustable gas block for suppressed use, and, oh yeah, did I mention it uses AK magazines? It’s not the first time someone shoved an AK mag in an AR, but it is often the better option. 

The mag well of ARs is large and straight, which makes AR-type mags for the 7.62x39mm very odd and angled to accommodate the 7.62x39mm round. Odd, and also tough to find at times. AK mags sacrifice the last-round bolt hold open but are much more common and inarguably well-proven with the x39 round. To make this work, a steel bar is placed through the lower receiver to catch the front lug of the AK magazine, and the gun has an AK-like magazine release behind the magazine. 

The safety is standard AR, as is the charging handle and basically everything that doesn’t involve the magazine. The bolt carrier group is proprietary to ensure the 7.62x39mm round feeds reliably from an AK magazine in an AR. It’s plenty beefy and easy to work with. The rifle is also beefy. 

It’s easy to forget that it’s an AR-10 until you pick it up and all 8.5 pounds hit you. That’s not exactly heavy, but when you add a loaded magazine, LPVO, a light, etc, it starts to put on the pounds faster than me in the holiday season. 

To The Range 

All that weight comes in nice and handy when you start shooting the thing. The 7.62x39mm barely moves the gun between shots. I zeroed the 1-6X across the top and was pleasantly surprised as I watched the reticle rise just a little off-target. It jumps a bit, but not much at all. The TEC-47’s recoil and muzzle rise are minimal, and the extra weight and size of the AR-10 design really help eat up the recoil. 

From a practical standpoint, the weight also helps shoot the weapon quickly at nearly any distance the little AK round can manage. At 100 yards in the standing, I was having no problems. Hitting targets ranging in size from a steel IPSC to a series of gongs ranging from 6 to 10 inches. I went for quick engagements, and the lack of recoil and muzzle rise made it super easy to go from small to large and back again. 

In the accuracy department, I shot mostly cheap steel-cased ammunition. This led to a group size of around 1.5 inches at 100 yards when I bench-rested the rifle. With better ammo, could the gun shoot better? Yeah, probably. 21st TEC helps by installing a very nice and crisp two-stage trigger system. It really shines in this rifle and makes it a lot of fun to shoot. 

The reset is solid, and easily felt. With the first stage, we get a smooth, barely perceptible trigger pull, then the second stage wall, which forms your preperation before the break. 

The accuracy and low recoil of the gun made it a family favorite during Thanksgiving. It was shot a lot from the bench and from the standing position and it was a favorite for new and experienced shooters. Only a few people complained about the weight. 

Run and Gun With the TEC-47 

The TEC-47 manual states that the US Palm mags don’t work with the TEC-47. In my testing, it also didn’t like KCI magazines. They fit but wobble and created a feeding issue. I also had one box of Barnaul ammo that wouldn’t run well. It had four failures to eject. I shot other boxes of Barnaul without any issues, including soft point. Maybe QC failed that one box of ammo.

The gun runs fine with Romanian mags, Magpul mags, Bulgarian polymer mags, and Tapco mags. I didn’t have any others on hand to test, but it doesn’t seem ultra-picky. AK magazines do fluctuate slightly in size between countries and producers, so it’s wise to vet what works. I tend to stick to the Magpul options because of affordability and the fact they are consistently well made. 

The TEC-47 ran reliably. Outside of that one odd issue with that one box of Barnaul ammo and the KCI mags, the gun runs without any problems. I shot a lot of Wolf through the gun, as well as the various Barnaul and Tula loads I had. Only one box of Barnaul failed us, I’m not sure if it was an issue with that one box or what. But again, considering no other issues with other Barnaul or other steel ammo brands I will bet on the ammo.

AK Who? 

If you want the ergonomics and the accuracy of an AR with the 7.62x39mm round, then the TEC-47 seems like a realistic answer to your problems. It’s a little beefy but recoils significantly less than an AK or even an AR-15 in the classic x39mm round. Not to mention, the gun costs about 1,400 bucks, and that’s not terrible for a high-end AR in this day and age. Check it out. 

Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.