by Rob Kay
I formerly worked in Silicon Valley where entrepreneurship and the passion to create technology are absolute necessities to succeed in building a company. What’s never too far from people’s minds is the thought of striking it rich. It’s all about having an “exit strategy”, that is…how much money you’re gonna make if your company is acquired or has an “IPO” (Initial Public Offering). This is the hallmark of “success” that always looms in the background.
The firearms world is also a hotbed of innovation.
Go to SHOT and you’ll see hundreds of mom and pop companies that are similar in many ways to Silicon Valley startups. Someone is always displaying their latest offerings–working on a cooler, better gewgaw that they hope will be the next ACOG.
However, there’s a big difference between the mindset of the gun tinkerer and the Silicon Valley entrepreneur.
The gun guys are universally driven by passion. Money is secondary. This is not the case in “The Valley” where nearly everyone dreams of the big pay day. Not that gun guys aren’t interested in monetary reward, but you don’t design gun parts or guns expecting to become a millionaire.
What’s more important to gun guys is to have the respect of their peers. Selling a few products doesn’t hurt but having your homeboys appreciate what you do is much more important.
Tim Harmsen (left) host of Military Arms Channel with Scot Hoskisson, founder of RS Regulate
For the last 25 years or so, innovation has been all about the AR 15. While this is clearly the most popular firearm with Americans, of late a sizable number of enthusiasts have rallied around the AK. This iconic rifle is undergoing a renaissance driven by a handful of engineers and gunsmiths who are completely reinventing the platform.
No one typifies this new cohort of AK innovators better than Scot Hoskisson, founder of RS Regulate, a company that concentrates the majority of its efforts on one thing—scope mounts for AK variants.
I had heard about the company a few years ago when a former Army sniper whom I met at SHOT, handed me Scot’s card. It took me a few years but thanks to the insistence of Marc Krebs, arguably the most influential AK gunsmith on the planet, I had a sample of one of his 301AK mounts.
Krebs Custom doesn’t sell a lot of third party items because the company concentrates on selling his own gear, but one of the exceptions is RS Regulate.
Before getting into the nuances of the product it’s important to understand the company’s genesis.
Like many red blooded Americans Scot, who lives in the Detroit area, became intrigued with the AK. He wanted to understand the capabilities of the rifle and among other things began to figure out the best way to fit it with optics.
He tried every manner of mounting a red dot and determined that for his sensibilities, using the existing side rail was the best option.
An engineer by training, he figured he had the chops to design his own side rail mount.
In 2009 he began his quest to build a better side rail mount.
His goal was to build a mount that would be centered precisely over the bore of the rifle. While this sounds obvious to an American who is used to mounting scopes in this manner it is not necessarily how it was done in Combloc countries.
What’s more, placing a scope squarely over the bore sounds good in concept but not so easy to execute in practice.
Scot came up with a prototype that worked fine on his Bulgarian gun but he soon discovered that it was out of spec on his buddy’s Romanian variant.
He was perplexed. “Am I on crack? What’s going on?”, he wondered.
Scot was not on any controlled substance, it’s just that he discovered one of the fundamentals of the AK design, which as my colleague RN Price pointed out, is this:
Among the wide variety of manufacturers, there is a great deal of variance allowed around the AK “standard”. Though the Soviets demanded that most Warsaw Pact members adopt the AK as their military small arm (Czechs were exempt for some reason, and instead came up with the VZ58), they allowed members to either purchase them from the Soviet Union, or to license and manufacture (for a fee), their own AK rifles.
The Soviets didn’t care how well the various licensed AK manufacturers rifle parts would interchange with those of Soviet origin or each other. It was only required that the rifles all be of the same general physical dimensions, and that they use the same magazines, the same standard 7.62×39 cartridges, and the same manual of arms. A Romanian soldier should be able to pick up and use an AK made in Hungary, East Germany, Russia, Bulgaria, etc., with equal facility, even though all the parts used in those rifles may not be interchangeable.
Every country, every series, and every model seems to have its own sort of Balkanized version.
Whether it was an AKM, AK, AK 74, Serbian or Israeli, there was always some difference in the specs on the rail, the thickness of the receiver, type of stock, etc.
It would have been easy to have a one-mount-fits-all scenario but that would be way too much to ask for.
Time for another epiphany.
If he was going to build a mount that would fit on a variety of rifles, it had to be adjustable so it in fact could be placed over the bore.
After several years and any number of iterations, he came up with a modular system that consists of a lower portion that is clamped down securely to the side rail by means of a titanium lock system and an optic-specific upper section that bolts onto the lower. The idea was to make all upper and lowers cross compatible so that you could come up with a plug and play option for virtually every variant as well as a variety of popular optics that include Aimpoint, Trijicon, Bushnell and others.
Thus, if you wanted to provide a full length rail for an AK and wanted mount your optic forward of the receiver you could do so. If you have a Krinkoff that can only accept an an optic towards the back, Scot could provide you with a mount that is rear biased and would work perfectly with that rifle. In short, he figured out a way to provide the latitude to put your scope anywhere you wanted and, keep it over the bore.
Scot also understood the importance of keeping the weight down.
Even with a full length rail his mounts are super light. For example if you’re running an Aimpoint or even an Aimpoint clone such as a Primary Arms, the whole assembly—the optic and combined mount only adds a pittance in terms of weight..less than 8 oz.
What’s more you can simply take it off with the flip of a lever. I like that option because I often like to shoot with the iron sights and, prefer the “original” bare bones, minimalist aesthetic of the dust cover.
There are a few decent scope mounts out there in the AK space that will hold zero such as the SM-13 from Arsenal. It’s also mounted close to the dust cover. The problem it’s still too high in my experience to get anything close to a lower 1/3 co-witness.
Co-Witnessing–which ones work?
With the RS Regulate I was happy to find it was possible to co-witness with two micro dot optics that I had on hand.
The Primary Arms FBGH and the Aimpoint H-1 both utilize the “AKML” upper mount. It will work with a number of other Aimpoint models as well as any other clone that uses the Aimpoint bolt pattern such as the Vortex Sparc.
According to Scot you can co-witness effectively with the “AKM” upper half with which you can affix any number of 30 mm tube type optics from companies such as Primary Arms, Burris and a host of others.
The newest product, guaranteed to co-witness is AKMD which was designed specifically for the Bushnell TRS25. Scot said it was Marc Krebs who insisted that he design a mount around this product.
The RS Regulate will 1/3 co- witness with an ACOG but you need to have a special “ring mount” version.
Incidentally, RS Regulate does not currently make a dedicated mount for the popular Burris Fast Fire or any other micro reflex optic.
The RS Regulate system is elegant and simple, which belies the thousands of hours of work that went into designing it.
Scot has won the acclaim of the top builders in the industry–Messrs. Krebs, Fuller and Sisgold, not to mention bloggers such as Tim Harmsen of Military Arms Channel.
If you’re serious about a side rail for your AK, your not going to be disappointed with the RS Regulate system. The good news is that RS Regulate products are only going to get better as the product improves and the company’s repertoire grows including different optics systems.
One last thing.
You may wonder about origin of the company’s name. It came from a discussion Scot had years ago with a colleague named Karl Connolly. They had been commuting together and would always talk guns, books, etc. One day they started coming up with amusing company names. Scot liked “Royally Screwed”, whereas his friend Karl became attached to “Dead Nuts”. The logo is a left handed bolt (if you turn it the normal way you unscrew it – ergo, you solve your problems using RS Regulate products).
As an extra flair he added the crown atop the screw.