by Rob Kay and RN Price
Founded by Nelson Fesas, Texas Weapons Systems (aka TWS) is based in Austin, Texas. They make several products designed for the AK platform including a dust cover/rail, peep sight, leaf sight and handguard.
The Dog Leg Rail Gen 2 replaces the stock AK dust cover and is designed to solve one of the seemingly intractable issues inherent in the AK design—appropriately mounting an optic.
With the TWS system the operator has the option to use iron sights or an optic while keeping the same cheekweld. The Dog Leg rail also allows for an extremely low mount which provides a natural platform to co-witness.
The TWS Dog Leg is a two part system.
In addition to the actual dust cover, it comes with a replacement take-down button (at the rear of your receiver) which is part of a proprietary recoil spring guide.
The unit is well finished and engineered to very close tolerances. The result is an extremely close fitting dust cover that will hold zero even if you have to open and shut it. Admittedly it is a much tighter fit than the stock dust cover. Be advised you’ll need more thumb pressure to depress the button and remove the cover.
The system has an ad-on option that also makes life easier for the AK-user. TWS offers an M4-like aperture that can be placed at the rear end of the rail. This nearly doubles the sight radius. There are other similar options from companies such as Krebs Custom, which has a very cool rail + sight combination, but at $310, it’s double the price of the TWS offering.
Installation was straight forward. The front end of the dog leg system fits into the rear sight block with a supplied hinge pin. You’re also required to swap out the guide rod and add the existing recoil spring. Adding the spring to the guide is no different than replacing this item on any other AK. There are couple of good methods to do this. Given the spring tension, we like using the “chop stick” method which is demonstrated on this video.
The trickiest part about installation, from our point of view, was removing the rear sight which involves deftly tapping the end of the leaf spring which is under a great deal of tension. If you’ve never done it before, it does take some technique. (TWS does a good job of explaining how to do this in their instructions).
Once you’ve removed the rear sight assembly the front end of the dust cover neatly pops in. No muss or fuss. The rear end of the dust cover has two Allen screws that allow the user to adjust for the different lengths of receivers found on AK variants. These two screws will also impact the tension on the take-down button. Given the dissimilarities in specs on AK receivers this adjust-ability component is a necessity.
Instructions are provided in the box and on a pdf file. They also have video.
We think the TWS system is a good option, especially if co-witnessing is important to you. The available real estate for placing an optic runs the full length of the receiver. The combined rail and dust cover are really light so unlike a separate rail system, it’s not going to add any substantial weight. This is a noteworthy advantage from the get-go.
Our colleague Rob Ski of the AK Operators Union also evaluated the TWS system. He felt it wasn’t robust enough for his purposes, especially compared to a similar Russian product from a company called Zenit, which is priced at $399.
In response to his comments, TWS followed up with a video of their own.
It might be instructive to watch both videos.
The TWS product is priced at $139.99 for AK 47/74 or Yugos. Dog Leg for the Romanian PSL is $174.99.
The aperture rear site (for another $39.99) is a welcomed addition and makes shooting iron sights much easier.
My only comment: I would like to see a “flip up” type rear sight system from TWS where you have the option to use two apertures (as is available for ARs) in a future version. Krebs offers this type of rear sight on his product but as alluded to above, it’s more expensive.
In short, there is really a lot to like about this product.
It’s got the flexibility of a rail system and doubles as a dust cover. It’s light, very solid and priced reasonably. The geometry afforded by the TWS dog leg allows the operator to easily switch between iron sights and optics without changing your cheekweld. It also allows you to easily co-witness a red dot–no mean feat for an AK.
Photos courtesy of On Target staff.
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