The AK comes out of the box with a perfectly functional pistol grip. However for most men the grip is fairly skinny. If we were constantly operating in environments were thick winter gloves are the norm then the factory grip would be well suited. Since our AK will mostly see mild weather use with thin protective gloves, we could do with a beefier grip.
We chose to upgrade the WASR 10 with a SAW Grip from TAPCO. This grip is modeled after the grip found on the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW). I carried a SAW for some time while on active duty in the Marine Corps, so this is a grip that feels familiar in my hand. The TAPCO SAW Grip is made in the USA, satisfying the legal requirements when replacing components on your imported AK. The grip body itself is well constructed, however the trap door on the bottom is poorly fitted. The retainer spring required bending to keep the door closed. When rotating the door it sometimes hangs up on the plastic mold lines. This may be something we can resolve with a little trimming, but I would have liked to see a metal door similar to that on the real SAW.
The TAPCO SAW Grip installs using a 10mm hex head bolt. While this is a very common socket for any mid sized tool box, it is not something shooters commonly take to the field. I would have liked to see a socket head screw or better yet, a flat head screw. Most of us carry some type of field allen key set and many multi-tools (like the Leatherman MUT) have flat blade attachments.
With a retail price of $18, the TAPCO Saw Grip makes a functional upgrade to our WASR 10.