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Review: Meridian Defense PMC-S AK Rifle

If you are even a casual student of history, you appreciate the impact and development of the AK-47 and its’ influence around the world. Even as an observer, you cannot miss the obvious, constant images that surface in just about any armed conflict ranging from civil wars to major fighting. The images of fighters beyond the NATO realm will almost always include the AK-47. It is one of the most prolific guns ever manufactured. The AK-47 has maintained a committed following since it was first introduced into service with the Soviet Armed forces in 1948. Mikhail Kalashnikov’s design has remained relevant even after almost seven decades. According to Weaponomics: The Global Market for Assault Rifles, “As of 2004 … Of the estimated 500 million firearms worldwide, approximately 100 million belong to the Kalashnikov family, three-quarters of which are AK-47s.” The American market for the AK is nothing short of ravenous. With the ability to run inexpensive ammunition pared with a unique history, the AK is appealing. Over the last decade, the overall interest in the AK platform has exploded as people enjoy the mixture of ballistics and history that is found inside the AK world.

A True World Traveller 

While the AK world has seen a series of variants, the gun for the most part, has remained unchanged for decades. In fact, the study and classification of these variants has become a major hobby to many serious AK aficionados, to the point that they scour media images of foreign fighters looking for that one unicorn gun or odd version. So the question of the day must be…just what else can be done to the AK-47? Well, just when you thought enough was enough, a diamond has emerged from the rough and is seen by many as the Excalibur of AKs. Say hello to the Meridian Defense PMC-S

Driven by a commitment to quality and control, MDC has decided to produce all its core parts in-house. They were tired of overseas parts that often fell short of expectations, so the company set out to establish tighter tolerances and a new standard for the AK community. In short, they did not want to depend on foreign suppliers. The PMC-S has the newly introduced, US-made MDC billet and fully machined trunnion, bolt and forged carrier. The designers at MDC also aimed to provide a hassle-free, out-of-the-box solution for shooters who wanted to run their rifles suppressed without facing over-gassing issues. To address that, the rifle also features a fully machined, adjustable gas block with four positions, accommodating various scenarios with ease. The first is a standard gas setting that is ideal for regular firing conditions. The next is suppressor on with supersonic ammo that is optimized for high-velocity rounds with suppressor attachment. The third is suppressor on with subsonic ammo and it is tailored for suppressed firing with reduced noise and recoil, while the last is an off setting for when the suppressor is not in use to ensure adaptability to any situation.

MDC’s attention to detail doesn’t stop at the core components. The rear Picatinny trunnion is crafted for compatibility with various Picatinny-style stock assemblies. The MDC PMC-S boasts a SIG Sauer-style side-folder with a low-profile tube, CTR stock and an extended butt pad. The 14.5-inch barrel is made of 4150 and is black nitride coated. It has a custom twist rate and ensures optimal performance with both subsonic and supersonic ammunition. The muzzle device is the MDC BD2-K. This is a two-port compensator and muzzle brake hybrid designed for compatibility with Dead Air suppressors, offering versatility and adaptability to different configurations. The rifle also uses the SLR 9.7-inch M-Lok rail system and gas tube. The MDC PMC-S offers a robust and modular platform for accessories.

One of the most impressive aspects of the gun in my opinion is the trigger. AK triggers have never been known as “good,” but that has changed with the PMC-S. The MDC-FCG (fire control group) is a game changer for the AK platform. It offers a modernized approach to trigger design with a sleek appearance and a crisp 3.5 pound trigger pull.

First impressions were less than professional and essentially consisted of “Oh hell yes”. I am a fan of discussing fit and finish on guns because it truly does matter. It’s not a matter of a catchy paint job or flair but of attention to detail. The PMC-S has an exceptional fit and finish. Most AKs can double as a maraca in a mariachi band because they rattle so much. This is not the case with the PMC-S. The gun came set up with an Eotech HWS XPS2 set on top of an MI-AKSM mount system. With the gun in hand, a range session became an immediate must-do.

The only item I added to the gun was a Dead Air Nomad 30 suppressor. The suppressor-friendly aspect of the gun is a major point, so a can was necessary. Mounting the suppressor was a breeze because MDC included its special brake. A quick zero of the gun and we were off to the races. Two things jumped out at me immediately. The first was the trigger. This trigger is so far away from the standard clunky AK trigger that’s hard to believe. It broke consistently at just over 3 pounds and had a crisp, quick reset. The Dead Air Nomad 30 did a solid job on the gun. Following the directions from MDC, I adjusted the gas setting to position two, suppressor on with supersonic ammo. This adjustment was easy and required no tools or contortions. I have run other AKs with suppressors in the past and they were all gassy, sending noxious fumes back into my face as I shot them. In fact, I am pretty sure I have black lung disease from the amount of gas that was spewed back at me on those guns. The PMC-S is a different experience though because of the adjustable gas system. It is a pleasure to run suppressed.

Rifle with suppressor

Function wise the gun is fast. Even with a suppressor on it, the gun is easy to manipulate and move. The super nice trigger made it faster than any AK I have ever run, and quick groups were no issue. To some, a gun like this will have an “elite” air about it and that is honestly true. However, this is not a safe queen and belongs on the range.

Meridian Defense Corp is not a collection of snobby gun nerds. They are shooters who share our passion for performance and heavy use. Everything they make is designed to fight with. I had the luxury of visiting with Tony Arria of MDC and asked him about the PMC-1. “We developed these Core US parts because we were tired of purchasing overseas parts, we wanted our own, and we wanted to control the quality and quantity in-house. Too many times we brought kits in from overseas that ended up becoming garbage or we got ripped off ($150K by some local US importers as well.) I still have a love for that part of the nostalgic part of the industry but unfortunately, the market is becoming flooded with trash and overpriced parts. We wanted to run tighter tolerances and we wanted quality parts we could stand behind. We started as builders, but the end goal is to grow the company and set the standard for the AK community, no more depending on Ivan and Sergey to send us parts, we will make our own.”

Meridian Defense Corp. has changed the AK game. In the end, they have indeed done it right. Making your own parts in-house is the ultimate quality control move. They have produced a very smooth shooting AK that feels more like a modern precision fighting rifle than the AKs of old. It was a treat to run and has definitely made my “want” list.

Merdian Defense PMC-S Specifications

  • Caliber: 7.62x39mm
  • Length: 35 inches
  • Weight: 7.8 pounds
  • Finish: Cerakote
  • Muzzle Device: BD2-K
  • Barrel: 14.5 inches, muzzle device pinned and welded to bring the total length to greater-than-16-inches
  • MSRP: $2,400

Chronograph Specifics/Atmospheric Conditions

  • Chronograph Manufacturer/Brand: Caldwell Ballistic Precision
  • Distance from Muzzle (in feet): 15
  • Ambient Temperature (in degrees F): 72
  • Ambient Humidity (percent): 34

Load 1

  • Manufacturer/Brand/Line: Hornady Black
  • Bullet Weight (in grains) and Brand/Style: 123-grain SST
  • Average Chronographed Velocity (in fps): 2,340
  • Smallest Group Size (in inches): 1.85
  • Largest Group Size (in inches): 2.25
  • Average Group Size (in inches): 2.05

Load 2

  • Manufacturer/Brand/Line: Federal Power Shok
  • Bullet Weight (in grains) and Brand/Style: 123-grain Jacketed soft point
  • Average Chronographed Velocity (in fps): 2,350
  • Smallest Group Size (in inches): 2.0
  • Largest Group Size (in inches): 2.75
  • Average Group Size (in inches): 2.37

Load 3

  • Manufacturer/Brand/Line: Wolf Military Classic
  • Bullet Weight (in grains) and Brand/Style: 124-grain HP
  • Average Chronographed Velocity (in fps): 2,456
  • Smallest Group Size (in inches): 2.75
  • Largest Group Size (in inches): 3
  • Average Group Size (in inches): 2.875


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