Guns have a way of seeping into American pop culture…
Film gives us guns like Dirty Harry’s S&W Model 29, and TV gives us the Bren Ten, and even music can contribute, from the Big Iron to the subject of today’s article, the Draco.
The Draco has become a cultural mainstay because of music. It’s hip hop’s favorite firearm, and it’s name-checked in dozens of rap songs. (Future has a song called Draco.)
The little AK certainly makes quite the impression.
Today we have an OG Century Draco, the standard model, and we’re giving it a full rundown. So hang with us as we walk you through the specs, features, and range performance to see if you should add this AK to your list.
Table of Contents
Century Arms Draco Review at a Glance
- Compact and lightweight
- Incredibly reliable
- 7.62×39 does well from short barrels
- Huge muzzle flash
- Limited brace options
The Bottom Line
The Century Arms Draco offers the AK platform in a compact package that’s light and handy. The little 7.62x39mm might be loud and mean from the short barrel, but it still reaches speeds over 2,000 feet per second.
It’s an old-school AK without any modern flair, and sometimes that’s all you need.
Specs & Features
- Caliber: 7.62x39mm
- Total Length: 21.5 inches
- Barrel Length: 12.25 inches
- Weight: 5.5 pounds
- Capacity: 30 Rounds
Don’t look for fancy rails, M-LOK handguards, or 1912 brace attachments on the Draco. It’s fairly simple with classic AK stylings. This includes the wood handguards, the big old safety, the stock standard AK sights, and pistol grip.
Century ships the gun with a single U.S. Palm magazine.
The Draco features a short sight radius of about 10 inches, but I doubt you’re trying to reach out and hit a target at long range with the Draco.
Sadly, Century doesn’t include a side optic mount because a red dot would go far on this gun.
What’s in a name? Draco translates to Dragon in Latin, and the name fits this fierce little gun.
Well, the gun breathes fire! The short barrel leaves a lot of unburned gunpowder, translating into a lot of muzzle flash. It’s bright, vicious, brutal, and loud as hell.
These guns come out of Romania, from Cugir specifically.
They are very similar to the Romanian PM md. 90, a short-barreled 7.62x39mm assault rifle with a 12-inch barrel and wire folding stock.
The Draco was originally designed for tanker crews and similar specialties who needed a smaller rifle for their duties.
Although not identical, the Romanians had some experience with short-barreled AK variants.
The Draco is the biggest in the family, believe it or not. There’s also a Mini Draco with a 7.75-inch barrel and a Micro Draco with a 6.25-inch barrel.
The original Draco began importation in 2017 and has been a popular choice in the AK pistol world. This gun has taken over and become a household name in just a few short years.
Who Is It For?
The Draco and its derivatives are perfect for AK-holics. Much like an AK pistol, it’s perfect for someone looking to make an SBR, and with the addition of a stock, the gun becomes a fair bit easier to shoot.
Due to the classic AK design, the only brace options are those that fit between the pistol grip and the receiver.
It’s not the most stable setup, but it works.
Some guns can just be fun, and the Draco falls into that category. The noise, recoil, and concussion make it a fun gun that certainly thrills shooters.
7.62×39 tends to be the poster child for overpenetration, so it might not be the best option for home defense.
You’d also want a brace or SBR the gun if you went that route; controlling the gun without either would be fairly tough to do. It’s fairly short and compact for use inside the home but also super loud and fireball throwing.
Fit & Feel
You know what to expect if you’ve ever gotten hands-on with a Romanian AK…
The Draco isn’t a fancy gun. Like all other Romanian AKs, it lacks the western flair for beauty and refinement.
Still, it’s not the worst-looking AK. The wood is super smooth and has that blonde look that’s hard to beat.
Good luck getting that black finish off; it’s stuck tighter than me that time I chose to wear spandex pants.
Nothing about the gun stands out in terms of quality. Manipulating the safety can take an act of Congress on some guns or a quick shake on others.
Mine is the latter with a stiff safety.
Working the charging handle is like trying to walk through quicksand. It’s gritty, sometimes stiff, and sometimes it glides along its path. You won’t mistake it for riding on ball bearings by any means.
The magazine release is the smoothest part of the gun, and the paddle releases the magazine easily and holds it firm.
One compliment I will give the Romanians is for the nice magwell cut. They used to be inconsistent, making it tough for AK owners to find the right mags.
My Draco’s magwell fits Chinese, Romanian, U.S. Palm, Magpul, and Korean mags without issue, including the big 75-round drums from KCI.
Overall, it’s rough, but that’s what we expect from the Romanian world of AK rifles and pistols. My heart certainly isn’t broken over the rough finish.
How Does It Shoot?
I’ve mentioned more than once how loud this gun is because it’s what captures you the most. Holy crap, it’s not quite double up on the era protection bad, but it is one of those guns that tips the scales noise-wise.
On top of that fierce noise, we also have a good bit of recoil and muzzle rise.
The pistol lacks a muzzle device and comes with a welded thread protector. Breaking that off would be easy, and tossing on a proper muzzle device would be the best thing you could do.
A Krinkov-style brake, or heck any of them from our AK brakes and compensators guide, would be a good fit. Even so, it’s not uncontrollable by any means. It just likes to bump and jump around a bit when you pull the trigger.
I’d imagine a proper stock would greatly increase your ability to control the weapon. The brace helps, but it can only do so much.
Even so, you can keep it on target and control it rather well. Good enough to score a 2-second failure drill with a well-aimed headshot at 25 yards.
In terms of accuracy, you might find the Draco a little lacking. AK sights have never been the paragon for accuracy and precision. They are rudimentary open sights, and the Draco also suffers from a short ten inches of sight radius.
At 100 yards, I can hit a full-sized IPSC target, but I’m not exactly dialing into the A zone of the target. Again, a proper stock would likely help, but this appears to be a 5 MOA gun at best. You won’t win any precision contests with the Draco.
The trigger isn’t bad, but it’s not good, either. It’s a long pull, but it is fairly light. Have you ever heard a trigger described at gritty?
Well, this trigger is a tuna sandwich at the beach gritty. Would a better trigger improve accuracy? Eh, likely not as much as an optic and stock would.
Like any good AK, the Draco eats without much challenge. Every shot I’ve taken with this gun has always fired, extracted, and ejected, and let’s be real; the cheap Russian AK ammo isn’t clean and pretty.
The gun doesn’t mind the different magazines either and eats through whatever mag I put in it without difficulty. My favorite is the Magpul PMAGs with metal inserts and the KCI 20-round ‘tanker’ mags.
What Sets It Apart?
The AK isn’t a big rifle, but if you want a shorter, lighter option, then the Draco delivers a factory standard option.
In the vein of Mini AKs, the Draco is the best combination of size and reliability. Sure, smaller options exist, but that 12.25-inch barrel still allows the gun to reach over 2,000 feet per second.
The Romanians make AKs reliable, durable, and capable AKs. They may not be fancy, but they work and will work for decades. In a world where AKs have been getting a bit dicey, it’s nice to see a reliable platform.
By the Numbers
The Draco won’t win any contests in the accuracy department. It’s functionally accurate enough, but you’ll measure your groups by hand size rather than a micrometer. You’ll hit the target, but it might not be exactly where you want to hit.
It’s an AK. You know what you’re getting. It’s designed after what’s essentially a WWII submachine gun. Fancy doesn’t describe it well, but it works and isn’t insulting by any means.
I hate to repeat myself, but it’s an AK, specifically an Eastern European AK. It’s plenty reliable and isn’t picky about being clean or babied. The gun goes bang when you want and need it to.
The wood looks great. The finish is evenly applied and downright tough. It’s still not exactly a pretty gun. The missing muzzle device makes the tip fairly ugly, and I take a point for that.
America embraced the AK market decades ago, and it’s got quite the aftermarket. You can swap the trigger, mags, magazine release, safety, and more. It will take some work to change the muzzle device, but it’s worth it. Still, without the ability to add braces or a stock easily and without an optics rail, you are limited.
Ohh, boy, these used to be fairly cheap. With an MSRP of $750, you could pick them up for under $500 all day. Now the MSRP is $999, and they often sell for well above MSRP. That’s a tough sale for some.
VG6 Epsilon AK Muzzle Brake
Drop that thread protector and toss on a proper muzzle device. My favorite is the VG6 Epsilon. It will increase your control by reducing recoil and taming muzzle rise a fair bit.
I have an old-school SB47 brace, and I think I need to desperately upgrade to the new AKTF brace. You don’t need a 1913 rail to attach it, and it even folds. It’s a lot prettier and better looking than this oversized piece of rubber I use.
Magpul PMAG AK/AKM Gen M3
The classic PMAG is the gold standard for AR-15s and is fairly solid for AKs.
Magpul’s Gen M3 gives you steel-reinforced locking lugs that provide unbeatable durability and reliability over the long term. The use of polymer cuts down on weight a fair bit, especially when you carry a combat load worth of mags.
Vickers Ten Speed AR-10 Chest Rig
Blue Force Gear might advertise this for the AR-10, but it fits AK mags perfectly. It’s a minimalist chest rig that functions well and provides a lightweight, easy-to-wear, and damn durable AK chest rig. Plus, it’s priced fairly and affordably for the quality you get.
If you’re hunting for a shorty AK and don’t want to spend Meridian Defense money, then the Draco gets it done. It’s plenty reliable, albeit simple and a little ugly.
The Draco isn’t necessarily a cheap gun, but reliable AKs tend to command a premium these days.
If you’re a hip-hop enthusiast, no other AK pistol will do.
What do you think of the Draco? Let us know in the comments below. For more AKs, check out our full AK-47 Buyer’s Guide.
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