Review: Customized Mini-Draco
By: Tin Man
This review regards a customized Mini-Draco Pistol (Romarm-Cugir make, CAI Assembly), which is based on an Ak-47 rifle design.
The Mini-Draco, chambered in 7.62x39mm is indeed a phenomenal, yet very specific purpose pistol. It is best used only as a static (i.e. residential), personal defense weapon which engages targets at short distances. At approximately 18” in length, it is a moderately compact amongst other pistols which are chambered in larger calibers, commonly referred to as “rifle” calibers. It receives all magazines which would otherwise be used in Ak-47 rifles.
This particular pistol has been outfitted with a Midwest Industries rail, made specifically for the Mini-Draco. The rail sports what appear to be “heat-transfer” circular divots (or may just be there for decoration) as well as four rails positioned around each plane of the assembly. Installation was moderately easy, and the rail assembly has proved paramount over what has come to be known as the original “hot-dog” wooden fore-grip which comes stock on the weapon during purchase.
The optic on top of the rail is a Bushnell Red-Dot. Although other manufacturers offer top-dollar red-dot optics, the Bushnell has proven rugged and reliable, maintaining an extensive battery life with eleven dim settings. It maintains an approximate 6-MOA hold (1.5” at 25 yards); this is nothing near precise (especially given it 7.62mm chambering) however for the Close-Quarter Defense purpose of this pistol, this provides superb coverage at near to mid-range (i.e. 75 yards) distance.
The Laser/Light combo is an Insight Technology AN-PEQ 6. It provides multiple setting variations, and can be toggled through Visible Light, Visible Laser, Visible Light-Laser Combo, Infrared Light, Infrared Laser, and Infrared Laser-Light Combo. Approximate luminescence is 120 Lumen. Typically, I’m an antagonist of laser use on weapon systems. I believe proper sight picture coupled with muscle memory comprises best practice, and that absolutely nothing will ever replace this mantra. Given, however, that this system (in conjunction with a proper sling) is best used in an Israeli Stance (weapon pushed out with gun hand, pulled back with non-gun hand, and stabilized with sling from shoulder), a laser seems to only mitigate further shots on target. The parallax of the Bushnell Optic at arm’s length away from the eye when the Israeli Stance is fully employed doesn’t particularly facilitate an easily acquired sight-picture via red-dot, and the typical Ak-47 iron sights prove no better. The sight radius of the iron sights is circa six inches. Although many handguns have a sight radius substantially less than this, the rear sight of the Mini-Draco is positioned toward the forward aft of the weapon, adding an additional 10 inches to the “Eyeball-Rear Sight” distance. Imagine punching out to your threat with your carry firearm, then adding an additional ten inches to the tip of your knuckles at which point the rear sight of your handgun exists. Also, the elevation adjustment on the Mini-Draco proclaims 500 yards; this is futile. The weapon, even in the hands of a master shooter, is able to successfully and accurately engage targets at no more than 75 yards. Given, however, that this is a CQ-PDW weapon, little more is necessary.
The Flash Suppressor is a Troy Industries Medieval Flash Suppressor. Although the fireball is substantial, compared to the stock original cupcake flash suppression, this model significantly reduces the optic signature of the flash.
The grip is standard Hogue rubberized. I would recommend this not on the basis that it reduces felt recoil (the recoil with the original “ak-47” grip is still minimal), but that it provides a better purchase of weapon control, specifically when shooting in modified stances.
The internals of the weapon are similar to an Ak-47, however a composite block exists behind the bolt group assembly. As the gas rod is inherently shorter on a Mini-Draco, the bolt group doesn’t require the same recoil distance as does an Ak-47. Contrastingly, if the gas rod indeed recoiled the full distance an Ak-47 rod recoils, the rod would depart the gas tube and float inside of the receiver; this would instigate a catastrophic failure. Consequently, should the composite block that prevents this ever fail or disintegrate, the weapon system fails. This is easily overcome, however, by placing a spring buffer (purchased through various outlets on the internet) on the recoil spring. This absorbs all recoil which might occur.
Compact, versatile, easily modified, powerful caliber, reliable, accurate just enough
Dependent on Composite Block, specific after-market parts required, expensive
Total Cost: (All cost are estimates and links go to the manufacture’s website/product page)
Mini-Draco (Century International Arms): $700
Midwest Industries Rail: $140
Bushnell Red Dot: $90
Hogue Grip: $20
OVERALL: $2,325 +-
You can also find many of the above parts on Amazon (Purchasing products through these links helps support this site)