Travis Haley Adaptive Kalash – Review

Haley AK

Travis Haley – Adaptive Kalash

Adaptive Kalash

Adaptive Kalash is Travis Haley’s Instructional DVD about running the AK rifle. I watched this using Panteao’s subscription service.

Haley starts off Adaptive Kalash with a introduction on the AK platform, and maybe its just me but he seamed to start off pretty negative about it. He talks about his “respect” for the platform in one sentence and then goes on about how many women and children that it has killed over its years. “Keep a open mind” about this “battle field pick up” he likes to repeat. During this intro he says more negative things this rifle has done, as if it was the rifles doing and not its users, then he talks about anything else. Kind of a bummer way to start i think.

After he covers the four safety rules, he starts digging more into the actual AK rifle. He goes into a good overview of what to look for when you are picking one out and why they have such varying price points. It was nice to see that he likes to run a more stock AK than his tricked out ARs tend to be. He talks about looking out for crooked sights, sloppy hand-guards, different barrels, just a good overview on what to look for. I thought he would have gone more into the fact that the AK has to have a certain amount of US parts and more into the actual importing of the rifle but its understandable why he did not. I feel like here would have been a good chance to go more into its history.

He did not go much, if at all, into cleaning and maintenance of the AK itself. But he did dunk it into a lake to explain the importance of cleaning out corrosive ammo.

Haley AK

Haley AK

After that he goes into loading the AK. Here you can see he is wearing a glove on his off hand, why you might ask, well we will get into that later. He then explains how to load and press check the AK rifle using the double stack check, visual, and finger checking methods. He then gives a good brief on how to unload the rifle.


Haley, like many others, prefer to zero in from the prone position using a 3 or 5 shot placement. He likes to zone in at 25 yards and gives a great demonstration later on about his reasons. What made this part interesting, and its something i will look more into, is how in prone he practically lays on the rifle. So instead of shouldering it, his shoulder is over and on top of the stock. He says his support hand is pulling down the front while his shoulder is pushing down the stock (making the barrel rise) all while resting it on the magazine. Haley of course makes this look natural so i pulled out my AK and tried it. I found it to be very uncomfortable and it felt very unnatural for me. It placed my face to high and to far forward over the grip and trigger. Its not a position i think i can find my self naturally using, but next time at the range i will give it a shot and compare.

He then goes into a great demonstration of how the 7.62 and 5.45 sight in at different ranges using a person shaped target. Probably my highlight of this Adaptive Kalash video. He shows you where they will place based on where you aim and was a great visual demonstration where most people just brush over.

AK Safety

Safety manipulation is one of the most controversial aspects on the AK. He first shows off the “old school” Russian mentality of when in the fight you keep your safety off and your true safety is your finger. He is not a fan of this methodology. Seeing how he was using a AK with a modified safety lever that allows finger manipulation I assumed that using that would be his go to answer but i was presently surprised how he still recommended using the standard safety level as it was designed. He even proceeded to demonstrate how it did not truly effect your speed. Seeing this i think he did not go into enough detail of the safety work he may or may not have had done on his rifle. The right amount of looseness in the AK safety lever is something that is widely argued. I know some like it so stiff that its unusable in the “safety always on until you shoot then safety off” mentality that you see with AR rifle work.  I also know some guys who like it so loose you can almost shake it from safe to fire. This also comes a issue when you start adding movement, transitions, disarms, and all of that. So it makes it a very well discussed issue. He pretty much glosses over all that with a ‘just deal with it’ mentality, which depending on your rifle (i wish i had a custom rifle Dynamics Adaptive Kalash AK 😛 ) might be easier said than done.

Shooting the AK

Shooting the AK

Shooting and Manipulation

Next in Adaptive Kalash Mr. Haley shows off the more standard rifle shooting position, with the hand under the fore guard. He is wanting to demonstrate how with rapid shooting its harder to control the recoil from this stance. And this is where his glove comes in, because like with the AR he prefers a more drawn in to the chest, wrap around your weapon scorpion/thumb over bore/magpul style grip. Since the AK is not designed to really be shot this way, it places his support hand over some quickly heated elements of the rifle which is why he wears the glove to protect from it. This reminds me when I was out at the range after a CHL course with a student who brought a AK pattern rifle to shoot for the first time. He held it in this grip and first complained that his thumb was in the way of the sights (which Haley talks about). He them moves it to the side and the soon starts complaining about how hot the fore grip gets after only a few shots. I tried to explain to him how that’s not really how the AK was designed to be held, because it places your hand right on some of the hottest areas, but he didn’t quite understand since “that’s how Haley does it”. For me personally, I find that this grip does work well at a stand and deliver, competition use grip. I also find it to be a very tiring grip as for it feels like you are fighting the AK the whole time. To where i can shoot a lot longer and more comfortable, but maybe not as quick on the recoil management end with a more standard mag grip.  I also find it to also be very hard to use while moving and transitioning. So i try and hop between depending on the situation.

Travis Haley then goes into tactical and speed reloading while discussing the importance of being able to charge the firearm from any position.

In his speed and accuracy section of Adaptive Kalash he goes over his Speed and Accuracy drills, which are a good set of drills that if you follow Haley or Costa you have probably seen before. He does go over some vertical displacement work (kneeling and prone) but more so in how it relates to this drill then how it would in combat.

His last main section of Adaptive Kalash is about transitions. He is not a big fan of the two point (“parade sling” as he likes to call it) method of carrying, nor does he like the over the shoulder transition to the side arm. He prefers the single point method of just letting it hang. As a bonus it looks like his sidearm he transitioned to was a CZ-82 which is a fun bonus.


Overall this was a pretty good video. The video and audio was good as with most Panteao work, though it did feel like Haley was phoning it in a bit at times. He could have gone in much more details about the rifle and its history other than how many women and children it has killed. If you are a AR shooter who has some interest in the AK then this is not a bad bet. But if you want more detail then you would be much better off with Sonny Puzika’s Beyond the Firearm 2 DVD (not his Panteao one) which goes into much more detail on how to actually fight with the AK. So if i had to choose to spend 45 bucks on Haley’s or Puzika’s DVD i would choose Puzika’s hands down. But if your just a Travis fan or like me have a subscription, its a good watch.

Bonus: here is a image from when Travis Haley had a negligent discharge during the making of this instructional video:

Travis Haley negligence discharge

Travis Haley negligence discharge


+ Good information


– He didn’t seam all that into it
– Liked to talk about all the babies the AK has killed often

FINAL – Recommended

Its no Beyond the Firearm 2, but it could be worse

Robert Klenka
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