AK-47 Shepherds Hook…. or Crook: Should You Replace It?

ShepHook1(Shepherds Hook: the little wire that holds AK trigger pins in the receiver)

“IMO its is a weak point on a pretty stout rifle.” – haLfLiFe

I have stated for years that I have never seen a Shepherds Hook fail… (As in brake, fall out, or not work).

Well today I can’t say that any more. I wish I would have had a camera when it happened too,because most AK guys won’t believe me. I almost didn’t believe me. If had not been there and saw it with my own eyes I might not have!

That is just how often those little $2.50 pieces of wire fail. Almost never. Under normal use and people not jacking with them. They work fine.

But after a few mags my friend’s “Shepherds Hook” in his AK-47 variant failed. His trigger was dead and pins were loose enough in the receiver that you could not get the receiver cover off the top. Not a good thing to happen on a two way range. I was glad I was there when the one a million Shepherds Hook took a dive though. Now I know what happens for myself. And I do not want that to happen to any of my family or friends rifles.

That is what training is about, right? Learning what can happen and how to fix it so you can keep fighting.

“The most important single predictor of gun battle survival is training. The most important immediate factor is marksmanship. More often than not, gun battles are won with pretty ordinary equipment.” – R.K. Campbell

Basically there is no quick fix to this problem. If your Shepherds Hook fails your rifle is toast until you can get somewhere to work on it.

  1. So sling it or drop it (keep it if you can)
  2. Go to your secondary
  3. Continue putting bad guys down.

Only problem is in the field you could potentially loose trigger parts with a Shepherds Hook failure.

That is why I also recommend upgrading to a trigger retainer plate so that it doesn’t happen.

Loosing your trigger in a gun fight that your life and or family’s lives depend on would be demoralizing at best. Could be deadly for you all if that is the only gun you have or the only seconds you have to win.

“Even after six decades the model and its variants remain the most popular and widely used assault rifles in the world because of their substantial reliability even under harsh conditions…” – wikipedia.org

Trigger retainer plates are a pretty good idea even though there are millions of AKs in operation all over the world with shepherds hooks working right now with no problems.

I just didn’t want to see the one in a million be my rifle… Murphy’s Law loves killingsaddleback50 people everyday a day and every night.  So better to prepare for the worst and hope for the best than have it the other way around. Don’t ya think?

And since we are in America and we have cool retainer plate things to upgrade our triggers with. Then why not? Several companies make them these days, including Tapco. So there are really no excuses not to. They are cheap insurance.  I do prefer the Krebs model, but anyone will work. After that happened though, I gave my friend an extra Krebs retainer plate that I had. Then I replaced the Shepherds Hook with a retainer plate in another friends Yugo PAP pistol that fit well.


“Is that the correct technical designation from Kalashnikov? It is a fire control group axis pin retaining spring in my opinion on a semi-auto rifle. Shepard’s crook/Shepard’s hook, no big difference. Both names have been used through history for the device used by a shepard or for other devices that resemble it. Google both and you will see that either is in common use so it really doesn’t matter which version is used. With the original in a full auto AK-47 it doesn’t resemble a shepard’s hook/crook at all until it is cut down to use in a US semi-auto rifle. K-VAR advertises them as a retainer spring. TAPCO calls them retainer springs DPHarms calls them a Axis pin retaining wire spring Linx310’s site uses both shepard’s hook/crook  So…..If you want to use the correct terminology for the cut down version….It is a axis pin retaining spring.” – Mak



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