Less moving parts, less things to break. The weapon system is a reliable one: even when in harsh enviroments. They are Battle Rifles, and they do the job they were intended to do well. They may not have sub MOA capability @ a 100yards, but that's NOT what they were designed to do.
Take the AK's long time nemesis the AR15 for example. It's not uncommon to see a civilian AR15 decked out with 3-4 pounds of added accessories on it. You see flashlights on 'em, and lasers as well as electronic optical devices with added magnifying lenses mounted behind them, vertical grips and bipods with even more flashlights attached with storage compartments for extra batteries on them...
While the AR15 is not as "raw" a battle rifle as the AK, it too was never intended to be a sniper rifle, or sub-machinegun. I admit, I fell into the accessory craze for awhile and spent a good deal of money on gadgets I hung off of every rail I could find. Oh the coolness factor is there alright, but when all is said and done turns out my favorite AR15 is my CAR15 look alike carbine: the only "Aftermarket" accessory on it being some FAT M4 grips up front. No Red-Dot optics, no flashlights or lasers...not even a vertical grip. Just a plain 'ole Carbine. Why? Because it's simple. It carries the spirit that its designer put into it. It's light, slick, mean & clean.
I have recently noticed the AK design catching up to the AR as far as available accessories go, and I'd hate to see it follow the AR down the "Tactical" fad road. Not that I'm totally against accessories...it's just that I don't think the AK design needs it. Oh, the "cool" factor is there, and no doubt a lot of AK owners will be going out and grabbing a bunch of Aimpoints for their guns as soon as mounts are available for them. But unless the sight is mounted to the receiver itself, the AK doesn't have any solid place to mount optics, not like the AR15 does. When does style over rate function?
Some accessories make sense. Vert grips on carbines feel nice and really does help the handling of the weapon. It's just when accessories are mounted just because there's an empty space is when I think it's a waste. If your AK is the only weapon you own, and you plan on using it for home protection, then by all means mount a flashlight on it if you want. It will help you identify your targets in low light. But for the average guy like myself who has a weapon dedicated to home protection, all a flashlight on an AK is, is added weight. One more set of batteries to buy. One more thing to snag on a brush or in vines....but that's just me.
I really like the classic lines of the AK, that unmistakable curve of it's magazine and that unique front sight on a barrel mounted under the gas tube. NICE. The more accessories that clutter the weapons forearm, the less of the weapons orginal shape can be seen.
LOL!...yeah, like it matters.
But bear with me. Even the very balance of a weapon can be severely compromised by the addition of un needed accessories. I know my M4 was a bitch to hold steady all day when I had a pile of junk hanging off of the handguards. Now, if I were a proffesional soldier that saw alot of night duty or had to clear rooms alot then maybe the laser & flashlight & junks then maybe it would be worth it...but I'm not a soldier.
Not all accessories are evil (LOL!) While I find the wood furniature found on AK's beautiful the synthetic option makes sense. They are lighter and more weather/moisture resistant. I'm all for lighter, especially on a battle rifle.
I like vertical grips, but I don't think they are nessesary. Good springs whether they be recoil, magazine, firing pin whatever, are worth while. Night sights: if they are available for whatever gun you have, get 'em. They are good stuff.
Flashlights...in my opinion don't belong on an AK. Same with Lasers.
A sling in my opinion is a nessesity, or in any case a good thing to have.
Anyway, I'm just rambling. Of course everyone is free to do whatever they want to their guns. It just seems like a shame to clutter an AK with a bunch of bells and whistles it clearly doesn't need.
That's a good read.