The FB Mini Beryl has a lot in common with the AKS-74U, including its weaknesses.
FB Mini Beryl M1 Features:
- Semi-Auto AK Pistol Based On Kbk wz. 96 Mini Beryl
- Made By FB Radom In Poland
- Chambered For 5.56x45mm NATO
- 9.25-Inch CHF, Chrome-lined Barrel
- Enhanced Safety And Magazine Release
- Comes Optics Ready
The Kbk wz. 96 Mini Beryl was adopted by Poland’s armed forces in 1997 alongside their new wz. 96 Beryl rifles. It was primarily developed to provide troops such as vehicle crews with a more substantial personal defense weapon than a pistol, similar in concept to the American M1/M2 Carbines of WWII and the Soviet AKS-74Us used in Afghanistan.
The Mini Beryl and the AKS-74U are quite similar in design, both being shortened AK carbines chambered in lightweight, velocity-dependent cartridges. The advantages of this design are mostly appreciated by those who carry their weapon more often than fight with it, with the compactness and lighter weight making them easier to transport. While it's fun to think of these short AKs as “Spetsnaz weapons”, the reality is that those who actually fight with their guns appreciate the increased range and lethality provided by longer barrels. Whether it's being fired from a “Krinkov”, a MK18 or a FB Mini Beryl, lightweight bullets just don’t perform very well out of short barrels. These weapons only shine in their original military configurations where they can be used as submachineguns in close quarters combat situations. The currently imported Mini Beryl pistols obviously lack select-fire capabilities, so their usefulness as a primary fighting weapon has been greatly reduced.
Despite there being several better-performing options available, the unique features and legendary quality of FB Radom AKs may still make the Mini Beryl pistol an attractive option to some shooters.
The M1 Mini Beryl Pistol
Legally classified as a pistol, the Mini Beryl is subject to different importation standards than rifles are. What this means is that, unlike the 5.56 Beryl rifles, the Mini Beryls are brought in unadulterated by U.S.-made 922 R compliance parts or conversions. Even the fire control group is the original Polish one, and it’s supposedly nicer than most stock military AK triggers. The only drawback of being a pistol import is that the muzzle device has been pinned in place, although the pins can be removed.
The polymer handguards on the Mini Beryl are proprietary due to the shortened gas system and unique Beryl-style handguard retainer. The pistol grip is interchangeable with any AK grip on the market, but mounting a brace or stock may present some difficulty. Mini Beryls are imported with a pistol trunnion with a bar on the rear for attaching a sling. This bar would be in the way of most pistol brace options on the market and would need to be removed before the installation of one took place. For turning the pistol into an SBR, a rear trunnion swap is also necessary in order to mount a proper stock.
Like its bigger brother, the Mini Beryl also has an enhanced safety selector and magazine release. Unlike its bigger brother, however, the Mini is optics ready right out of the box. The Beryl rifles have provisions for mounting the unique FB rail system, but this must be purchased and installed separately. The Mini Beryl instead comes with a rail section pre-installed where the rear sight would normally be, providing a solid surface for mounting an optic. A new rear sight was added inside of this rail segment as well, so the Mini Beryl is still usable without an optic installed.
As previously mentioned, the Mini Beryl’s short barrel in conjunction with the 5.56 round make it susceptible to the same issues described by AKS-74U users in Afghanistan. Both 5.45 and 5.56 depend on speed for accuracy, range as well as wounding capabilities. Spetsnaz in Afghanistan preferred using standard-length AK-74 rifles, and there has been much debate surrounding the effectiveness of 5.56 since the M16’s barrel started shrinking in Vietnam. There is a good amount of data available on the speed and effectiveness of 5.56 out of different barrel lengths, but the short of it is that the Mini Beryl’s 9.25-inch barrel just doesn’t quite cut it. FB Radom claims that the Mini Beryl has a muzzle velocity of about 2,500 FPS when using M855 ball ammo. According to a study done by the Massachusetts Law Enforcement Instructors & Armorer’s Association, the magic number for 5.56 to hit in order to rapidly incapacitate a human is 2,700 FPS.
The engineers at FB Radom understood this, which is why their 5.56 Beryl rifles were given extended 18-inch barrels to achieve greater accuracy at longer ranges as well as better lethality. Like the Krinkov, the reduced performance of the Mini Beryl was considered acceptable for the jobs it was designed to do: being carried by vehicle crews and being used as an SMG by door-kickers.
While they’re very cool and very well made, unless you are a collector or have an affinity for Polish military arms, I see no reason to get an FB Mini Beryl when other options are available. If you want an AK in 5.56, one with a longer barrel will give you much better performance. If you want a short-barreled AK pistol or SBR, one chambered in 7.62×39 or even 9mm will suffer less performance loss than small diameter rifle cartridges do. If you want a short-barreled 5.56 gun despite the poor ballistic performance, you could build an AR pistol for about $1,000 less than what the Mini Beryl goes for.
As an expensive novelty or range toy there is nothing wrong with the FB Mini Beryl AK pistol, but if you’re shopping for a gun for the end of days, I’d look elsewhere.
For more information on the importer, please visit armsofamerica.com.
More Imported AK Pistols Options
- The Mini Jack And Lynx AK Pistols From WBP In Poland
- The Zastava ZPAP92 7.62 AK Pistol
- The Zastava ZPAP85 5.56 AK Pistol
- The Cugir Draco
- The Cugir Mini Draco
- The Cugir Micro Draco