I am a firm believer tat every American should at least know how to operate a Kalashnikov Rifle. Why?
Because there have been more AKs made than virtually any other rifle in history. The likelihood of coming accross one when overseas is high.
Next, because most of our enemies are equipped with it...as well as most of our friends.
Finally, because the skin of commie, liberal, pieces of sh (oops I almost vilated my own rules) crawls when they see one of these.
I think you should keep your AK as close as possible to stock to avoid the "Excalibur syndrome". However, there are things you can do to enhace its utility without changing the design.
1). Remove the sharp edges at the safety lever, the ejection port cover, and any other place you find them. This is easily done with a dremel, or a file. Don't worry about the finish. Its an AK, not an heirloom. A little paint and you are good to go.
2). Loosen the safety selector lever slightly by pulling it back and away from the receiver. Go easy, but this should decrease the tension to activate it considerably. be sure it is still under tension, but just not as bad.
3). Keep a short stock on it. Unless you are built like a tactical behemoth, you will benefit from a shorter stock than from a longer one.
4). Remove any sharp edges on the magazine release lever and at or around the magazine well. Again...a little spray of black paint.
5). Add a sling to the rifle. Keep the sling simple. What slings do I use? Currently, I am using MilSurp Soviet rifle slings. There are better ones, but avoid the ones that come with a 30 minute DVD on how to use a sling. SIMPLE IS BETTER.
6). Magazines. Do I need to say this? Make sure all your magazines fit your rifle. All of them are good. I'd avoid some of the US made magazine as they often do not fit the rifles.
I like the Bulgarian Polymer Waffle Types. Just as good are steel magazines from East germany, Bulgaria, Russia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and even China. Want to know how to lose a great deal of money? Build a business that repairs AK magazines. You'll be lonelier than the Maytag guy!.
Get at least 5 magazines. More is better here. I have close to 30 for my various AKs.
Now grab your warthog of a rifle with your heavy steel magazines and go shoot it. Once you get used to working an AK, you'll spend less time with other rifles...its kind of like the Glock.