Photo: DVIDSHUB via Flickr
I’ll never forget the first thing my ex-wife’s father said to me: “Wanna go shoot an AK?”I obliged.
It turns out Americans are turning to AK ‘s in droves to fill their home armories.
Russia doesn’t mind, and neither do it’s arms companies, like Izhmash, which are quickly shifting from military to civilian fabrication in order to fill all the orders.
Overall it’s been a good deal for American enthusiasts, and for Russian investors, since existing laws banning Chinese imports essentially subsidizes Russian businesses.
Andrew E. Kramer of New York Times reports “And in the United States, Izhmash cannot be underpriced by Chinese competitors. The federal government has banned most imports of Chinese handguns and rifles since 1994.
Selling Saigas in the United States is integral to the enterprise’s evolving business model of making single-shot civilian guns to occupy workers and equipment in between government orders for fully automatic assault rifles. About 70 per cent of the factory’s output is now civilian rifles, up from 50 per cent two years ago. Of the civilian arms, about 40 per cent are exported to the United States.”
To be clear, we’re talking about perfectly legal to import, and to own in some states, civilian versions of the AK-47. One shot, semi-automatic. These companies have cut back on their fully automatic, military versions in order to supply the U.S. market.
Due to the Second Amendment and America’s widespread culture of gun ownership, the US market for civilian weaponry is among the largest on the globe. The AK has not only a violent history, but a history of consistency and reliability.
Kalashnikov rifles can be buried in beach sand, dug up, loaded, and fired. Rinse, repeat, and it’ll fire still. Russian brandname Saiga AK’s saw a sales rise of 50 per cent just last year.
Josh Laura, a former Marine from Maryville, Tenn., told the Times, “I bought a Saiga because it was made in Russia, right beside its big brothers, the AKs. No rifle in the world has been as reliable as this one.”
Even in combat, Marine have been known to use confiscated Kalashnikov ‘s instead of their own general issue M16’s. The preference, no doubt, is due to consistency of performance and calibre, which, at 7.62mm, packs a bit more of a punch than the NATO 5.56 mm.
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