This article was originally posted on Thefirearmblog.com
Kalashnikov USA, orphaned stateside importing partner of Kalashnikov Concern, brought their latest prototype and production guns to the 2018 SHOT Show, and there is good reason to be excited. Chief among them: The KR-9 9mm AK carbine.
Here’s one of those reasons!
In May, Kalashnikov USA began shipping their Saiga-based KS-12 shotguns. These 12 gauge semiautomatic AK-based weapons are one of several weapons to fill the niche left by Saiga-12 shotguns, which were banned from importation in July of 2014, and they also represent the first production product of the new Kalashnikov USA.
Also at the 2018 SHOT Show Kalashnikov USA revealed that the 9mm AK Vityaz clone, the KR-9 will is almost ready to go and will be shipping later this year. The KR-9 is a handy 9mm AK carbine which comes in 16″ barreled rifle, SBR, and pistol variations. As a nice touch, the KR-9 ships in a handy backpack that neatly conceals the weapon with the stock folded, and has pouches for four magazines.
Like all Kalashnikov USA products, the KR-9 uses a forged bolt, but its trunnion – which is not pressure-bearing, and is just a structural element – is cast. This is consistent with the original Vityaz, as well. However, all locked-breech Kalashnikov USA weapons use a forged trunnion and bolt carrier group, which is welcome news for the AK community which often distinguishes “real” AKs from “fakes” by how their parts are made. In light of what happened last year, I should also mention that I went to the extra effort of function checking every rifle on display at the Kalashnikov USA booth, and I am glad to report that every single weapon passed without issue. Not only that, but I inspected the rivets and found them to be generally well-made and flush.
Last year, Kalashnikov USA brought some weapons to the SHOT Show which were… Not up to the standards of the AK community. It’s good to see that this year, the company has bounced back and brought weapons that the market can get excited about. I would not say the rifles and shotguns at the 2018 SHOT Show were perfect – there were still improvements to be made – but they were a massive improvement over last year, and such progress is very encouraging to see. I am eager to see what K-USA brings to the show next year!