This article was originally posted on Thefirearmblog.com
The sanctions on Russian companies have hit the American AK enthusiast hard – no longer can we import inexpensive Izhevsk Kalashnikovs to feed the beast. Yet, there is a silver lining: Domestic AK production is on the rise to meet the demand, and one company in particular is staking its name – the biggest name in the business – on American-made AKs done right. That name being, of course, Kalashnikov USA.
Kalashnikov USA, the company originally formed to be the stateside importer for Kalashnikov Concern, is ramping up to bring true US-made Russian-spec AK rifles to the market, and – based on conversations with the company’s CEO, Brian Skinner – they aim to cut no corners. At the 2018 SHOT Show, I asked Brian “now, these guns, they’re gonna have forged trunnions, bolts, and carriers, right?” He replied “they already do.” When I asked whether I could take pictures of the forgings to show our readers, Brian told me “heck, I’ll send you a forging as a paperweight.” And he did.
And here it is – a Kalashnikov USA AK-103 forging in the flesh, err, steel
It was a rainy day here in Lousiana, but the lighting was about perfect.
The proof will be in the pudding for Kalashnikov USA. When their rifles – starting with the American-made 9mm Vityaz, the KR-9 – hit the market, American AK enthusiasts will put them through their paces and find their true mettle. After the KR-9, the Kalashnikov USA AK-103 (called the KR-103) supposed to follow, which will be the first locked breech centerfire rifle in the Kalashnikov USA lineup – giving us our first taste of American-made forged locking lugs and trunnions (the non-load-bearing trunnion on the KR-9 is cast, as per the Russian original). Until those rifles hit the market, though we can be encouraged that Kalashnikov USA aiming to do things right with properly forged trunnions, bolts, and bolt carriers.