A Kalashnikov Factory in Russia Survives on Sales to U.S. Gun Owners
Interesting read. Especially on how many AKs are now being made just for the US market.
Selling rifles to Americans and other civilians is fundamental to the efforts to save Izhmash, which has made Kalashnikovs since soon after their invention in 1947 but is now struggling.
Demand for new military guns in the Kalashnikov family has evaporated. Simple, durable and relatively cheap to manufacture, about 100 million have been produced over the decades, or about one for every 70 people on earth. Inventories are overflowing, used AK weapons have flooded the market, and cheap Chinese knockoffs are stealing many of the customers that remain.
For American gun enthusiasts, an authentic Russian-made Kalashnikov is appealing not only for its historical importance as the weapon of choice in so many global conflicts, but also because of its reliability.
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 percent of the factory’s output is now civilian rifles, up from 50 percent two years ago. Of the civilian arms, about 40 percent are exported to the United States.