At last year’s SHOT Show, the world was formally introduced to Kalashnikov USA. Following the Obama administration’s ban on the importation of rifles made by the Russian company Kalashnikov Concern, RWC Group, an importer of said rifles, decided to make their own AKs here in the United States. They planned on doing so under the new name Kalashnikov USA.
Though they’ve been oddly silent the past year, Kalashnikov USA (KUSA) was out in full force at SHOT 2016. They’ve just begun setting up in their new Florida facility and had several firearms on display. Two items of particular interest at their booth were a 9x19mm AK and a futuristic-looking rifle called the Alfa.
Prototypes of the 9x19mm gun in a rifle-length version with a 16-inch barrel, a stock-less pistol with what looked like an eight- to 10-inch barrel, and an SBR with a short barrel and folding stock were on display behind glass. Media were not allowed to handle the guns, but I was able to infer some features from just examining them and talking to reps. Note that they are still works-in-progress, so specs may change.
The 9x19mm gun features a stamped receiver, Vityaz-style muzzle brake, standard AK stamped-receiver furniture, and, perhaps most importantly, utilizes proprietary magazines. A rep I spoke with stressed that the mags would still be cheap, despite their uniqueness.
Overall, the gun seems to be KUSA’s attempt at replicating the Russian-made Saiga 9. I’m eager to try one out, especially after they share some price info.
The Alfa rifle looks like a mashup between an AK, an XM8, and an FN SCAR. Just like with the 9x19mm firearms, the 7.62x39mm Alfas were kept behind lock and key in a glass case. A KUSA rep shared that internally, the Alfa was a fairly standard Kalashnikov. However, it appeared to sport an almost entirely polymer chassis (exactly what was metal and what wasn’t was unclear), the standard AK front sight post was absent, and a full-length Picatinny rail ran the top of the receiver.
The magazine release was in the same spot as any other AK, but the fire selector was located above the pistol grip in a more AR-style location. A left-side charging handle that may be ambidextrous or swappable to the right side was also present. KUSA had a few models on display in flat dark earth and black, some of which featured muzzle brakes and one that carried a suppressor. It was unclear whether the prototypes were functioning or just display pieces. Potential prices were not available.
KUSA also had plenty of AK shotguns and “traditional” 7.62x39mm rifles available for handling. They plan on releasing their 12 gauge KS-12 shotguns, effectively Saiga 12-pattern firearms, this spring as their first official offering. They will utilize standard Saiga shotgun magazines. Reps were tight-lipped about specs and prices, as they are works in progress. Last year KUSA indicated that shotguns may run $850 and up.
Following the shotguns, KUSA will start selling KR-103 rifles chambered in 7.62x39mm. Though exact specs and material details were once again not available, they look to be relatively convincing semiautomatic clones of the Russian AK-103 (which is what many 7.62x39mm Saiga rifles were based off of). A rep stated that they will “probably not” have chrome-lined barrels, though that is not finalized. All of the KR-103s on display featured AK-74-style muzzle brakes and non-folding stocks (of both the polymer and wood varieties). Price info was not available, although previously KUSA had stated that the rifles will be in the $700 to $1,000 range.
After KUSA has released the KS-12 shotguns and KR-103 rifles, they’ll move toward getting the 9x19mm variants and the Alfa rifle out. They’re hopeful that they will be able to have the latter on store shelves by the end of 2016.
Images by Matt Korovesis