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Ban on Russian imports–a broad swipe at Putin

 

and a gratuitous ban on the Kalashnikov?

 

by Rob Kay

For AK lovers, there’s no bigger story than the sanctions against Concern Kalashnikov, which in effect ban the importation of all Saigas and VEPRS. It’s hard to believe, but this is now a fact of life…at least for the near term future.

What do these sanctions mean to us?

I asked Marc Krebs of Krebs Custom, Jim Fuller of Rifle Dynamics and Chase Sisgold of Definitive Arms for their thoughts on this matter.

Why?

They are the top AK builders in the country and arguably, some of the best informed guys in the industry.

Below are their responses.

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How will the ban on Russian rifles effect your business? 

mfak47010
Irreplaceable?

Krebs: We’re looking at the Polish guns and the Yugoslavian guns too. The Yugo guns are nice guns. They will need to be blueprinted like we always do. The only drawback is that they are not chrome lined. That’s starting to mean less. Bullets fly straighter out of them.

Sisgold:  As of right now, we are busier than ever. We have lots of rifles put away for just such an occasion, not to mention, we still mostly work on customer supplied rifles. We are a full custom AK shop and work on most AK rifles, for regular smithing work. As it stands though, there are are still more Saiga and VEPR rifles on our shores than we could process our conversion on within several years. That should keep us busy for a while. In fact we just stopped taking orders again until we catch up on our back log.

Fuller: We do not depend on any Russian imports for our products, however those that do will be moving to our suppliers, so there is long term potential to effect RD.

Will the sanctions impact your business in the long run?

Krebs:  It’s something we’re going to have to deal with but it’s not a show stopper.

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Molot, manufacturer of the VEPR, another Russian casualty.

Sisgold: It opens the door to new possibilities. Luckily for us, we were already working on several complete 100% USA made AK related products. We intend to get into the aftermarket parts industry, as well as a complete firearm offering that should be available by the end of the year. Very exciting times for us.

Fuller: For a short time it will raise prices and it will effect availability, the degree of that all depends on if people start panic buying then everything goes nuts. There are other suppliers’ importers that will step up to fill the void, it’s nothing new for our industry. Remember Arsenal and Century alone bring in Bulgarian, Serbian and Romanian guns and parts. I’m quite sure both of them are scrambling to find stuff to import, as always they will fill the voids.

How do you believe the sanctions will impact the AK space in this country?

Krebs: Of course it’s going to impact it but I don’t know how it’s going to impact it. I don’t know how we’re going to fare. In the past we’ve always landed on our feet. That’s one cool thing about being a general gunsmith for ten years. I know how to work on many different types of guns. Even if AKs totally went out, we’d switch what we’re doing.

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Permanently banned? Or a temporary hiatus?

Sisgold: There will be lots of new “USA made” AKs in the country. But like most of the current claimed “USA made” AKs, they will not be 100% USA made. Many companies claiming this are still using incomplete parts shipped here and final-machined in America from non-American materials, most likely with inconsistent metallurgical composition.

I don’t believe that to be 100% USA made.

80% complete parts out of Turkey and other cheap-labor-countries that are shipped here and final machined are not USA made. USA finished maybe, but it’s very misleading. Not to mention the quality most likely won’t be any better then what is currently available (hard to compete with the Russians). If the new offerings that arise are anything like the currently available “USA made” AK components, the future looks grim. However, there will be companies who do it right. Aside from us, I know Jim Fuller of Rifle Dynamics is working on some real USA made products, and I assure you he will put out something better than the current “USA made” offerings that are available.

Fuller: We have been working on producing US made AK parts that are not currently available here. This will allow us the freedom to produce without depending on Russian or any eastern bloc imported parts and guns. We will began testing these parts in the next few weeks and hope to have them tested and ready for market by Shot Show.

What if anything is your company doing to change the equation—in effect overcoming the lack of quality imported rifles from Russia?

Russia Obit Kalashnikov LON105
Perhaps not the time to celebrate

Krebs: I don’t know. Jim Fuller was on a YouTube video. He mentioned me in it and said they want to do an all American AK based on people that really love the guns and want them to be as good as they could be. Krebs Custom already manufactures an unmodified safety. We want to do our part.

Sisgold: Quality USA made components and firearms are on the way. Machined 100% in America from 100% American materials. Manufactured with better accuracy and the American craftsmanship that once upon a time made the title “Made in the USA” a surefire bet that it was the best you could buy. I believe companies like ours (Definitive Arms), Krebs Custom, Rifle Dynamics, and the few others who actually care and take pride in the AKs and components they produce, will come out on top and continue to produce parts and firearms to the best of their ability.

Fuller: As per my answer above, while we won’t be making every part ourselves, with our new parts along with some of great parts already being made here our goal of the truly all US made AK will be achieved. As we perfect the product we believe the market will drive larger production, right now it’s up to us to do the work and get the product out.

Are we close to producing quality America-made AKs on a large scale as opposed to custom builds such as your own?

Krebs: We’re getting close. Century is already doing it.

Sisgold:  Very close… expect something by years end. We have some great stuff in the works.

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Quality AKs made completely in the USA? Maybe sometime soon…

Fuller: Yes, It’s time for American innovators to step up and fill the holes left whenever these stupid political stunts are thrown at us. At Rifle Dynamics we live for that, it’s about being traditional Americans who love our freedom, we will always find a way to continue.

Any other comments on this “situation”?

Krebs: Let’s just say it will be a beautiful day when there’s a quality American AK made that we can use on a regular basis. It’s been a constant fight ever since I’ve been in this to get the guns I need.

Sisgold:  This is not the end of the AK in America. Russian components, in my opinion, are currently the most tried and true best AK components you can get. That doesn’t mean it will stay that way forever.

Questions?  Comments?  Contact us at ontargethawaii@gmail.com

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