The Kalashnikov Concern, a new company bearing the legendary inventor of the AK rifle Mikhail Kalashnikov’s name, has more than doubled its production of small arms in the first quarter of 2014 over the same period last year.
The company was created by merging several small arms and manufacturing firms together, including Izhmash, the original AK maker and Baikal, a major manufacturer of shotguns, rifles and handguns.
Izhmash was the manufacturer of the original AK rifle and still produces them to this day for military and commercial markets. The company nearly collapsed a few years ago following waning sales and high overhead costs. Izhmash was declared bankrupt by a state auditing agency and restructured.
By late 2013 Izhmash was rebuilt and fully-functioning and later, partially privatized. The state still maintains a controlling interest in the manufacturing of its iconic and strategic small arms, even now as Izhmash has been rolled up into the Kalashnikov Concern.
At the top of this year Kalashnikov announced a solid goal to export 200,000 firearms to North American markets in 2014, including the U.S. and Canada. While the buying frenzy has slowed here in the U.S., it’s safe to say that there is plenty of room for Kalashnikov products and that if the company can get these guns to Western shores buyers will be ready with cash in hand.
The Kalashnikov Concern saw a significant increase in small arms production in the first quarter of this year.
“In the first three months of the year we had a record-high volume production of small arms in the amount of 31,000 items, which makes 41 percent of the total output of similar products for 2013,” the company said in a statement to the Russian press.
“The current results are 230 percent higher than those in the first quarter last year,” read the statement.
Of course, these arms are not just for the North American markets. Kalashnikov exports guns to 25 other countries for military and commercial markets. Additionally, they make munitions and ordnance for the Russian defense ministry, including weapon guidance systems, missiles and smart bombs. Kalashnikov is also a giant in the tool-making industry and is a leading manufacturer of general machinery.
If the company intends to meet its domestic targets as well as its goal of exporting 200,000 guns to North America, it’s going to have to increase production even more, and the company knows it. It has projected continued growth throughout 2014 and 2015.
“By the end of 2014 we expect the production of this product to increase by 27 percent compared to 2013, while in 2015 the growth should reach 17 percent compared to the previous year,” added the release.
Using these projections the company may fall short of its export goals for 2014, but with these estimates Kalashnikov will still manufacture about 150,000 firearms this year, which is twice that what the company produced in 2013.