The Kalashnikov Group is now working exclusively with the Russian Weapon Company (RWC) to export guns from Russia to the U.S. and Canada. They expect to sell up to 200,000 firearms to North Americans in 2014. This is part of a new push by the new Kalashnikov concern to improve their numbers as sales decrease domestically.
It’s safe to say that AK-pattern guns — and Russian guns in general — last a good long time.
This is part of a five-year contract that grants exclusive North American export rights to RWC. At a minimum they expect to sell 80,000 firearms a year to Americans, but given the current demand for guns of all types, should have no problems exceeding their lowest projections.
“The exclusive deal with RWC will ensure Kalashnikov has consistent sales of sports and hunting weapons in North America,” said Kalashnikov spokeswoman Elena Filatova to Russia Today. “From this cooperation, we expect an increase our share of the civil weapons market”, added sales and marketing director Pavel Kolegov.
The deal was signed over SHOT Show 2014, where the company also had a remembrance ceremony and memorial for visitors celebrating the life of the AK’s designer, Kalashnikov, who passed last December at the age of 94.
The new Kalashnikov Concern is an agglomeration of several key Russian arms manufacturers, large and small, most notably Izhmash, the original AK maker and Baikal, a prominent manufacturer of shotguns, rifles and handguns. Together, with the blessing of famed inventor Mikhail Kalashnikov, these companies have merged under a new brand to expand their market share.
The Kalashnikov group is now the single largest manufacturer and supplier of Russian arms and is planning on incorporating other Russian firms in the future.
Kalashnikov gave the company his name, without fee or license, and will live on long after his guns stop being made.
The company has been developing a new type of fighting rifle for the Russian defense ministry called the AK-12. While it shares some functional and aesthetic similarities with the iconic AK-47, the AK-12 is fundamentally new and slated to replace existing AK-100-series rifles — based on the original design with modern upgrades — currently in use.
Despite import restrictions, AK-pattern rifles and shotguns have developed a strong following in the U.S. under the Saiga brand. These rifles can be modified to restore their modern or classic looks, without affecting their world-renown reliability. They’re so popular in the U.S. that the States have become the single largest importer of Russian small arms made for the commercial market.
With new designs showcased at SHOT Show this year, it’s safe to say that upcoming guns will be in just as much demand.