For a gun that is both highly recognized and respected – not to mention one of the most common firearms in the world – it’s almost shocking the Kalashnikov-designed AK rifle didn’t already have a place in the U.S. competition shooting world.

Red Oktober changed that, bringing this world-famous firearm a platform to show off on the competition stage. More than 300 shooters attended this year’s Kalashnikov Championship in Las Vegas, which sported a wide variety of AKs and AK-inspired guns. 

Due to Covid restrictions in 2020, the event was unfortunately canceled. But 2021 brought us what is now the fifth Red Oktober competition, and we are pleased to report this gem of a shooting event did not disappoint. Heck, it’s one of the funnest and most entertaining shoots we’ve been to this year. There is just something about AKs and the people who love them that creates an atmosphere of…well, camaraderie. 

“It’s the most common rifle in the world,” said Brian Nelson, founder and match director of Red Oktober. “And, yet, up until 2016 there really wasn’t a good avenue for competitive shooting with it.”

The AK platform is beyond iconic, but those who passionately shoot it really take this event to the next level. Shooters didn’t just push their gear to the limit, they rolled in with an absolute passion for the event and the rifles they were shooting. With competitors coming from as far away as Switzerland, and outfits as diverse as a mostly naked cowboy to solid military camo, there is no doubt this shoot was about more than just the final scores.

 

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Red Oktober is in its fifth year and is gaining lots of popularity. (Photo: Ben Philippi/Guns.com)
 
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Many competitors showed up and competed in fun outfits and masks. (Photo: Ben Philippi/Guns.com)

 

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The competition tested one's skills and endurance. (Photo: Ben Philippi/Guns.com)

 

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Josh Froelich with his modified IWI Galil ACE. (Photo: Ben Philippi/Guns.com)

 

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Friends from all over the world were able to meet up at Red Oktober to discuss guns. (Photo: Ben Philippi/Guns.com)

 

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There were a few dogs enjoying the event as well. (Photo: Ben Philippi/Guns.com)

 

PICK UP AN AK

 

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Battlefield Vegas had their T-62 tank on display and fired during the event. (Photo: Ben Philippi/Guns.com)

 

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A nice under-folder AK built by Scott Rickard of the Heavy Hitters. (Photo: Ben Philippi/Guns.com)

 

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This guy competed in his outfit including a ventilated helmet. (Photo: Ben Philippi/Guns.com)

 

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Abby Oghakpor (left) and Zack Viator flew in from Texas for the event. (Photo: Ben Philippi/Guns.com)

 

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Attendees could 'test drive' IWI Galil ACEs. (Photo: Ben Philippi/Guns.com) 

 

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Hunter Constantine wore his outfit during the competition. (Photo: Ben Philippi/Guns.com)

 

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Did you say, banana mag? (Photo: Ben Philippi/Guns.com)

 

PICK UP AN AK

 

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Two competitors in full gear ready to rock. (Photo: Ben Philippi/Guns.com)

 

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Devin Piersall sporting his gear. (Photo: Ben Philippi/Guns.com)

 

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Marco Cabahug with his Dissident Arms. (Photo: Ben Philippi/Guns.com)

 

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Steve Wang with his IWI Galil ACE. (Photo: Ben Philippi/Guns.com)

 

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Even the Macho Man showed up! (Photo: Ben Philippi/Guns.com)

 

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Dimitri Trofimenko hoisting two good-looking AKs. (Photo: Ben Philippi/Guns.com)

 

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There was a good crowd at the event with lots of prizes to be won. (Photo: Ben Philippi/Guns.com)

 

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