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.