Izhmash Selling Guns to US Law Enforcement

I took some time by Izhmash has stopped claiming there exists a foreign conspiracy to put them out of business and instead engage in the booming firearms industry in this country. At SHOT Show they apparently sold a number of Saiga-12 shotguns to some police forces.

Ria reports

The contracts were signed at the Shot Show exhibition in Las Vegas on January 17-20. “The first Saiga-12 deliveries to U.S. law enforcement were already made in January 2012,” Izhmash General Director Maxim Kuzyuk said.

At the exhibition, Izhmash also signed an agreement on exclusive imports to the U.S. market with Russian Weapon Company and an agreement with Fime Group as Izhmash’s partner for manufacturing classic firearm models.

Shot Show also provided an opportunity for buyers from Central American countries to sign contracts on direct delivery of Izhmash sporting and hunting weapons for the first time. Previously they had only been able to buy Izhmash products via intermediaries in the U.S.
“The results of the exhibition are inspiring. The American market in non-military weapons is booming. We project a 20 percent increase in deliveries this year,” Kuzyuk said.

A few months ago I wrote an article entitled Could US Consumers save the Russian Firearms Industry?. The answer is “yes”.

[ Many thanks to REMOV for emailing us the link. ]

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Komrad

    Woo! Izhmash lives! Hopefully, this will mean more imports more regularly of Saiga rifles and shotguns. They were getting kinda scarce and pricey for a bit.

    One thing that would be awesome would be if Izhmash set up a US division that could receive the rifles and shotguns and bring them up to 922r compliance so that they don’t need to be converted by the consumer or another company. That, more than anything probably, would boost Izhmash’s sales. A Century WASR-10 or 10/63 costs $100 or so more than a Saiga 7.62×39 (at least when they were priced reasonably). If Izhmash could set up an operation stateside that converted Saiga rifles and kept the price lower than not much more than a Century WASR, Izhmash could potentially take a huge chunk out of Romarm/Century sales figures while boosting their own.

    • JMD

      …and the end result would be that the American civilian market would be suddenly flooded with inexpensive, top-quality AK rifles. Everyone wins. I really hope that happens.

    • W

      that sounds too good to be true. I certainly cannot wait until this happens if it does.

    • El Duderino

      Just as long as they take standard AK magazines I’m all in. The price of magazines keeps me away from the Saiga rifles. I’d love a beater in 5.45×39 as a trunk gun.

      • Komrad

        It’s fairly easy to convert a Saiga rifle yourself and not too expensive to have it done. The rest of it is really easy, especially if you use Tapco mags for compliance and install only the minimum extra US made parts.

  • Josh B

    I just want them to change the rules so they can import handguns, would love to get my hands on an MP412

  • SpudGun

    I wonder how encompassing the term ‘some police forces’ is? Did they got to the TLAs – FBI, DEA, INS, ATF, etc., etc. or were any sales at local PD level?

    I’ve seen some excellent after market SBS’d Saiga 12s that woud be the ‘bizness’ for breeching and clearing rooms, boats, hallways, etc.

    Even the full sized one I played with was extremely light, reliable and had very low recoil.

    • Caseless

      It’s interesting to see how the LE users will employ these. Compared to the military-side, troops use shotguns mainly as door openers.

  • El Duderino

    Nice to see although it’s time for a domestic magazine-fed 12g to step up and hit a reasonable price point.

    Reminds me of the ads I see for AK variants that list “great for law enforcement” as one of the selling points. For real? Does ANY law enforcement agency use AKs? I don’t think they are in any hurry to use AKs as patrol rifles or for SWAT. Love to see a bunch of dudes hasty-stacked in full battle rattle with Krinkovs complete with Russian red dots on side mounts — yeah right! Too many of us remember when it was the “enemy’s weapon” (and, still is).

    • Komrad

      It’s almost certainly the difficulty in mounting optics. A PD can buy a stock AR-15 and put a stock Eotech or Aimpoint on it with either no tools or maybe a screwdriver and it will work very well. No fuss, no mess.

      With an AK, you have to do a side mount, which puts the optic too high for a decent cheek weld. Or you could buy a hinged dust cover, but then someone needs to install it and you have a bunch of extra dust covers laying around. You could replace the front hand-guard with a rail system, but you run into the same problem. Someone has to install and you end up paying for two sets of handguards.

      The other big thing is the “enemy’s rifle” stigma as you mentioned, the fact that our military uses the AR-15.

      • I think that a well-equipped Arsenal or similar AK would still be cheaper than a similarly equipped AR from Colt or Daniel Defense or whoever.

        I’m on the fence on whether the AR weapons system or Kalashnikov pattern is better overall. However, I think that the Kalashnikovs have an advantage when the user isn’t going to train with the carbine regularly. Fumbling with an AR pattern carbine can result in double feeds and other jams. With a Kalashnikov, you pretty much just have to keep feeding it and pulling the trigger.

      • Partizan1942


    • Duray

      “…it’s time for a domestic magazine-fed 12g to step up…” Every repeating shotgun on the market is magazine-fed.

      • Nadnerbus

        I’m sure he meant detachable box magazine. No need to be pedantic.

      • El Duderino

        Yes, sorry I wasn’t specific enough. Since the article centered on the Saiga shotguns I kind of figured people would make the connection, box magazine semi-automatic shotguns.

        On a related note, when are the Slidefire guys going to come out with a bump fire stock for the Saiga 12? I mean, it’s about time already! 🙂

  • May be this will get the big gun companies something to think about and start putting quality back into there worn instead of quantity, also lower the price.

  • Sian

    All they need to do is start importing 8 round russian magazines, and they won’t be able to fill the boats fast enough.

  • Frank

    Have any specific U.S. LE agencies other than the FBI been identified?

    • Tim

      That’s what I’m curious about too. As an LEO, I can’t think of many agencies that would issue an AK based weapons platform simply because of the perception of it as “the enemy’s weapon” like has already been posted. Even if we get away from the old Cold War mentality, its still the long arm of choice of the modern street thug too. We don’t see many AR’s in the hands of thugs, but AK’s are pretty common.

      Before I get jumped, I’m not advocating that reasoning personally, just saying that its a pretty common take and most departments are pretty image conscious and try to stay politically correct. There’s already backlash over departments appearing too paramilitary with heavy armor and AR based patrol rifles. If we start shifting to AK’s we’ll start looking like Somali militia men 😉 Which is a shame, because the AK is a good platform.

      The only departments I can see jumping on these are some small ones where the local chief has a lot of latitude and the town or boro councils aren’t going to protest. It’ll be interesting to see what really happens though!

      • Alex-mac

        A big gun like this is scarier looking which may be useful in getting armed people to backdown.

        But main problem with it’s looks is it’s black (similar to other rifles). Have them painted green, gray or tan and they’ll look alot less sensational for the media.

      • W

        haha yeah thugs don’t have assault weapons. that is a myth. if you are worried about the standard arm of a street thug, you should be terrified at the 38 special revolver, which was ironically the standard pistol for law enforcement for many years, and the 25 caliber semi automatic.

      • fw226

        W: It’s not a myth, it just isn’t as common as a cheap pistol.

        I think there would be a lot of media coverage on an AK equipped police force, though I don’t see that with the shotguns. They don’t seem as immediately recognizable as the rifles.

      • W

        fw, have you read the real statistics for assault weapons?
        The overall “threat” they present from criminals IS A MYTH. You should be more worried about being beaten to death…

        Thugs don’t have a long arm of choice. If they do use a gun (being well aware that committing a crime with a gun equals lengthy prison time), it will be a pistol. I think people watch too much f–king television with crooks and bank robbers with HK 416’s, AKM’s, M4’s, and other “assault weapons” LMAO!!!.

      • fw226

        W: the only weapon I’ve been shot at with was an AR. The last guy I tried to catch had an M1 (I thought that was weird, too.) Pistols are way more common, and sticks and fists more common still. But people do have rifles.

      • mosinman

        @alex-mac if i were a criminal (which i am not) i dont think a cop with a saiga will make me back down anymore than a cop armed with a mossberg would. if you´ve got your weapon out you better be ready to use it, because relying on the intimidation factor as your primary deterant isnt the best idea

  • Bryan S.

    Interesting, but dont find me thinking its a great idea to have more armament for for police. They seem to already have trouble with standard marksmanship and self control, and thats just by watching the news.

    • fw226

      Ah yes. The news. Great source of unsensational facts…

      • W

        yes horrifying. our country is spiraling out of control!!! (oh wait…the violent crime rate is the lowest it has been since the 1960’s). Gun violence is so terrible! (despite gunshots not even making it to the top 25 causes of death) LOL oh the tragedy.

    • Stella

      I don’t think the militarization of civilian law enforcement is a good thing. However, police have been equipped with shotguns of various variety for decades; now they too can have the only AK that jams!

      This is not the equivalent of, say, the LAPD getting .50 BMG rifles or some budget burning sheriff having his own tank.

    • David

      You try getting MOA accuracy when being shot at……..

  • I echo the sentiment, but don’t believe we should hold our breath…

  • Caseless

    Since BATF restricts civilian imported shotguns to 5 rounds capacity, does Izhmash need to mark all the 8-round Saiga-12 magazines with For LEO Only?

    • Komrad

      Most people install the required number of US made parts to have the gun technically classified as US re-manufactured. After being brought up to 922r compliance, all mags and accessories are completely legal.

  • ragnarok220

    W: It’s not a myth, it just isn’t as common as a cheap pistol.
    Indeed it’s not as common as handgun. In 2005, 75% of the 10,100 homicides committed using firearms in the United States were committed using handguns, compared to 4% with rifles, 5% with shotguns, and the rest with a type of firearm not specified

  • Al Long

    I would to be to purshase civil model of a pp-19 pistol in 9mm like the AK Draco and anybody knows. I could purchase one legally let me. Thx

  • john

    So you can get a Saiga-12 or Vepr 12 in the US with no special paper work but a semi-auto USAS-12, Spas-12, or Spas-15 still requires additional paper work.

  • Nick

    There is something about that Saiga 12K that makes it so cool.