Arsenal is calling it quits on the 5.56 NATO chambered AK. The SLR-106 line of rifles and pistols broke new ground when introduced nearly a decade ago, and remain popular among AK aficionados and those who want the toughness of the Kalashnikov platform and ammunition commonality with the AR15. The SLR-106 series rifles proved that the AK loses none of its legendary reliability when adapted for the NATO round.
The SLR-106 guns, like the rest of Arsenal’s line, represent some of the finest Kalashnikov-pattern firearms made anywhere in the world. I believe the demise of this line means there will not be an original-style AK available in 5.56 NATO for the foreseeable future after the current stock of -106 series rifles runs out. Certainly the Saiga rifles chambered in .223 Remington are high quality guns, but their sporterized configuration means a lot of modification is needed before they resemble a classic AK. Older, lesser quality SAR-3 rifles from Century are still available on the used market but are no longer in production.
Arsenal’s website says “A comprehensive audit of the current offerings in the firearms industry, recent trends and near-future shifts with regard to technology and advancement all factored into the decision to discontinue the series. Arsenal’s obligations with military and government contracts, production for the movie industry and commitments to distributors and dealers also shaped this decision.” Wait, what?
Whatever their reasoning, if you want a high quality, original style Kalashnikov that shoots 5.56 NATO ammo, you’d better get one while you can. Its the end of an era for the AK in the United States.