EXCLUSIVE: Alexey Krivoruchko, the CEO of the Kalashnikov Group, Has Answered YOUR Questions

kalash interview

Six weeks ago I announced that Alexey Krivoruchko, the CEO of the Kalashnikov Group, would be interviewed by me and he was willing to answer question submitted by TFB readers. As promised, I chose the highest up-voted questions and sent them to the Kalashnikov Group, along with questions written by Nathaniel F and myself. I can honestly say I have learnt more about Kalashnikov from reading Mr. Krivoruchko answers than I have in the past five years of blogging about and researching the company. A lot of the information in the following interview has never been published in any Western media (to my knowledge). Some of the highlights are:

* A civilian AK-12 will enter production in 2016.

* The Russian military will decide if they will adopt the AK-12 sometime this year.

* Kalashnikov is developing a new handgun.

* Sanctions have not resulted in any staff layoffs or closing of any production facilities. Staff numbers are increasing.

* Kalashnikov does NOT own Molot. We (Western gun media) all assumed they did! (I feel more than a little embarrassed for parroting this myth over the years).

* Kalashnikov has NO relationship with Kalashnikov USA. If/when the sanctions are removed, the legal implications of the RWC Group’s Kalashnikov USA brand will need to be sorted out.

* Kalashnikov has been making a manually operated/bolt-action variant of the AK for some time (for special orders only).

Read on for this and lots more previously unknown information about the Kalashnikov Group (unknown in the West at least) …

The Kalashnikov Group

Little is known about the Kalashnikov Group business/legal structure in the West. What we know mostly comes from poorly translated mainstream news articles. Can you please explain the relationship between Kalashnikov Group, Kalashnikov Concern, Baikal and Izhmash? Are Kalashnikov Concern, Baikal and Izhmash separate legal entities or sub-brands of Kalashnikov Group?

In 2013, based on the decision of the State Corporation Rostec Kalashnikov Concern (NGO “Izhmash”) was renamed into Concern “Kalashnikov”; and that same year Rostec leadership decided to transfer 49% of the “Kalashnikov” to private investors. A group of private investors (shareholders) are represented by me and co-owner of “Kuzbassrazrezuglja” and “Transmashholding” Andrei Bokarev.

To implement the transaction Rostec issued additional stock, so that our investments were made directly into the share capital of the Kalashnikov Group and went to the company’s development right away. Today, the main goal – to increase capitalization and profitability of the enterprise, to ensure the sales growth.

In May 2014 a deal to transfer 49% of the company’s shares to private investors was completed, a majority – 51% – remained within the state corporation (Rostec). At the same time, by agreement of shareholders, the control over the management of the Concern always stays with the private shareholders. Therefore, despite the fact that the state has remained a controlling stake owner, the management structure of Kalashnikov today is of a private company. We are currently discussing a repurchase of additional 2% of the shares from Rostec and receiving a controlling stake in JSC “Kalashnikov Concern” by private shareholders.

The model of public – private partnership is one of the most effective for the management of industrial enterprises and it allows us to implement large-scale projects.

Within the framework of our rebranding, which was done in December 2014, a new corporate brand of Kalashnikov was presented, as well as updated product brands for the combat Kalashnikov weapons, Baikal hunting weapons, and sports line – Izhmash, which are now part of our brand portfolio.

Where does Molot fit into the Kalashnikov Group?

We considered a possibility of acquiring assets of Vyatsko-Polyansky Engineering Plant “Molot” but after an audit, we decided to abandon the acquisition of the assets.

Izhmash used to manufacture automobiles, machinery and tools. Does Kalashnikov now manufacture these types of products?

In addition to the production of small arms for military and civil purposes, we are engaged in the production and testing of precision-guided artillery shells and remotely controlled combat units (MBDU), test machines, machine tools and high-quality tools.

Since the formation and Kalashnikov Concern and the Kalashnikov Group, has manufacturing been consolidated? If so, what factories have closed down?

Kalashnikov Concern was created on the basis of NGO “Izhmash” and is the parent company of Rostec’s small arms holding. There were no closings of any plants.

We were all very sad at the passing of General Mikhail Kalashnikov. Up until his death, how involved was he with Izhmash? Did he regularly visit the factory?

A winner of numerous big honors and awards, Mikhail Kalashnikov for over 60 years continued to work at the Izhevsk plant, which is now honored to carry his name. The Kalashnikov assault rifle and its variants are the most commonly used small arms in the world. In 60 years, more than 70 million Kalashnikovs of various modifications were produced. While ailing in the recent years, Mikhail Kalashnikov continued to work for the Group, took an active part in its creation and assisted in the development of new weapons.

АК-12

Is the Russian military going to adopt the AK-12?

The adoption of the AK-12 for the Russian military needs to be addressed by the military forces; we – as producers of the weapons are ready to fully meet the needs of all government orders. I might add that the final decision on the adoption of the AK-12 for the needs of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and the beginning of its serial production will be made before the end of 2015 based on results of some trials by the military.

The AK-12 has strong competition from the FN SCAR, H&K HK416 and Beretta ARX-160. What advantages does the AK-12 offer over these rifles?

Other things being equal in terms of technical parameters, the price of an AK-12 is significantly lower than the competition.

When designing the AK-12, we managed to significantly improve the characteristics of the gun and adapt it to modern conditions of warfare, while preserving the unique characteristics of the Kalashnikov system: simplicity of design, high reliability, operational rigidity, and relatively low cost of production.

The AK-12 has a new set of iron sights with an increased sighting line and barrel with improved performance due to the higher precision of manufacturing. These innovations will improve single-shot fire efficiency.

To improve accuracy, the dynamic characteristics of the automatic action and shape of the stock were changed. One of the most anticipated innovations in the AK-12 design was the slide stop. This feature significantly reduced reloading time of the weapon, and the AK-12 automatic rifle also received a new ergonomic pistol grip.

Among other significant innovations is the new trigger mechanism. The AK will now operate in three modes of fire: a single-shot mode, a 2-shot burst mode and a fully-automatic mode. Due to its construction and design features it has better accuracy than other AK rifles and its accuracy in semi-automatic mode is on par with the best foreign small arms.

The fifth-generation Kalashnikov assault rifle has become adaptive for additional equipment. The design of the AK-12 has integrated Picatinny rails, which can be used to mount a wide range of sights: optical, reflex and night sights, grenade launchers, flashlights, designators and visible and infrared lasers. All this allows to effectively use the AK-12 at any time of day and in any climate.

The AK-12 is equipped with a new muzzlebrake, which allows it to shoot rifle grenades made by foreign manufacturers, and install a tactical silencer. The barrel has better accuracy and quality of workmanship than its predecessors. The charging handle on the AK-12 is located in the front part of the operating rod, and can be switched to the left side of the gun. This design made it possible to remove the gap between the dust cover and the receiver.

The AK-12 will be the base platform, which will allow further modification for various law enforcement agencies, as well as to produce variants of the assault rifle for use with a wide range of cartridges.

When will Kalashnikov develop a consumer semi-automatic version of AK-12?

Along with the start of mass production of the AK-12, at the beginning of 2016 we will start the production of the civilian version – rifles based on the AK-12.

TFB Reader Hebizuka asks: What are the different variants of the AK-12 that Kalashnikov is currently marketing? (What I mean is what different configurations such as calibers, barrel lengths and other configurations such as with suppressors etc.). [Photo of the AK-12 in different unique configurations would be fantastic].

Yes, we are developing a number of variants of AK-12. In particular, we are talking about the military and civilian versions.

We have heard that a 12 Gauge version AK-12 will be developed, or has been developed, by Kalashnikov. Is this true? If so, when will it go into production? [If you can provide photos of any prototypes, they would be greatly appreciated].

We already have a 12-Gauge shotgun, which is already superior to other analogues and has no competitors for 3-Gun and practical shooting. In particular, we are talking about the Saiga-12 version 340. During its development, requirements of special forces, as well as competition shooters were taken into account. The new gun differs from its predecessors by an increased magazine capacity of 10 rounds, reinforced receiver, as well as a new magazine release mechanism and a new muzzlebreak that significantly reduces the recoil.

Has Kalashnikov had interest in the AK-12 from Law Enforcement?

Yes, the interest in this gun is very strong, including the law enforcement agencies from other countries, which are waiting for the results of the state-run tests. Increased levels of reliability of the weapon allows it to be used by both police and army units.

Other Kalashnikov Group Products

We have heard that Kalashnikov is developing a brand new 6.5mm rifle cartridge? Are you still developing this product? Can you share any information about it with us?

Of course, we are working on this at the Concern, but as these are developments for the Defense Ministry, we are not supposed to discuss these details.

In the United Kingdom semi-automatic rifles are banned. UK and USA AR-15 manufactures have developed manual-operatated/bolt-action AR-15 rifle to export to markets where semi-automatics are banned. Does Kalashnikov have plans to develop a manual/bolt-action version of the AK? 

We already developed a bolt action version of most of our Saiga rifles, they are available on special order and are sold worldwide.

TFB readers Riot & Garrett ask: Does Kalashnikov have any plans to develop a modern replacement for the SVD? In the West we have heard only a little about the SVDM and SVDSM, are these still being developed?

Yes, there are such plans. We have a number of projects to build several models of semi-automatic sniper rifles. Currently modernized 7.62 mm Dragunov sniper rifle – SVDM has passed state-run tests and we are preparing for the mass production.

At the Moscow ARMS & Hunting 2011 expo, Molot exhibited AR-15 rifles. Does Molot still manufacture AR-15 rifles? Has Kalashnikov considered manufacturing AR-15 rifles for the Russian market or for export?

No, there is no need for that.

TFB Reader Zugunder asks: Does Kalashnikov plan on developing a long-range marksman version of the AK-12, or a Light Machine Gun version?

We are doing such work and next year we plan to show such gun. But it won’t be based on the AK-12 platform. 

TFB Reader Iksnilol asks: Does Kalashnikov have any plans for a modernized, lighter PKM? For example similar to what the Americans did with the M240B (they made a lighter version of it using titanium and aluminium in areas that didn’t require steel).

We are actively looking for opportunities to use new materials in the manufacture and the use of plastics, which can help reduce the weight of our weapons.

TFB Reader Kev asks: Is Kalashnikov still developing the AK 107 and AK-108 concept with a balanced recoil system? Does Kalashnikov still plan on manufacturing a Saiga MK 107? Is Kalashnikov, or any other Rostec corporations, developing a smart semi-automatic grenade launcher such as the US military’s XM-40?

Currently, self-loading rifled carbine Saiga MK-107 (5,56×45 caliber) – is one of the key projects of Kalashnikov for the market. We are actively working on upgrading the rifle. We plan to present a new variant at the end of this year, and a sporting version for practical shooting will be announced at the European Practical Shooting Championship in Felsotarkani (Hungary, June 21-26).

Saiga MK-107 is a unique weapon with balanced recoil system, it virtually eliminates the effects of recoil. The main advantage of this model is that there is no shock impulses from the moving parts in the extreme positions, which makes it possible to make accurate and quick multiple shot strings.

TFB Reader Dave asks a question that has had many of us in the West debating for many years: Could you share with us the details regarding the Shellac applied to the laminate wood used on Kalashnikov guns in the past? What kind of Shellac was used? Did the factory add dyes or pigment into the shellac? Was the wood coated in a preservative before applying the Shellac?

[ Steve says: Kalashnikov are investigating this and will answer it  when and if they can find the necessary historical information. ]

Sanctions

Has Kalashnikov had to lay off any works because of sanctions?

No, no one had to be laid off. Despite the sanctions at the end of 2014 Kalashnikov almost doubled the production of small arms and in 2015 we plan to further increase it by at least 20-25%. This requires skilled workers. Staff growth at the Concern in 2014 was 14%, in 2015 we plan to increase core staff by 10%. There are no plans for layoffs.

Does Kalashnikov expect the US sanctions will be dropped within the next two or three years?

The sanctions affected not only the Concern, but also foreign buyers of our products. We hope that the sanctions will be lifted and the Concern will be able to return to the US market. Especially since now there are new products that we announced: the balanced automatic carbine Saiga-107, carbine Saiga-9 and self-loading shotgun Saiga-12, which evoked great interest among American consumers.

It should be noted that our products are in great demand in the United States, with pre-orders for civilian-use products more than three times the annual volume of deliveries. The sanctions against the Concern contradict the interests of American consumers. Americans themselves admit that they are very upset with this situation: They love Russian weapons and want to be able to get them.

It should be noted that it is important to buy authentic product – from the original manufacturer. Our partners tell us that some Asian manufacturers have budget versions of the AK, which cost about $ 60, they cannot withstand even 70 shots, and fall apart, and the first question that is asked by these vendors during negotiations about a wholesale order of AKs is the following: “How many times you want it to be able to shoot”? At the same time, we as manufacturers of weapons with more than 200 years of history, cannot afford any compromises in terms of quality and reliability. The life span of our barrels is 10,000 shots without sacrificing accuracy, plus an “additional” 6,000 shots that we do not show in the warranty documentation, but steadily show at tests and in trials.

Has the Russian government helped Kalashnikov because of lost revenue from the sanctions?

Kalashnikov does not receive any grants or subsidies from the state.

Do US sanctions also apply to Baikal products?

Not legally, and we hope this does not change.

Kalashnikov and the USA

TFB Reader Fracsid and Steve ask: What is the relationship between Kalashnikov USA and Kalashnikov Concern?

The fact of the matter is that RWC company for several years has been the exclusive distributor of Kalashnikovs in the United States. After the imposition of sanctions the business of importing Russian-made weapons manufactured by the Concern was suspended.

To date, because of the imposed sanctions, the company has no rights to continue to cooperate, and even to contact representatives of Kalashnikov Concern. These measures only cause regret and impact primarily American consumers.

The contract with RWC signed in January 2014 for 5 years outlined delivery of up to 200,000 weapons per year. It is clear that RWC is interested in maintaining the US market share; that is why they filed an application for trademark registration.

Previously, the company announced independent production of Kalashnikov assault rifles in the United States. It was also reported that they established a “Kalashnikov US” corporation. The decision to create “Kalashnikov US” and begin production of Kalashnikov assault rifles in the United States was made by RWC independently. There was no consulting between RWC and Kalashnikov Concern.

For further action on the part of the Kalashnikov Group, including on the issue of similarity of the brand names, consultations are underway with lawyers and experts in the field of international law aimed at analyzing and monitoring the situation.

The situation is complicated by the fact that the rights to produce Kalashnikov rifles were issued to a number of countries, including the United States, in the 1970s, and by the elapse of time they have lost their validity. Since the 1990s the issue of protection of intellectual property and the trademark of Kalashnikov was not dealt with, and as the result, the brand found itself in a catastrophic situation from a legal point of view.

At the moment, we have started the process of trademark protection, but it is a long process intertwined with numerous litigations. In the US, the trademark had not been registered, and due to the anti-Russian sanctions, the process of registration in the United States was suspended.

It is worth noting that a similar situation exists around the American machine gun AR15, better known as M16, which is used as common stock by the US Army. The license to manufacture this rifle was issued to a number of countries, and despite the fact that it expired, it is still being produced in over 30 countries around the world.

These issues are difficult to overcome, and one of the tools is the production of innovative products, which will be drastically different from competitors.

Our company is already actively working on modernizing the line of produced weapons.

Cooperation with RWC, as mentioned above, as well as any business negotiations are currently impossible due to the sanctions.

TFB Readers David & Gary ask: Does Kalashnikov Concern/ Kalashnikov USA plan on manufacturing the AK-12, PKM, Bizon or MP-446 Viking in the USA?

We are not planning it; due to the sanctions it is impossible. Although, if the sanctions were not the issue, it would be very relevant, since we know that many consumers in the US would be interested in such products. For example, in the new handgun, which Kalashnikov Concern is preparing to produce. In May, we will be able to reveal photos of our new product specially for The Firearm Blog.

The Future

 Does Kalashnikov have any plans to start manufacturing accessories (such as magazines, optics, stocks, pistol grips etc.) for the civilian market? 

Yes, there are such plans. We will produce accessories for all kinds of weapons produced by us, including the entire range of civilian weapons.

In particular, for the Russian Defense Ministry, we have already developed modernization kit for AK series of rifles that features a number of upgrades enhancing the weapon’s capabilities including Picatinny rails on the handguard and dust cover allowing secure mounting options for different types of modern day and night scopes, red dots and infrared lasers, so the rifle could be used effectively in low light conditions, an upgraded stock, a new sling and a new safety selector that will significantly improve the ergonomics of the weapon.

*** Interview ends ***

Our sincere thanks to Mr. Krivoruchko and his team for arranging this interview. As a gun blogger it has been an honor, and as a gun nut I am still getting over my excitement of learning facts about this influential company that were previously unknown to those of us outside of Russia. I hope you all have enjoyed this interview.



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.


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  • Blake

    ! ! ! T H A N K _ Y O U ! ! !

    Amazing. Possibly the most informational article TFB has ever posted in terms of unique news & setting the record straight. So many awesome little tidbits in there.

    “Do US sanctions also apply to Baikal products?
    Not legally, and we hope this does not change.”

    Hooray!

    “Has Kalashnikov considered manufacturing AR-15 rifles for the Russian market or for export?
    No, there is no need for that.”

    https://38.media.tumblr.com/e3003bf74516bdb8e79234103ca0c1ae/tumblr_mysybuqUVn1rwb76go1_500.png

    • G0rdon_Fr33man

      I also noticed that line. Possibly the most Russian answer ever.

      • Giolli Joker

        Almost, first place goes to “She sank!”
        (Putin asked abour Kursk submarine)

    • Dracon1201

      I laughed out loud at that. It was in public, too.

      • The Brigadier

        Well its a good thing to ask for God’s blessing when you simply cannot turn the other cheek.

    • Thank you sir:-) Steve spent some time on this one.

    • Esh325

      What I imagine is that the new 6.5mm round isn’t made to replace the 5.45×39, but rather the 7.62x54R. The Russian had tried developing a very high velocity 6mm round to replace the 7.62x54R round, but the project fell through when the USSR broke apart.

      • Possible additional details on the 6.5×39 Russian. My guess is that round is a test cartridge designed to work in 7.62x39mm AK mags and that the “actual” round will be dimensionally different and take new mags.

        • Esh325

          That certainly sounds plausible. What wouldn’t be very logically sound imo would be issuing it along side the 5.45×39,7.62×39,and 7.62x54R. It should replace one of those three. Or maybe it’s a bit of stretch, but perhaps the final 6.5mm might even be a telescoped or caseless round since they are keeping it so top secret.

          • Blake

            Having read up a bit more on it, I’d guess the goal would be to phase out the remaining AKM & LMG 7.62×39 weapons still in service & replace them with 6.5×39 variants &/or conversion kits.

    • n0truscotsman
  • Bal256

    I know, firearm not politics, but considering the fact that sanctions are being lifted from Iran, while the ME is going up in flames, while specific sanctions on arms companies in Russia are staying in place over what is comparatively a kerfuffle make it look more and more like they were placed purely for the sake of anti-gunners.

    • MR

      Don’t know that I’d call the invasion of Ukraine a kerfuffle. And there seems to be a little progress with nuclear energy/weapons talks in Iran (the reason for the sanctions). But yeah, in politics, policies rarely match reality.

    • Blue Centurion

      If you call arming toothless thugs with BUK Missiles and allowing them to blow civilian aircraft out of the sky with no repercussions, a “Kerfuffle” then you’re mistaken. I can’t believe I’m even posting a response to this ….”anti-gunners?” . I’ll put my money on American and allied arms and let Putin and his cronies go bankrupt.

  • G0rdon_Fr33man

    Very informative interview, this is some mighty fine work!

  • Giolli Joker

    Thanks this is great!
    The Saiga MK-107 intrigued me in IDEX… and now I’m even more interested…

  • Tom – UK

    “Asian manufacturers have budget versions of the AK, which cost about $ 60, they cannot withstand even 70 shots, and fall apart”

    *chuckles* – Many people will misinterpret that sentence and think it means the rifle itself will fire not even be able to fire 70 rounds then will fall apart. What he actually meant is that the Asian rifles can’t even be hit with 70 bullets and not fall apart 😀

    • Jones2112

      Holy crap! LOL

  • iksnilol

    Thanks for the answers. This has been really informative.

    Also, kinda off topic but I can’t find info any data: Polygonal barrels (or 5R rifling which isn’t actually polygonal but is usually called that) in rifles, how much of a velocity boost do they have? Since I read people online claiming that they have 18-20 inch barrels with almost the same velocity as 24 inch barrels in 308.

    • Joshua

      Not a lot. I believe Black hole weaponry cites a 50-60fps gain over tradition rifling patterns.

  • MR

    Did anybody else hear a James Bond villian in their head?

    • iksnilol

      Nope, because it is normal for us from Eastern and Southern Europe to talk like that. So you grow used to it and don’t think much of it.

      • MR

        I’d imagine you’d get a farmboy/cracker accent sneak into your head when reading interviews with certain American CEOs. Now that’s kind of funny to imagine (IMO).

        • MR

          I just realized that I started hearing the same Bond villain about half-way through Iksnilol’s reply. 😀 Sorry if I’ve offended anybody. 😉

          • iksnilol

            I must be doing something right then. A friend making a videogame wants me to voice a stereotypical Russian guy. So I think my Bond Villain outfit is on point.

        • iksnilol

          Actually I do, either a slow southern drawl or a stereotypical Texan accent (think the rich Texan oil guy in the Simpsons). Never thought much about it until now.

          Interesting to say the least.

    • Doug73

      No villains. But I did wonder if some of his answers were laced with a smidgen of propaganda. Not malicious propaganda mind you, but the same sort of “let’s put the best possible spin on this” propaganda well-known by Western executives. A few of his answers had me wondering if perhaps we might be getting the “only in the best case scenario” answer.

      Discussion of the AK-12 was a perfect example. His answers made it seem like “Yeah, this thing is absolutely going into production.” Meanwhile, the Russian military may very well not adopt it, and a civilian version is not importable into the U.S. (And I don’t expect that to change anytime soon, if ever.) Makes me wonder what impetus they’ll have to make the thing if they can’t secure high-volume orders. The AK-12 could very well wind up in the dustbin of history, just like the AN-94.

  • echelon

    Proof positive that sanctions don’t actually hurt the “government” and collateral damage is their only goal…

    Such a shame because there is a market for these products and once again .gov interference is creating an artificial market situation.

    • Yellow Devil

      Well actually the question of whether or not sanctions hurt the government largely depends on which country you are trying to sanction, what you are sanctioning
      and the amount of trade the sanctioned country did in the first place. An article in the latest magazine “American Interests” actually compares the the different effects (both in terms of effectiveness and not) between the current Russian and Iran sanctions, the previous Cuba sanctions and the off again, on again North Korean sanctions.

      Although I agree with your latter statement regarding artificial market situations caused by governments.

      • echelon

        The bottom line is that the “government” isn’t really affected. The actual hurt is applied to the economy – generally – and the effects are felt by the people. The government will still continue to tax and implement other ways to preserve itself and keep control.

        You’d think humanity would’ve figured out that the whole “big government” experiment is failed by now whether it be monarchy, oligarchy, dictatorship, republic, etc., but alas…our stupidity knows no bounds.

        • Blue Centurion

          There is NO reason to support the Russian totalitarian regime, that includes buying their firearms. Putin has done something that has not happened in Europe since Hitler by taking territory by military force. You cannot even try to make this into an argument by comparing what you think is our US problem of big government. How many in Russia have the liberty to even own and possess a firearm? Make the people feel the sanctions…someone will want Putin out eventually, most likely is crony oligarch buddies.

          • echelon

            There is also NO reason so support the US totalitarian regime either, but we’re forced at gunpoint to. Or tricked into it by an anthem and a pledge…

            Your comments on what Putin has supposedly done do not warrant comments here, unfortunately. Suffice to say, if Russia is any more of a tyrant than the US is, I’m not seeing it…Russia takes land because the people of the region identify as Russian, speak the language and do not want to be represented by Kiev…the US takes land in the name of “spreading democracy”…once again, .govs play political games for various rationally vacuous reasons and regular folks pay the price. End of story.

            If I want to continue to buy Russian weapons to defend myself from whichever .gov wants to come and kill me for whatever their reason du jour is then I should be able to do so.

  • northafrican

    great interview, keep up the good work

  • BryanS

    Fantastic article Steve, hats off to TFB for setting all of this up!

  • That would be one hell of a trick. Getting all these rifles and performing military type testing would kill us on ammo cost alone. It’s just not feasible for any publication to test like this.

    • Luke

      Fund the ammo cost with a Kickstarter supported by TFB readers. Done.

      • forrest1985

        Even a small scale test would yield some answers surely? I’d welcome any comparison.

      • Hum I’m not really comfortable asking readers to donate money for a test series.

        • guest

          Not comfortable? I think you’ll have to exit your “comfort zone” then 🙂 This is a big series of tests, that will yield a ton of material for your site, not to mention noone ever did this full-scale.
          Let the readers decide – your fundraiser fails then so be it. Just don’t kill the idea in its infancy.

      • guest

        Yes, that would do it, amongst other options out there.
        And if there is a part of testing that specifically targets wear (or uses over-the-top-many shots, you can skip that).

        What I am talking about is a test of precision, reliability, fit&function.

        And by the way that website the name of which escapes me… they tested many thousands of different rounds to document barrel wear, so everything is feasible.

        You want to be a good gun website you’ll have to start investing into content eventually, might as well start with “the mother of all gun tests”.

        • guest

          And if it comes that far I already pledge 50$ for ammo, you’ll have whatever sum you’re asking in no time I am sure.

  • MPWS

    One of those articles when guns made it ahead of politics, literally.

  • Tinklebell

    I don’t know what you did to make this happen but bravo *clap* *clap*

  • Adam aka eddie d.

    Not even a single mention of the Saiga 9? 🙁
    Am I really the only person interested in that gun?
    Also, not a word on the short barreled stuff, the AK104 for instance,
    or any gun that can be launched as a pistol/SBR.

    Anyway, thanks a lot for arranging this Q&A, TFB!
    Also, a big thanks goes to Mr. Krivoruchko for the answers.

    • iksnilol

      Well, most AK people don’t reload. Using the 9×39 limits you to reloading. Maybe it is that + the short barrel nature of the round (most rifles in that caliber use a 20 cm barrel)?

      • Adam aka eddie d.

        The Saiga 9 is the semi automatic version of the Vityaz-SN,
        a 9x19mm Luger caliber SMG.
        It’s not related to the 9x39mm family of guns in any way.

        It was to be launched as a 16″ carbine on the US market before the executive order, or given the US import circumstances, a normal barreled pistol version.

        • iksnilol

          Ah, I confused it with the AK-9. Completely different animal, my apologies.

          Though if you don’t mind working a bit you can build your own pistol caliber AK. A good deal of tutorials and detailed builds on forums.

    • Russ

      Oh no. I am very, VERY interested in the 9. When sanctions were announced I did a plausible Ben Kenobi reeling from the destruction of Alderan

      /nerd moment 😉

  • floppyscience

    Strange. If Baikal wasn’t affected by the sanctions why have they disappeared from the shelves? I used to see their coach guns everywhere, but I haven’t seen a single one since the sanctions.

    • Because the contract with the importer was dissolved and will need to be re-negotiated.

  • Esh325

    Assuming the AK-12 is just as reliable as the AK-74 I wonder how would rifles like the SCAR and HK416 stack up against the AK-12 in reliability in some technical testing?

    • Green Hell

      They wouldn’t. I could easily bet some money on SCAR’s stock to break on the very first part of russian trials. Those flimsy sporting free float barrels would probably be next.

      • Joshua

        What is a sporting free float barrel?

        The HK416 has a thicker barrel than any AK-74 platform rifle, and if you meant free float rail well, things like the RIS II and the HK416 rail are near indestructible.

        The SCAR stock latch is the issue, and there are a number of steel replacement ones.

        • joshuapostsonthingshehates

          Oi vey! Look at this goyim shilling. How many shekels?

    • Joshua

      Well last I checked no modern country is choosing the AK over the M4A1 or HK416.

      Should tell you something that the world’s best Special Forces do not choose AK’s(and I am talking about groups like the SAS, GROM, SEALs, etc, etc).

      • iksnilol

        Mainly political reasons I would dare say. Special forces people aren’t really equipment dependent. Especially something unimportant such as a rifle.

        • Joshua

          I would say not political. Could just be the AK isn’t as great as the internet makes it out.

          • iksnilol

            It’s an automatic rifle, it has 30 rounds, just like any other automatic rifle.

            Do you really think that the special ops guys are dependent on having the most expensive/fancy rifle to do their job?

          • Esh325

            “President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia, who cast himself as a post-Soviet West-ernizer, initiated a program to replace his nation’s stocks of Kalashnikovs with M-4s, choosing the rifle as if thumbing his nose at the Kremlin. The Kalashnikov, he said, was a symbol of communism, of centralization, of the Soviet Union, of the KGB-run government that rose on its remains, of an old and inhumane world he wanted Georgia to forget. “Good-bye old weapon!” he shouted to formations of his country’s soldiers as her personally handed out an early shipment of M4’s. “Long live the new one!” Saakashvili was excitable, a president who knew more about symbols and speeches than how wars were fought. On a Thursday night several months later, he ordered an attack on Russian-backed South Ossetia. His army was scattered by the weekend. It fled. The Russian soldiers who defeated them showed almost no interest in the M-4s the retreating Georgians abandoned, other than as trophies to be carried home. “Ours are better,” one Russian soldier said, frowning over a captured American rifle in the briefly occupied city of Gori.” – The Gun by C.J. Chivers.

          • Joshua

            I wouldn’t personally include Georgia with the likes of Navy SEALs, Army SF, Polish GROM, British SAS, etc.

          • Esh325

            They aren’t necessarily as experienced, but they were trained by western countries just as Georgia was trained by the USA. So yes, politics can play a role.

          • Esh325

            I could replace the “AK” with the “M4” in your sentence. What’s your point? So I would say you’re wrong about it not being political as I clearly demonstrated that politics do play a part. I’m sure the Polish are thinking the same thing as the Georgians did while they consider replacing their Beyrl rifles and AKM’s with designs like the MSBS or the HK416.

          • reachingforstaws

            It’s political. As well as poor countries got to them first. Who wants to be associated with that?

      • dieks62

        Tell me when was the first time the worlds ‘best’ special forces (if there is such a thing) took ‘common sense’ decisions, as I haven’t noticed it happening yet? The video footage shown is genuine and not a product promotion!

  • Big big thank you for this article! It was almost -excessively- useful and informative.

    • homoweebfag

      You only care so you can post it on /k/ and act like you already knew everything.

  • MountainKelly

    Just lift the sanctions on Kalashnikov haha. I want.

  • Ryan M.

    Wow. That was the best “The Firearm Blog” post I have ever read. Good job securing that interview.

  • Squirreltakular

    The suddenness of my newfound need for an AK-12 was unsettling.

  • USMC03Vet

    This interview was intercepted by Ivan Chesnokov.

  • Esh325

    How NATO or the Russians test their weapons is classified I think.

  • Harrison Jones

    WINNING!

    Loved this interview.

  • JS

    I already have a Finnish M39, Polish AKM, a Yugo M92, M85, a Bulgarian Krink, & AK74 but I’m in for a AK12. Hell I’d love it in 6.5×39 or 6.5×54.

    • JS

      Balanced recoil sounds fun too!

  • Guest

    Balanced recoil sounds fun too.

  • kev

    I cried a little seeing my question posted. If mr Kriveruchko wants my autograph im free all week (laughing on a beach with a martini and white suit)

  • Riot

    My question got asked to the man who runs Izhevsk – that, that is so cool.

    I am glad to see that no one has been laid off from the company.

    Thanks to you guys for asking and mr Krivoruchko for answering these questions, it’s cool to find out more about such a venerable manufacturer.

    • You are very welcome:-)

    • iksnilol

      I know, I had the same feeling. I was thinking that this question was familiar then I see my name infront of it.

      Cool, to say the least.

      • Riot

        Yeah and I am excited to see these new dragunovs getting produced.
        And you may see a lightweight version of the lightest gpmg there is.

        • iksnilol

          I know. It’s gonna be awesome.

          Only problem now (for me) is: Should I go through the trouble of getting a .308 Tigr and customizing it to my wishes (free float handguards, M1A magazines) or should I wait for the new version and do the same?

          • Riot

            Well production may only be a year away – I think it’d be worth waiting to see what the new one will be like.

          • iksnilol

            I know, but I will have to go through additional paperwork to get it approved as a hunting rifle.

            I can legally only buy the Tigr for hunting. So I hope they update the Tigr with the improvements of the new Dragunov.

            Also, any suggestions on barrel length? I want to be able to hit at 1000 meters (not yards) but I am also going to carry it and of course use a suppressor (that adds 10 cm infront of the muzzle, just as much as the long flashhider). Was thinking 50-55 cm barrel length. With handloads optimized for the shorter barrel I should be able to reach my goal while factory ammo will still be effective to at least 800 meters.

            EDIT: I am in no rush, it still is a long ways off. I need to get my drivers license, a job, finish high school and of course get my weapons permit before I go after my dream rifle.

          • Riot

            Look up the velocities for whatever factory rounds you can get. See if anyone has tested a tigr with it.
            Its up to you but I’d definitely get a barrel longer than any significant velocity drop.

          • iksnilol

            There’s a thought. I am just worried about factory stuff being slow.

            I will admit, my criteria aren’t simple. I want a rifle that can hit a man size target at 1000 meters while being less than 5.5 kg with suppressor and scope. The base rifle is 4.3 kg with scope and empty magazine. The suppressor I want weighs about 0.5 kg and the scope is about 0.4 kg heavier than the standard PSO-1. So I should be able to reach my goal.

            NOTE: I am not a powerhouse but I can carry a 5.5 kg rifle comfortably (I learnt on that).

  • Molot isn’t banned? Sweet unmerciful Odin an Vepr 12 is within my reach.

  • Core

    Excellent work, cool stuff.

  • iksnilol

    I know, that’s what was so weird. People are all claiming higher velocity from the 5R rifling. Problem is that nobody has done any chrono tests comparing those two.

    I wasn’t asking about the rifling because I wanted higher velocity 7.62×39. I just like 30 cm barrels in that caliber. The AK-104 would be pretty much ideal if it wasn’t for the long gas system (I like a shorter gas system because I like telescopic suppressors).

  • iksnilol

    The ARX-160 was a severe disappointment but there is nothing wrong with the HK416, expensive it is but mechanically nothing wrong with it.

    • guest

      There is a lot wrong with it. It is a DI design, with DI tolerances, that uses a piston. It has all the same AR problems and then some, except for the specifics of DI.
      A practical example: in Norway there was a documentary about some troops making a very long march across the wilderness. The culmination was supposed to be a mock engagement at pre-set targets. 6 men, one with MG3 the rest with 416s. Of the 5 416s 4 of them just made a “click” sound at the range and did not fire. This is after beningn exposure to the elements, no mud-baths etc. It is from a military standpoint a lemon.

      • iksnilol

        Now you are using anecdata. I know that the Norwegians switched to the 416 (I sorta live in Norway). Most of them are pretty happy with it.

        • guest

          “most of them are pretty happy with it” is not an answer.
          I am talking of serious technical shortcomings, and I can not fathom a better scenario for a test than field conditions, and this was just the case.

          • iksnilol

            Well, there haven’t been any research that shows it to be unreliable. At worst it is as unreliable as the new M4s and M16s.

  • MR

    Charging market value? CAPITALIST PIG-DOGS!!!! Wait…

  • Zugunder

    Amazing! Thanks to everybody who made this happen! Glad my question made it through. Kinda sad that they can’t tell anything regarding that 6.5mm round.

  • Andres Yarce Botero

    murder

  • smartacus

    he looks too casual and Bohemian

  • MountainKelly

    I just want a saiga 9 or bizon 7.62×25 haha

  • Dave

    Damn good post. This is terrific!

  • Jones2112

    I highly doubt he sanctions will ever be removed, no president has any reason to remove them, unfortunately…

  • gungrabber

    Learnt…is that really a word?

    • Doug73

      Not only is it a word, it is the CORRECT past-tense of the word “learn”. Somewhere along the line American English bastardized it into “learned”.

      You “learnt” something today, huh? 😉

  • SirOliverHumperdink

    Veprs are Molot, not these guys, and blame the capitalist , not the ex-commies.

    • Vhyrus

      ‘they’ in my post refers to American gun dealers, not izhmash, or molot.

  • taylorcraftbc65

    GREAT interview, I am very glad that Mr. Krivoruchko consented to the interview. I have been a huge fan of Russian Military Rifles, and currently own three.

  • Maxamillion Mansionhouse III

    Great article.
    It’s awesome to see that the AK is having such development and interest.

    I feel like on the civilian side of things the interest has been there and always growing and it seems like the Russians are figuring out that they should push the envelope with the AK.

    It’s incredible to see so many US companies putting out AK products too. The videos of the Shot Show had a ton of AK products.

  • Johanne

    If Kalashnikov could offer a version of the SVDM or current SVD to the U.S. market for a reasonable price, say $1500 or so, they’d sell every last one they could possibly import. The Dragunov type rifles are famous in the U.S. through movies and especially video games, but there is no real commercial offering that is reasonably attainable to the consumer.

  • theydo

    They do in FACT own molot. There’s legal documents.