To Build What Veterans Couldn’t Bring Home

Like many Vets these days, Steve Russell was very frustrated that he or any of the soldiers under his command couldn’t actually bring back captured rifles from their campaigns overseas, unlike previous generations of American infantrymen. So if you can’t bring back rifles, maybe the next best step is to make them? This is exactly what Steve did with Two River Arms, a company in Oklahoma City that makes excellent copies of Iraqi Tabuks from Yugo M72 parts kits, complete with Iraqi markings in Arabic and all. The niche that this company fills is extremely unique and small for that matter, very unlike most any Kalashnikov producing companies in the AK business. They are uniquely tied into the conflicts of our era that directly connects the small arms from those conflicts.


Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at


  • handydan

    I guess you ticked off the gods of google. They have made your video unavailable. I knew of one guy in Vietnam who got an AK home by building it into a lamp. The barrel was mailed some other way; he never would say how.

  • TheNotoriousIUD
    • PK

      Why does your watch smell funny?

      • Major Tom

        It always doused in aftershave.

    • Alex A.

      Lol, buddy of mine brought me back a Rolex from Iraq. It was a real Rolex, the guy that sold it to him told him so.

    • PersonCommenting

      What movie was this? I saw it recently but cant think of the name.

      • SP mclaughlin

        Forrest Gump…..

      • Cymond

        Seriously though, it’s Pulp Fiction

        • El Duderino

          No way, it’s The Watchmen.

          • KidCorporate

            Well, it DID have a watch man in it.

    • Edeco

      Thinking about it, Vincent is really crappy; negligent, belligerent, emotional. The thing that ties all vignettes together is his mistakes. Maybe I’m stating the obvious but it seems he’s usually regarded as a relative empathetic character.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        Thats pretty on point.
        I suppose he is the most relatable along with Butch.

        • Edeco

          Well, he does use the commode regularly, normal activity usually left out in movies.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            And blasting people with a Mac 10
            Possibly the ugliest and worst shooting sub gun ever conceived

  • PK

    Fantastically great idea, one of my favorite concepts is copying weaponry that is otherwise unobtainable. I’ve had to do so myself!

    If he’s been in business for 8 or so years, I think I’ve actually bought parts from him for a couple of oddball builds, through the AK forum.

    • KestrelBike

      I dream of doing this to create a FAMAS. Perhaps not same operating system, but the same visual/ergonomics.

      • BattleshipGrey

        What platform will you use as a base?

      • Giolli Joker

        That is a hard one.
        Maybe it would be cheaper, albeit less rewarding, to look for one of the few imported ones.

        • HSR47

          Actually, probably not; The handful of semi-auto FAMAS rifles in the U.S. have been going for pretty insane prices: RIA sold one last September for a hammer price of $21,850. That didn’t include the buyer’s premium, which would have pushed the total to $25,127.5 (cash) to $25,673.75 (credit). That’s about what you could get a transferable M16 for at the time.

          • Giolli Joker

            However, the FAMAS is basically a retarded blowback action and barrel in a plastic shell.
            Unless the shell is made by 3D printing, with questionable durability, you need to make it by injection moulding and the tooling (and R&D to get there) would make it more expensive than 25k$.
            Of course if the idea is to make a marketable item, the investment may make sense.
            I’d love a good quality FAMAS as well.

          • Samuel Millwright

            Or you coud just, idk, 3d print it right…

          • Giolli Joker

            You may have missed:
            “Unless the shell is made by 3D printing, with questionable durability…”

          • Samuel Millwright

            No LOL was just being a smartass, really the days of dodgy 3d printed thermoplastic are receding though. Stuff like annealing, feedstock humidity control, annealing some types of prints, and a hundred other things make 3d printing the perfect field to be in if you’re adhd…

            Because it moves at warp speed

          • Giolli Joker

            We’ll get there and it will be THE technology for fun projects with small series, like making the replica of your dream unobtanium gun.
            I understand you follow more closely than me, but I think we’re still not yet ready to have a reliable, durable working firearm frame made with 3D printed polymer. Especially in a case like the one in object where you would have to replicate an existing design, born with a different technology in mind.
            Surely if you design from scratch for additive manufacturing your chances are higher.

          • Samuel Millwright

            I agree completely on pretty much everything you said.

            3d printing is definitely NOT a drag and drop solution where you can copy exact dims etc from a component made with another production modality originally!

            Personally, I’m working on setting up my own cold spray and other “exotic” additive fab and repair capabilities as well as looking at some induction and other even more exotic modes of essentially baking in heat treat, control crystalline structure insitu, and being able to infinitely vary things like alloy composition throughout single contiguous parts…

            I also want to be able to work in the NOL materials (naval ordnance laboratory) like terfenol and nitinol as well as other shape memory / phase change materials including “training” nitinol for example during the print process….

            Why? Because they’re seriously useful for hobbyists like us

            So you could say i have more than a passing interest yeah

      • Peter Nissen

        I’d like to see a quality repo of the SVD Dragunov rifle and not the Norinco knock-off!

        • Mr._Exterminatus

          Pretty sure the Norinco’s are virtually identical, and even the parts are interchangeable. I’d like to see a U.S. made SVD as well, because as much as I want one, I’m not willing to shell out $5,000, even if I had the cash.

          • MB

            The bolts are not interchangeable as far as I know, something about how the sear gets reset.

          • Mr._Exterminatus

            Huh, could’ve sworn I read that all the parts were interchangeable.

      • Samuel Millwright

        That’s totally awesome!

        May you succeed, and sell me a parts kit

  • Alex A.

    I’ve seen their website before. If I had the scratch to one…😫
    Their stuff looks high quality

  • Paul Rain

    This should be a top priority (not in a political sense, in a ‘it’s just the right thing to do’) for Trump.

    There aren’t any war brides worth bringing back from Afghanistan and Iraq- can’t a man AT LEAST bring back a gold or even just nickel-plated AK or too? Disgusting.

    • Major Tom

      There’s a sizeable quantity of lapislazuli stone in Afghanistan, one mine has been running more or less since antiquity.

      I wonder how much it would cost (and how heavy it would be) to make an AK with a lapislazuli stock, either as a covering/finish or solid lapis.

      • Twilight sparkle

        What are you gonna do when it’s raining outside and you wanna shoot your lapis ak? You’ll get covered in poisonous blue dye

        • Major Tom

          Cosmoline! Or get a nice polished, waxed-like finish that seals in the stone.

        • BeGe1

          What am I missing here?

          Lapis lazuli has been used for everything from jewelry to bowls for many thousands of years.

          And I just went through the wikipedia entry word for word and found nothing about toxicity when wet.

          • Twilight sparkle

            It’s toxic when it’s not wet too, you’re just less likely to have an issue since it would be undissolved. It likely realistically wouldn’t be much of an issue. Lapis lazuli contains heavy metals like arsenic and impurities like pyrite (if I remember correct) and it’s one of the original ways to make blue dye or blue paint because of its water solubility, infact van Gough often used blue paint made from lapis lazuli in his paintings including the famous starry night. Generally speaking it’s a bad idea to drink gemstone or rock water though

  • Ark

    Is it really that crazy to anyone that soldiers aren’t allowed to bring weaponry back from war zones, let alone machine guns? It’s not the 1940s anymore. US servicepeople don’t loot.

    Cool rifles, though.

    • Brad

      Might wanna educate yourself. Tabuks are semi auto only, even the real ones.

      • Random Disabled Person

        And since 1968 and 1986 the anti-machine gun doctrine has been slowly becoming ingrained in the gun owners demographic……Just how the long term players planned.

        Sadly we will have soldiers able to go over there within the next 1-2 years that weren’t even born when 9-11 happened. Many newly/recently made firearms are use in this on going conflict(war by many names) are old even enough to serve, and be served. Yet we have far tighter screening with more restrictions on what people may bring home. They can be trusted until they cycle out then it back to peasant weaponry. This is sad state of affairs, the policy says we don’t trust even our own military members. I hope trump opens the registry back up and a domino effect allow soldiers to keep the weapons they earned by battle.

    • BeGe1

      We don’t loot?

      No, we only kick down their door, run inside and shoot them in the face, then come back by and shove our hot barrels through their eyeballs as a dead check.

      But take home the rifle they drop? No…that’s too much. That’s over the line.

  • codfilet

    When my Dad was on board the troopship home in 1945, an announcement was made: All soldiers found with contraband weapons (no paperwork from commanding officer) would be sent back to Europe upon landing in the US. He got the Italian Carcano rifle out of his dufflebag, and threw it over the side. He had that rifle since being stationed in N. Africa, and he carried it to Italy and England (He was USAAF). As you might expect, there was no inspection when they reached the US. I guess he didn’t care too much, because he could have ordered one of those rifles for years afterwards for $9.95, and although he bought lots of other surplus rifles, he never got another Carcano.

    • Dougscamo

      My father tossed over 2-1911s that he had obtained in the Philippines…read “won in a poker game”…. for the same reason….bastards!

      • codfilet

        I can understand not allowing a soldier to keep a weapon that was current issue US property.

        • Dougscamo

          Hey they weren’t issued to him! They were issued to some other poor schmucks who had it deducted from their pay….lol…

    • Koh

      My uncle had to toss his M1 coming into San Francisco…then they didn’t check anything.

    • iksnilol

      Why didn’t he just get the paperwork?

      • codfilet

        Dunno-and now I can’t ask him….

  • civilianaf

    God bless these guys for doing something different. No doubt they are passionate about it, and the product reflects they care about the products they provide consumers. .

  • 🦑 🐙

    If Iraq Tabuk rifles are copies of Yugo AK’s then I don’t see how they are making a profit, since the Yugos are the cheapest AK’s on the market. Nearly all foreign AK’s have doubled in value, but not the Yugos. Probably because of the non-standard three hole hand guard and non-chrome lined barrel. They must be doing a lot more than the Yugo stuff, because other AK work is pretty high demand right now, comm block stuff.

    • Imran

      At one point Century contracted them to build about 200 M70 AB2’s for them. They’re pretty rare but you know it’s Two Rivers when it’s blued and the grenade sight range markings are color filled in, along with other authentic things that the other builders Century contracted didn’t care to do. The quality is also way superior to the other builds.

  • Palmier

    The only thing my dad brought back from the cold war was several Kilo’s of german Hash smuggled back inside a Pershing II fire control computer.

    • iksnilol

      Wouldn’t the cake get stale in transit? Why bother?

  • jerry young

    By the time I came home in 1972 you weren’t allowed to bring back much and certainly no firearms, in the beginning of 1972 we were suppose to stand down and ship back to the states so we packed everything up and shipped it home only to be told we were staying, anyway when they crated up our personal stuff to ship they went through it looking for anything not allowed, I had these giant 3 foot incense sticks I threw in my stuff and I wasn’t allowed to ship them, no firearms no what they deemed contraband I had a rifle given to me and I had to give it up.

  • Mr._Exterminatus

    Anyone have any experience with the company?

  • TC

    I had the opportunity to speak with Congressman Steve Russel a couple weeks ago. I wanted to know how the HPA was looking. He said it’s on the table. Unfortunately, there are some more pressing matters to deal with in Washington. He is a really awesome guy. His company is top notch.