THe NYTimes’ Andrew Kramer has published an article on growing imports of Saiga rifles and shotguns from our favourite bankrupt Russian gun company …
The nickname of this town, home of the factory that makes Kalashnikov rifles, is the “Armory of Russia.” Over the years, it has armed a good number of other countries, too, as the lathes and presses of the Izhevsk Machine Works clanged around the clock to forge AK-47s and similar guns for insurgents and armies around the world.
But these days, many of Izhevsk’s weapons are headed somewhere else: the United States.
Despite the gun’s violent history — or perhaps because of it — American hunters and gun enthusiasts are snapping up tens of thousands of Kalashnikov rifles and shotguns. Demand is so brisk that the factory has shifted its focus from military to civilian manufacture over the last two years. United States sales of the civilian versions, sold under the brand name Saiga, rose by 50 percent last year, according to officials at the factory, known as Izhmash.
Selling Saigas in the United States is integral to the enterprise’s evolving business model of making single-shot civilian guns to occupy workers and equipment in between government orders for fully automatic assault rifles. About 70 percent of the factory’s output is now civilian rifles, up from 50 percent two years ago. Of the civilian arms, about 40 percent are exported to the United States.
I have been saying for years that Izhmash should be focusing on civilian exports. 70% of the company output may be civilians guns, but that is only because nobody is buying their military guns. If they were serious about exporting to the USA they would be designing guns that appeal to the American shooter. They may be limited in what can be imported into the USA (‘sporting’ guns only) but that has not stopped every other major gun company getting around this just exporting parts kits to local manufacturers.
[ Many thanks to Komrad for emailing us the link. ]