Despite the fact that US gun market is and will remain to be the largest and most exciting in the whole world, there are plenty of restrictions that prevent a lot of really cool guns from coming here. 1989
Import Ban on Assault Rifles effectively stops civilian versions of most modern military firearms from ever being imported for the US civilian market. And since the ban doesn’t go anywhere any time soon, the only thing you can really do is to produce a replica of a weapon stateside, and that is exactly what Kalashnikov USA did with KR-9.
KR-9 is a replica of a Russian PP-19-01 “Vityaz” submachinegun, developed in 2004 by Victor Kalashnikov, son of the famous Mikhail Kalashnikov, the man behind AK47.
The name “Vityaz” means “The Knight” and comes with an interesting story. In Russia, “Vitiaz” is pretty famous name that belong to one of the most prominent special forces units. Founded in 1978 as quick reaction force for the 1980 Moscow Olympics, “Vityaz” remains to be one of the most recognisable Russian special forces units.
In the early 2000s, commander of the unit asked Izhevsk factory to develop a lightweight and reliable submachinegun that can be used for CQB, in confined spaces, where more powerful 5.45 or 7.62 round would become a liability.
Very soon, “Vityaz” became very popular with all kinds of special units, from Russian hostage rescue FSB teams to Uruguai police forces.
At the 2016 Shot Show, Kalashnikov USA showcased their KR-9, pistol caliber carbine identical to Russian “Vityaz”. After three long years first KR-9s are now being shipped to the dealers.
I had an opportinity to field strip the weapons and talk to Bill Gentry, vice president of sales and marketing of Kalashnikov USA and found out a few interesting details about the weapons.
KR-9 looks identical to “Vityaz”, but has certain improvements. The original weapon was designed for 7H21 armor-piercing +P ammo and did not really work with any hollowpoints. That was never a problem for Russians who don’t really use any hollowpoint in the military or LE units.
At the same time, Russian civilians were struggling with Saiga 9, civilian version of the “Vityaz” when it did not feed any hollowpoint ammo. Some had to resort to dremmeling their chambers trying to create something similar to M4 feed ramps. Kalashnikov USA addressed this problem and redesigned the feed ramp to make sure that US customers can use modern defensive ammo with their KR-9s.
At the moment, every KR-9 that leaves the factory is tested with a 100 rounds test fire, which far exceeds any industry standard. 3 full magazines are fired to insure reliability and then 10 rounds are fired with the magazine the gun comes with. KR-9 uses original proprietary “Vityaz” magazines, US made version of it is available at website.
Currently there are three variants of KR-9 that Kalashnikov USA offers: pistol, SBR with a folding stock and a rifle with 16.25 inch barrel.
Since the weapons is finally available for purchase, I am sure soon we will see a lot of reviews and opinions and find out if KR-9 will live up to the reputation of the original Kalashnikov.