In the last few years, Palmetto State Armory expanded its product line and and became one of the biggest AK manufacturers in the US. At the SHOT SHOW 2019 they presented a new line of Kalashnikov-pattern rifles under the name AK-E (Enhanced).
New rifles will feature cold hammer forged barrel manufactured by FN. Unfortunately, it is not clear if barrels will be chrome lined or nitrided, but FN barrel is a good start. Other features include nickel-boron-coated forged carrier. This coating should make bolt carrier easier to clean and most importantly, make it look nice and shiny, which is very important for a surprising amount of potential customers.
All critical components such as bolt carrier, bolt, trunnions are forged and not made out of castings, according to the Palmetto State Armory. This is exactly how those parts are manufactured in former Comblock countries. Unfortunately, forging is an expensive process that most, if not all, US firearms manufacturers simply can not do “in-house”.
New AK-E series will have several versions chambered for different rounds. Besides 7.62×39, there would be an AK-E chambered in 5.45×39, which is great news for everyone who was predicting that 5.45×39 in the US will inevitably die soon.
According to the manufacturer, AK-E should be available by June 2019.
I also used this chance to talk with the manufacturer about the issue of AK-V they released in December.
This pistol caliber carbine is modeled after Russian PP-19-01 “Vityaz”, chambered for 9×19 and could have been a great 9 mm AK: lightweight, reasonably priced and fun to shoot. It accepts common and inexpensive magazines, has a well though out bolt catch and bolt release.
Unfortunately, several reviewers such as Military Arms Channel and pepewtactical blog, as well as others, had multiple issues with the weapon. It wouldn’t function reliably, even after some minor part replacements.
The representative of Palmetto State Armory was very open about the issues and explained the situation. The first batch of AK-V (less than a 100 guns) had issues with the bolt.
Not every single weapon had them, but those customers who experienced problems should send it back to Palmetto State Armory (shipping is covered by the company).
We will see how the situation around the AK-V will develop.