When I have come to United States in 90’s, one of my first steps was to get an AK rifle and go back to my shooting hobby. I remember visiting one of the most popular gun stores in Midwest with task to acquire my beloved AK. Of course they had few in stock, but to my shocking surprise, salesman put in my hands something what kind of looked like an AK rifle, but in reality it was some Frankenstein build full of screws and some other crazy foreign to AK objects…on that day I have suffered extensive hair loss from that traumatizing adventure and I remember drowning my sorrows in few consecutive shots of Vodka…
Fast forward to 2014 and I just have picked from Krebs Custom Guns, their experimental
AK model. It features Krebs “speedloader” which helps operator to change magazines faster, it has charging handle on both sides, which is fully operational even with folded stock. Rifle action was hand polished and is as smooth as baby face, trigger group breaks like glass and it has full length rail like all my Spetsnaz friends always wanted to have so they could mount all their “high speed” accessories any way they want, so they could do their job even more efficient…
Krebs rifle is just one of many signs of how things have changed to better at US AK market. We have multiple, great, custom AK makers now in the States, which compete for our business. I personally have experience with Rifle Dynamics, Definitive Arms and of course Krebs Customs, but there are at least few more gun shops specializing in AK builds, which are regarded as a high end manufacturers. We have foreign companies building great standard AK rifles here in USA already and legendary Izhmash factory decided to team up with one of the US based companies to bring more AK love to US.
5.45×39 mm non corrosive ammo is becoming more and more available, Red Army Standard and Golden Tiger are storming local gun stores, trying to compete for business. On the accessories side, industry giants like Magpul, Midwest, and US Palm are releasing more and more products directed at AK users. As I pointed out few weeks ago, even when these may not be perfect, at least they are trying and listening to our AK community voices.
I was always under the impression that AK world in USA is around 10 years behind the AR
world. So think about this 2014 in AK world as it was 2004 for AR. Try to recall explosion of popularity of AR’s at that time (many things contributed to it, like expiration of Assault Rifles ban, or ongoing wars, which made M4 popular in TV news feeds). I remember when Bravo Company was born almost out of the garage and today they are leaders in AR world, I remember when Magpul was starting, and yes, I remember when Chris Costa and Travis Haley used to work together (good old memories). You may ask, but what all this has to do with AK? In my honest opinion, this year we are going to witness begging of the real popularity boom on the AK side. Almost every day I’m getting messages from new Union members who are migrating away from the AR platform to AK world. Thanks to efforts of US manufacturers and our friends in Russia, people are seeing how really cool AK could be and what you can do with it.
Pair this all with AK rifle’s legendary durability and performance, in every environment, and you have recipe for success. Even for those who like to keep their AK with “bare wood furniture”, things are getting better because overall quality of AK rifles build in USA has improved dramatically from what I have experienced in the 90’s…So the only question I have for you, are you ready to make a jump to AK world? Trust me, you won’t regret that decision!
– Rob Ski