Even if you’ve never shouldered a rifle in your life, you already know that the AK-47 is the most iconic firearm in the world. AK-47s are built in over a dozen nations and for better or worse, it’s hard to turn on the TV news or read an online report without seeing one displayed.
Why is this rifle so popular?
They are relatively inexpensive, easy to maintain and incredibly dependable.
They are also ubiquitous. Since its introduction in 1948, there have been reportedly upwards of 100 million AK-47s built in more than a dozen of countries in a multitude of variants.
As of 2014, it’s no longer possible to import complete AK-47 kits into this country. The AKs sold in the U.S. are assembled by gunsmiths or hobbyists from a combination of imported and domestic parts. Components are gleaned from rifles made in Serbia, Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, Hungary and other countries. The parts are often modified to comply with U.S. laws.
AKs made in the United States
Although most AKs are assembled from imported parts, all AKs sold as new in this country are assembled in the U.S. in order to comply with U.S. laws. There is an exception to this rule when it comes to so-called sporterized rifles. These are AKs configured as hunting rifles, though most of these models end up being converted into the traditional looking, military-style AK-47s.
There are some manufacturers that tout “Made in the USA.” This means that the manufacture of parts and their assembly are all done in America.
This is a very new trend that began in earnest after the 2014 ban on most Russian imports. Given this environment, there’s now an economic incentive to produce a rifle made entirely from U.S.-manufactured parts. Some manufacturers, such as DDI (Destructive Devices Industries), Century Arms and Palmetto State Armory, are already using this as a marketing strategy to sell products.
With the current demand for AK-style rifles, new companies are building manufacturing facilities in this country. RWC, the erstwhile sole importer of the Kalashnikov rifle from Russia, has recently established “Kalashnikov USA.” RWC has licensed the name only–not the intellectual property and is now building US-made AKs.
Some of the higher end custom shops such as Rifle Dynamics, based Las Vegas, also are intent on building an all-U.S.-made AK-47. The company plans to manufacture all the internal parts for their rifles in-house.