Thursday, July 17, 2014

Will Russian AKs Being Banned Eventually Drive Americans to Another Cartridge?

If you are a firearm enthusiast, then you've probably heard the sad news about Dear Leader banning Russian made AKs.  Specifically, Kalashnikov Concern products were named in the Executive Order.  Tim over at The Bang Switch has reported that this will also affect VEPR rifles as well since Molot is associated with Kalashnikov Concern.

There's also the specter of a possibility that any of the ammo manufacturers that Kalashnikov Concern had an interest in (financially, partnered with at one point, etc) may also be subject to the ban.

Let us assume that this is the case for worst case scenario purposes.  As the supply of 7.62 x 39 decreases in the United States I believe there will be more demand for a different intermediate cartridge to fill that gap.  The AK round is often compared to the new kid on the block, 300 Blackout AAC.  However, it still is on the cusp of being mainstream like so many other past cartridges.  The other scenario may be that more offerings in .308 Win in the rifle market will be demanded.  We see a lot of these coming out now, but not as in greater numbers due to the 5.56 popularity and, I assume, the AK market.

So, which is the more likely scenario?  Do you think that if the scarcity of 7.62 x 39 increases that Americans will turn to the 300 Blackout AAC (7.62 x 35)?  Or do you think they will demand more rifle choices in .308 Win (7.62 x 51)?  Comment below and let me know.


  1. I don't believe that the ban will have much impact on the long term availability of 7.62x39 because Wolf, for instance, sources its ammunition from manufacturers in various countries not included in the ban. Many of the other major importers of ammunition are also from Baltic or former East Bloc countries. Also, there are American manufacturers that make 7.62x39.

    I'm not sure what percentage of 7.62x39 firearms sold in the U.S. come from Kalashnikov, but I suspect it is small compared to the number made and sold from AK parts kits. Those kits have never been permitted to be imported from Russia. Arsenal Inc. is one of the larger domestic manufacturers, and its sources for foreign parts is Bulgaria. It and other manufacturers are increasingly using American made parts.

    Turning to your question, though, as between the .300 Blackout and .308, itself turns on why the 7.62x39 became popular. The reason for its popularity was because the weapons and ammunition were so cheap, not because of any particular advantage offered from the cartridge. In support of my thesis, I would point to the lack of ARs, bolt action, etc., offered in 7.62x39. They're available, I'm sure, but never achieved any popularity. So, price and availability favors the .308, unless something unusual were to happen (such as removing sound suppressors from the NFA).

    1. Thanks fore the insightful reply! I definitely am not up on the AK world so my post was kind of made with some ignorance of how much this ban would affect the market.

  2. I think this will be a bummer for folks who like a few specific rifles that are actually made in Russia. However a significant percentage of AK's these days (probably a solid majority) are not brought in as full rifles from Russia. They are parts kits out of the whole Eastern Block or complete Rifles out of Serbia. Lots of ammo is coming from all over.

    Siaga shotguns will be a lot more problematic but I am not really impressed with them as a combat implement anyway.

    As to what would happen if the AK market was seriously hurt and costs went up accordingly? The two fundamental strengths of the AK are reliability and low cost (though that one is slipping away). Lots of folks end up with one because they want a semi auto rifle and can't/ won't pay for a more expensive one.

    AR makers would be the big winners.