Russia's Kalashnikov to be made in the US after sanctions import ban

Lynsey Barber
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The famous Russian gun is subject to sanctions (Source: Getty)

The infamous AK-47 assault rifle, also known as the Kalashnikov, will begin production in the US for the first time after imports of the weapon were banned under sanctions imposed on Russia by the US government.

RWC, the US company with exclusive rights to import and sell the weapon in the country, will start making the guns in the second quarter of the year under the Kalashnikov brand name.

Chief of the Pennsylvania-based company, Thomas McCrossin, said it is still selling the Russian-made rifles imported prior to the ban, but stock will soon run out.

Speaking to CNNMoney at Shot, the annual gun industry show in Las Vegas, McCrossin said: "I have a lot of inventory on my shelf bought and paid for. We are permitted to sell these weapons because they were already in the US. But when the inventory goes down to zero, there are no more."

Kalashnikov Concern, the part state-owned Russian manufacturer of the AK-47 which licenses the widely copied brand around the world, makes around 80 per cent of civilian weapons for export markets - around 150,000 a year.

The lucrative deal with RWC inked last January would have seen up to 200,000 ship to the US, the largest civilian weapons market in the world, before being scuppered by the sanctions.

In December Kalashnikov chief Alexei Krivoruchko told the BBC: "The US was a key market for us, one that we planned to develop. It's a big loss, there's no point saying otherwise."

In response, the firm unveiled a major rebrand in a bid to “reflect our main principles: reliability, responsibility and technological efficiency,” and promote itself among countries which have not imposed sanctions in South America, the Middle East, North Africa and Asia.

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