Looking for a ‘Banned’ Russian AK-47, Saiga? Here’s How (cheaply).

By Dave Dolbee published on in Firearms, News

Last week we reported on President Obama’s executive order 13662 stating the banning of Russian AK-47s, Saigas and Izhmash firearms and parts. While true on the surface, Texas Law Shield took a look. After a quick conversation we need to make a couple of corrections and share some good news from the law guys.

An "Open" Division Saiga 12 in action

An “Open” Division Saiga 12 in action

First the executive order was signed months ago not last week. However, it takes time for the bureaucracy to figure out the details. Once the details were released (last week), the sanctions kicked in banning the Russian arms. Withal, Edwin Walker from Texas Law Shield wasn’t finished. In reading the order, specific companies and people were named, not the products. Therefore, it looks as if other companies could still manufacture and export AK-47s to the U.S.!

If that were the case, how hard would it be for Kalashnikov Concern to open a new company or move manufacturing to a neighboring country and be right back in business? Like the AR platform, AKs already have multiple manufacturers so getting replacement parts may not be as big an issue as many previously believed. It’s no secret that some ARs command a premium price due to quality and many AK enthusiasts would say the same about Russian guns, but what about the same heart and soul (machines and gunsmiths) being relocated? Wouldn’t the Russian guns under a new name be just good?

Tromix Saiga SBS

I have been in the market for an AK and was set to pull the trigger on an upcoming sale when the news hit. Supply and demand ruled, and the seller had a sudden change of heart—about a 25% change of heart. My first reaction was to pony up and pay the extra; after all would prices go down any time soon or ever? Then I talked with Texas Law Shield and while the legal minds would not prognosticate about market forces and price, they did shed some light that changed my mind.

Why pay $1,000 for a Saiga that sold for $700-750 a couple of weeks ago? If not Russian, what would be the next best AK-47 that you would recommend? Building your own AR is extremely popular and there are plenty of parts and guides to ensure you do not run afoul of the 922(r) compliance laws, so what have your experiences been with building your own AK?

Share your thoughts on the best AKs and building your own in the comment section.

SLRule

Growing up in Pennsylvania’s game-rich Allegany region, Dave Dolbee was introduced to whitetail hunting at a young age. At age 19 he bought his first bow while serving in the U.S. Navy, and began bowhunting after returning from Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Dave was a sponsored Pro Staff Shooter for several top archery companies during the 1990s and an Olympic hopeful holding up to 16 archery records at one point. During Dave’s writing career, he has written for several smaller publications as well as many major content providers such as Guns & Ammo, Shooting Times, Outdoor Life, Petersen’s Hunting, Rifle Shooter, Petersen’s Bowhunting, Bowhunter, Game & Fish magazines, Handguns, F.O.P Fraternal Order of Police, Archery Business, SHOT Business, OutdoorRoadmap.com, TheGearExpert.com and others. Dave is currently a staff writer for Cheaper Than Dirt!

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Comments (33)

  • kari

    |

    I have built two so far. If you’re thinking of building one before you do take a class from Jim Fuller. He is the top builder in the US and is a great instructor.
    When it comes to staying 922 compliant, unless it’s a Class 3 firearm no one is ever going to know if you used all Russian parts for your gun except you and most local law enforcement agencies don’t even train officers to check, and they will be the main ones looking at your gun if it is ever needed.

    Not trying to give legal advice in any way

    Reply

  • SteveDS

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    Romanian, Bulgarian, Chinese, Egyptian AK’s are not banned. So, no big deal. I am only worried about the cheap (and good) Tula ammo.

    Reply

    • Chrisite

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      Chinese AK are banned in NJ. Now you can only get Romanian. However, they cannot have a bayonet mount.

      You can still get SKS. Sure they have the same round, however they look scary to NJ politicians who don’t understand the difference.

      Reply

    • Matt

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      That’s not true. There are still plenty of options out there for the AK fans in 1940’s Germany, wait, I mean NJ.

      I just purchased a Saiga IZ-132, and can convert it while still maintaining 922(r) and NJ compliance.

      You just have to know where to look. However it is true that the majority of AK’s available in NJ are going to be poorly made Romanian WASR-10’s.

      Reply

  • HVAC Gypsy

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    I will wait for American companies to fill the void with American assembled AK’s. Several companies are already producing domestic manufactured parts, such as barrels, bolts & carriers. Companies such as Rifle Dynamics will soon have an all American AK. Might cost a bit more than a Russian import, but I guarantee it will be a better firearm than the best Russian import. I will wait. I prefer to buy American made anyway. In the mean time, I will build myself another quality AR, before the liberal traitors amongst us figure out how to ban those as well.

    Reply

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