More AK-47s may soon be made in the United States, as the U.S. government is looking for sources of the ubiquitous assault rifle within the American manufacturing base.
The U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCO) announced in May it was conducting market research into making the Kalashnikov rifle on U.S. soil. In a notice placed on a federal opportunities website, SOCOM said it is soliciting manufacturers for the weapons or requesting proposals — which means it’s just looking, but not ready to buy.
The U.S. military does not regularly use AK-47s, but many of its allies and foreign partners rely on the weapon, along with similar arms developed by the Soviet-bloc.
“A U.S.-based source would be a good use of taxpayer funds, while also delivering the weapons our partners not only need to fight extremists, but also the ones they know how to use, know how to fix and have the supplies in their regions to maintain,” Lt. Cmr. Matt Allen told the Tampa Bay Times Thursday.
Along with the AK-47, SOCOM is also seeking sources for other Russian-designed weapons, including a machine gun similar to the DShK and KORD, a belt-fed machine gun like the PKM, a weapon like the KPV heavy and a sniper like the Dragunov.
The Kalashnikov assault rifle is widely used around the world, with more than 100 million sold since the first round of production in 1947. Kalashnikov, owned by the state-run defense conglomerate Rostekhnologii, has tried to break into the American gun market to sell a semi-automatic version of the assault rifle, but sanctions placed on the company in 2014 make that impossible for the time being.
Century Arms already makes a variant of the AK-47 that claims to be compatible with the Russian-made original. Unlike the Kalashnikov automatic rifle, the all-American-made version is semi-automatic.
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