Many avid AK shooters believe that the Russian-made AK is the pinnacle of the design. Why, you may ask? Russia is the birthplace of this weapon and its long and storied history. Rifles built there generally have higher-quality parts, are made with greater attention to detail and are more consistently accurate. Their chrome-lined barrels tend to be straighter, and, overall, the weapons have tighter fits and better finishes. Concern Kalashnikov and RWC Group are now offering a really nice Russian rifle ready for tactical work right out of the box. [Editor’s Note: Concern Kalashnikov’s products were recently restricted from importation by Executive Order 1366, Ukraine-Related Sanctions.]
The story behind Concern Kalashnikov is an interesting one, and one that goes back more than two centuries. Tsar Alexander founded the Izhmash plant in 1807, and it remains one of the longest-standing weapons manufacturers in the world. The company produces a number of military arms, including Kalashnikov rifles like the AK-47, vehicles and other products. Mikhail Kalashnikov himself worked at Izhmash, and it’s essentially the birthplace of the weapon platform—one of the most prolific in the world. The Izhevsk Mechanical Plant was founded in 1942 to build small arms for World War II, and it went on to provide civilian weapons, including Baikal shotguns. It was also widely known for developing and manufacturing Makarov and Yarygin pistols. Last summer, these two manufacturers were merged into one company, Concern Kalashnikov.
Overall, this is a great rifle. The IZ132SM 7.62x39mm rifle from Concern Kalashnikov is a rock-solid example of the classic AK platform. Here are 10 of its best features.
1. Build Quality: Russian AK-47 rifles tend to have a higher build quality. Russian guns tend to be built with a greater attention to detail, so fit, finish and the overall gun are built to a higher standard.
2. Quality Parts: Russian barrels are well known for being some of the best you can get. They tend to be straighter, chrome lined and more reliable overall. The trunnions are strong, rivets are well done and overall the parts used tend to be of the highest possible quality.
3. Consistent Accuracy: Over the broad spectrum of AK rifles, Russian guns tend to be more accurate. Other versions can be really hit or miss when it comes to accuracy. Most Russian guns are about as accurate as the platform will allow using mil-spec ammunition.
4. Value: Collectors prefer Russian AK-47 rifles. They generally hold their value better, are easier to sell when needed, and hold a premium among collectors. This is even more true now that their importation is restricted.
5. Proven Reliability: Russian-built AK-47 rifles tend to be more reliable out of the box. Since most are not “parts guns,” they tend to be more reliable than most.
6. Tighter Specifications: Russian receivers are generally closer to the original specifications than many of the other guns, especially foreign receivers. Parts interchange better, and less fitting is required as a rule.
7. Mil-Spec: Russian parts tend to be much closer to the military specifications. Built in the same factory as military weapons they are closer in design, stronger, and interchange more easily, requiring less fitting.
8. Longevity: Given better parts, more attention to detail, and tighter specifications Russian AK 47 rifles tend to last longer, even during very high-round-count situations. Most will last a lifetime or two.
9. Modern Design: Concern Kalashnikov rifles benefit from the decades of refinement of the design by the Russians. Examples of this include the 90-degree gas blocks that reduce bullet shearing.
10. Enhanced Controls: A unique feature of the Saiga-based IZ132SM is the bolt-hold-open lever located above the pistol grip. This allows users to lock open the action when desired.