Regulations Concerning The Importing Of The AK-47
Can You Import An AK-47?
The AK-47 is one of the most iconic assault rifles of all time. The AK is also known as the Avtomat Kalashnikov, after it’s designed, Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov. It has also grown to become one of the most desirable commodities in the firearm industry. Authentic AK-47s are typically imported and unfortunately the importation laws have become a little strict throughout the years. It is also possible that the AK is the most widely owned and used shoulder weapon around the globe.1The AK even made its way into the Guinness Book of Records for being the most widespread (and most common) weapon around the world.2The high round capacity, reasonable accuracy, long-distance capability, ease of use and handling, and automatic firing mode make it incredibly impressive. The gun has been so popular that it has received the attention of much research and many modifications and improvements throughout the years.
Relevant Import Laws For The AK-47
The AK-47 is cheap to manufacturer and only has eight moving parts. But as easy as it is to make, put together, and use, the AK-47 is not so simple for everyone to own. The rifles are traditionally made out of Moscow in Russia. In 2014, however, President Obama imposed sanctions on Russia which included halting all AK-47 imports. The Russian company producing the AK, Kalashnikova, attempted to circumvent the sanctions (and did so successful for a short while) by advising a foreign company to sell a more modern semi-automatic assault rifle called the Vepr, modeled after the AK-47.
Russian Weapons Company was the sole importer of the Kalashnikov AK-47 before the Obama sanctions. Unfortunately, their import and assembling operation had been shut down pursuant with U.S. Code Title 18, Section 922r which states:
It shall be unlawful for any person to assemble from imported parts any semiautomatic rifle or any shotgun which is identical to any rifle or shotgun prohibited from importation under section 925(d)(3) of this chapter as not being particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes except that this subsection shall not apply to—
the assembly of any such rifle or shotgun for sale or distribution by a licensed manufacturer to the United States or any department or agency thereof or to any State or any department, agency, or political subdivision thereof; or
the assembly of any such rifle or shotgun for the purposes of testing or experimentation authorized by the Attorney General.
The sanctions placed on Russian gun manufacturer Kalashnikov very effectively made the importing and assembly of imported AK parts illegal. President Trump also furthered sanctions by restricting Molot as well.3
How To Import An AK-47
The sanctions placed on Russia which prevent the importing of new AK-47s does not affect the AK-47s which were already in the United States. One of the easiest ways to get hands on an authentic AK-47 is to purchase a used one which had long already made its way into the country. Authentic second hand AKs can be expensive though. If importing one is necessary, it is still possible.
Other countries have produced AK-47s, some of which may even have ties to the original Kalashnikov company. This mild assumption coming from observation of Kalashnikov’s expanding its market presence in other regions of the world. Some places Kalashnikov is known to have expanded include Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia.4 Polish-based company WBP Poland has recently partnered up with Atlantic Firearms to offer high quality, imported AK-47s. There is also a Romanian company that produces a quality AK-47. Many of these weapons can be found for sale on a number of internet markets.
Finally, Russian Weapons Company had plans to begin manufacturing their own AK-47s inside a United States factory. This would allow them to continue to sell genuine AK-47s which have never violated the Russian sanctions. The company formed would be called Kalashnikov USA, however, a current scan of their website reveals no AK-47 assault rifle for sale. Although they do still offer a few basic AK-47 parts, and a few other guns. The KR-9 is one of the flagship guns produced by Kalashnikov USA. It is a semi-automatic, 30 round magazine, 9mm firearm based on the AK-style. Still, this weapon does not satisfy an enthusiast with their heart set on an AK-47.
The sanctions against the Russian gun manufacturer have only increased the interest and demand for the AK-47 in the United States. And supposedly, authentic, American-made AK rifles are still to be produced soon by Kalashnikov USA.5
It is possible to import the weapons from companies without sanctions, Poland being a great example. It is also possible to purchase them in places where they are readily made, such as anywhere on the Eastern Block, Pakistan, Egypt, and Africa. Israel has plans to begin offering AK-47s to the United States as well.6It may require a little creativity and an active eye, but picking up an authentic AK is still possible. It is also possible to import one of the many, modern recreations available from a number of countries beyond Russia.
Disclaimer: Although Armory Bay does its best to keep these articles up-to-date, Federal and State regulations are always changing. Be sure to check with your jurisdiction, state and the federal laws before importing a firearm of any type.
1Britannica. AK-47 Soviet Firearm. Retrieved from: https://www.britannica.com/technology/AK-47
2Mirror. Mikhail Kalashnikov Dead. Retrieved from:https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/mikhail-kalashnikov-dead-10-things-2957513
3War is Boring. Trump Expands On What Obama Started: Banning Russian Rifle Imports. Retrieved from: https://warisboring.com/trump-expands-on-what-obama-started-banning-russian-rifle-imports/
4UPI. US Company to Make AK-47s After Sanctions On Russia. Retrieved from:https://www.upi.com/Business_News/2015/01/21/US-company-to-make-AK-47s-after-sanctions-on-Russia/3261421868544/
5The Firearm Blog. US Made and Forged AKs Coming Soon By Kalashnikov USA. Retrieved from:https://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2018/02/09/us-made-forged-aks-coming-soon-kalashnikov-usa/
6The Daily Beast. Israelis Will Soon Be Mass Producing AK-47s For The US Market. Retrieved from: https://www.thedailybeast.com/israelis-will-soon-be-mass-producing-ak-47s-for-the-us-market
About the Author:
Mark Doberman, The Proprietary Gun Smith
The Proprietary Gun Smith is a marksman, expert gun handler, ammunition specialist, survival guru, and lifetime gun enthusiast. He owns (or has owned) nearly every legal firearm and ballistic available, has fired nearly every gun, and regularly consults professionally in the firearm world. He has studied firearms and similar tactical lifestyle for more than 40 years. In addition to writing for ArmoryBay.com, TheProprietaryGunSmith has guest written for more than a dozen other sites and/or magazines in the industry.
How useful was this post?
Click on a star to rate it!
Average rating / 5. Vote count: