American Kalashnikov fans rejoice... Kalashnikov USA has just announced the release of their all-American take on one of the most modern AK-series rifles available today, the AK-103, just in time for SHOT Show 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The AK-100 series was developed through the 1990s by Kalashnikov Concern as a modernized continuation of the 1970s-vintage AK-74 service rifle, making use of three calibers in particular.
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The AK-101 rifle and accompanying -102 carbine are built to fire the 5.56x45 mm NATO round, while the AK-103 rifle and -104 carbine are chambered for 7.62x39 mm. Lastly, the AK-105 makes use of 5.45x39 mm, currently the standard rifle cartridge of the Russian military.
Built with metal parts coated in anti-corrosive material, and rounded out with plastic furniture, the AK-100 series guns were considered to be the guns that would take the Russian military and former-Warsaw Pact partners still fielding the AK platform into the future with a fairly modular rifle.
The -101, -102, and -104 models were slated for export to Russia’s various partner nations while the AK-103 was quickly inducted into service with some of the country’s elite “Spetsnaz” special purpose military and civilian police units.
The -103 also bears a unique distinction — it was the progeny of one of the very last AK-platform projects directly overseen and managed by Mikhail Kalashnikov.
In 2014, a ban was levied on importing guns from Russia’s Kalashnikov Concern, then known as Izhmash, including Saiga-branded shotguns and rifles. This effectively closed off the American gun market to a mass-produced non-boutique semiautomatic, authentic Kalashnikov guns.
That’s where Kalashnikov USA (unrelated in operation and sales to Kalashnikov Concern) hopes to take things up a notch by building AK-100s entirely in America.
According to KUSA, their version of the AK-103 — the KR-103 — is the blend of “Russian heritage and American innovation” with the rifle staying true to its original Russian design, albeit without a select-fire option.
Like the AK-103, the KR-103 is chambered for 7.62x39 mm and is compatible with most aftermarket parts and accessories produced for AKMs and AK-74s, giving buyers a fairly decent range of ways to option their guns.
KUSA states that the KR-103 utilizes chrome-lined barrels and forged 5.5 mm trunnions. The company will also be producing American-made magazines to retail with their newest rifle.
When unveiling the new gun, KUSA also announced an upcoming line of parts and accessories for current AK builds, and it would be reasonable to assume some degree of compatibility with the KR-103.
According to The Firearms Blog, KUSA will probably set the rifle’s MSRP at $1,090.
Gear Scout will have more for you on the KR-103 when we take on SHOT Show 2020 soon!
Ian D’Costa is a correspondent with Gear Scout whose work has been featured with We Are The Mighty, The Aviationist, and Business Insider. An avid outdoorsman, Ian is also a guns and gear enthusiast.