The Kalashnikov Concern, a new company bearing the name of the legendary AK rifle inventor, has more than doubled its production of small arms in the first quarter of 2014.
The company was formed through the merger of several small arms and manufacturing firms, including Izhmash, the original AK maker and Baikal, a major manufacturer of shotguns, rifles and handguns.
Izhmash still produces the original AK rifle for military and commercial markets, although it nearly collapsed a few years ago with waning sales and high overhead costs. It was declared bankrupt by a state auditing agency and restructured.
By late 2013 Izhmash had been rebuilt, allowing to function fully and, later, become partially privatised.
The state still maintains a controlling interest in the manufacturing of its iconic and strategic small arms.
In a statement to the Russian press, the company said: “In the first three months of the year we had a record-high volume production of small arms in the amount of 31,000 items, which makes 41 per cent of the total output of similar products for 2013.
“The current results are 230 per cent higher than those in the first quarter of last year.”
Kalashnikov exports guns to more than 25 other countries for military and commercial markets, as well as making munitions and ordnance for the Russian defense ministry, including weapon guidance systems, missiles and smart bombs. Kalashnikov is also a giant in the tool-making industry and is a leading manufacturer of general machinery.
If the company intends to meet its domestic targets as well as its goal of exporting 200,000 guns to North America, it’s going to have to increase production even more, and the company knows it. It has projected continued growth throughout 2014 and 2015.
“By the end of 2014 we expect the production of this product to increase by 27 per cent compared to 2013, while in 2015 the growth should reach 17 per cent compared to the previous year,” added the release.
Using these projections the company may fall short of its export goals for 2014 but with these estimates Kalashnikov will still manufacture about 150,000 firearms this year, which is twice what the company produced in 2013.