American “Kalashnikov” KS-12: the best of both worlds

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This post was published in Inosmi. The point of view expressed in this article is authorial and do not necessarily reflect BM`s editorial stance.


PANAGYURISHTE, (BM) – In the United States, fans of reliable carbines worried that they would not be able to buy the Saiga-12 rifle because of the anti-Russian sanctions. This weapon is made in the style of a Kalashnikov assault rifle.

Read more: Top 5 best American assault rifles in the world

The author recommends import substitution for the USA, talking about the domestic analogue. Meet the Kalashnikov KS-12 based on the Saiga series.

What happens if you take the base model, the principle of removal of powder gases and the butterfly valve of the Kalashnikov assault rifle series, including the infamous AK-47, and make a shotgun out of it? The result is “Saiga-12”, one of the most popular semi-automatic smoothbore guns!

The legendary Mikhail Kalashnikov created it for Izhmash, which today is named after him – the Kalashnikov concern. The Saiga-12 is used as a combat weapon as a carbine, and a 12-gauge rifle is sold worldwide. In Russia, the buyer can purchase such a weapon if he has a license for a smoothbore gun. Until 2014, the Saiga-12 was one of the most popular semi-automatic rifles in the United States.

But after the Russian Federation annexed Crimea, President Barack Obama issued Decree 13662 banning the import of any Izhmash product, including the Saiga-12 rifle. There is no end in sight to US sanctions against Russia, and this could make it impossible for us to acquire Kalashnikov-style guns.

Read more: Top 5 best assault rifles in the world

But in fact, the Americans can buy such a gun (if they are lucky enough to find it in the warehouse), however, with the difference that it was made not by the Kalashnikov concern at the Russian Izhmash plant, but in Florida.

Meet the American-made Kalashnikov KS-12, a semi-automatic shotgun made in America since 2017, based on the Saiga series.

The thing is that the manufacturing company is now private. In addition, it manufactures Kalashnikov-like firearms for law enforcement, the military and, most importantly, for the wider commercial market.

This company was created due to US sanctions that prohibit the import of Russian firearms. Now between the two companies there are no ties other than the name, but the shooters can count on the fact that they will receive a Kalashnikov of a strong and reliable design, but of American production.

This is truly the best of both worlds, and the KS-12 proves this fact. The shotgun was the best-selling semi-automatic weapon in May, according to the National Rifle Association magazine.

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Outwardly, it is very similar to the legendary AK series. It can be fired with 70mm and 76mm cartridges made of brass with a low zinc content thanks to an improved exhaust system. Although the idea came to the creators of this weapon in Russia, this gas exhaust system remains innovative today.

The shotgun also has the classic aiming bar of the AK. And the thread on the end of the KS-12 barrel gives the shooter the ability to apply any muzzle brake of his choice. The KS-12 is sold with one five-round magazine. There are also shops and discs with larger capacities on sale.

So the KS-12 is a Kalashnikov. But this gun is as American as baseball and apple pie.


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