Earlier this year Modern Rifleman reported that Concern Kalashnikov had been listed in US sanctions against several Russian defense and financial enterprises. This meant that all Saiga, Vepr, and Baikal shipments came to a screeching halt and importers like RWC and Legion were left with more than 200,000 rifles in limbo. Shortly after the news broke, collectors cleared most popular retailers out of any remaining stock and prices on the secondary market began to shoot up.
At the time, I mentioned that a restructuring of the company could help to bring Russian firearms back to the US market. In short, this reorganization would involve breaking Concern Kalashnikov into two separate companies. The offshoot responsible for civilian sales would need to be privately held and would obviously need a new name. The side responsible for military sales could remain under partial government ownership.
Just this week, Concern Kalashnikov kicked off what could be the beginning of this process by renaming (sort of) the company to Kalashnikov Group. Strictly speaking, this is not a renaming as the Russian form of Concern Kalashnikov can also be translated to Kalashnikov Group. With that in mind, this move is a bit puzzling. The rebranding as a whole is clearly intended to make the company more appealing to western markets such as those in the EU and US. However, the company seems to have done nothing to address the very real import problem. As it stands, the US market makes up 40% of Concern Kalashnikov’s market. If real changes are not made to contend with US and EU sanctions, Kalashnikov Group may be dead on arrival.
The brand’s slick new video can be seen below. Yes, it is in Russian. No, I cannot translate.