first published on January 23, 2016 by Matt Silvey
During my week in Las Vegas for SHOT Show, I saw a LOT of guns, but only a few that I saw were “new” designs. There were three examples of a new design that I really wanted to get my hands on, but sadly they were locked up behind glass, and sadly I only got pictures of two of them. One of the beauties of having a media pass for the show is that the reps in the booth are often a little more inclined to spend some time with you, and that proved true in the Kalashnikov USA booth as well.
The Kalashnikov ALFA is a (bitchin’ looking) new design based on the venerable AK platform. I shared a picture of it on my Instagram page from the show floor and a number of the comments I received echoed my initial impression; it looks like the offspring of an AK and either a FN SCAR, or a Remington ACR.
I was instantly attracted to this gun, and wanted more information, so I asked. I was told that it has a fully polymer lower, a monolithic top rail (which I already noticed) and that the charging handle could be swapped from side to side allowing the rifle to be fully ambidextrous. Since I could not see the right side of any of the 3 guns they had, I will have to take his word that the fire control was indeed ambidextrous. He also told me that the stock allowed for length of pull and cheek weld adjustments, which was also immediately visible. Sadly, aside from those minor notes, the rep could not give me any solid information, and some of the information he gave me was wrong.
When I asked what, if any, parts it shared in common with a standard AK, he initially told me that the bolt and bolt carrier were standard, but when I pointed out that the bolt handle on an AK bolt carrier cannot be swapped side to side, he recanted and said that the bolt carrier was not. He could not tell me if it used standard AK mags, if the trigger was standard AK, what pricing might be, or a potential projected release date. After I asked a few questions that he could not answer, he directed me to the opposite side of the booth where they had another new product, also locked up behind glass.
On the opposite wall were three examples of their new 9mm AK variant, the KR-9, which appears to be their semi-auto take on the Russian Vityaz. There were three different versions on display; a rifle, pistol, and an SBR. Again I found myself intrigued, and wanting to fondle, but just as before, I was let down as the only samples they had were the three locked up under glass. Similarly, the information I received from the rep was of similar quality as that from the ALPHA, in that everything he told me could be seen just by looking at the guns. The one and only question I asked about these guns seemed to stump the rep. I asked if the magazines were proprietary, to which he replied no. Based on his answer, I asked what seemed like a logical follow up question, what gun does it share magazines with? He gave me a perplexed look. I clarified my question by asking if it used MP-5 mags, or some other 9mm sub-gun to which he responded it used its own magazines that were not from some other gun (in other words, proprietary). Also as with the ALPHA, no pricing or projected release dates.
Sadly, as I left the booth wanting to play with the guns I had just seen, but not touched, I had more questions than I had answers. I spoke to a number of other folks who had similar experiences in the very same booth, so it was not just me. In fact, I returned to the booth later trying to find anything brochure-like on either gun, and as I stood there, Eric from IraqVeteran8888 was filming his comments on the ALFA, and what I heard him saying while I was there echoed my sentiments. Lots of neat looking stuff, very little information.