AK47s for everyone? Kalashnikov sales double thanks to Middle-East

AK47s for everyone? Kalashnikov sales double thanks to Middle-East
The Russian manufacturer of the famous AK47 rifle has claimed - without providing financial figures - his company's sales doubled in 2016, mostly due to the Middle East market.
2 min read
23 February, 2017
Kalashnikov's AK47 rifle has become a ubiquitous image throughout any international armed conflict [AFP]

The Russian arms manufacturer, Kalashnikov, claimed that its sales doubled in 2016 - due almost entirely to an increase in sales to the Middle East.

The Middle East is now the company's biggest region for sales, offsetting any negative effects caused by US economic sanctions against Russia, the company's CEO said.

"Sales have doubled in 2016 with demand growing for weapons, drones and other products," Alexey Krivoruchko told Reuters at the International Defence Exhibition (Idex) in Abu Dhabi.

Due in part to Russia's increased involvement in the Middle East, Kalashnikov sought to reach new markets that would be unaffected by US' sanctions against Russian companies.

As a result, it has invested $182 million over three years from 2014 to 2017 to boost this market shift.

According to the CEO, the company will soon hire an extra 1500 employees to maintain production around the clock in order to meet a rise in production.

Kalashnikov most famous product is the now ubiquitous AK47 rifle - the typical weapon of choice for many armed fighters across the world.

Yet despite this steady market, Kalashnikov have looked to branch out into other deadly markets, including drones, artillery projectiles and precision weapons.

The AK47 rifle was designed in 1947 by the Soviet general, Mikhail Kalashnikov, for use in the Soviet army.

When asked in 2007 to comment on the loss of life caused by his invention, Kalashnikov was unrepentant.

"I sleep well. It's the politicians who are to blame for failing to come to an agreement and resorting to violence," he said.

According to Michael Hodges, author of "AK47: The Story of the People's Gun", there could be as many as 200m Kalashnikov rifles in the world, which is enough to arm one person in every 35.

Russia's President Putin has praised the rifle, calling it a "symbol of the creative genius of our people."