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A farewell to arms

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Than fill emptying shelves of gun shops

The market for civilian firearms (GSO) is compressed because of sanctions and economic turmoil. “Foreign” gradually disappear from the shelves, and the large Russian arms are not yet able to fill the freed niches. But expand the range and increase the output of small private producers of weapon-tuning.

Turkish share

Foreign stamps at gun shops. Last summer it was not so noticeable — stocks were quite large, but now the shelves are beginning to empty. This particularly affected the so-called 3V — Benelli, Beretta, Browning. It’s not just the sanctions, as not all imported weapons (even from EU countries) came under the restrictions imposed by Washington and Brussels. For example, the Italian guns, holding before the crisis, the upper middle price segment, is still imported.

“The Italians showed some independence and never ceased to supply its own smooth-bore hunting and sporting weapons, said the weapons expert, chief editor of the magazine “Kalashnikov” Mikhail Degtyarev. — They are motivated by the fact that military action is a weapon by definition has nothing to do”.

They were and some Austrian company. For example, the famous optics manufacturer Swarovski has continued to cooperate with Russia, despite sanctions. While its German competitors Leica and Zeiss fulfilled the requirements of his government and stopped the shipment of products. The German bureaucrats did even more than was required by the conditions of sanctions, banning the export of goods, not formally embargoed. Now German manufacturers appeal to this fact and demand to cancel the unjustified bans.

The main factor in the decline of sales of Italian companies was the economic crisis and the decline of the ruble against the dollar and the Euro. As a result of popular models of the brand Benelli in comparison with the year 2013 went up by about 100-150 thousand rubles.



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The double world champion in practical shooting from a gun 2015 Vsevolod Ilyin with “Saiga 12 ver. 340”

Photo: Vsevolod Ilyin page in Facebook


However, the heaviest on the market of civilian firearms can hit the complication of relations between Moscow and Ankara — that Turkey was the main supplier of high-quality and affordable hunting rifles. According to expert estimates, the country annually imported to Russia 20-30 thousand units alone semi-automatic shotguns. “Turks” dominated in the segment of semi-automatic shotguns. With them, according to Degtyareva, competed only domestic MP-153 and MP-155 Izhevsk mechanical plant, and “Snipes” from VPMZ “the Hammer”, because other “foreign cars” were significantly more expensive. Soon after the destruction of the Russian su-24 in Syria, the Turkish arms import has been discontinued; it is still there on the shelves, but the inventory is swiftly shrinking.

The cartridge of contention

The Turkish piece of the pie, in addition to IMZ and “Hammer”, could claim the companies from China and Brazil — some of the Russian importers are already trying to work in this direction. But the weapons from China yet enjoys the reputation of reliable, but the Brazilians have some problems with the range: there are popular so-called pump-action guns, and the Russians prefer semi-automatic (one “pump” we have sold about 10 machines). In addition, as noted weapons expert Maxim Popenker, in the early 2000s, Russian companies, working with the Turkish producers have spent many forces and means to promote and create a positive image of Turkish weapons. This process took several years. A similar effort against the Brazilians and the Chinese, he said, is not yet taken.

In the threaded segment of definite advantage from the sanctions received Czech brand CZ (Ceska Zbrojovka) is the main product are rifled carbines economy. The demand for them, according to expert estimates, fell the least. Plus part of the target audience, first focused on expensive weapons, probably will pay attention to more cheap carabiners. Very time arrived new product from Russian company “Orsis” — budget hunting rifle Orsis 120 worth about 60 thousand rubles.



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The hunting rifle Orsis 120

Photo: orsis.com


The trend, according to Maxim Popenker, is that many will move to Russian rifles. An important argument will be the price of the imported cartridges, which now ranges from 50 to 300 rubles and above. First of all it is important for those who use guns for sports and recreational shooting — in this category the owners of the greatest shooting practice and the most common calibers of weapons. “Domestic “saiga” can easily be used as a Finnish or American, and domestic cartridges, says Maxim Popenker. — Yes, with our will shoot a little worse, but if in the same AR-15, especially with some precision barrel, will begin to push the Russian cartridges, in the best case there will be disappointment in accuracy, and at worst — problems of delays and resources.”

Country “Kalashnikov”

This situation hope to take advantage of the Russian manufacturers of civil “strelkovka”, which also suffered from the sanctions. As reported by “the Ribbon.ru” in the Kalashnikov concern, nearly 80 percent of the civilian rifle products the company supplied to the U.S. market. “Even with restrictions and a ban on the largest civilian market [U.S.] sales of the bonds in real terms has declined slightly from 42 958 units in 2013 to 36 805 units in 2015, — said General Director of “Kalashnikov” Alexey Krivoruchko. But in value terms the growth of sales of the state security service of the concern in 2015 relative to 2013 amounted to 46.5%”. The concern has increased deliveries of civilian weapons to countries in the Asia-Pacific region, South-West Asia and the CIS, and also increased its share in key segments of the market of civilian weapons in Russia (the growth of sales in value terms by the end of 2015 amounted to 24 per cent).

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Self-loading rifle “saiga 12K 030 use”

Photo By Petr Kassin / Kommersant

According to Krivoruchko, the sanctions have prompted the company to more rapid development of the line GEO and the launch of new products. In 2015 Kalashnikov launched a series of long-awaited carbine “saiga 9” pistol in caliber 9×19 “Parabellum” and “the Saiga 5,45” in army caliber 5,45 x39 mm. last year the market received the new gun “saiga 12” in the performance of the 340, developed in cooperation with athletes of the Federation of practical shooting. In March 2016, the group expects to launch serial production of smooth-bore “Saiga 030” with a short barrel (same weapon under the name HPE-205-03 manufactured at the plant “Molot”). Today the main activities of the restyling of the products, for example, modernisation of hunting carbines “bars” and “Elk”. In addition, the decision about the preparation of the production of classic hunting semiautomatic “red deer”. It is expected that he will be able to partially replace similar weapons brands Benelli, Browning, Merkel. Finally, the “Kalashnikov” promises to start production long ago announced the “Saiga-107” — carbine with balanced automatics.

“In 2016 the volume of sales in real terms are going to increase not less than in 1,5 times, — said the General Director of “Kalashnikov”. — For 2016, the concern should complete development work on 20 projects and prepare production to serial production of not less than 10 new products for military and civil purposes”.

The order for Obama

But was quicker to the changing market conditions have reacted the manufacturers of components for weapons of tuning (muzzle brakes, compensators, tactical fore-end and rifle butts, adapters for the installation on AK butts type AR-15, tools, etc). Usually, this small private company, independently developing products and placing orders for other companies.

“Obama should give the order “For merits before Fatherland” for sanctions, — says Nikolay Gorbunov, Director of the company “Zenit” (one of the largest manufacturers of tactical flashlights and rifle butts and Zevi for the AK platform). — Our sales since the imposition of sanctions significantly increased. We want them to be continued.” However, more detailed information about the growth of their company’s sales leader “Zenith” has not provided.

His colleagues are more cautious in their assessments. “One would predict a significant decline in the demand for products for tuning, but the demand is not falling, and in some segments even growing, — said Pavel Morozov, founder of Armacon (produces adapters for installation of butt stocks AR-15 to the AK platform, as well as “tactical” rifle butts and tools). — Even the most leisurely of our colleagues realized that the time has come when we must develop and invest in production.” The problem, he said, that the company directly executing orders, as a rule, work on one direction: only metal, only the application of coatings, only the packaging etc. as a result, In the manufacture of a product involves three or four different companies.

Especially difficult is the situation with the production of plastic products. “One of the key and most expensive units — the manufacture of molds, — says the founder of the firm Pufgun Igor Kazakov. — In Russia to manufacture molds for shops, no one can. We looked at a dozen companies, but this has proved impossible — work with foreign partners”. The company produced plastic shops for rifles based on the AR-15, but after the cessation of production in Russia was reoriented on release of stores for the “Saiga 9”. Now Pufgun is going to start production shops for rifles based on AK of all calibres, and manufacture of rubber-coated plastic handles and rifle butts.

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