WBP: New Polish AKs With Humble Beginnings

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WBP AK rifles and pistols are some of the only available imported AKs in the US right now. Are they on par with the likes of Zastava and Cugir? Or are they merely commercial-grade AKs with an inflated reputation?

Who Is WBP?

  • Commercial AK manufacturer from Rogów, Poland.
  • Have supplied commercial and military customers.
  • Two basic models of WBP AKs currently imported by Arms Of America.
  • Less common than Zastava or Cugir AKs, and command a higher price.

While Poland obviously has a long history of producing Kalashnikov rifles due to their membership in the Warsaw Pact, WBP is not directly part of that history.

WBP Jack select-fire rifle.
WBP Jack select-fire rifle.

Based out of Rogów, Poland, WBP began as a refurbisher of AK rifles for the Polish commercial market. They started producing individual parts as needed to supplement their refurbishing business until they eventually had the capacity to manufacture nearly complete rifles.

They are a relatively new kid on the AK block, having produced complete AKM rifles for just over 10 years now. Unlike Zastava in Serbia or Cugir in Romania, WBP is not a state-run military arsenal. For Poland that honor goes to FB Radom, a name you’ve likely heard before. FB Radom is the Polish government’s primary producer of military rifles, having made everything from licensed AK-47 and AKM copies to AKs of their own design like the Tantal and Beryl (as well as other non-AK weapons).

FB Radom Mini Beryl.
FB Radom Beryl. Photo:Wikipedia

While WBP may be not be a historical, state-run factory, it does have an active relationship with FB Radom. This lends them credibility over other commercial AK manufacturers who are completely on their own. So, now that WBP guns are some of the only available imported AKs on the US market, what should you know about them?

Milspec Standards

Despite not being a state-run factory built during the Soviet days, WBP makes a serious effort to match the quality of established AK “brands”. While its first guns were purely for the commercial market, WBP has supplied various armed forces across the globe. Militaries, police, and security contractors from the Middle East, Asia, and Africa have purchased WBP select-fire AKs. While they are not the issued service weapon of any nation’s army, they are certainly used in areas of unrest.

Theoretically, some of these guns could have been floating around hotspots and seeing action for over 10 years now. While impressive, the real test of a Kalashnikov’s quality is whether those same rifles will be in working order 50-plus years from now, something that is commonplace for Soviet-produced AKs. Plenty of old Polish AKs made by FB Radom have survived through to the present day as well, so their quality should not be in question. Considering that WBP guns use barrels produced by FB Radom, that means that at least one component is of true Mil-Spec quality.

It is true that many misunderstand the quality implied by the term Mil-Spec. People often use it without understanding that it means “as cheap as possible while still being good enough,” because that’s how governments operate. While many commercially available AR-15s far surpass Mil-Spec in terms of quality, the same is generally not true for AKs. Because original AKs were produced in state-run arsenals, exclusively for military use, the rifle's reliability is essentially synonymous with Mil-Spec. There are some notable exceptions to this, like later-production Iraqi AKs. But as a rule of thumb Mil-Spec is better than commercial in the AK world.

The relationship between WBP and FB Radom is a two-way street. Not only do WBP guns use FB barrels (amongst other components), but WBP has also produced some parts for FB Radom guns as well. As FB Radom is a supplier of military contracts, the parts WBP produces for them are proofed in-house by a government inspector. While the WBP commercial guns are not proofed this way, it is safe to assume many of their components are made to the same level of quality.

Speaking of inspections, WBP does some of their own. They claim that each individual rifle is test-fired 30 times at the factory, far above the average of two or three. This is a positive, as it means they have about 28 more chances to catch a malfunction if there is one. It is also slightly concerning, or at least has the potential to be. Test firing a weapon this many times is unusual, and I can’t help but wonder if this practice arose due to an unacceptable number of defective rifles leaving the factory beforehand. Perhaps they are just being overzealous about defending their fledgling reputation. Either way, their rigorous testing should ensure you don’t end up with a lemon.

WBP also puts each new design through a 15,000-round endurance test. While that is only a fraction of the round count a true AK should be able to survive, this testing is much more than what most other commercial manufacturers perform.

Availability

WBP guns are currently imported exclusively through Arms of America. Like all other imported AKs, once they are stateside they undergo a conversion to bring them to standard spec. This process includes opening the magazine well from single-stack to double-stack, among other things.

There are two main AK configurations from WBP:  WBP Fox rifle and Mini Jack pistol. They are both basic AKM pattern guns available with a variety of furniture options.

While their numbers have ramped up the past couple of years, WBP AKs are nowhere near as prominent as either Zastava or Cugir guns. When they do come in stock, they typically sell out within several minutes due to high demand and low availability. Their price has been incrementally rising with each batch sold, and the last price-hike caused several to begin wondering if WBPs are still a good value.

WBP Mini Jack Pistol.
WBP Mini Jack Pistol, imported by Arms of America.

They are very photogenic AKs for sure. They have a military-style black painted finish and a bolt carrier that’s been left in the white. The wood furniture made by Atlantic pairs with it nicely to give the rifle a classic Soviet AK look. But are aesthetics enough to justify the hefty price tag? Their performance so far seems on par with any other imported AK. In and of itself, this is a big achievement for a company with commercial roots. But for those looking for a reliable AKM pattern rifle, WASRs are more available, cheaper, and come with the decades-long reputation of Cugir. They are also uglier than WBPs.

If you are willing to pay a few hundred dollars more for an AK with a nicer finish but a less-proven track record, then a WBP may be just the AK for you. It’s a bet on a horse that may end up losing or may end up winning. Years from now WBP guns may rank as objectively higher quality than WASRs. Until that day, American AK buyers will still have to make their choice between the tried and true Romanian beasts of burden and these new, pretty Polish options from WBP.

For more information on WBP, please visit wbprogow.com.

Note: Due to WBP being a new company, there is not a wealth of information available on them. One of the only valuable sources is YouTuber and AK expert William “Misha” Trotter, who interviewed a WBP employee over email and published the answers in a 2018 video. Some of the information here was learned through that video, so thank you to Misha for that and for all his other great work as well.


More Currently Imported AKs

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