Modeled after the Russian AK-104, KUSA’s new KR-104 SBR is about as close as you can get to an original in the U.S.
Designed for export in the mid-1990s, the Russian AK-100 series took the proven AK-74M and modified its manufacturing process to facilitate greater interchangeability of parts and new configurations. One of the most beloved designs from this family is the AK-104, a carbine version chambered for 7.62x39mm with a 12.25-inch barrel. Both compact and ballistically competent, many AK-lovers consider this to be one of the best Kalashnikov variants ever made. Americans who wished to own one of these in the past were mostly limited to custom-built guns, but they’ve just become far more obtainable with KUSA’s release of the KR-104 SBR.
Without getting lost in the weeds of debating AK build quality, Kalashnikov USA is generally considered to be the best domestic producer of AK-type firearms. Compared to an original AK-104, the only real differences between the two are their markings and the original’s select-fire capabilities. As a factory SBR, the KR-104 even includes the proper side-folding stock out of the box. The only potential downside of this is that as an NFA item, one must file and receive approval on an ATF Form 4 before taking it home with you. With the recent addition of Form 4 to the eForm system, however, the waiting times will hopefully soon be similar to that of Form 1s.
The KR-104 features a forged bolt carrier and front trunnion, and its barrel is hammer-forged and chrome-lined as well. It accepts standard AKM-pattern pistol grips and handguards, and it includes a cleaning rod and side optic rail. Additionally, each rifle includes one 30-round polymer KUSA magazine that was also modeled after the original Russian pattern.
The KR-104 SBR has an MSRP of $1,399 and offers an excellent balance between size and performance, with its short barrel being just long enough to not compromise 7.62x39mm’s ballistic efficacy. The SBR version is available now, but many are hoping that KUSA will eventually release a pistol version as well for those who don’t want to deal with the NFA. Others still are waiting for the eventual release of KUSA’s AK-105 clone, which would be the same as the KR-104 only chambered for 5.45x39mm.
For more on Kalashnikov USA, please visit kalashnikov-usa.com.
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