Government Contract and Commercial Barrels for AK-47, AKM, AK-74, and Other Kalashnikov Firearm Designs
Vortakt Barrel Works has a well-developed reputation as a government subcontractor, supporting the firearm manufacturers that supply military and law enforcement agencies across the globe. Vortakt’s production support extends well beyond that of domestic service rifles, including the many governments and agencies that continue to operate AK pattern rifle designs. The most widely distributed platform in history with over 100 million firearms produced, a multitude of different variants and configurations will continue to be fielded by dozens of nations for many years to come.
What Makes Vortakt’s AK Style Barrels Different
Like any major platform design, the Kalashnikov family of barrels has its fair share of unique production requirements with the added caveat of price sensitivity. Many AK designs incorporate dimensional tolerances involving precision-ground surfaces, chamfered gas ports, and unique milling operations. There are anywhere between 3-5 diameters that need to be held within tenths (.000X”) because of the many difficult-to-fit subassemblies that require a perfect press fit like the trunnion, front/rear sight blocks, gas block, and handguard. On their new profiling CNC lathe, Vortakt integrated continuous in-process gauging with closed-loop feedback to eliminate secondary operations like grinding resulting in competitive pricing while holding even tighter tolerances. These best practices:
- Minimize number of setups
- Use of automation to load/unload barrels into profiling machine
- In process gauging
- Batching multiple orders to maximum economies of scale
- Eliminate the need for additional grinding and polishing operations
Historically, many AK manufacturers sorted and selected barrels based on their actual machined sizes compared to the mating parts. Hand-fitting was often required to ensure a proper fit. By holding extremely tight tolerances, Vortakt is able to eliminate the need for sorting barrels, reduce assembly time, and ensure a consistent press-fit each and every time. Vortakt is capable of producing barrels that match the precise tolerances outlined in the engineering drawings and design specifications required by domestic and foreign governments, as well as those demanded by commercial OEM’s.
Vortakt's use of automation technology and vertical integration set them apart in the competitive AK marketplace. Vortakt is able to replicate or exceed the production quantities delivered by legacy national arsenals, allowing for significant cost savings while delivering a finished product that consistently meets or exceeds the performance criteria requested by its clients.
Why Are Manufacturers Purchasing AK Components From US-Based Suppliers?
Historically the Kalashnikov platform has been supported by national arsenals producing these firearms for domestic and foreign military use. Many of these organizations continue to manufacture these firearms using legacy Soviet-era tooling, machinery, and surplus parts kits.
Due in part to the changing geopolitical and technological landscape, there has recently been a movement toward insourcing the production of Kalashnikov components to subcontractors within the United States. While the economic factors behind this trend are complicated, a number of the below variables have been tied to increased prices and reduced availability of surplus parts and barrels for the AK platform:
- A high level of demand for Eastern Bloc rifle designs across the commercial market space
- Cold War stockpiles are beginning to dwindle
- Arms embargoes and sanctions have been enacted on major suppliers
- Unrest and instability are prevalent among many of the former Eastern Bloc nations
- Disruption of the post-pandemic global supply chain
- Automation technology has driven down the cost of US domestic production
- Many suppliers have discontinued production support for legacy firearm designs
- Legacy tooling and machinery have been phased into obsolescence
To learn more about Vortakt’s barrel production capabilities and government contract services, request a quote today.