Destructive Devices Industries has been teasing friends and fans for months with photos of their all-American AKs in the works. Destructive Devices Industries — DDI for sort — currently makes AKs, but these will be a little different. These rifles will be built on military-grade or better components including U.S.-made hammer-forged bolts, bolt carriers, and trunnions.
These first guns will be built on stamped receivers but DDI has plans to transition to milled hammer-forged receivers in the future. The company plans to launch with three models this September, one with a fixed stock and two side-folders. Buyers will have the choice of standard or triangle folding stocks.
DDI isn’t the first company that can claim to make American-made AK-pattern firearms. But it’s common practice for some of these builders to make guns using military surplus components and other mix-and-match parts — even DDI has used imported parts for some of their firearms. Like a lot of practices, some companies are better at this than others.
Another practice floating around the AK world is the use of cast components. Metal casting and metal-injection molding are used a fair bit in firearms manufacturing but not so much with AKs. If it’s done right it can be problem-free but a lot of people have reported issues with AK-pattern guns built using cast parts.
The use of surplus parts, parts kits and cast components in AK construction doubles as a cost-cutting measure. Like any other cost-cutting solutions, they run the risk of running into problems down the line. While there are plenty of people with budget AKs that have never had any trouble with their guns, it’s not hard to find examples of these guns failing, hard.
The use of used or surplus components and cast parts has become customary in AK manufacturing in order to compete with foreign manufacturers. Russia, in particular, was able to export Saiga-branded AKs to the U.S. where they sold for a fraction of the price a domestic manufacturer could compete with.
Thanks to recent sanctions against the Russian arms industry these inexpensive yet well-made guns have become scarce in the U.S. American AK prices are creeping up so there’s still pressure to deliver low-cost options to the AK market, even as many buyers have sworn off these cheaper options.
DDI is doing something different by starting with premium components. In addition to being hammer-forged these parts will undergo magnetic particle testing to check for flaws or deformities in the parts. The 4150 steel barrels are made by Green Mountain, a very well-respected barrel manufacturer.
The barrels will sport a nitride finish and the guns will be treated with KG Gun Kote Protective Finish. DDI’s fixed stock AKs are expected to have an $999 MSRP. The models with folding stocks will run $100 more, but real-world prices are expected to be less across the board.
DDI’s goal is lofty — to create the best-made AKs in the world — but not out of reach. By combining American engineering, materials, and quality control DDI is hoping to set a new standard in the AK world.