SOCOM Looking to U.S. Gun Makers for AKs, Dragunov SVDs and More

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Vitaly V. Kuzmin dragunov svd

These iconic rifles have a slim chance to see production in America.

The United States Special Operations Command or USSOCOM or just SOCOM is looking to buy a whole bunch of AKs and more. What’s really interesting is that they’re asking American companies to step forward with U.S.-made versions of these guns, opening the door to domestic production of the iconic Dragunov SVD.

While SOCOM is also considering foreign manufacturers in friendly foreign countries, this market research request is to price out American 7.62x39mm AKs, RPDs and RPKs, along with 7.62x54mmR designated marksman’s rifes–not limited to SVDs but also PSL-type rifles and even Mosin M91-type rifle–along with some heavier hardware including 12.7mm and 14.5mm machine guns.

1280px-Kord_machine_gun_Interpolitex-2011_01

A 12.7mm Kord machine gun (Vitaly V. Kuzmin/Wikipedia)

“The U.S. Government is performing Market Research to identify responsible sources within the national technology and industrial base who have the skills, experience, and knowledge required to successfully produce non-standard weapons,” explains the official Sources Sought request.

These guns will be used by SOCOM to train and equip friendly forces in conflict zones where these types of guns are common. Exactly which forces the military has in mind for these guns has not been disclosed. The U.S. has supplied security forces in Afghanistan and Iraq and Kurdish forces across the Middle East.

Supplying fighters with “non-standard weapons” as opposed to those commonly used by our military makes sense as they can be simpler to use and maintain and these forces already have a familiarity with them. Most importantly, these guns make more sense logistically, using easier-to-find and inexpensive local ammunition.

The idea is to supply these fighters while putting tax dollars straight back into the U.S. economy. Speaking to the Tampa Bay Times, SOCOM spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Matt Allen said “a U.S.-based source would be a good use of taxpayer funds, while also delivering the weapons our partners not only need to fight extremists, but also the ones they know how to use, know how to fix and have the supplies in their regions to maintain.”

See Also: Russia Hints at SVD Replacement (That We’ll Never Get to Shoot)

While the idea of building AKs and other “non-standard weapons” domestically supports American interests at home and overseas at the same time, there is one major hurdle U.S.-based builders will have to deal with: cost. Foreign manufacturers can realistically supply these guns to-spec for much less than what they cost to make in America.

Foreign small arms manufacturers have the machinery, expertise and inexpensive labor to make AKs and the other weapons sought at more than competitive prices. “The factories around the world set up to do that are doing it with dirt-cheap labor,” said Mark Surbu, founder and president of Serbu Arms. “I don’t know how to compete here. I am surprised they are trying to do that. It doesn’t make sense.”

American manufacturers have one advantage, their ability to meet production demands. It may seem counter-intuitive, but as tensions increase in the Middle East, manufacturers in friendly nations are already at or near their production capacity. Manufacturers in Bulgaria, Romania and Poland have suspended or limited commercial production in order to meet demand for military and security forces.

It seems unlikely for the military to turn to Russian or Chinese manufacturers to produce these weapons as the U.S. has sanctions in place against both country’s arms industries, and it would be no small conflict of interest. Finding a manufacturer at home, while more expensive, could still be a better option at this time.

{ 21 comments… add one }
  • Nolan June 27, 2016, 12:14 am

    Ragheads in the middle east are very knowledgeable about AK-47s. Obummer wants to have a large supply for them when he brings them over to use against us. He wants to supply them with AKs and take our ARs away from us. He needs to bwe arrested, tried and hung!

  • ejharb June 26, 2016, 2:22 pm

    Probably in everybody’s mind but I can see it now! Obama arms,suppliers of weapons to the caliphate! Must say Allah akbar when pulling trigger.

  • John June 24, 2016, 9:14 pm

    This to arm the foreign fighters who are now secretly invading our country per order of Obama.
    Obama-nation is directly responsible here.
    Beware to all who may consider helping in this charade.

  • Dave June 24, 2016, 8:00 pm

    Hey, we’ve got Mexico labor prices! Screw the wall, just annex the place then it’s one of ours. I’ve always believed that we should take over Baja California and make it a state!

  • markr June 24, 2016, 5:42 pm

    why don’t they just lift the ban on importing foreign weapons and they would have all they would ever need.

  • Nemo June 24, 2016, 1:36 pm

    I am reminded of all those former CommBloc weapons that the US military allowed to fall into the hands of Iraqi irregulars thanks to not being collected when they had the chance. And now they want American firms to make AKs? What’s wrong with this picture? (Oh, and the desired AKs will be full auto; can’t have Americans having that kind of firepower while potential terrorists will. And mark my words, that is usually what happens.)

  • Freedom Bird June 24, 2016, 12:33 pm

    SOCOM should look at the Philippines for manufacture of these guns. The small arms industry there has the capability and its labor is a fraction of US counterparts.
    Having used/owned both AR and AK I don’t see the difficulty to use/maintain and AR versus an AK as described in this article. During VN war, the VC and NVA used both US and com-bloc weapons without issues. They even converted Thompson and M3 subs in their jungle machine shops to chamber Com-bloc cartridges.
    Many Iraqi and Kurdish troops nowadays are armed with US M4, M240 and even Milan anti-tank weapon. They obviously have no problem maintaining and operating these weapons.

  • brad idea June 24, 2016, 10:17 am

    Socom is where some think tanks reside preparing for our next major conflicts . Is it possible they are data mining to see and map future players more accurately for just that ?

  • Just1Spark June 24, 2016, 9:56 am

    In unrelated news, SOCOM is also wanting to ship snowcones to the North Pole.

  • GaryGary June 24, 2016, 9:37 am

    This is OLD news that came out June 10 ! How about late breaking stuff ???

  • Martin Mancuso June 24, 2016, 9:31 am

    There has not been one decent 100% US made AK to hit the market yet! To do it right a US company would have to purchase the technical package from a licensed manufacturer overseas. I don’t see it happening. Oh how I wish it happen!

    • Mark Vandagriff June 24, 2016, 10:22 am

      I happen to own an American hybrid AK that works just fine. Just enough American to beat the Clinton gun ban when it was in effect. The only problem with the AK design is the short sight radius and nasty stock length and angle. How the gun functions mechanically is flawless.

  • Ordinary Joe June 24, 2016, 9:23 am

    It makes sense to equip our forces with these weapons if the country we invade is already set up with sufficient ammo supplies. That would be one less logistical item to be concerned with. Much like picking up ammo in computer games.

  • DSM June 24, 2016, 7:18 am

    This makes no sense in that the world is flooded with these weapons already. Go to Africa, pick a country, literally any country, and trade them our surplus corn for all the AKs their little hearts desire. Fly them to wherever you want. If you’re worried about “job creation” then contract out somebody to DTI and repair them. Tell Ms. Feinstein it’s about taking guns off the streets and she’ll fund the snot out of it.

    • Ordinary Joe June 24, 2016, 9:20 am

      They don’t want our GMO Corn.

      • fnnuguy June 25, 2016, 8:16 am

        Let them eat the pig shit then!

  • Dan F. June 24, 2016, 7:10 am

    So, if we have to manufacture the guns we intend to TRAIN indigenous forces with, at triple the price, what do we plan to supply them with? Meanwhile, we\’re chopping up surplus American weapons. Sounds like somebody wants to spread some pork.

  • jimmy June 24, 2016, 6:12 am

    socom sucks

  • jimmy June 24, 2016, 6:12 am

    fuck socom

  • Bisley June 24, 2016, 5:52 am

    This doesn’t make any sense — there must be some political component to this that we’re not being told. There must still be manufacturers in eastern Europe who have the tooling to produce these things (or something very similar), and would love to have the business. There’s no way a US firm could start from scratch without a long-term contract for a great many guns, and quite some time to get set up — and they still couldn’t compete on price.

    • American June 24, 2016, 10:35 am

      Valmet made an AK Why bother the AR/M16 is a much better weapon.Never heard just an idea back in the 1940’s.USE American ideas and tools.

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