Europe

AK-47 maker Kalashnikov gives rifles makeover

  • 3 December 2014
  • From the section Europe
Images of new-look Kalashnikov
Image caption The weapons manufacturer hopes its re-branded guns will attract foreign buyers

The Russian manufacturer of the AK-47 assault rifle has unveiled a new look for its guns, as well as a new logo, at a glitzy event in Moscow.

The company is also branching out into fashion, launching a line of branded survival gear.

The firm, which relies heavily on the export market, is among the targets of Western sanctions imposed over Russia's role in the Ukraine conflict.

The Kalashnikov, or AK-47, is one of the world's most recognisable weapons.

The gun is relatively cheap as well as easy to manufacture and maintain, contributing to its popularity with guerrilla forces and national armies in Asia and Africa.

It is thought that more than 100 million Kalashnikov rifles have been sold worldwide. The inventor of the rifle, Soviet Lt-Gen Mikhail Kalashnikov, died last year.

Image caption Kalashnikov designed the AK-47 after being wounded fighting for the Red Army

At Tuesday's event in Moscow, the manufacturer - now known as Kalashnikov Concern - revealed a new logo featuring the letters K and C.

Women in tight black dresses wandered around holding AK-47 ammunition cartridges, while an orchestra played patriotic Russian classics, the Moscow Times reported.

According to the website of Russia Today, the manufacturer also has two new slogans - "Protecting Peace" in English, and "Weapons of Peace" in Russian.

The company says it sold 140,000 guns in 2014 - double the figure for the previous year.

Kalashnikov CEO Alexei Krivoruchko said the firm intended to modernise production with a view to making 300,000 weapons annually by 2020.

Western sanctions have reportedly stalled an order for some 200,000 rifles intended for sale in the US and Canada.

"The US market was very important for us," the Moscow Times quoted Mr Krivoruchko as saying.

The sanctions have also led to the cancellation of a marketing campaign featuring Hollywood action hero Steven Seagal, Agence France-Presse reports.

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