One of the more interesting design tweaks to come out of Russia in the last few years is the new Saiga-9 rifle, a 9mm version of the iconic AK-47 design. We’d only seen pre-production pictures of the gun before now, but as promised the rifle showed up at IWA this year and I was glad I was on the scene. So naturally, I grabbed it and fondled furiously. And you know what? I really like it . . .
There’s not a whole lot of information out about the gun yet, but it’s obviously an effort to produce a pistol caliber carbine that uses the same manual of arms and cleaning procedures as the main infantry rifle. They have a pistol caliber AK already (the Bizon) but it uses an odd circular magazine and so switching back and forth might be problematic.
In my hands, the rifle just feels…right. It’s nice and lightweight, and inserting and removing the magazines feels solid. It seems like a well-built gun, and all of the operating bits feel exactly like a normal AK-pattern rifle. The integrated rail along the top of the receiver cover is a nice touch as well, but there’s an accessory rail along the side if you want to use your more traditional AK bolt-on accessories.
In short, it seems like a good product. Heck, I’d buy one. But the pricing hasn’t been announced yet — and neither has US availability. Stay tuned.