AKers I've kinda noticed that this section of FTF has been kinda simmering lately and there's been a lot of similar questions asked by mostly "new to AK" members and some of the answers given have been somewhat biased and/or slightly inaccurate, (not necessarily a bad thing, we all love what's ours ) I'd like to have a thread for the folks interested in AKs, new or experienced AKers in order to gather information and share opinions for the purpose of learning. Whether its for buying or building your first AK or modifying one you already own. I've been around AKs for over 10 years and am still learning certain quirks and improvements and I LOVE IT! I'm gonna share some info. I hope it's correct for the most part. . . if not please PM me! AK Importation Business: Today's AKs are imported form various communist countries mostly Romanian, Bulgarian, Yugoslavian or thereabouts. For importation purposes the original gun's receiver is torched in half after removal of internal parts and shipped to the U.S. as a parts kit. These kits are rebuilt with an American made receiver and fitted with the original parts. The receiver is stamped with the country of origin and the importer. So if you have a receiver that is stamped Cugir, (The Romanian arms factory) it is only because the importer here did so. EXCEPTION all Saiga rifles and the rare collectible but still can be found "pre-ban" AKs. These were mostly Chinese (Norinco, Chi-Com) with very few exceptions. All Romanian imports during the ban years were fitted with the thumb-hole stocks and mag wells accepted only a single 10 round mag. Today: The (always questionable) difference in quality depends on who builds it here. Century Arms International is the (or one of the) biggest importers/assemblers of AKs and variants. Some people think they have sloppy craftsmanship and low quality. I will say that the rifles are plain, sometimes scratched up and rough looking, BUT every CAI imported AK I've shot has performed flawlessly! AND they can be polished up pretty nice. Stain/varnish furniture and Gunkote metal, add a fancy muzzle brake and a couple other extras, curved plate retainer and BOOM you got a great AK. Some feel the need to venture towards the custom aspect of AK-ism and turn to the likes of Arsenal, Krebs, Lancaster or many other great builders. 99% of the time these guns do shoot more accurately out of the box (and are prettier ) when compared with that of a CAI or other type of larger production builder. However, they will cost you 2-5X that of a baseline AK. As far as the two calibers 7.62 x 39mm vs. 5.45 x 39mm. They are both great in different ways. 5.45 is cheaper, less recoil and faster/more accurate. It has earned a nickname as the "Poison" bullet because it tumbles in soft tissue quite effectively. However, has little reloading potential, steel cased and is at least mildly corrosive, even if labeled otherwise. Also this ammo is ALL of foreign production and if you chose this caliber you will be completely dependent on foreign supply, so my advise would be to get a lifetime supply NOW!!! The 7.62 is also a great round as well. It can be found for ~$225 per 1000 rounds for mil-surp (sometimes even brass) or Wolf, up to $350 for quality American made re-loadable brass ammo. Reloading capabilities are extensive. This bullet is know for it's ability for penetrating material such as light armor and cinder block. There are many commercial and quality American makers of this cartridge and the bullet is .30 caliber, which also opens the door in the case of a shooter wanting to re-barrel their AK, either in the case of desired accuracy improvement or simply being "shot out". The best part of the 7.62 version IMO MAGAZINES GALORE!!! There is so much available quality mags right now for this gun. Everything from your standard 30 and 40 rounders to 75 round drums. Get 'em while they're hot! Get extra springs too. You never know when you won't be able to. Pretty vs. Tactical: Many AKers are dead set of their AK being historically and geographically accurate to the point of obsession. This would include, but is not limited to furniture tone, stock lamination and length, hand-guard contour, muzzle brake type, etc. Then there are the folks that want telescoping stocks, accessory rails, red dot sights, accessory rails, quick mag detach or whatever else you can dream up. I fall somewhere in between. I LOVE the traditional look of an AK, but I am also all about function. So I try to utilize a bit of both when I put together or accessorize my AKs. All in All: The AK 47 is a magical piece of firearms history that is still alive today. It is the most durable, reliable, rugged rifle ever made. Its versatility in appearance and function is unmatched. No matter what your taste or flavor in firearms is, you can find a spot in your heart (arsenal) for an AK.