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The first semiauto commercial AK rifles to enter the US were Finnish Valmets. These established a US collector interested but while excellent in quality, they did not quite fit the visual pattern of the classic Sino-Soviet military Kalashnikov. The first of those to find its way into the US was the Egyptian Maadi, a Russian rifle made under license in Egypt, and imported by Steyr. The explosion of interest in the Maadi guns was tempered by their high price, and it became clear that a low-cost historical military-pattern AK would be very popular.
One of the first companies to react to this opportunity was Poly Technologies (Polytech) of Beijing, China. They arranged manufacture of a semiautomatic only commercial copy of the Chinese military Type 56 AK first by Factory 416 in Shan Dong and later by factory 386 in Fu Jian to bring into the US. First in 5.56mm and quickly followed by 7.62x39mm, these were high quality rifles at half the price or less than the Egyptian Maadis. They were offered in fixed stock and underflowing patterns, with an underflowing spike bayonet unique to Polytech imports. Two different side-folding stock were also offered, although in smaller numbers. Importation would last for only a few year, cut off by the 1989 Assault Weapon Import Ban.
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At Forgotten Weapons I think the most interesting guns out there are the most obscure ones. I try to search out experimental and prototype weapons and show you how they work, in addition to more conventional guns that you may not have heard of before. You’re much more likely to find a video on the Cei Rigotti or Webley-Fosbery here than an AR or Glock. So, do you want to learn about something new today? Then stick around!