An AK-pattern-ish rifle that takes STANAG 5.56 magazines, and does so fresh from the factory? Where do I sign?
Unfortunately they are not likely to be imported any time soon, and will not be imported in general in that configuration (specifically the presence of the pistol grip, and possibly the existence of >10-round magazines), but, still, that is a very interesting development indeed. At least to me; my Saiga-12 has shown me that there is actually a lot to appreciate on the AK platform, but not quite enough for me to abandon my rather significant investment in .223 ammunition and magazines. I still plan on pursuing a .223 Saiga in the near future (in fact, some of the profit from the t-shirt sales will probably be applied to a build from Snake Hound Machine), but I am going to see if he would be willing to shove a Magnolia State Armory AR2KU223 magazine adapter* into it, simply because AK-pattern .223 magazines are stupidly expensive.
Still, it is interesting to see Molot/Izhmash bow to the inevitable and recognize the pervasiveness of AR-15 / M-16 style magazines… especially since one of their biggest markets is America.
(* – Is that not a nifty toy? I stumbled across it while looking at the original .223 VEPR designs, and while I cannot say I am a huge fan of "adapters" when it comes to firearms, it does not make any modifications to the firearm that would prevent it from using standard AK-pattern .223 magazines in the future**, which, in turn, only increases the flexibility of the firearm. It is kind of a shame something similar could not be easily executed for the standard AK-pattern rifles in 7.62x39mm, but, as I look at case dimensions and such, it almost seems like .300 Whisper or 7.62x40mm Wilson Tactical could maybe work (the bullet diameters are about 0.1mm too narrow, and I am honestly not sure if that would matter). Why would you do such a thing? Because you could.)
(** – Apparently modifications to the trunnion – the big block at the back of the receiver responsible for holding the stock on – are necessary… which is why I want someone with a little experience in AKs doing the modifications, assuming Owen is willing to do such a bastardization.)