In the world of 7.62-millimeter rifles, Russian-made AKs and Veprs in particular—a group of AK-style variants produced by gunmaker Molot—are highly prized for their quality, durability and killer cool.
Veprs became even more coveted in 2014, when the Obama administration imposed sanctions on competitor Kalashnikov Concern following the Russian invasion and annexation of Crimea, halting that company’s exports to the United States.
Molot’s guns, however, remained legal to import. A buying frenzy nevertheless made them harder to come by, raising prices as other sources of Russian-made rifles dried up. Then three years later, the hammer of the U.S. government finally landed on Molot.
On June 20, 2017, the U.S. Treasury Department added Molot to its list of Ukraine-related sanctions “for operating in the arms or related material sector of the Russian Federation and for acting or purporting to act for on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Kalashnikov Concern,” the Treasury Department said in a statement.