Is This The Greatest 'Arb' In The World?

Tyler Durden's picture

Since it first entered service with the Soviet army in 1948, the AK-47 and its derivatives have become the world's most widely used assault rifles.

As Statista's Niall McCarty writes, in his book "AK47: The Story of The People's Gun", author Michael Hodges estimates that there are as many as 200 million Kalashnikov rifles in circulation, one for every 35 people on earth. Its popularity among soldiers, criminals and militants is primarily due to its cheap price, durability, reliability and sheer simplicity.

However, while demand may be high, prices vary dramatically... which gave us an idea.

Infographic: The Cost Of An AK-47 On The Black Market  | Statista

You will find more statistics at Statista

200 different types of Kalashnikov are produced in at least 30 countries with vast quantities of rifles turning up in trouble spots all over world, especially in Africa. The AK rifles used in the Paris attacks at Charlie Hebdo and the Bataclan theater were purchased in Belgium and traced back to the Balkans (and to Serbia in particular). Given that the AK-47 is at the center of the illegal ams trade (worth an estimated $1.7 to $3.5 billion every year), how much would one cost on the black market?

A recent report from Global Financial Integrity has shed light on the cost of an illegally-procured AK-47 in several selected countries. Somebody seeking one in Pakistan could pay $148 for a locally produced version or $1,200 for the real deal. In Belgium, where the Paris attackers obtained their guns, an AK-47 has an average pricetag of $1,135. It's also possible to find AK-type rifles through the darknet and they can cost anywhere from $2,800 to $3,600.

So, is buying AK-47s in Afghanistan and selling them online via the Dark Web, the greatest globalization 'arb' ever? Or simply the correct risk-premium for life-threatening procurement costs and jail-threatening sales anxiety?

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Richard Chesler's picture

Read in Gartman's douchebaggy voice - We have no choice but to follow the “lead” and to be bullish of AK-47's. To make it simple we shall return to our original thesis regarding the Trump Adminisration and defer to Silicon Valley rather than the “Kabul Valley” ; that is, we’ll buy AK's is the Deep Web and sell them in Afghanistan.


ParkAveFlasher's picture

Throw in a few pretentious dichotomies, you're right there.

PT's picture

Come on.  Everyone knows this article is incomplete without mentioning the shovel option:!

What was it again?  Thirty dollar barrel kit plus two dollar shovel?

DogOfSinope's picture

The AK-47 used in Paris attack and "traced back to Balkans and Serbia in particular" was legaly exported from Serbia to USA:

Don't blame Balkans for McCain's presents to "freedom fighters" in various shitholes around the Near/Middle East.


slammin_dude's picture

That article id complete bullshit, they were made in the ukraine, which is a ussa cia vassal....they then funnel arms throughout europe from Ukraine.... Serbia is just the whipping boy of NATO because theyre independent and kill their invaders unlike the rest of cuckolded europe

virgule's picture

Shipping might be a problem...

Sudden Debt's picture

when you pay with paypall, you get your money back if something goes wrong during shipping!

Megaton Jim's picture

I think you mean JewPal?!?

pc_babe's picture

Ben on board all of 7 week ... how long you been a fucktrad?

DirkDiggler11's picture

Firearm sales have peaked in the US, at least for the time being, Over the weekend saw ads for S&W pistols with decent sale pricing and factory rebates. I'm looking forward to adding a few "nice to have" weapons to my arsenal in the next couple of years as prices come back down to earth....

Neochrome's picture

One of the guns used in the November 13, 2015 Paris terrorist attacks came from Phoenix, Arizona where the Obama administration allowed criminals to buy thousands of weapons illegally in a deadly and futile “gun-walking” operation known as “Fast and Furious.”


Dickweed Wang's picture

Sssshhh Neo! You're not supposed to talk about that!

CHX13's picture

Ahm, sorry to say but April 1 was 2 days ago. 

Accidental anal's picture

$2,800 does the Arab come with?.

29.5 hours's picture

We always hear of places in the world where there is not enough food; people starving. We never hear of those same places ever lacking in guns and ammo.


Cloud9.5's picture

When you look at a typical strong man state, there is usually not a shortage of fire power.  Saddam Hussien was an avid gun collector.  Based on comments from people who were there, his stockpiles were massive.  Those stockpiles were not evenly distributed.  Kurds for instance were not given access to government warehouses.  Gun ownership by members of the police, military and the well-connected is common in these types of states.  Gun ownership by minorities and potential political enemies is usually prohibited.  Warlords tend to amass weapons as they attempt to disarm their potential victims.


Same as it always was.  A man well-armed and vigilant tends to keep his goods in peace.

mary mary's picture

Those are the places where there are too many people.  The violence will decline in those places when they acquire contraceptives and doctors who do vasectomies.

moorewasthebestbond's picture

If you're close enough to the enemy to use an AK47 effectively, you're too close to the enemy.

PT's picture

Oh every one makes a mistake sometimes.  But how easily can you recover from your mistakes?

The KY Wizard's picture

Sorry -- it means you haven't zeroed your sight and/or you and ain't a very good shot. The 7.62x39 will do some serious damage form a pretty good distance -- I know, 'cause I practice/play with my AK 4-5 times a week up here in the North GA mountains, on my property/range.

As the old saying goes: "money talks and bullshit walks" -- there's a reason why it's the most prolific firearm in the world... bar none.

Cloud9.5's picture

I have been shooting AK’s since the 1980’s.  The stamped receivers tend to work flawlessly.  The only hiccups I have had with these rifles revolve around battle field pick up magazines.  Some of the mags had been run over by heavy vehicles changing their specs.  These changes caused the malfunctions.   The pre ban versions are now in the $4,000 range.  I picked up a WASR that was missing some parts for $350 a few months ago.  I find that these rifles are more accurate than I am using iron sights.

If the lights went out and we were for forced to flee scrub, and I got out the door with only one rifle, I would probably grab my AR.  Not because the AK is a bad weapon, but because I need a scope and the ammunition is lighter.



Nunyadambizness's picture

I presume Mr. Moore means that there are far better sniper rifles out there in the world that are much more accurate than the standard AK, and from a much greater distance than the AK is known for--the .338 Lapua comes to mind as well as the .308.  To your point though, I agree than a well-made AK with 7.62x39  can make some fine shots at great distance, and the bullet does a shit-ton of damage.  However, thats' not what the typical terrorist is using, theirs is more of a "spray-and-pray" automatic thinking that volume overcomes accuracy with some piece of shit stamped job that averages about 10 MOA (but will shoot when packed with mud when any other firearm would malfunction).

Observant's picture

Agree 100%. I get 3-4 inch groups with my Romanian made WASR 10/64 and iron sights. Also you hit someone anywhere on their body, even their limbs, they are going down with the 30 ca. bullet. The AR-15, on the other hand, is a girly-man gun by comparison.  :)))

shizzledizzle's picture

Stupidest comment I have seen today. Milled reciever AK's are fine firearms. The Finnish Valmet rifles are supurb.  

Cloud9.5's picture

Most encounters of the worst kind do not involve the shock and awe of an Arc Light bombing run.  There is not good data on the actual distances of gun fights but the general consensus is that these encounters are twenty yards or less.  The data also indicate that the shooters tend to miss their targets. Only 9.8 percent of the recorded assaults resulted in injury.  So, the odds are that even if you are shot at, you will probably survive the encounter.

Observant's picture

What are you talking about? I get 3 inch groups at 100 yards with my Romanian made WASR 10/64 and iron sights. The AK-47 is THE premier combat rifle. The AR-15 is a girly-man gun by comparison.

Byte Me's picture

Possibly the greatest ARB in the world is a certain organization shipping in the snuff and horse that it picks up off the growers for a song, and just wholesaling it.

The price you pay for this fine piece of "social engineering" is Cultural Death.

tunetopper's picture

Wouldn't be a "dark web" if the government didn't monitor our WWW. Torrents and Usenets with VPNs scramble your ISP- but even yet - the gov. Is getting better at tracking. Go see the story of the Ashkelon, Israeli guy who masked his online identity and made all those bomb threats to JCC's in the US and other countries. FBI caught him despite his masking. So -- where is the dark web now?
My point is this- our government likes an armed society - so they have enemies -- we are always in need of more bad guys to fight -- war IS big business, and business has been good. So watch out for the times that are coming - when it appears that there are no more wars on the horizon---because a fight is being churned up somewhere. Benghazi is a recent example of the US arming rebels with recycled arms, trying to create a hot spot.

13thWarrior's picture

In Pakistan 1000$ bribe to MP can get you AK47 license.


NATO gun running via MI6 proxy in Pakistan Nato weapons recovered from house in Karachi's Azizabad, terror bid thwarted

DeusHedge's picture

so, buy one. Or at least I'd advise it anyway. :)

DeusHedge's picture

open society thinks i need to be jailed to break free from my thought prison ..

William Dorritt's picture

Not all AKs are the same.

This is one area where Made in The USA now means quality and affordability.

Due to the simplicity, the gun can be produced just about anywhere so any market differences should be temporary in nature until AK equilibrium is established to meet demand.


22LR is the longest running commodity shortage with no satisfactory answers for years.

Govt conspiracy, mfg collusion, hoarding, alien abduction ???

gigaweb's picture

Web & slang-dictionary searches for "ARB" produce no results that make any sense as used in this article.  Why do writers use terms or acronyms which are not in common use?  Writing is communication, and using obscure terms results in a failure to communicate.

whosyerdaddy's picture

I have the same problem sometimes. I often have to go to Investopaedia to decipher financial articles. I don't mind that's how I learn. Arb is short for arbitrage, a term of French origin. Again Investopaedia would have the classic definition, but essentially it is taking advantage of price differentials to make a profit. If a commodity gold or guns can be had cheaper in one location than another, then it makes sense to buy in the cheaper location and sell or offload in the higher. That's it in a nutshell. Taxes, tariffs and so on make it very  difficult sometimes. Seinfeld parodied arbitrage when Newman and Kramer took bottles from New York to Michigan.