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[Video+Review] Kalashnikov USA KP-9: Best Vityaz Clone?

If you’ve hung around Pew Pew Tactical long enough, you know I’m a big AK nerd.

So, when the opportunity arose for me to test out Kalashnikov USA’s KP-9, you bet I jumped!

Kalashnikov USA KP9 Shooting
Kalashnikov USA KP-9

Based on the Vityaz submachine gun, the KP-9 offers a 9mm AK pistol platform to civilian Russian small arms nerds who just can’t get enough of Soviet guns.

But what sets this 9mm AK pistol variant apart from its competitors? And what’s the deal with Kalalshikov USA anyway?

1115
at Ky Gun Co

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Well, today, we’ll walk you through both.

We’ll talk about KUSA and then dive headfirst into the civilian version of the Vityaz…also known as the KP-9.  

Kalashnikov USA KP9 Left Side

Spoiler alert, it’s rad.

But if you’d rather see the KP-9 do its thing, peep the video below.

As always, check out Pew Pew Tactical on YouTube for more gun and gear vids.

Table of Contents

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Vityaz and the Origin of the KP-9

First things first – what exactly is a Vityaz, and why should you care?

The PP-19 Vityaz is the direct successor of the PP-19 Bizon — itself a submachine gun packaged inside the familiar geometry of a Kalashnikov pattern rifle.

PP-19 Bizon

While the Bizon never quite caught on, the PP-19 Vityaz builds on the Bizon’s premise with an overall feel and fire controls of an AK.

But it ditches the more experimental 90s features in favor of some that just work. (Allegedly, at the behest of various Russian counter-terror entities.)

File this under regrettable 90s trends…

Plenty of overlapping and competing Russian submachine guns are designed to fire specialized +p+ or high-pressure 9mm cartridges.

So, it makes sense to pursue a platform that uses domestically produced armor-piercing 9×19 rounds — like the 7N31 — while retaining the features of a platform most of your police and military forces are already familiar with.

Popular 9mm Ammo
9mm Ammo

The original Izmash Vityaz entered service in Russa in 2008.

Though many older submachine guns remain in the armories of local or regional Russian security forces, the Vityaz is often seen in the hands of Russia’s premier counter-terror units when they do those insane public demonstrations where they fire live ammo past each other’s heads.

KUSA: Vaporware or Legit?

That’s all well and good, but obviously, the gun we’re talking about today is not an Izmash (now Kalashnikov) Vityaz.

In fact, Kalashnikov USA has no direct relationship with the Russian Kalashnikov.

You see, when Russia did that thing where they annexed Crimea by just occupying it with infantry who weren’t wearing flags, the U.S. sanctioned their arms industry.

This made the importation of Russian firearms verboten.

In response, Kalashnikov USA was formed. Subsequently, in 2015, the company announced the production of popular Russian firearms at a factory in Florida using original Russian schematics.

Kalashnikov USA
Kalashnikov USA is based in Florida. (Photo: Kalashnikov USA)

For years that’s all the news we got…I know I wasn’t alone in wondering if KUSA was nothing more than another vaporware company.

However, my paranoia proved unfounded, and the firm now offers a handful of Russian-designed products built in America.

And I just so happen to have found a KP-9 to test out…

Kalashnikov USA KP9 Shooting

KP-9 Stats, Specs, & Features

With all the nerdy history details out of the way, let’s jump right into the KP-9’s features itself.

The KP-9 sports an overall length of 18.25-inches with weight resting at 6-pounds.

Though the gun ships with the iconic 3-port Vityaz muzzle brake, we’ve chosen to install a suppressor because…it’s just cool.

Kalashnikov USA KP9 Suppressor
We added a suppressor because it’s just cool.

While the KP-9 uses an AK-style handguard/barrel/gas tube setup, it should be noted that both the original PP-19 and the KP-9 are indeed direct blowback guns.

A weight on the bolt extends into the faux gas tube, replacing what would be a piston rod on a real AK.

1115
at Ky Gun Co

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Furniture

The handguards themselves are directly compatible with normal AK accessories. I’ve installed a slick set of Zenitco handguards.

Your irons are going to be normal AK territory as well — the standard rear ladder sight and front hood you’d expect from the majority of Mikhail Kalashnikov’s progeny.

Kalashnikov USA KP9 Handguard
Zenitco Handguard

However, in contrast to most other AKs, the KP-9 features a railed dust cover utilizing a roll pin upfront and the normal spring-loaded button in the rear.

This achieves a reasonably stable platform for mounting optics.

And, yes, the setup isn’t ideal for anything that might require long-range precision. But that’s also likely the opposite of what you’re doing with a 9mm AK.

Kalashnikov USA KP9 Left Side
An optic works great with the railed dust cover.

Point being, for the ranges you’re using a PCC, it works just fine.

The stock KP-9 is going to come with a standard AK-style selector lever.

We’ve chosen to replace ours with a KP USA upgraded selector lever. It adds a theoretical ability to manipulate the gun between safe and fire without taking your hand off the trigger.

Kalashnikov USA KP9 Selector
KP USA Selector

I like the premise, but it took a good amount of slapping to get it broken in. Eventually, I got it working well enough, and, all told, it felt pretty good.

Magazine-wise, the gun uses propriety 30-round polymer magazines.

The mags seat with a firm clunk and does not require the rocking motion necessary to lock most standard AK mags.

Kalashnikov USA KP9 Reload
No rocking motion needed.

You just straight up ride the curve of the small polymer mag well, and you’re good to go.

The gun’s pistol grip is slightly different from a standard AK, but not in a tangible way that matters much.

It’s one of those things where I came away with no real impression of any sort — either positive or negative.

Kalashnikov USA KP9 Pistol Grip

Lastly, because this is a pistol variant of the KP-9, we’re running the included SB Tactical Triangle Side Folder.

Note: prospective owners will have to install it themselves.

Kalashnikov USA KP9 Left Side
Peep that side folder.

Right now, pistol braces are legal, but with the ATF targeting them recently, it’s worth it to stay on top of that info.

Lucky for you, we tend to do that around here, so check out our article on the ATF and Braces.

ATF Legal seagulls

Let’s Go to the Range

I had the opportunity to run the KP-9 through a whole bunch of drills in both sweltering Texas humidity and a gorgeous southwestern full moon over a few days.

My overall takeaway was basically…yeah, this thing’s dope as hell.

A couple of things I’ve been making an active attempt to get better at are my punchouts and transitions — essentially building that mind-muscle connection to build towards snapping the gun where your eyes look without actively thinking about it.

And that entire process felt very natural with the KP-9.

Kalashnikov USA KP9 Shooting

Now admittedly, the KP-9 was also one of the last guns I shot after spending an entire week shooting almost every day.

So that feeling of natural pointing ability could be the fact that I spent a week straight drilling.

Kalashnikov USA KP9 Shooting

Either way, the KP-9’s triangle brace felt like it gravitated right towards one repeatable pocket off to the side of my plate bag.

This allowed for quick, repeatable, and predictable punchouts.

By the end of the KP-9 sesh, I felt proficient with the gun…dare I say…fast.

Kalashnikov USA KP9 Shooting
It felt very natural.

Performance Issues? Nah

We put probably close to 1,000 rounds through the gun, firing Blazer 115-grain. No notable issues to speak of.

CCI Blazer Brass 9mm
Blazer 9mm

The gun ran great! AK platforms have the potential to get gassy and sting the shit out of your eyes when suppressed, but the KP-9 didn’t appear to do that.

Now, that could just be the fact that it’s direct blowback, but I’m not certain.

The gun’s recoil impulse feels minuscule, perhaps even less than that of a 9mm AR-15 based equivalent.

Kalashnikov USA KP9 Shooting

The gun feels maneuverable. Not to mention, that snappy responsiveness I enjoy with AK triggers is present here as well.

Kalashnikov USA KP9 Night Shooting
Night Shoot? Yes please.

Granted, I’m reasonably at home with AK fire controls, but the gun felt great to run through a ton of drills at relatively close range.

Putting this thumpy little pistol setup through its paces was honestly one of the highlights of my entire trip.

Kalashnikov USA KP9 GoPro Targets

Let’s Talk Mags

While all of the KUSA branded mags we tried fit and fed fine, the aftermarket POF mag we used kinda threw me off. It feels strange when you seat it in the receiver.

A Kalashnikov mag offers a positive tactile feedback when inserting. On the other hand, the POF mag brings a strange rubber thud to it. Initially, I thought it didn’t seat all the way.

Kalashnikov USA KP9 POF Mag
Little thrown off by the POF mag.

It’s not a huge deal, and the mag fed with no issues, but it’s something to be aware of.

And alas, while our particular gun didn’t suffer this particular ailment, I’ve seen reports floating around that some KP-9s develop cracks in the dust cover after prolonged use.

Kalashnikov USA KP9 Receiver

Anecdotally, that’s also something the real PP-19 Vityaz suffers from as well.

I guess it’s a strange sort of affirmation that KUSA is indeed using original Russian specs.

By the Numbers

Reliability: 5/5

We had absolutely no issues during testing. The KP-9 ran and ran well!

Ergonomics: 5/5

This thing feels good to shoot. Whether it’s the 9mm AK-pistol design or how Kalash designed this thing, it handles well.

Kalashnikov USA KP9 Shooting

Accuracy: 5/5

Again, it performed amazingly at the range! We shot during the day and at night and hit targets, no prob.

Customization: 5/5

AKs aren’t quite the Legos that ARs are, but there’s enough here to keep you happy without a million add-ons.

Value: 5/5

Priced at $1,069 MSRP, the KP-9 is totally worth the price. It works and is rad as hell. Add it to your gun safe…now!

1115
at Ky Gun Co

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Overall: 5/5

I don’t hand out five stars willy-nilly, but the KP-9 deserves the full she-bang. It’s an awesome PCC and a ton of fun to shoot.

Conclusion

All in all, I had a total blast with the KUSA KP-9 – few complaints here. 

But I dig AKs, Russian stuff, and PCCs. So, achieving that plinking factor in a gun that combines all those things ticks a lot of boxes for me.

Kalashnikov USA KP9 Right Side

If any of the above applies to you, I’d give the KP-9 a shot.

It’s not going to be for everyone, but if you’re also afflicted by whatever specific niche of nerd gun enthusiasm I have, there’s a lot to dig here.

If you want to see more of the KP-9 watch the video below to see it in action.

What do you think of the KP-9? Let us know in the comments below. For more on AKs, check out the Best AK-47: Complete Buyer’s Guide.

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6 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Brando

    Would love to hear how the KP-9 compares to the PSA AK-V in 9mm. Anybody have experience with both?

    August 17, 2021 9:50 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Greg Hodge

    I love AKs!!! I really like PCCs! I hate any CQB type weapon that doesn't eject empty mags at the touch of a mag release!!! I'm talking to you CZ Scorpion! I lost hundreds of dollars on that debacle and it appears that this one suffers the same affliction. Thanks for another great review.

    August 14, 2021 4:57 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    sound awake

    ever since i built a 10.5 ar pistol in 7.62x39 last year in the run up to covid...pccs no longer interest me
    - at all -
    i have a total of 800 in it:
    upper lower brace sights optic furniture mlok rail covers 500 lumen streamlight 6 mags soft case linear compensator and sling
    it runs like a top and is 10 inch steel plate capable at 300 yards with tula ammo

    August 12, 2021 8:21 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Bjp

    Where get the PP 19 Bizon?

    August 12, 2021 5:49 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Cyrus J Gardner

    A 12 pound PCC. What explains the extra weight? Apart from dampened recoil, what is the benefit of the source of the extra mass?

    August 12, 2021 3:55 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Brad O

      I am not sure where he gets 12 pounds. I have one with the triangle brace and its just over 6 pounds with the brace (see KUSA site for specs). Other than being way off on the weight, he is spot on, it is a great PCC especially with a Franklin Armory binary trigger. I have been shooting it since last October and within the last month with the binary.

      August 12, 2021 7:32 pm