When it comes to AK rifles, Cassie Harris is a true believer. “They’re simple, they’re easy, they’re powerful, and they’re accurate,” she said about the ubiquitous platform.
Harris explained the concept behind the design emphasizes reliability. “It doesn’t require constant cleanings,” she said and added in other areas of the world “they’re making these things out of whatever parts they can find … and they still function.”
While many AK fans share her enthusiasm, the mythos behind the design compelled her to start making them, so she opened Arizona-based Lee Armory in 2016. Building the brand, she surrounded herself with other true believers.
“If you gave me an option to go to a different planet and … I needed something to protect myself, it’d be an AK-47 because I know it works,” said Mario Parada, Lee Armory’s shop manager. “In any situation it’s going to work.”
“We’re not just putting a rifle in a box and sending it off. We’re putting ourselves in the box,” said Josh Leighton, Lee Armory’s director of operations.
Leighton boasts about the company’s quality control, adding: “We don’t put any gun in the box that we wouldn’t own ourselves. I wouldn’t go ‘oh man that looks ugly, eh, he won’t even notice.’ We don’t do that.”
And the mission doesn’t end after the gun is sold. Harris explained Lee Armory offers a limited lifetime warranty just in case set something goes wrong. “We care a lot about our customers,” she said.
More importantly than providing a quality product and service, Harris wants to share her interests with others. Ideally, love of the AK. “Being able to give people happiness actually is — as silly as it sounds — is you know that’s what it’s about,” she said.