Brandon Herrera got out of his silver Hummer, peering into the woods that surrounded him.

Moments later, he opened the side door, reached inside and emerged with a large rifle.

“Here we have the baby herself, this is the AK-47,” Herrera said. “It should be a lot of fun.”

Herrera is one of many gun enthusiasts in the United States, but is particularly fond of the Avtomat Kalashnikova rifle (AK). Thus, he has come to be known simply as ‘The AK Guy.”

"The AK Guy" detonates an explosive with AK fire.

“The AK Guy” detonates an explosive with AK fire.

Deep in woods of North Carolina, Herrera builds and shoots AKs while developing a large fanbase on YouTube for his gun-related videos.

Herrera believes it’s important to train with these weapons for self-defense purposes in order to level the playing field.

“If somebody out there can get it, I want it,” Herrera said.

Since recent sanctions against Russia have made it harder to purchase AKs, people who are able to build them, are in high demand.

While taking apart the AK-M, more commonly know as the AK-47, Herrera points out that they are surprisingly simple weapons. He also say their simplicity has added to the popularity of the firearm in the US.

“It’s so simple, a child could use it, and they do.”

Produced by Ford Fischer, Trey Yingst, and Dominick Mortarotti
Article by Trey Yingst
Video Edited by Ford Fischer