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I have been researching the various internet sources and it seems the GSADs preceded the Norinco and Polytech CHICOM rifles...

Are they the first?

KF

(Special thanks to "Postban" who did the research back in 2009!!)
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http://www.m1carbinesinc.com/carbine_santafe.html

Golden State Arms Distributors, Inc. (GSAD)


Golden State Arms Distributors, Inc. (GSAD) was incorporated in California in July 1984. This business was another surplus arms importer, with a retail store located at 1097 Aviation Blvd. in Hermosa Beach, CA (N/W corner of Prospect at Aviation). They utilized a warehouse at 630 Mary Ann Drive in Redondo Beach, CA. The importer marking on a number of their surplus imports indicated GSAD MANH. BEA., CA, presumably for Manhattan Beach, CA.

This company and it's owner were not affiliated with Golden State Arms of Pasadena, CA or any of their affiliated company names.

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http://www.chicom47.com/Importers/ImportCompanies.htm

G.S.A.D:
Golden State Arms Distribution located in California. They had many locations including Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, Pasadena, and Santa Fe, CA. These guns are the most mysterious as they arrived in America about the same time as the Clayco guns, except they had less manufacturing markings. They simply state 7.62x39mm “Made in China” GSAD, in a usually faint roll stamping, that’s it…no factory codes and no exporter markings. Many argue these got here before the Claycos, thus the reason for the additional markings on the Claycos. The majority of these rifles were bought up by companies in Hollywood to be used in the production of movies and have come to be referred to as “movie guns.” In the late 1980s, production of movies showcasing the Vietnam War had tapered off and the movie guns were sold by the hundreds by the movie houses to distributors nationwide. GSAD however, had been in the firearms importation business for many years prior. Their claim to fame was being an importer of Enfield type rifles. They also imported weapons under the name Globco as early as 1957. GSAD is also to have been rumored as the source of firearms for the Bay of Pigs invasion, as well a clandestine asset of the Central Intelligence Agency. GSAD is known to have imported rifles in the 053xx range, as well as atleast serial #'s 0787x through 09xxx, in both fixed stock and underfolding configurations. "Double-underfold" models with folding spike bayonets and underfolding stocks have also been reported. GSAD imports are usually marked over the trigger guard on the left side of the receiver:

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Erik of GSAD:

"I imported thousands of these in the 1980's through my company, GSAD Inc. of Manhattan Beach, Ca. I kept this gun, serial number 0003 for my personal collection. Due to California law, it will ship from Oregon (where it is stored). The gun is as new, but has been fired. These are top quality AK's with and are considered among the best pre-ban Chinese AK-47 rifles.

The serious AK collector will never be able to surpass this as the center piece of an AK collection."

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From the California State Government records:
GOLDEN STATE ARMS DISTRIBUTORS, INC. Number: C1253492 Date Filed: 7/27/1984 Status: suspended Jurisdiction: California Address * 1097 AVIATION BLVD.HERMOSA BEACH, CA 90254 Agent for Service of Process ERIK J. BERRY 630 MARY ANN DRIVE REDONDO BEACH, CA 90278 =================================================================

Original researcher contacted Erik Berry:

Hi Dave

In 1984 I formed GSAD (Golden State Arms Distributors, Inc) We ripped off the name from the original Golden State Arms the was in business in Pasadena, Ca. in the 50's and 60's.

Our address in Manhattan Beach was 205 South Kuhn Street, which was the back door of my retail outlet, Beach Cities Armoury. I was a distributor of all the major firearms manufacturers. I imported surplus military guns and also newly manufactured AK rifles from China. We brought in one 40' container per month, each container held 3900 rifles. I was also an importer and seller of machine guns for law enforcement agencies. We exported guns as well. I had several retail stores, South Bay Armoury in Carson, California, Cerritos Armoury in Artesia California, and Fremont Discount Guns in Fremont, Ca.

The AK rifles we imported were made by "Jing-An". Jing-An was the manufacturing arm of the Chinese Police/secret police agencies, as opposed to Norinco who was affiliated with the army. As I recall, in the begining, we imported the Norinco product as well. There was only myself in LA, Ed Faust at Pacific International in Sacramento (Inter-American Import-Export and Armex were his other names)and someone in New York (Jovino?) importing those guns in the begining.

I have some of my old files of import licenses, advertising and mailing materials, etc. I would be delighted to scan some of that and share it with you if you'd like.

Feel free to ask any question you like and if my memory has an answer I'll share it with you happily.

Warm regards,

Erik

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Original researcher's response to Erik with Erik's replies in
RED

Hi Erik,

Thanks for the quick reply and information. Wow, 3900 per month!
Not sure how many months in a row we did that, or maybe it was bi-monthly. There were a ton of those things sold, most (96%? are probably never re sold) They are so rare to find on the market today.
Now was that 3900 GSAD
GSAD only marked guns or did it include other importer/reseller marks like Clayco or Sile?

Any pics of containers or stacks of guns or the stores would be very much appreciated by myself and other AK fans.
Old Sale papers or ads, manuals also.
Did you bring in spare parts or only whole guns?
Guns only
Can you determine import date or who the guns were sold to retail by tracking the serial number?Sent all records to BATF archives in 1992

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hmmmm........low serial number. Condition is good as far as the bluing, wood scratches, etc.
 

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No need to bid. I already have a mint condition GSAD.
 

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OK so who is interested enough to try and get access to BATFE archives and dig out the history yet untold from the files? They're probably underground in an old salt mine somewhere. It would be an interesting tale to say the least and would fill in some gaping holes in the early story of AKs in America.

And where the H are all those GSAD's today? Some are no doubt still deep in the back of safes around the country, only to come out as the man of the house goes to his great reward.
 

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With supposedly thousands coming in you would think there would be more of them for sale. Maybe.
 

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Are they the first?
No. GSAD incorporated on July 27th, 1984. According to Kokalis in the September 1984 issue of Solider of Fortune, ClayCo AKs were present at the 1983 SOF Three-Gun International Match, so ClayCo AKs would have beat GSAD AKs to US shores by almost a year.
 

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I have a older pharmacist Who doesn't really collect Aks if you ask him. BUT he has 3 or 4 golden state arms prebans and two Bm59 and Bm62 that come from them.
 

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....somewhere in the Rotcave, I have a GSAD double underfolder.
 

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OK so who is interested enough to try and get access to BATFE archives and dig out the history yet untold from the files? They're probably underground in an old salt mine somewhere. It would be an interesting tale to say the least and would fill in some gaping holes in the early story of AKs in America.

And where the H are all those GSAD's today? Some are no doubt still deep in the back of safes around the country, only to come out as the man of the house goes to his great reward.
My understanding with BATFE records is that they only keep track of what number got approved on the ATF form 6. That does not necessarily mean every quantity listed on the ATF Form 6 actually came in. U.S. Customs is actually the agency that bumps what is on the dock against the ATF form 6.
 

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What makes a GSAD qualitatively better than a Norinco 56S?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Based on the GSAD I have, I would have to say the finish, which is a deep blue polished finish, is definitely nicer than the Norincos I have owned/seen over the years.











 

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I think the researcher made a typo when he wrote 3,900 imported a month... Here is an email from Erik that I have saved, I have his email and # if anyone cares to verify.

"The marking on the right side of the receiver is our importer's mark. BATF required our name and city on every gun as a starting point for the tracing process. We used "Golden Sate Arms, Dist. Inc" "Manhattan Beach, Ca." in the early shipments and later they allowed us to abbreviate to "GSAD INC" Man. Bch Ca. So yours is an early gun.


We used to bring in a forty foot container of 1900 guns every month or so. We paid $125- each in China, paid 11% duty and sold then to distributor's for $299.00 each.


Erik J. Berry"
 

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that one in the gunbroker auction has some of the nicest furniture I've seen from a Chinese rifle, love that dark finish. And judging solely from pictures, looks like Krink is right about the finish on the gun... looks great.
 
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