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Avtomat Kalashnikov AK-47

The AK-47 is the most commonly encountered assault rifle on the planet. The AK-47 was first fielded with Russian troops in 1949, 13 years before the US issued its true first assault rifle (the AR-15) to the USAF and 18 years before the AR-15/M16 is adopted by the US Army. Estimates are that at least 9 million and possibly up to 100 million AK's have been produced. By one estimate, as of 1990, more than 70 million Kalashnikov automatic rifles of various designs had been produced. Anyone who has ever watched a conflict over the last half century should be familiar with the unmistakable image of the AK-47, and anyone who has ever fought in a war over the last half century is familiar with the easily recognized ak, ak, ak of an AK-47.

Durability, low production cost, availability and ease of use are the features, which assured the Kalashnikov AK-47’s global success. The legendary assault rifle has made it into the Guinness Book of Records as the most widely spread weapon in the world, with 100 million Kalashnikov rifles currently in use.

The AK-47 has come to symbolize armed struggle and national liberation, and insurrection and political violence. The AK-47 Russian assault rifle was used by the Viet Cong. The many variations of the Kalashnikov (AK-47, AK-74, AKM, etc.) represent the most recognizable weapons in the world. People call it ''The African Credit Card" and the ''Ten Dollar Weapon of Mass Destruction," and it is memorialized and idolized by the soldiers, terrorists, insurgents, and even children that hold it high in the face of wars of rebellion and religion, for everyday protection and to just survive.

In Afghanistan, most Afghan civilians carry military weapons. Similarly, following cessation of formal combat operations in Iraq (May 1, 2003), private Iraqi citizens were permitted to retain Kalashnikov AK-47 or AK-74 select fire weapons in their homes for personal protection. Iraqi citizens can own an AK-47 assault rifle as long as it's registered, but it's not legal for Iraqis to maintain an armory full of bombs, sniper rifles, and other deadly items that terrorists could used. Legally, its OK to have one AK-47 and one full magazine per household. Iraqi civilians who want to own an AK-47 are required to register it with the local Iraqi police. They need to bring their personal identification documents and weapon to their local police station so the serial number can be recorded and matched to the identity of the owner.

AK-47, The Weapon That Changed the Face of War, tells the story of modern warfare's arguably most vicious and effective killing machine, the Avtomat Kalashnikov 1947. The author, Larry Kahaner, accounts the history of the AK-47 from its humble beginnings in Russia to its influence in almost every war, conflict or rebellion at every corner of the earth.

By 1943 designer Alexei Sudayev had already presented the USSR’s army with the first version of the automatic rifle that after his death would be completed by Mikhail Kalashnikov. The first StG 44 "German Kalashnikovs" only fell into the hands of the Soviet army from 1944. The key difference between the AK and the German StG 44 is evident inside the guns - they have different firing mechanisms and magazine housings (in other words, their magazines are not interchangeable). Also, each has "its own" assembly and disassembly configuration, not to mention the external differences between the two weapons.

German engineers did indeed make a contribution to the development of the Soviet assault rifle. After the victory in World War II, the design bureau of Hugo Schmeisser worked in Izhevsk and helped upgrade the AK-47. Kalashnikov was indeed a brilliant designer but a whole team of engineers worked under him. The AK project was a development of Sudayev's 1943 idea with the added assistance of the Germans from Schmeisser's bureau in the late 1940s and early 1950s. So the AK is not just the embodiment of Kalashnikov’s genius, but also the work of a whole backroom team of designers and engineers.

The 1947 model did well in testing but the AK's famous reputation for reliability and durability are a result of fine-tuning during the 12 years that followed. The AK of today is the 1959 model which Kalashnikov honed, eliminating faults outlined by the military. Among them were failures relating to its reliability and durability - the first version of the rifle would quickly accumulate dirt and fall into disrepair. Its accuracy was also a problem - it was pointed out to the designer that there was a significant dispersion of bullets during firing so he made adjustments.

In the end, even after the upgrade, the AK’s accuracy was still inferior compared to its direct competitors used by NATO at the time. However, it was more powerful and more reliable even in mud, rain, sand, snow. Hitting a target at a distance is no easy task, however, for highly-trained soldiers even 400 meters is not a problem - it’s just a question of how the assault rifle is configured and customized to improve its accuracy. In addition to the tuning of the rifle, a Kalashnikov’s accuracy is improved by adopting a similar principle to that applied to sniper weapons - firing at the target not directly but using an arching trajectory. You aim slightly to one side and up, depending on the wind, air pressure, and range. It doesn't sound easy, but every professional rifleman knows that in long-range firing, the conditions and how the user adapts to them play a big role in accuracy.

At least 12 versions of the Kalashnikov weapon were adopted with the Armed Forces - AKM, AKMS assault rifles (1959), light machine gun (1959), PK, PKS machine guns (1961), PKT, PKM machine guns (1962), AK-74, AKS-74 assault rifles (1974) and AKS-74U assault rifle (1979). Many difficulties were encountered during the initial phase of production. The first production models had stamped sheet metal receivers, and problems were encountered in welding the guide and ejector rails, causing high rejection rates. Rather than halting production, a heavy machined receiver was substituted for the sheet metal receiver.

This was a more costly process, but the machined receivers accelerated production since tooling and workers used in the machined receiver of the earlier Mosin-Nagant rifle were easily adapted. Partly because of these problems, the Soviets were not able to distribute large numbers of the new rifle to soldiers until 1956. During this time, production of the interim SKS rifle continued.

Both licensed and unlicensed production of the Kalashnikov weapons abroad were almost exclusively of the AKM variant, partially due to the much easier production of the stamped receiver. Once manufacturing difficulties had been overcome, the redesigned version designated the AKM (M for "modernized" or "upgraded" - in Russian: Avtomat Kalashnikova Modernizirovanniy) was introduced in 1959. This new model used a stamped sheet metal receiver and featured a slanted muzzle brake on the end of the barrel to compensate for muzzle rise under recoil. The AKM Kalashnikov modernized assault rifle, cal. 7.62mm is an individual weapon intended to neutralize the enemy manpower. The assault rifle is equipped with the knife-bayonet to engage the enemy manpower in hand-to-hand fighting. The assault rifle is capable of delivering both automatic and sing le-shot fire. Automatic fire is the main method of firing: fire may be delivered in short bursts (up to 5 shots), in long bursts (up to 10 shots), and continuously. Cartridge to be used: with steel-core bullet, with tracer bullet, with increased penetration bullet. The assault rifle features a stamped and riveted receiver, a cycle retarder increasing th e fire accuracy.

AKMS Kalashnikov modernized assault rifle with a folding butt, cal. 7.6 2mm is an individual weapon intended for airborne troops to neutralize the enemy manpower. It features a folding butt. The design of the moving parts does not differ from that one of the AKM assault rifle. The assault rifle is equipped with the knife-bayonet to engage the enemy manpower in hand-to-hand fighting. The assault rifle is capable of delivering bo th automatic and single-shot fire. Automatic fire is the main method of firing: fire may be delivered in short bursts (up to 5 shots), in long bursts (up to 10 shots), and continuously. Cartridge to be used: with steel-core bullet, with tracer bullet, with increased penetration bullet. The assault rifle features a stamped and riveted receiver, a cycle retarder increasing the fire accuracy.

At present the Kalashnikov weapon, or the weapon developed from the Kalashnikov's design are in service with the Armed Forces of more than 50 countries. That fact that six countries carry its image on their national seals is the best to show respect for its creator. Nothing else even comes close to the AK dominance in geography of its spreading and level of its production. In 1963 new modifications of the AK-47 were put into production: the AKM, AKMS (with a folding butt) assault rifles, the RPK, RPKS light machine guns and their versions with a night vision sight. Development and production of new series of Kalashnikov weapon, caliber 5.45 mm, AK-74, AKS-74, RPK-74, RPKS-74 and their modifications with night vision sight are dated from 1974. In 1979 the AKS-74U (short), caliber 5.45 mm and its modifications with night vision sight was designed and put into production.

Just like any other cult weapon the “Kalash” has been the subject of numerous aftermarket improvements. The finger grooves with interchangeable inserts fit any hand. More so, the grip at the front of the weapon ensures excellent balance and makes the weapon easier to handle. The factory installed bolt support is thin and smooth. To prevent unwanted slips aftermarket designers have come up with a hefty barrel-like cylinder with notches.

The standard-issue controller/safety catch assembly could be handled with both hands. An upgraded version features an additional “spur” enabling the shooter to unlock the safety catch and change rates of fire with one hand. AKs typically come with either a traditional fixed stock in wood or polymer, or the various folding stocks that make the gun compact to carry. An optional telescopic butt makes it possible to adjust the weapon to its owner’s anatomical characteristics. A cheek rest provides additional comfort and ensures better aiming.

There are several types of muzzle adaptors. Muzzle recoil compensators help keep the weapon steady during firing. Some feature rugged tips effective during hand-to-hand combat. And there are also flash suppressors and silencers which make the shooter less visible to the enemy and keep noise down. A bracket that provides a standard mounting platform consisting of rails with multiple transverse slots and designed to mount heavy sights of various kinds.

A great variety of accessories and attachments are now available and the rails are no longer confined to the rear upper surface, but are either fitted to or machine milled into the upper, side and lower surfaces of all types of firearms.

The AK-47 uses a notched rear tangent iron sight calibrated in 100 m increments from 100 to 800 m. The front sight's post is adjustable for elevation. Some AK-type rifles have a front sight with a flip-up luminous dot that is calibrated at 50 m, for improved night fighting. Modern laser sights are also available to ensure more accurate target acquisition and fire.

Few countries on the planet could hope to dominate the US in tank, air or naval warfare but US soldiers could be easily outgunned in a fire fight. Every bad actor with an AK-47 takes on US and NATO ground forces in a small arms fight.

Journalists differed in their assessments: some believe that the engineer became the creator of the machine gun that took more lives than any other weapon (although many more people became victims of kitchen knives). Others call the designer the architect of the current look of the world. Be that as it may, both the critics and the admirers of M. Kalashnikov agree on one thing: his invention changed the history of mankind. According to the estimates of the international research organization Small Arms Survey, the "cult of Kalashnikov" and "kalashnikovization" became common terms describing the weapons traditions of many countries of the Caucasus, Middle East, Central Asia, Africa. AK-47 adorns the emblems of Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Burkina Faso ( from 1984 to 1997), East Timor.

AK-47, becoming a symbol of the uprising and the revolutionary struggle, can now safely be considered an independent cultural phenomenon. In 2012 The Kalashnikov assault rifle, painted by British artist Damien Hirst, was sold at a charity auction in London for $ 89,000. Participants in the auction thought about the image of the machine gun in different ways. Thus, the installation of Anthony Gormley "Silence" was sold for 80 thousand dollars. It is a human contour made of steel wire into which the machine gun is inserted. Designer Philippe Starck created the Kalashnikov AK-47 desk lamp, which costs 1,360 pounds.

Musicians often turn to the image of the machine in their work. The Sisterhood group dedicated AK-47 their song Finland red, Egypt white, Goran Bregovich to the song Kalashkikov. The rapper Ice Cube regularly mentions AK-47 in his songs; in the composition of Straight Outta Compton, the machine gun even “plays” a solo part. The cult performer Tupac Shakur made an AK-47 tattoo on his stomach.

In an animated music video for the song Mosh, the popular American rapper Eminem "handed" AK-47 to George W. Bush. Also the Kalashnikov rifle can be seen in the clip of the French hip-hop artist and one of the leaders of the French anti-globalists Keny Arkan La Rage. In the cinema, the AK-47 meets with enviable regularity. Sylvester Stallone is holding a Kalashnikov in one of the parts of Rambo. In the movie "Jackie Brown" by Quentin Tarantino, Samuel Jackson’s hero speaks of this machine gun: "There is nothing better when you need to destroy absolutely every living thing that comes to hand."

In the film "Gunsmith," Nicolas Cage's hero dedicated a whole monologue to AK-47: "This is the most popular machine gun in the world, all fighters love it. It is delicately simple, assembled from pressed steel and plywood, and weighs only 9 pounds. It does not break, It does not get stuck, it does not get hot. It shoots in dirt and sand. It is so simple to use that a child can shoot out of it - and this also happens. The Soviets knocked out the machine gun on the coins, Mozambique put it on his flag. Wars "Kalashnikov" became for Russians the main export item, only then go to ka, caviar and writers suicide. " Not the last role in the popularization of the AK-47 image was played by the computer games Call of Duty, STALKER, FarCry, Counter-Strike, Battlefield, Warface, where the machine gun entered the arsenal of fighters.

The Kalashnikov assault rifle hit the Guinness Book of Records as the most common small arms in the world. Playboy magazine put the AK-47 in fourth place in the list of 50 products that changed the world. The machine has lost only to the Apple Macintosh computer, the birth control pill and the Sony Betamax video recorder. At the same time, the French magazine Liberation gave AK-47 the first place in the list of the most significant inventions of the 20th century, leaving behind atomic weapons and space technology.

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Page last modified: 04-08-2019 18:53:57 ZULU