Ak 47

The Kalashnikov AK-47 small arms assault rifle is without question one of the most successful military guns of the 20th century. No other weapon can boast the international respect and widespread use of the AK-47.

AK-47 History

The AK-47 was designed by Sergeant Mikhail Kalashnikov in response to the German assault rifles developed during World War II. The German weapons designers discovered that the bulk of firefights occurred within 300 meters, and designed small arms assault rifles with this fact in mind.

The resulting German assault rifle, the Sturmgewehr 44, saw heavy action against the Russians. Injured during battle, Kalashnikov began toying with the AK-47 design in response to the superior German small arms that had wounded him.

Kalashnikov eventually entered his assault rifle blueprint into a weapons design competition for a new rifle that would take 7.62 x 41mm cartridges. As part of the competition requirements, the prototype for the AK-47 was dragged through sand, dust and mud. The assault rifle was able to fire even after enduring such rough treatment and won the competition. By 1947 the Kalashnikov AK-47 was in production.

Kalashnikov AK-47 Reliability vs. Accuracy

The weapons competition was the premier of the AK-47 ‘s greatest feature: its reliability. Here was an assault rifle that could be fired with grit in the weapon ‘s mechanisms, as well as when wet.

The AK-47 ‘s legendary reliability is due to a large gas piston, wide clearance between the gun ‘s moving mechanisms and a tapered cartridge case. As a result, the assault rifle can be jammed with all manner of debris and still fire; however, the AK-47 sacrifices some accuracy when compared to less rugged, but more precisely constructed small arms.

From the point of the Russian military, the AK-47 ‘s reliability was well worth the loss in accuracy. When the AK-47 was developed, it was assumed the assault rifle would be fired at close ranges. Time has proven this assumption true. While in theory an AK-47 has a killing range of 1,000 meters, the assault rifle sees most of its action at less than 300 meters.

The AK-47 is capable of both semi-automatic and automatic fire. Magazine cartridges vary in size, but generally contain 30 bullets.

AK-47 Assault Rifle Specifications

  • action: gas-operated with a rotating bolt

  • barrel: 16.3 inches

  • cartridge: 7.62 x 39mm (originally 7.62 x 41mm)

  • date of design: 1947

  • designer: Mikhail Kalashnikov

  • effective range: 300 meters

  • length: 34.3 inches

  • manufactured by: Izhevsk Mechanical Works

  • maximum range: 1,000 to 1,500 meters

  • maximum rate of fire: 600 rounds per minute

  • muzzle velocity: 2,329 feet per second

  • service history: 1949 to present

  • weight: 8.4 pounds (9.5 pounds fully loaded).

The King of Military Guns

Since its inception, the AK-47 has become one of the world ‘s most common small arms. While the Izhevsk Machine Tool Factory holds the patent, illegal production of AK-47s occurs worldwide, with an annual production rate of approximately one million weapons a year.

At least 100 million AK-47s have been produced worldwide since 1949, and the assault rifle ‘s design is used in at least 55 countries. The AK-47 is the weapon of choice for:

  • drug smugglers
  • guerilla fighters
  • international military forces
  • revolutionaries.

The influence of the AK-47 can be seen in conflicts across the globe, and the assault rifle ‘s basic shape is recognizable even to people who have never fired a gun. The use of the AK-47 in action movies is ubiquitous, and the weapon is the only small arms assault rifle portrayed on a national flag: A silhouette of an AK-47 adorns the Mozambique flag.

Although known as the AK-47 throughout the Western world, in the old Soviet bloc the assault rifle was (and still is) known as the Kalashnikov, after the military gun ‘s creator. The assault rifle is often called a Kalashnikov in Africa, and “Kalash ” has become a boy ‘s name in some parts of the continent.

The Cost of an AK-47 Assault Rifle

Location influences the cost of the Kalashnikov AK-47 small arms assault rifle. The high rate of AK-47 production, both legally and illegally, tends to keep the price of the weapon low. In areas where the assault rifle has seen military action, such as Somalia and other African theaters of war, the cost of an AK-47 ranges from 30 to 125 dollars.

In U.S. gun collecting circles, an AK-47 is a rarity. Collectors of military guns often pay high prices for the world ‘s most common, and most famous, small arms assault rifles.