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AK-47: Iconic weapon
BBC Online (UK) ^ | 12/05/2005 | Staff

Posted on 12/05/2005 12:25:15 PM PST by 1066AD

AK-47: Iconic weapon All this week, BBC World Service's The World Today programme is looking at the stories behind one of the world's most iconic weapons, the AK-47, and talking to the people who trade in it, the people who carry it, and the people whose lives have been destroyed by it. The global trade in small arms is big business - it involves almost 1,250 companies operating in at least 92 countries producing weapons, parts or ammunition.

The most popular, and perhaps the most iconic, of all these weapons is the AK-47 assault rifle. Its distinctive shape and widespread use made it an icon of violence in the 20th Century.

In the film Jackie Brown, gunrunner Ordell Robbie calls the the AK-47 "the very best there is... accept no substitutes".

AK-47 STORIES MONDAY

But away from the glamour of the big screen, NGOs lament the deadly toll exacted by small arms. The Small Arms Survey 2005 suggested small arms - meaning personal weapons also including pistols, machine guns, grenades, portable anti-tank systems and mortars - were responsible for some 60-90% of direct war deaths, estimated at 100,000 for 2003.

And estimates suggest small arms are implicated in more than 1,000 deaths every day.

"Small arms cause big losses," Louise Frechette, the UN deputy director-general, has said.

Illicit exports

The AK-47 assault rifle is durable, simple to use, and, with only nine parts, easy to dismantle and maintain. It can fire 600 rounds a minute, with each bullet still potentially lethal at distances of more than a kilometre (2/3 mile).

THE AK-47 Stands for Avtomat Kalashnikova model 1947 Designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov while wounded in hospital - though he has said he wished he invented the lawnmower instead Produced in greater numbers than any other 20th-Century assault rifle Fires 600 rounds a minute Estimated 70-100m in the world The AK47 has spawned many derivatives, such as the Chinese-manufactured Type 56

It is estimated that 70-100 million Kalashnikov rifles - comprising the AK-47 and AK-74 - have been made worldwide, dwarfing the US-made M-16 at seven million.

The US, UK, France, Russia, and China are responsible for 88% of reported conventional arms exports. In the US alone, the small arms trade accounts for a huge $14bn (£8bn) of exports. The figure in the UK is $4.6bn.

But this trade often ends up being illegally exploited.

These lethal weapons are relatively cheap, highly portable, and easily concealable - characteristics that make small arms particularly susceptible to illicit trafficking. They are often sold illegally in exchange for hard currency or goods such as diamonds, drugs, or other contraband.

In all, estimates of the black market trade in small arms range from $2bn to $10bn a year. The charity Oxfam estimates that between 80% and 90% of all illegal small arms start in the sanctioned trade.

In 2001 the UN launched a Programme of Action to combat and eradicate the illicit trade in small arms. The programme sets out a series of measures that governments should take internationally, nationally and regionally to control small arms, but it is not legally binding.

In a World Today discussion, defence export consultant Elizabeth Carter commented that there was a lack of awareness about the new measures, and that even weapons manufacturers are confused about the new export controls.

Meanwhile, Paul Eavin, director of the arms-control NGO Saferworld, said one of the biggest sources for the illicit arms trade was theft from state and police armeries.

Developed nations also need to recognise their central role in the trade, he said.

"We would certainly argue that from countries like Britain, there are still too many exports to countries like Colombia, Nepal, Saudi Arabia - and those exports shouldn't be taking place."

AK-47 is broadcast on BBC World Service's World Today programme every day until 8 December at 2300 GMT.

Story from BBC NEWS: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/europe/4380348.stm


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Extended News; Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: ak47; banglist
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Might be fun to listen to the programs.

AK-47 is broadcast on BBC World Service's World Today programme every day from 4 to 8 December, 2005, at 0205 GMT.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4499478.stm

1 posted on 12/05/2005 12:25:15 PM PST by 1066AD
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To: 1066AD
"The AK-47, the preferred weapon of your enemy. It has a distinctive sound. Get to know it." Gunny Highway in Heartbreak Ridge.
2 posted on 12/05/2005 12:30:08 PM PST by RetiredArmy (I have no faith in any politician or political party any more. They all lie for their agendas.)
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To: 1066AD
Here's a "deluxe" model that used to belong to Saddam:

And then there's Mozambique's flag:


3 posted on 12/05/2005 12:31:04 PM PST by Gordongekko909 (I know. Let's cut his WHOLE BODY off.)
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To: 1066AD

"The best there is" would be the Finnish Valmet copy. AK is a paint sprayer, and the Finns somehow managed to tighten it up without sacrificing reliability.


4 posted on 12/05/2005 12:37:44 PM PST by GSlob
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To: 1066AD
I've fired an AK-47 once, and it was like the crack cocaine of assault weapons. I loved it. No wonder Che got all the babes.

All joking aside, the AK-47 was a brilliant design. If you have an unskilled militia with no O&S structure whatsoever, you want a weapon that pisses lead, is impossible to break, can be operated by an illiterate and will fire anything you care to load into it other than roofing nails or chewing gum. That pretty much is what an AK-47 provided our enemy for about 50 years.
5 posted on 12/05/2005 12:37:57 PM PST by .cnI redruM (Murtha - What happens when patriots turn into Democrats.)
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To: 1066AD

"...and, with only nine parts, easy to dismantle..."

NINE parts? Who proofreads this stuff for the BBC?


6 posted on 12/05/2005 12:39:26 PM PST by 04-Bravo
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To: 1066AD

Speaking of AK-47s, this was on local news today...
Local Man Robbed at Gunpoint with AK-47


http://www.localnews8.com/home/2056027.html


7 posted on 12/05/2005 12:39:29 PM PST by EastIdaho (Warning to tourists, do not laugh at the natives)
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To: GSlob

In the film Jackie Brown, gunrunner Ordell Robbie calls the the AK-47 "the very best there is... accept no substitutes".

"The best there is" would be the Finnish Valmet copy. AK is a paint sprayer, and the Finns somehow managed to tighten it up without sacrificing reliability.

i'd prefer an HK PSG1 or a 91/G3.


8 posted on 12/05/2005 12:40:44 PM PST by absolootezer0 ("My God, why have you forsaken us.. no wait, its the liberals that have forsaken you... my bad")
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To: 1066AD
...talking to the people who trade in it, the people who carry it, and the people whose lives have been destroyed by it.

I was unaware that the BBC had a necromancy desk.

9 posted on 12/05/2005 12:40:44 PM PST by Redcloak (We'll raise up our glasses against evil forces singin' "whiskey for my men and beer for my horses!")
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To: 1066AD

The AK-47... The third worlds answer to the condom. Retroactive population control.


10 posted on 12/05/2005 12:42:57 PM PST by PsyOp (Men easily believe what they want to. Caesar, De Bello Gallico, III, 18.)
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To: 1066AD
"..perhaps the most iconic..",

Amazing to hear constantly, but the average numb-skull reporter who would not know a rifle from a shotgun knows "AK-47" by rote - even without knowing what the initials and number stand for.

Iconic, isn't it?

11 posted on 12/05/2005 12:44:30 PM PST by Designer (Just a nit-pick'n and chagrin'n)
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To: Redcloak
I was unaware that the BBC had a necromancy desk.

What's so strange about that? The DNC has one.


12 posted on 12/05/2005 12:45:05 PM PST by Gordongekko909 (I know. Let's cut his WHOLE BODY off.)
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To: Designer

"Iconic, isn't it?"

You meant "Ironic", didn't you?


13 posted on 12/05/2005 12:45:44 PM PST by PsyOp (Men easily believe what they want to. Caesar, De Bello Gallico, III, 18.)
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To: GSlob

Got one of those. It is a work of art. Rosewood stock and the reciever is machined from a billet and not stamped out. I is the semi-auto in 5.56 and is one of my "life keepers" in the gun safe. My daughters fight over which one gets it when I dead.


14 posted on 12/05/2005 12:45:52 PM PST by WilliamWallace1999
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To: absolootezer0

De gustibus... And $$$, too. IIRC, PSG was about 10K.


15 posted on 12/05/2005 12:48:12 PM PST by GSlob
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To: 1066AD

It is a peasant's weapon with poor accuracy good only for close in fighting. Ask the AK-47 armed Iraqis who charged the soldier of the 507th who died after killing numerous Iraqis at 200 yards.


16 posted on 12/05/2005 12:48:26 PM PST by Blood of Tyrants (G-d is not a Republican. But Satan is definitely a Democrat.)
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To: GSlob

actually, they started about $5,000... before they got banned. there were very few of them, and there really wasn't much difference between them and the 91. bolt close assist, adjustable cheek piece and hand grip, a $1,500 scope, and a much nicer trigger group.

what's "De gustibus"?


17 posted on 12/05/2005 12:54:26 PM PST by absolootezer0 ("My God, why have you forsaken us.. no wait, its the liberals that have forsaken you... my bad")
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To: absolootezer0
In the film Jackie Brown, gunrunner Ordell Robbie calls the the AK-47 "the very best there is... accept no substitutes".
He had a qualifying statement during those 3 dots, but we can't repeat it here.
18 posted on 12/05/2005 12:56:02 PM PST by wolfpat (Your, you're, yore: Learn the difference.)
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To: absolootezer0

"De gustibus non disputandum est" - Latin proverb = "There is no arguing about one's tastes [or preferences]"


19 posted on 12/05/2005 1:00:26 PM PST by GSlob
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To: 1066AD
The 'civilized' Western nations wont allow their honest citizens to own firearms or to become proficient with them
and keep up their skills...while their enemies nations
are swimming with such weapons...

Brilliant!

Luckily the AK family is still crap compared to the AR family...

Of course an AK is still infinitely better than no weapon
at all....

imo
20 posted on 12/05/2005 1:00:31 PM PST by joesnuffy (A camel once bit my sister-we knew just what to do- gather large rocks and squash her-Mullet Ho'mar)
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