Skip to comments.AK-47 inventor: I don't lose sleep
Posted on 07/06/2007 2:24:48 PM PDT by Eurotwit
MOSCOW - Sixty years after the AK-47 went into production, Mikhail Kalashnikov says he does not stay awake at night worrying about the bloodshed wrought by the world's most popular assault rifle.
"I sleep well. It's the politicians who are to blame for failing to come to an agreement and resorting to violence," Kalashnikov said Friday at a ceremony marking the birth of the rifle, whose initials stand for "Avtomat Kalashnikov."
It was before he started designing the gun that he slept badly, worried about the superior weapons that Nazi soldiers were using with grisly effectiveness against the Red Army in World War II. He saw them at close range himself, while fighting on the front lines.
While hospitalized with wounds after a Nazi shell hit his tank in the 1941 battle of Bryansk, Kalashnikov decided to design an automatic rifle combining the best features of the American M1 and the German StG44.
"Blame the Nazi Germans for making me become a gun designer," said Kalashnikov, frail but sharp at age 87. "I always wanted to construct agriculture machinery."
Since production began, more than 100 million AK-47s have been made either at the home factory in the central Russian city of Izhevsk, under license in dozens of other countries, or illegally. Sergei Chemezov, director of the Russian arms export monopoly Rosoboronexport, said nearly a million a year are produced without license.
The AK-47 has been a mainstay in wars, coups, terrorist attacks, robberies and other mayhem. Its popularity comes from being rugged and easy to maintain, though its accuracy is not high.
It proved ideal and extremely reliable for warfare in jungle or desert easily assembled and able to keep firing in sandy or wet conditions that would jam a U.S-made M-16.
"During the Vietnam war, American soldiers would throw away their M-16s to grab AK-47s and bullets for it from dead Vietnamese soldiers," he said. "I hear American soldiers in Iraq use it quite often."
The simplicity and reliability of the AK-47 made it a favorite of rebel movements worldwide it even features on the Mozambique flag. Keen to support anti-colonial movements in Asia and Africa, the Soviets proliferated the rifle, sometimes for free, to pro-Soviet regimes or insurgents.
In 2005, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who styles himself as a leader of the fighting against imperialism, ordered 100,000 for his army.
"The Kalashnikov rifle is a symbol of the creative genius of our people," President Vladimir Putin said in a statement read to Kalashnikov at the ceremony in the Central Russian Army Museum.
"It's a huge and splendid celebration," said Nikolai Shvets of Rosoboronexport. "For another 20 years, the AK-47 will remain unsurpassed by any other automatic rifle in the world."
Kalashnikov is still active and prolific he tours the world as a Rosoboronexport consultant helping strike new arms deals, and has written several books on his life, about arms and about youth education.
"After the collapse of the great and mighty Soviet Union so much crap has been imposed on us, especially on the younger generation," he said. "I wrote six books to help them find their way in life."
He said he is proud of his bronze bust installed in his native village of Kurya in the Siberian region of Altai. He said newlyweds bring flowers to the bust.
"They whisper 'Uncle Misha, wish us happiness and healthy kids,'" he said. "What other gun designer can boast of that?"
“Of course he doesn’t lose sleep, he didn’t invent it...”
The AK is a huge improvement over the STg44. And all designers are influenced by previous work. It doesn’t matter what field you’re in.
In one of his books, David Hackworth reported a somewhat distasteful incident in which a Vietnamese soldier and his AK-47 were buried together, and later dug up. The weapon was still functional, the soldier not so much.
“It is an effective weapon and in demand for the terrorist or communist regimes which Russia continues to support.”
Arms procurement is a huge political cesspoll internationally, but on the face of it, and discounting factional politics, any government on a budget would be crazy not to consider the Kalashnikov.
I don’t lose any sleep either.
I think we all sleep better knowing that the Allies won the war instead of the Nazis.
The AK and its variants have been produced in a number of calibers:
7.62x39 the original AK 47
5.45x39 the AK 74
5.45x45 which uses our .223 round
7.62x51 also known as nato.308
8mm mauser used in the yugo m76
The AK bears no real resemblance in design
VEPR’s rock! Mine is in .308
Or, in my case, tool disrepute.
If Messr. Kalishnikov had designed the soldier, they'd have both come out firing.
My rifle is the consumer/civillian version of the AK101 series, called a Saiga S.223.. it is made in the Izhmash factory where “Mr K” consults.
I plan on adding a US made 4-prong flash hider to it soon.
I’m also looking at getting some 20 or 30 round magazines for it. The magazines have the bullet guide built onto them on the front lip of the magazine, this is done to make the rifle a little different so that a regular AKM magazine can’t be used without modification, helps to get them imported as a “sporting arm”...
yeah like the constitution saya “sporting arms”...lol, have to play by .gov rules!
True. I heard one air-force general marveling at the Russian versions of our aircraft. He said, "They only are about 80% as deadly as ours, but what they lack in sophistication, they make up for in durability and simplicity. Our aircraft need groomed runways, theirs can take off from barely-finished roads. Our aircraft need incredible support systems, as opposed to some 17 year old Russian smacking on their aircraft with a ball-peen hammer."
I get a little tired of all the grousing about the M-16. It is a fine, accurate, and deadly weapon when properly maintained.
I will take anything made for the US Military over anything made for the Commies.
The M16 over came it teething pains and became a very good rifle.
As for the any plane the russians made, check its background to see if it has any stolen US plans in it. The Russians havent had a orignal idea since Peter the Great.
Is he check out his E harmony account LOL!
Mechanically, no. Conceptually, the AK was a ripoff.
The AK bears no real resemblance in design
Yes it does, in general configuration. Kalashnikov used the 8mm Kurz ammo as a pattern to reduce the powder capacity of the Russian 7.62 battle rifle cartridge. Some of the StG-44 design elements (pistol grip, detachable curved magazine) can be seen, as well as bits of inspiration picked up from the Simonov rifle (fielded in small numbers before the end of WWII) and the Garand.
The StG-44 was also gas-operated, unlike the later CETME. I believe the later StG-45 might've done without a gas system in favor of fine-tuned mechanical ratios in the roller-locked breech, as seen in the CETME (can't recall for certain). In any case, some of the men who worked on the StG-44 and later 45 did end up in Spain after WWII, where they designed the CETME (later H&K G3).
The FN-FAL was originally patterned around the 8mm Kurz cartridge, too - pity that was never produced.
Yeah, I watched that Gold Cup Final match, it was a great game.
Unfortunately, we didn’t do so well in the Copa America, but then again, we pretty much sent our scrubs down there, so it wasn’t unexpected.
And Freddy Adu was amazing against Poland in the U-20 tournament. Gives us a lot of hope for 2010, if he can continue to develop.
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