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?"
It does make a distinct “Clack”, but that is not near as detectable if the shooter places a left hand over the safety lever while disengaging it. I taught that trick to my youngest son while on a turkey hunt. He cocked the hammer on a single shot shotgun and the turkey alerted immediately.
No battle for me. I’ve used both extensively and the arguments have been made well in today’s thread. If it’s point and shoot, give me the AK; if aim and shoot, the ‘16.
Too bad he didn't. The Soviets might have been able to feed their own people.
A heck of designer though.
Yep. M. Kalashnikov never approved of the switch in calibers. He was probably correct.
Why should he lose sleep? He just copied a successful German design.
The Sturmgewehr design dates from the 30’s, and the first prototypes were field tested in 1942. The gun was issued under the names Mkb 42, MP43, MP44, StG44, and Stg45. The Garand also dates from the 30’s. Read a book.
Should John C Garand or John Browning have lost sleep over inventing very fine weapons that have been used for good and bad? A gun is just a tool. The evil is in the heart of the person who weilds it.
That’s about it. Past 200 yards, an AR will eat an AK’s lunch all day long.
archy, you know Garand lore. Didn't one or two see action in Finland prior to the lend-lease deliveries?
One of my favorite Clint Eastwood movies...LOL!!
The 1911 A1 is perhaps the best self defense sidearm ever made. And the 50. caliber heavy machine gun in all it's forms are still in use today.
No one can beat that reputation.
According to whom?
Stop sniffing the Hoppes No. 9 right before bedtime!
Thanks, Pal. If you read my other posts you’ll see my reference to a German espionage ring that got busted by the FBI in the ‘30’s trying to steal the M1 Garand. Why don’t you try reading the thread?
Didn’t know that! Another poster referenced a few M1’s making it to Finland. If that’s the case, that’s probably how Kalashnikov got his models. Though they may have eventually gotten some via Lend-Lease — they attempted to buy a B29 that way. What’s Russian for chutzpah?
They got B29 via the USAAF when several B29's on mission over Japan diverted to Russia when they could not make in back to base... Stalin order his aircraft industry to make an exact rivet for rivet copy of the B29... this became the TU4 "Bull"