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?"
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.
It also makes a very distinct "clack" when taken off-safe. A fact that saved many GIs in Nam.
Why should he? Since 1949, if not earlier, he’s BEEN one of our enemies. Honored in his own country, and even respected in ours for the reliability and effectiveness of one of his inventions.
Can’t disagree with any of that....our enemies never lose sleep, even when they claim to be our allies.
I should add to that.....our enemies ONLY lose sleep when we are dropping precision munitions on their dwelling of choice. Be it a cave in Tora Bora or a “safe house” in Afghanistan or Iraq.
I thought it might be a Saiga but I wasn’t sure. I tossed back and forth between the Saiga and VEPR. Some of other evil black rifles are .308 cal. So much hardware so little time and money....
Which we should do much more frequently, imho. Of course, I’m retired Air Force...
41 percent alcohol named after him that funny
You should have a kalashnikov and tonic one day :-)
When you care enough to send the very best....USAF!
It IS .22 caliber, the added three is merely to designate that it isn't some other .22 (RFs, RFl, RFlr, & .22Mag), .222, 22 hornet, & so forth. (Don't try mixing .22 with .218 however - nothing is absolute)
Same applies to .38 and .357, same size barrel, different size exit wound, .357 firarm will fire .38, .38 firearm should not even chamber a .357.
Applies differently to .44 versus .44 Magnum. Same results as .38..357 but no numeric cues - 'magnum' just means bigger (same as .22 mag).
Also to 30-06, versus .308, same bullet, casing resized for improved propellants.
Magnum loadings and appropriate cases are legion in the .30 cal rifle range. Cases vary for each and do NOT want to get jammed into a hogged-out Springfield.
Basically, IMHO, no matter what the services and wildcatters might try, the basic bullet sizes are .22, .357 (includes 9mm), .45 (and close related 10mm) - mostly handguns & some SMs, and .30/7.6mm, and .50/12mm - long arms, .320 auto/7.6 pistols being way obsolete and .30 carbine chambered Ruger Blackhawk being one of two revolvers I MUST own before cashing 'em all in.
Much of the minute variation in military arms is simply to make sure the other guy can't use your ammo in his issue arms. Or, the effort to make one caliber fit all circumstances (simplify logistics, reduce efficiency in most circumstances) that's why there are so many variants on both M16 and Kalishnakov. However, AK47 and Mauser 98 (WWI) are probably most copied longarms in the world.
I think John Browing is still the most copied designer ever.
The M1 had not reached the Marine Corps until 1942 — pretty much during the Guadalcanal Campaign. The ‘06 Springfield was still pretty much standard issue for the Marines & overseas Army units (Wake & the Philippines) at the outset of the War. Also there was a significant FBI counter-espionage case in the ‘30’s where a German spy was nailed trying to aquire the M1 technical spec’s. I admit I don’t recall the date of the Bust, but taken together with the slow fielding of the weapon you’d have to say that M1’s were hard to come buy for anyone outside US prior to Pearl Harbor. I’m not aware that M1’s were used in Lend-Lease, and that would be the only other mass outlet prior to the US entry in the War.
The Kalashnikov design is probably the ultimate in automatic rifle design where a mid-powered, 7.62 cartride is concerned. I know that there are some that liked the M14, but that beast had a reputation of being tough to handle on full auto.
Eugene Stoner's M16 was a real departure & had the US Army Ordnance not futzed with the powder & chinsed on chroming the chambers it probably wouldn't have developed the bad reputation that still haunts it to this day.
Half-right. Russian aircraft design philosophy is to build lots of aircraft, but not fly them very much. The theory is that combat aircraft will be lost in very large numbers in any modern war (certainly true). This is also why Russian combat pilots tend to have less flying time than their western counterparts.
Our aircraft might be harder to maintain -- also true. But they do fly more hours. Hence the pilot/machine combo tends to be more deadly. The thing that kept NATO planners awake nights was were they deadly enough to face 3:1 odds and win?
You would expect a Russian officer not to mention the downside of their country's aircraft design philosophies. That's a big thing that even their generals would have to live with.
The true genius of small arms design was and is John Moses Browning. Any disputes out there?
When you care enough to send the VERY BEST....you can even make house calls!
I’m no expert but they were sending Brits Lend Lease M-1 Garands starting in 1941. About 38,000 were delievered in 41-42. I don’t think it is a far stretch to assume that the Brits sent a few over for the gunsmiths of the Soviet Union to look at via the Murmansk run.
I have to admit that the AK-47 is a superior rifle in a number of very important aspects.
1. It can fire when dirty. I mean really dirty.
2. Has very good hit power up to about 250 meters. Which for most target engagements is quite well enough.
3. Very easy to maintain. Not a lot of complex parts. And they are not expensive to replace those parts. not alot of precision milled equipment.
Where the M-16 is FAR superior is accuracy. It shoots flatter and has a 200 yard (if you are a good shot) farther reach and so is easier to engarge a target from concealed cover at a distance. The sighting system of the M-16 is also much better. The only real drawback is you have to keep the rifle clean.
Nope not from me John Browning was the Jedi master of firearms.
Even though we've played this game 100X, what the heck. Let's go.
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"