Skip to comments.Assault rifle inventor Mikhail Kalashnikov dies at 94
Posted on 12/23/2013 8:41:52 AM PST by kronos77
he inventor of the Kalashnikov assault rifle, Mikhail Kalashnikov, has died aged 94, Russian TV reports.
The automatic rifle he designed became one of the world's most familiar and widely used weapons.
Its comparative simplicity made it cheap to manufacture, as well as reliable and easy to maintain.
Although honoured by the state, Kalashnikov made little money from his gun. He once said he would have been better off designing a lawn mower.
Mikhail Kalashnikov was admitted to hospital with internal bleeding in November.
(Excerpt) Read more at bbc.co.uk ...
If he had invented a lawn mower that started first pull everytime,, the world would have a lot less gardeners.
I know next to nothing about guns and would like to know what set this gun apart from others. Thank you.
Patterned after the German Sturmgewehr 44, but made simple, rugged and reliable.
Kalashnikov served his country well, however evil that country may have been.
He was always overrated. His verson won a design trial, after Hugo Schmeisser, a ‘member of his design team’ changed it extensively from what Kalashnikov designed. The one thing Schmeisser didn’t touch was the receiver, which had problems with cracking after less than 10,000 rounds. The Kalashnikov stamped receiver was quickly replaced with a machined receiver designed by someone else. Later they went back to a stamped receiver, but one designed by someone else.
Kalashnikov was the politically correct face for the team. For that he deserves full credit.
Lawn mower with a sling.
All the worlds jungle trouble spots would be mowed flat.
Ethanol wouldn’t hurt it.
To put it simple:
If you want to win a war, you need to have either AK-47 either nukes. And when those nukes go off, you need AK-47 to stay alive.
Ubiquity and fault tolerance.
The weapon is everywhere in the world and can fire under conditions that many rifles would not operate under.
It is not terribly accurate, but lots of people have died from them.
The combination of rugged simplicity, high functionality, and inexpensive manufacture is rare in any machine. Such are works of genius.
It’s a wonder he made it through Stalin’s purges.
Your statement is interesting. Was Schmeisser captured by the Russkies at the end of the war and brought back to Mother Russia?
Are black flags flying in Russia?
He was useful. Stalin was smart dictator.”Budget cuts” wes not in his vocabulary.
Reliability, durability, and low production cost.
Plus, we were taught how to field strip and fire an AK. In case you ran out of ammo, or your M16 was inoperable.
Yes, I said M16, so I'm that old...so sue me.
I’ll agree he was useful.
"This is the AK-47 assault rifle, the preferred weapon of your enemy; and it makes a distinctive sound when fired at you, so remember it".
The milled and forged receiver Bulgarian model is the best. Next best is a Yugo/Serbian model with the 1.5 mm (vs. 1.0 mm) receiver.
I know next to nothing about guns and would like to know what set this gun apart from others. Thank you.
That basic concept isn’t new, but the way he did it made for a VERY simple and relatively inexpensive design that is remarkably reliable and abuse tolerant. The design can be used in a wide variety of situations from rifle rounds to shotgun shells.
It’s not the most accurate design, but it works for a lot of situations.
I will wait for the later posts positing that he wasn’t the original designer.
BEAT ME BY THREE MINUTES! Bummer.
Yes, he was.
While there, I'm quite sure Schmeisser was most eager to please and more than willing to let anyone else take credit for any and all of his work on what eventually became the AK-47.
How much impact he actually had on the design, we will never know for sure but it is doubtful the Russians of 1947 would be too eager to give credit for their primary assault weapon to an ex Nazi, regardless of his talent.
Yugo models with forged receiver and casing is best, but that was made only on first series.
Actually he ripped off the basic design from the Germans.
Don’t yet have one of his rifles, but it is on my wish list.
“It is not terribly accurate, but lots of people have died from them.”
I recall reading an article in Soldier of Fortune magazine years ago about “rebels” in what was then Rhodesia and their use of the AK. The Rhodesian troops were always wondering why the rebels’ AK’s had a high rate of malfunctions during firefights and why they were so “inaccurate”.
Further investigation revealed that the rebels were using their AK’s as a makeshift stool resting the end of the magazine on the ground. That could not have been good for the reliability of the mag. When they examined captured AK’s they found that all of the rear sights were adjusted to the 900m setting. Seems some witch doctor had told these Einsteins that setting the sights like this would make the weapon more powerful.
No wonder Zimbabwe is in the shape its in.
The AK was best described by Col Hackworth in “About Face”. In comparison with what was then dubbed the “Matty Matell” and is now calkled the AR-15, the AK-47 is far more reliable, works when the trigger is pulled pretty much regardless of cleaning, mud, sand, ice, whatever.
The AK-47 ansl originally came chambered in the 7.62X39, not the .223 the AR-15 fired. The 7.62X39 gave the ability to penitrate cover far better than the .223 which was originally a varmint gun caliber(think woodchuck), or as Hackworth put it “if only America’s enemies were all about three feet tall.”
With the return of the skilled rifleman/sniper to teh military planning room, it is interesting to note that the battle rifle cartridge(.308, and larger) may return due to the range/penetration it offers.
PS The AK-47 was derived from an earlier German weapon, but that is another story.
The development cycle of the AK-47 is still kind of murky, but Mikhail Kalashnikov did the general configuration design work on what is still the most famous automatic rifle of the 20th Century. It was not the most accurate rifle, but its very literal bulletproof reliability made it very widely used all over the world—indeed, for a while during the Vietnam War US soldiers often used captured AK’s against the North Vietnames and Viet Cong very effectively because it could survive the harsh jungle conditions of Vietnam.
I read a fascinating evaluation of the AK-47 by a USMC Major who was doing solitary duty somewhere in the horn of Africa (from the book “Imperial Grunts”) where he contrasted an AK47 and an M16.
In his demonstration to the author, he showed an M-16...now a good, reliable weapon, accurate and well maintained, made to conserve ammunition, and as he shot a magazine, he pressed a button, and the magazine smoothly ejected into the dirt and he was able to slap another one in effortlessly and continue shooting.
When he shot the AK47, he showed how comparatively inaccurate the weapon was, but stressed the advantage that it had when it came to being used by untrained personnel in bad conditions, where it could be used even when covered with grime and not being cleaned for extended periods of time. When he needed to change the magazine, he had to grasp the magazine and pull it out.
He said this was because the gun was made cheaply, to spray bullets, and to the regimes using it, the cost of losing magazines by dropping them into the dirt was considered more of a problem than losing the life of the person shooting the weapon who might not be able to change out a magazine as swiftly.
I thought that was an unusual and interesting analysis.
Respect he design. Simple, robust, and effective.
Very interesting ping.
Thanks - very nice graphic.
Before I lost them all in a boating accident, I traded my ARs for AK derivatives. A few AKs, a scoped deer rifle, and shotguns will have do for for my long guns.
Guess I’ve seen too many zombie movies.
“...the battle rifle cartridge(.308, and larger) may return due to the range/penetration it offers.”
I doubt that .308/7.62 x 51mm rifles will be issued to the grunts. Most squads now have “designated marksmen” with re-fitted M-14’s or AR-10 pattern rifles. However, now that the DoD - in its infinite wisdom - has decided that all military calibers must shoot “green” bullets all bets are off. A 62 grain projectile made without lead is going to make a very long bullet which may diminish room for powder in the case. I’m sure that the EPA will approve of it though.
I read, years ago, that Charles Atkins Jr was hunting in South Vietnam back in the late 1950s, before the war.
He was warned to be aware of the communist infiltrators, and while hunting, there came into his view two of them armed with rifles.
Askins pulled out his 44 Magnum and killed them both dead. One was armed with an SKS, the other with a strange rifle that turned out to be an AK.
Askins claimed that HE was probably the first person to take a human life with the .44 mag, and capture the first AK-47.
Drinking that stuff might have caused his internal bleeding.
The same could be said of the Czech CZ vz. 58. Mine is absolutely flawless.
Excellent paint remover!
Mikail Kalashnikov was also a life member of the NRA. That’s the American NRA. Hince he was one of our comrades-in-arms. He was a good one to have on our Freeper side.
***the Matty Matell and is now called the AR-15,***
Back in the late 1960s, a men’s adventure magazine had a cover painting of a wounded US soldier and a beautiful nurse fighting against the VC. The weapon the soldier was using was an M-16. A copy of the Matell toy M-16.
I had a gun shop owner tell me that some M-16s were made by Matell. I tried not to laugh in his face.
My condolences to the Russians, they have lost a great man today.
Although it was never intended as a standard battle rifle, I think the M1 Carbine would qualify as a very early assault rifle. It did not have a full auto feature but that was added later.
In my opinion, it was better without it.
***When he shot the AK47, he showed how comparatively inaccurate the weapon was,***
Inaccurate, yes. But the VALMET and GALIL versions were super accurate, from what I have read.
They had their Germans, we had our Germans.
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