Skip to comments.AK-47: Iconic weapon
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.
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
They probably counted field strip, not detail strip. Bolt cover, bolt, piston, recoil spring, gas cylinder, forend, magazine, cleaning rod, and then the rest of it counted as one piece.
"My cousin, a Marine, "took care of his business" on one of Saddamned's toilets. He said it was pretty cool."
One of the perks of being an marine.
The Finns definitely get top marks for fit and finish. The various Valmets I owned could hold 1.5 MOA all day with decent ammo and a competent shooter. Probably the nicest AK actions made.
However, some of the more obscure Bulgarian variants get top billing for raw precision, around 1.0 MOA if the ammo is up to the task. It probably has something to do with the fact that much of the Bulgarian AK47 tooling, notably for making barrels, were originally Steyr. Still, if I had to choose between a fine Bulgarian and a fine Finnish AK, I'd go with the Finnish product for the superior attention to detail and slightly improved design.
The AK-47 varies in quality depending on the model that is used. I would prefer a high quality U.S.A. or Russian made 7.62 x 39 AK-103 over a 5.56 x 45 M-4. 7.62 x 39 from a 16 inch barrel is very deadly out to 250 meters in the hands of a good rifleman.
A bullet from a 5.56 x 45 AR-15 with a sixteen inch barrel loses much of its velocity by 150 meters. Getting hit by 5.56 millimeter round from 150 meters or beyond would be like being stabbed with an ice pick. The M-16 with a 20 inch barrel adds about 50 more meters of really effective range.
Army should upgrade our M-16 to fire the 6.8 x 43 round that way any of our soldiers could give really effective fire out to 300 meters despite having a 14 1/2 inch barrel.
If a new round isn't adopted the Unites States Army should at least adopt the new Mk262 Mod 1 77 grain round over our current 62 grain round. A heavier bullet means that a round will retain a high velocity out to a longer range.
ABC: ArmaLite, Bushmaster and Colt.
Very comparable among these three, but everybody likes their own brand. Armalite is not the same Armalite that originally created the AR-15 (they just use the name) but they're not bad. Some people like Colt, some like Bushmaster.
Colt will not sell post-post-ban Law Enforcement weapons to non-LE. You need a department letterhead to get one from Colt, so Bushmaster sells over 2x the civilian sales as Colt. All "civilians" can get from Colt is the Match Target variants (like the M-16A2 and A4) but not the carbines.
Knights Armament is offering their SR-15, which is a much refined version of the AR-series. You pay big bucks for Knights rifles, but they come with everything. Quality is very high and the price is equally high.
After these, there are lesser brands like Rock River (not bad, but I've seen some troublesome rifles) and others. Nearly everybody is offering an AR these days.
I would recommend Bushmaster because they offer the quality, the models that Colt won't offer and you can actually get their rifles.
There are select-fire Valmets floating around that a person can buy (assuming your State laws permit it). And if you are going to bother buying an AK action in the first place, the Valmet is the variant you want. It is one of the few that looks like it was manufactured on a modern assembly line with the kind of quality control Americans prefer in their firearms.
I agree, I love my select-fire Valmet M-76 in 5.56 NATO.
Select-fire? Meaning, you can go auto?
You'd better believe it Pyro. Also got extra Arsenal 5.56 mags adapted for the Valmet. I'm a happy camper.
Look for a Valmet M71/S in .233 caliber.
Resale only. Thank Hillary for no more imports. They run about $1500 now.
Only 100,000 worldwide for people trying to kill each other on purpose? We kill nearly half that many with automobiles each year by accident. Where is the UN?
Typical Congressional BS.
The AK-47 is favourite weapon of them bastards in the IRA!
RTE, Ireland's state owned (cringe) broadcaster, likes to think that Hibernofascists are different from Islamofascists, so they call the gun 'AK-47' when the Provos use it, and 'Kalashnikov' when the Muzzies use it!!
Note to RTE: AK means Automatic Kalashnikov.
Ok. Those dang weapons are coming alive again I guess??? Yeesh!
The AK-47 is a GREAT weapon. Don't break into my house or you might be looking at the business end. *G*
Fsuck NGOs. Democracy is the rule of fools by fools
Sorry 'bout that. Valmets haven't been imported in years and are very expensive now. I bought and then sold one in the 1980's. Ow! Ow! (from self-inflicted kicks)
Go to gunbroker.com and see.
The authors probably meant "iconic", meaning like an icon, something that symbolizes itself from its very appearance.
This rifle firing its original cartridge is not as lethal as its supporters like to think. It has plenty of ballistic energy for an assault-rifle type cartridge but the fat, short and typically hard slugs are known to pass right through soft tissue like a high-powered knitting needle.
If you have to shoot somebody with this rifle try to hit a vital organ and be prepared to keep shooting. A soft-point .30-30 which has about the same ballistic energy as the AK round produces terrible wounds.
I love my HK 93 although that roller bolt can be a bear to re-assemble,totally reliable.Tad on the heavy side tho.
Makes a mess out of a dog trying to get to a newborn calf.