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
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.
I would guess it's someone within the BBC; therein lies the problem.
He probably heard 'nine moving parts' and got confused.
Must be iconic, if it can be used as sculpture. Most symbolic of rifles.
Geez, I feel so parochial.
Who are the Hibernofascists and the Provos?
Nicknames for the IRA.
Who are the Hibernofascists and the Provos?
I think the Provos play for some city in Utah.
Please be quiet, you might wake the sleeping Nazis.
LOL -- me too -- but less skeered of that than I would be of an intruder! Course I'd be deaf for a few days.
I wasnt worried about my ears so much as I was worried about the .308 bullet overpenetrating and hitting the neighbor or some passer by L0L
Well......there IS that! LOL
AR= Armalite (the early version not the current one) the company that is credited with starting up
the AR family of weapons (probably more likely Cadilac-Gage should get the credit?)
Some folks probably say it might also stand for Assault Rifle
but I say AR stands for Armalite
I'll take one of these over an AK anyday.
Then that is misleading and still inaccurate. If that is the case, we can say that the M16 is made from a receiver, bolt, carrier and magazine... you and I both know that there are a lot more parts in that example as well.
I thought you were bull
To the local news pukes, any long gun is an "AK-47". It makes for an exciting news story, truth be damned. Had one of those stories in my town last week.
You have a remarkable talent for understatement & yes I agree with you about all the attributes of the AK-47 8^)
The AK series of weapons is designed to be a weapon that will work no matter what, no it will not give you sub minute of angle at the firing range but if your fighting house to house it will do the job quite well . As to basic accuracy not much past 250 yards for the average user, for a peasant army thats good enough. And good enough is what the collectivists are willing to pay for .
classic line of all time...
The BBC is only off by a factor of 10, which isn't too bad for mass media.
Those SP1s are really nostalgic for you old timers ;)
Just don't try to get any of the current models from Colt.
They're restricting their carbines to LE letterhead ONLY.
That means "civilians" can't get new semi M4 or 9mm carbines.
Right after the ban ended, dealers started taking orders (and cash) and Colt royally screwed them.
FN is looking at civilian at civilian SCARs in 2008.
Up until then, they'll be all booked up with military orders.
Do I wait or do I go for the FN2000 early next year?
I guess I am an old timer....this one is just like the one I shot with in basic training except for the selector switch...
I've actually fired one of the 500 or so automatic AR-15s outside of military hands. Pretty cool and the missing forward assist was definitely strange.
I prefer the newer carbines, myself. I carried the M16A1 and M16A2, but the M-4s weren't issued until I left active duty. My personal weapon is a Bushmaster A2 lower with the Colt DC6721 "Tactical Carbine" upper (A3, heavy barrel, 1/7 twist).
Owned Norinco's, Galil's, Valmet's and been shot at by an enemy using a Chicom version had he had an AR I wouldn't be typing this...:)
imo...our AR family is a better weapons platform
I think they are talking about if you field strip it.