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
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