The AK-47 goes into production in the Soviet Union (July 6, 1947) - History Key

The AK-47 goes into production in the Soviet Union (July 6, 1947)

This day in history, one of the most famous assault rifles, goes into production in the Soviet Union: AK-47. Today, the weapon is part of the armament of many infantry armies, drug traffickers and terrorists.

Kalashnikov's first submachine gun
Kalashnikov’s first submachine gun © CC BY 2.0/ V Smoothe – AK-42/ Image Source: Wikipedia

The “Avtomat Kalashnikova” is Mikhail Kalashnikov’s invention. It is said that he was inspired to build a weapon during WWII after he was badly injured and he couldn’t serve his country anymore. Therefore he tried to help his country by listening to the soldiers. He found out that many of the wounded Soviet soldiers were complaining about the poor quality of Soviet small weapons.

Russian weapon designer Mikhail Kalashnikov presents his legendary assault rifle
Russian weapon designer Mikhail Kalashnikov presents his legendary assault rifle © Image Source: Wikipedia businessinsider.com

What made AK-47 so popular?

It is believed that the AK-47 gained its popularity thanks to the accuracy. In fact, the weapon is used close-range combat situations, rather than distant engagements. So, most likely, AK-47 is popular for other reasons.

The weapon was designed to be easy to use, to repair and reliable. Also it can be used in any conditions: sand, mud, dirt, etc. Therefore, the AK-47 selling arguments are the simplicity and its ability to “adapt” in any condition. Its firing mechanism is so simple that the gun jams very rarely. In conclusion, the gun has a lifespan between 20 and 40 years.

A deadly inspiration?

AK-47: Avtomat Kalashnikov 1947. It is believed that the rifle is actually a combination of previous riffles. Mikhail Kalashnikov combined the features of the American M1 and the German StG44.

“Before attempting to create something new, it is vital to have a good appreciation of everything that already exists in this field. I myself have had many experiences confirming this to be so” (M. Kalashnikov)

M1 Carbine, USA. Caliber .30 Carbine. From the collections of Armémuseum (Swedish Army Museum), Stockholm
M1 Carbine, USA. Caliber .30 Carbine. From the collections of Armémuseum (Swedish Army Museum), Stockholm © Image Source: Wikipedia
MP44 (Sturmgewehr 44), Germany. Caliber 8x33mm Kurz- From the collections of Armémuseum (Swedish Army Museum), Stockholm
MP44 (Sturmgewehr 44), Germany. Caliber 8x33mm Kurz- From the collections of Armémuseum (Swedish Army Museum), Stockholm © Image Source: Wikipedia

It is not very easy for a person to create a weapon that probably killed hundreds of thousands of people. However, Mikhail Kalashnikov said he was not troubled by the influence of his rifle. Even more, he declared that he sleeps very well and the persons to blame for using the weapon are the politicians, according to an interview from 2007. On the other hand, he also blamed the Nazis for making him to become a gun designer:

“Blame the Nazi Germans for making me become a gun designer. I always wanted to construct agricultural machinery.” (M. Kalashnikov)

5 Facts

In the end you’ll find a few interesting facts that you probably didn’t know about AK-47 or its creator.

  • Mozambique is the only country that has the AK-47 on its flag
  • M. Kalashnikov museum from Izhevsk, Russia, attracts more than 10,000 visitors per month

    Kalashnikov Museum, Izhevsk
    Kalashnikov Museum, Izhevsk © Image Source: amusingplanet.com
  • There are an estimated 100 million AK-47 spread across the globe, which made it into the Guinness Book of Records as the most widely spread weapon in the world.
AK-47s
AK-47s © Image Source: rt.com
  • Acording to Oxford University, the average global price of AK-47 is estimated at $550. Though in the African countries the price is around $350.
  • M. Kalashnikov didn’t cash a cent for his invention. More exactly he didn’t patent the design. However he managed to license his name to two vodka makers.
Kalashnikov Vodka
Kalashnikov Vodka © Image Source: complex.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *