Thursday, July 12, 2007

The AK-47 Turns 60

One of the most instantly recognizable firearms in the world has now been around for 60 years – the AK-47. Rugged, cheap, and reliable, even in adverse conditions, the AK-47 has been produced in dozens of countries with a staggering total of over 100 million being produced since its introduction.

The AK-47 was developed by Mikhail Kalashnikov, pictured above holding an early prototype rifle, in response to superior German weapons being employed against the Soviet Union during World War II and represents a combination of some of the features of the American M1 Garand and the German StG44. Kalashnikov was wounded in 1941 at the battle of Bryansk.

Kalashnikov states in a recent interview :

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

While the AK-47 (the AK stands for Avtomat Kalashnikov) has been frequently demonized by American gun control groups (even though true AK-47’s are rare in America) Kalashnikov, who is now 87, has no regrets:

“I sleep well. It’s the politicians who are to blame for failing to come to an agreement and resorting to violence.”

I’ve had the privilege to shoot one licensed AK-47 variant, and have shot the semi-automatic version frequently. They are extremely enjoyable for both practical rifle and short to mid range target shooting. Ammunition for semi-automatic AK’s is generally very inexpensive as well, so a day at the range won’t cost you a mint!

Until next time!

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