AK-47 rifle inventor Mikhail Kalashnikov dies at 94



AK-47 rifle inventor Mikhail Kalashnikov dies at 94

(Reuters) - Mikhail Kalashnikov, the Russian designer of the AK-47 assault rifle which has killed more people than any other firearm in the world, died on Monday aged 94, officials said.
Kalashnikov, who was in his 20s when he created the AK-47, died in his home city of Izhevsk near the Ural Mountains, where his gun is still made, a spokesman for the Udmurtia province’s president said on state television.

No cause of death was given. Kalashnikov was fitted with a pacemaker at a Moscow hospital in June and had been in hospital in Izhevsk since November 17, state media reported.
Sombre music accompanied tributes that led evening news reports on state TV, and President Vladimir Putin expressed “deep sympathy” for Kalashnikov’s loved ones.
A son of Siberian peasants who never finished school, Kalashnikov invented one of the Soviet Union’s best-known and most imitated products.
Shortly after fighting in World War Two, he created the AK-47, whose number stands for the year 1947. The “A” is for “avtomat” - automatic rifle - and the “K” for Kalashnikov.

Later versions of the AK-47 are still a mainstay of Russia’s armed forces and police more than 60 years after the original rifle went into service in the military in 1949.
At a Kremlin ceremony on Kalashnikov’s 90th birthday, then-President Dmitry Medvedev bestowed upon him the highest state honor - the Hero of Russia gold star medal - and lauded him for creating “the national brand every Russian is proud of”.
But Kalashnikov said pride in his invention was mixed with the pain of seeing it used by criminals and child soldiers.
As well as being embraced by armies, anti-Western revolutionary movements and leftist leaders around the world, the relatively cheap and simple rifle has been used by gangsters, drug traffickers, militants and rebels of all stripes.

I think I read that Kalishnikov started working on his rifle while on convalescent leave after being wounded fighting the Nazis.
God be good to him.




Enternal Rest, O Lord…


I don’t really know a whole lot about this man except that many people who are into guns admired him but it looks like he was neck deep into Soviet Communism. :hypno:


All I can say if his goal was to defend Communism and the CCCP, he achieved that goal with his invention. :frowning:


His goal was to defend his nation from invaders. Memory eternal to Lieut General Kalashnikov I would say, a wish I also extend to my wife’s grandfather and grandmother who both also served in the Great Patriotic War like the late General. My wife’s grandfather been like him picked to go through officer training after it.

It might interest you to note the General’s family were forcibly resettled in Siberia when he was a small child as his father was classed as a kulak.


I hear this is a very sturdy gun and copied extensively.


It was one of the best weapons ever built. It had an uncomplicated and reliable mechanism, was easy to use, operated effectively in every condition and climate, and was inexpensive to manufacture.

I have some friends who fought in Vietnam and they said that if they could, they would ditch their M-16s because the AK-47 was a better rifle.


It is infamous in Ireland mainly because of it’s widespread use by the Provisional IRA after Libya donated a large number to them which came about just as arms smuggling from the USA was beginning to dry up.


I had not heard that. I assumed the M-16 was a superior weapon.


On paper it is, but the AK47 is more reliable under a wider range of conditions. The M16 was also used by the IRA in Ireland vid rifles sold clandestinely from army units and obtained via other methods but they had a preference for the AK47 as it was more easily adaptable, could be used with less training and did not require anywhere near so much maintenance.


The M-16 didn’t perform well if it got dirty or wet and it was notorious for getting jammed.

The plastic stocks were actually built by Mattel (the toy company). True story.


It is.

It had problems in Vietnam mostly because the DoD then (and only less so today) knew next to nothing and refused to learn about the proper way to clean, lube, and maintain the M16 series (Related Link) And they butchered the rollout. The early adopters in the USAF, Army SF and the Navy didn’t have nearly the problems big Army did after the Pentagon got their hands on it in both terms of reliability and terminal performance.

As a current AR guy and former AK owner, the AK isn’t that great. The ergonomics are nutty and I hated the iron sights with the fire of a thousand suns (I did find it more accurate than people claim even with the stupid sights, and I had a cheap Romanian). It’s a “good enough” solution, and the Sig 55X series really shows what you can do with the operating system that gives the AK most of it’s reliability. And if you maintain your gun properly you’ll never have a problem with a properly set up AR.

Plus the AR platform is just way more adaptable than the AK platform.

And if somebody can actually find me a real deal Mattel marked AR stock set I’ll pay top dollar to do a retro build. I’ve never seen any evidence they had a contract, nor seen a part.

ETA: The Gun by C.J. Chivers is a pretty good book on the subject of the AK.


Rest in Peace my Brother. Покойся с миром моего брата (in case they have the internet there)


M-16 was a fine rifle made to exacting and close tolerances. AK-47 was a conscripts rifle.
Given my choice between the two. I pick an M-14.:wink:



They do. They are working out a plan to send missionaries to you chaps soon;)


I’ve always heard that the main advantage of the AK was that it was just plain tough. Any truth to that?




I know he was Russian Orthodox, but I will still pray for his soul. :byzsoc:


My brother in law hunts with civilian weapons that are based on some of the AK series and others designed by Lt. General Kalashnikov, he has used those in temperatures as low as -40 with little trouble.

Here is one weapon he owns:-


As the article notes it does have some differences to the military versions of AK rifles but his uncle who is a game warden in very isolated forests in Russia also uses it. Considering they are isolated in an area the size of a small country at times having an unreliable weapon would be a disaster.


Kalashnikov invented a firearm to defend his country. Our own politicians have done a lot more to make the world safe for Communism, and they continue to do so.

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