The AK47 is one of the most famous assault rifles in world and the AK47 is also the most widely used weapon in the world today. In 1947,Mikhail Kalashnikov developed the AK47, short for Avtomat Kalashnikova 47, in the Soviet Union. The AK47 features selective fire between single shot or automatic mod, gas operated assault riffles using 7.62mm rounds. The design of the AK47 started in 1944 and the first trial version for official military is the AK46 and it does not have fixed stock. The Soviet Armed Forces officially uses the AK47 with a fixed stock and soon became one of most reliable true assault rifle due to its durability, ease of use and low production cost.
History of AK47
In 1941 during the Battle of Bryansk, Mikhail Kalashnikov was shot in the shoulder and he was hospitalized. Mikhail Kalashnikov drafted his design while he was in the hospital and decided to enter a competition to develop a firearm that is reliable in many harsh conditions consistent with the Soviet frontline which is usually muddy, wet and frozen. At first Mikhail Kalashnikov designed a carbine that was heavily influenced by the American M1 Garand and was not successfully in winning the competition. The Simonov design won the competition which later became the SKS semi-automatic carbine. Another competition was held two years later, Mikhail Kalashnikov and his team submitted their first AK-1 and -2 model that featured a gas-operated rifled, breech-block mechanism and a curved 30-round magazine. The AK-1 was proved acceptable to enter the second round of the competition where the AK went through a major redesign to improve the reliability and later became the Soviet Army assault rifle of choice.
The rifle technology employed by the AK47 came from a combination of several rifle technologies such as the M1 Garand/M1 carbine, the Remington model 8 and the Strumgewehr 44. From the M1 Garrand/M1 Carbine, Mikhail Kaslashnikov adapted the trigger, double locking lugs and unlocking raceway. The safety mechanism was implemented into the design of the AK47 from the Remington model 8. The AK47's layout was credited to Strumgewehr 44. These previous technologies have been known to work well individually, so Mikhail Kalashnikov simply found a way to combine them and successfully created the AK47 to be reliable and durable.
AK47 Mass Production
The AK47 encountered some difficulties during the initiation of mass production transitioning from stamped receivers to machined receivers and then reverted to stamped receivers. In 1959, the final version was designated as AKM with type 4A/B receiver. The AKM added a slanted muzzle brake to compensate recoil and a hammer retarder to reduce the rate of fire during automatic fire. The Soviet Union began replacing the AK47 and AKM with the AK-74 in 1978.
The AK47 became popular due to its many advantages ranging from design, size and mass production. The design of AK47 is compact, light and easy to clean and maintain because it was originally designed for soldiers with gloves in cold winter to easily operate and repair. The average life span of the AK47 ranges from 20 to 40 years depending on use and the weather conditions it has been exposed to. With reliability comes a cost of acurracy. The AK47 was build for short range engagement in mass infantry fire. The iron sight on the AK47 is adjustable and the calibration is set a few hundred meters.