1949 Soviet 7.62×39mm assault rifle

The AK-47 is a Russian combat rifle first used in 1949. It and an updated version called the AKM were used by the Soviet Union's military (which was called the Soviet Army). It was later replaced by the AK-74 and AK-12.[8]

AK-47[N 1]
AK-47 with 6H3 bayonet
Place of originSoviet Union
Service history
In service1949–present (worldwide)
Used byUSSR
Production history
DesignerMikhail Kalashnikov
ManufacturerKalashnikov Concern and various others including Norinco
No. built≈ 75 million AK-47s, 100 million Kalashnikov-family weapons.[3][4]
MassWithout magazine:
3.47 kg (7.7 lb)
Magazine, empty:
0.43 kg (0.95 lb) (early issue)[5]
0.33 kg (0.73 lb) (steel)[6]
0.25 kg (0.55 lb) (plastic)[7]
0.17 kg (0.37 lb) (light alloy)[6]
LengthFixed wooden stock:
880 mm (35 in)[7]
875 mm (34.4 in) folding stock extended
645 mm (25.4 in) stock folded[5]
Barrel lengthOverall length:
415 mm (16.3 in)[7]
Rifled bore length:
369 mm (14.5 in)[7]

ActionGas-operated, rotating bolt
Rate of fireCyclic rate of fire:
600 rds/min[7]
Practical rate of fire:
Semi-auto 40 rds/min[7]
Full-auto 100 rds/min[7]
Muzzle velocity715 m/s (2,350 ft/s)[7]
Effective firing range350 m (380 yd)[7]
Feed system30-round detachable box magazine[7]
There are also 5- 10-, 20- and 40-round box and 75- and 100-round drum magazines available
Sights100–800 m adjustable iron sights
Sight radius:
378 mm (14.9 in)[7]

The AK-47 was designed in 1947 by Mikhail Kalashnikov.[9]

The AK-47 quickly became famous and spread all around the world because it was simple to fire, clean and maintain, and also because of its reliability, meaning that it can be fired for a long time without jamming. The AK-47 and its successors continue to be used by many of the world's armies. Many terrorist and insurgent groups also use the AK-47. It is a cheap, reliable, and easy-to-use weapon. The AK-47 was also available with a folding stock, the AKS-47, and a shortened version with the AKS74 folding stock, the AKMSU (used by armoured vehicle crews), although this was soon replaced by the AKS74U, which fires the 5.45 cartridge of the AK-74. There was also a light machine gun variant with a longer barrel and different shaped stock called the RPK.

The Russian military liked the AK's design so much that it was even used to design other types of weapons as well, including the SKS, Dragunov sniper rifle and the Saiga-12 semi-automatic shotgun.

The AK-47 uses gas-operated reloading. When the bullet is moved down the barrel, a little bit of the gas behind the bullet is made to go up a small tube that pushes away the bolt. The shooter does not have to reload by hand for every shot - the gun reloads by itself. When you pull the trigger, the bullet in the chamber fires. You then release and then pull the trigger again to fire another round. When used this way, it is called a semi-automatic firearm. A few AK-47's are made to be used only this way but most are fully automatic firearms.

Spread in third world countries change

In the pro-communist states, the AK-47 became a symbol of the Third World revolution.

They were used in the Cambodian Civil War and the Cambodian–Vietnamese War.[10] During the 1980s, the Soviet Union became the principal arms dealer to countries embargoed by Western nations. This included Middle Eastern nations such as Iran, Libya, and Syria, which welcomed Soviet Union backing against Israel. After the end of the Soviet Union (1989/90), AK-47s were sold openly and on the black market to any group with cash, including drug cartels and dictatorial states. More recently they have been seen in the hands of terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda, ISIL, and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Iraq, and FARC, Ejército de Liberación Nacional guerrillas in Colombia.[11]

The proliferation of this weapon is shown by more than just numbers. The AK-47 is included in the flag of Mozambique, an acknowledgment that the country gained its independence in large part through the effective use of their AK-47s.[12] It is also found in the coats of arms of East Timor and the revolution era Burkina Faso, as well as in the flags of Hezbollah, FARC-EP, the New People's Army in the Phillipines, TKP/TIKKO and other "Revolutionary Peoples" groups.

Notes change

  1. Table data covers the AK-47 with Type 3 receiver

References change

  1. http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2011/02/10/most-influential-weapon-our-time/ The Most Influential Weapon of Our Time. The New York Review of Books. Max Hastings FEBRUARY 10, 2011 ISSUE. "József Tibor Fejes, a young Hungarian identified by C. J. Chivers in The Gun as ‘the first known insurgent to carry an AK-47.’ According to Chivers, ‘Fejes obtained his prize after Soviet soldiers dropped their rifles during their attack on revolutionaries in Budapest in 1956…. The Hungarian Revolution marked the AK-47’s true battlefield debut."
  2. Monetchikov 2005, chpts. 6 and 7: (if AK-46 and AK-47 are to be seen as separate designs).
  3. Killicoat, Phillip (April 2007). "Weaponomics: The Global Market for Assault Rifles" (PDF). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 4202 (Post-Conflict Transitions Working Paper No. 10). Oxford University. p. 3. Retrieved 3 April 2010.
  4. "AK-47 Inventor Doesn't Lose Sleep Over Havoc Wrought With His Invention". USA: Fox News Channel. 6 July 2007. OCLC 36334372. Retrieved 3 April 2010.
  5. 5.0 5.1 НСД. 7,62-мм автомат АК 1967, pp. 161–162.
  6. 6.0 6.1 НСД. 7,62-мм автомат АКМ (АКМС) 1983, pp. 149–150.
  7. 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 "AKM (AK-47) Kalashnikov modernized assault rifle, caliber 7.62mm". Izhmash. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 6 June 2016.
  8. "Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifle: history of creation, design, assembly and disassembly".
  9. An interview with Mikhail Kalashnikov, Robert Fisk, The Independent (centrist), London, England. April 22, 2001. http://www.worldpress.org/cover5.htm
  10. Christopher Jones (December 20, 1981), "IN THE LAND OF THE KHMER ROUGE." The New York Times.
  11. Seabrook, Andrea (26 November 2006) "AK-47: The weapon changed the face of war". NPR Weekend Edition Sunday. [1]
  12. Gordon, Michael R. (13 March 1997) "Burst of pride for a staccato executioner: AK-47". The New York Times. [2]

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