Kalashnikov AK-47

Firearm

The AK-47 is a selective-fire, gas-operated 7.62×39mm assault rifle, first developed in the Soviet Union by Mikhail Kalashnikov. It is officially known as Avtomat Kalashnikova (Автомат Калашникова). It is also known as a Kalashnikov, an "AK", or in Russian slang, Kalash.

Design work on the AK-47 began in the last year of World War II (1945). After the war in 1946, the AK-46 was presented for official military trials. In 1947 the fixed-stock version was introduced into service with select units of the Soviet Army....

  • Its Type

    Firearm                       

  • The Thing

    Kalashnikov AK-47                                 

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Mentioned In 178 Books

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  • Where did all these rifles go? Huge numbers filled state arsenals, issued to Eurasian communist armies and stockpiled around the Cold War’s anticipated fronts. Untold millions were sold, others simply given to those thought to need them by the KGB and the Soviet army or their cousins in other communist states. During decades of influence jockeying, the Cold War saw the shipment of enormous quantities of Kalashnikovs to proxy forces, from the Viet Cong to militias in Beirut. Lists resemble tour guides to troubled lands: Russian, Chinese, and North Korean Kalashnikovs were carried by the North Vietnamese Army; Polish Kalashnikovs were shipped to the Contras; East German Kalashnikovs went to Yemen; Romanian AKs armed the Kurds; Russian and Bulgarian AK-47s supplied Rwanda; the United States directed Chinese and Egyptian Kalashnikovs to Afghanistan’s anti-Soviet mujahideen. Chinese Kalashnikovs are abundant in Uganda and Sudan. By the time the Iron Curtain fell, it had become difficult to travel outside Western democracies without seeing Kalashnikovs in some form. There are more Kalashnikovs circulating now than then; when state socialism collapsed, arsenals were looted and weapons locked within were trucked away for sale. For people who study the universe of disorder, automatic Kalashnikovs serve as reasonably reliable units of measure. Arms-control specialists and students of conflict look to the price of Kalashnikov assault rifles in a nation’s open-market arms bazaars to determine both the degree to which destabilized lands are awash in small arms and the state of risk. When prices rise, public anxiety is considered high. When they sink, the decline can indicate a conflict is ebbing. Because there is no surer sign that a country has gone sour than the appearance of Kalashnikovs in the public’s grip, they can also function as an informal social indicator, providing another sort of graduated scale. Anywhere large numbers of young men in civilian clothes or mismatched uniforms are carrying Kalashnikovs is a very good place not to go; when Kalashnikovs turn up in the hands of mobs, it is time to leave.

    C. J. ChiversThe Gun

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