UpFront Politics: Gun Issues

AK-47 Best Rifle Ever Made

AK-47 Best Rifle Ever Made
Posted: September 1, 2017 at 1:23 am   /   by   /   comments (1)

There has probably not ever in the history of firearms been a name more familiar than Mikhail Kalishnakov. Even if you have never heard his name, you have heard of his invention the notorious AK-47. Mr. Kalishnakov died in 2013 at a ripe age of 94, but not before he saw the popularity and deadliness of his most infamous invention the AK-47. He was a soldier who was injured in a battle himself, but given the difficult operation and a low number of Russia’s popular SKS, he set out to come up with a firearm that was cheap and easy to manufacture and could be readily available. In comes the AK. AK stands for “automatic Kalashnikov, ” and the 47 is the year it was invented. It is both an automatic and semi-automatic weapon. Controlled by a single action lever on the right-hand side of the weapon. Left in the upwards position it is for “safety,” one click down and it becomes an automatic weapon, with two clicks down it becomes a semi-automatic single shot weapon. It’s magazines come in 10, 20, 30 (standard), or 40 round clips. It is also capable of holding a 75 round drum clip. The accuracy of the weapon is, however, mid at best. Capable of hitting a grown adult at 330 yards or so. Some of the best shooters have managed 875 yards within about five shots at resting or bench position or within ten shots of standing position. However, it was no easy task. It is capable of shooting through heavy foliage, as well as can penetrate walls and even metal automobiles. It’s efficiency really can not be questioned.

Even though it was invented in 1947, it wasn’t until 1949 that it became the weapon of choice for the Russian military. It became widely used in the 1970’s for most armies in the world. Even though American soldiers were issued M16 rifles during the Vietnam war, many American soldiers would take AK-47s off the bodies of their dead enemies and use those instead. Even now in Iraq and Afghanistan, American soldiers prefer the AK-47 over the issue M16s because they are less likely to get jammed by the sand and dust.

It sports a long stroke gas piston above the barrel, with upper and lower receivers that were combined into a single receiver with a single control lever on the right side of the rifle and the bolt handle was attached to the bolt carrier. Newer models made in 1959 used stamped sheet metal receivers with a slanted muzzle brake on the end of the barrel to compensate for the muzzle rise with recoil. To keep it from firing out of battery during rapid or automatic fire a hammer retarder was added to the design. It fires the 7.62 x 39 mm cartridge which weighs about 0.6 oz, and the projectile itself weighs about 8 grams.

The weapon is in the Guinness book of world records for being the most widely spread weapon in the world. There are currently about 100 million in use. About 106 militaries and special units world wide have the famed AK-47. It is licensed for production in over 30 countries in the world with China being the largest manufacturer, Russia no longer makes the weapon, but it does have a major stockpile of the weapons. The cost of the gun is reasonably small ranging from about $350.00 to about $600.00 worldwide of course in areas with more conflict the price does sometimes rise substantially. With the low cost and the actual efficiency of the weapon, it is responsible for more deaths than any other weapon on the planet with an estimated quarter of a million people falling to its deadly projectiles. Even though only the semi- automatic version of the AK-47 is legal for purchase in the United States, the fully automatic version still manages to find its way to the streets and is extremely popular for gangland warfare. Even today approximately fifty standing armies still use the AK-47 and United States Marines still carry ammunition for the assault rifle because of its popularity of use.

One thing that is for absolute sure is that Mr. Kalishnakov’s weapon has indeed made an impact on the world as a whole since its inception at the end of WWII. The inventor never made any actual money outside of wages for his weapon, he mostly made his money doing guest appearances at gun shows all over the world, and he licensed the use of his name for tow vodkas made in Russia. Even though Osama Bin Laden was always seen in his videos with an AK-47 and two were found with Saddam Hussein, its popularity has not wavered. There are actually about 110,000 of the weapons unaccounted for by the United States government, after issuing to certain governments in the 1970s and 1980s. With all of the weapons notoriety one thing can’t be questioned it is responsible for many thousands of lives and will surely be responsible for much more, it is the go to automatic weapon for the ordinary people.

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any agency.