In Russian slang it’s called “Kalash”
Mikhail Kalashnikov [1919-2013] began his career as a weapon designer in 1941, while recuperating from a shoulder wound which he received during the Battle of Bryansk.
Kalashnikov himself stated:
“I was in the hospital, and a soldier in the bed beside me asked: ‘Why do our soldiers have only one rifle for two or three of our men, when the Germans have automatics?’ So I designed one. I was a soldier, and I created a machine gun for a soldier. It was called an Avtomat Kalashnikova, the automatic weapon of Kalashnikov—AK—and it carried the date of its first manufacture, 1947.”
‘Kalashnikov’ was born in the first post-war years when the new AK submachine gun, created by the talented gunsmith Mikhail Kalashnikov and launched at the Izhevsk Machine-Building Plant, entered service with the victorious Soviet Army.
The beginning of the production of Kalashnikov assault rifles became a landmark event in the world history of weapons. “Product number 3” – this was originally designated AK. The weapon, created by the young designer, proved to be the best among almost a dozen prototypes of very well-known craftsmen-Degtyarev, Simonov, Sudayev, Shpagin. On June 18, 1949, by the decision of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, the Kalashnikov assault rifle of the 1947 model was adopted.
The complex of weapons that appeared in the late fifties and early sixties based on the AKM assault rifle secured the leading position of the Kalashnikov system in the world table of ranks of small arms. Harmonious and important addition to this complex was the sniper rifle Dragoonova developed at the same time.
The weapon developed by M.T. Kalashnikov, or created on the basis of its systems, is in service with more than 100 states of the world and is an unsurpassed leader in quality, reliability and mass production among small arms in the history of mankind.
This is the only modern weapon, the image of which is on the state arms and flags of several states – as a symbol of the struggle for the independence of their peoples.
Over the past decades, the name “Kalashnikov” has become not just recognized around the world as the name of one of the most massive and successful images of small arms of the second half of the twentieth century, but also a general cultural symbol that embodies reliability, ease of use, confidence in reliability in any conditions. When they want to say that a car, computer or even a person is reliable and does not let you down in the most difficult conditions, they say – “reliable as Kalashnikov”. At the same time, the highest reliability is not the only attribute of the brand. Efficiency, profitability, the ability to solve a wide range of tasks – all this is Kalashnikov. It is important that for many, the Kalashnikov assault rifle became not just a weapon, but a symbol of liberation, a struggle for independence and freedom.
More info at: http://ak.kalashnikovgroup.ru/about/
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AK-47 : Life History
20 facts you might not know about AK-47 and its creator
1. Mikhail Kalashnikov, who was a tank commander during World War II, began his career as a weapons designer after a shoulder injury during the Battle of Bryansk. While in hospital in 1942, he overheard wounded soldiers complaining about Soviet rifles and decided to change that.
2. The first Kalashnikov rifle was produced in 1947, bringing its creator the Stalin Prize and the Order of the Red Star. The AK-47 has been the standard issue assault rifle of the Soviet and then Russian army since 1949.
3. Durability, low production cost, availability and ease of use are the features, which assured AK-47 global success. Kalashnikov’s creation performs in sandy or wet conditions that jam more sophisticated weapons. The designer called it a“symbol of the creative genius” of the Russian people.
4. The AK-47 has made it into the Guinness Book of Records as the most widely spread weapon in the world, with 100 million Kalashnikov rifles currently in use.
5. Military and special forces in 106 countries around the globe from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe are now armed with AK-47s.
6. Russia not only distributes the Kalashnikov rifles all over the world, but also licensed its production in over 30 other countries, including China, Israel, India, Egypt and Nigeria.
7. It is believed that AK-47s have caused more deaths than artillery fire, airstrikes and rocket attacks combined. An estimated quarter of a million people are gunned down by bullets from Kalashnikovs every year.
8. But Mikhail Kalashnikov himself never experienced self-reproach about the blood spilled with the help of his invention as he created AK-47 for protection. “I sleep well. It’s the politicians, who are to blame for failing to come to an agreement and resorting to violence,” he said in 2007.
9. Relative cheapness has always been one of the most important advantages of AK-47. The average global price of the assault rifle was estimated at $534 in 2005, according to Oxford University economist Phillip Killicoat. Though in African countries the price of AK-47 is on average $200 cheaper.
10. Osama bin Laden always had a Kalashnikov rifle with him during his video appearances. According to some reports, it was the US, which gave the Al Qaeda founder his first AK-47 to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan.
11. During the Vietnam War, many American soldiers gave up their M16s for the more reliable Kalashnikov rifles, which they picked up from dead enemies. Even now, the US marines carry AK-47 magazines with them because of how common the weapon is.
12. The image of AK-47 appears on the flag of Mozambique as well as coats of arms of Zimbabwe, Burkina Faso (1984-97) and East Timor. The Kalashnikov rifle is also present on the flag of Lebanese militant organization, Hezbollah.
13. The parents in some African states name their babies ‘Kalash,’ which is another nickname for the Kalashnikov assault rifle, according to a documentary by Russia’s Channel One.
14. Russia’s top basketball player, Andrey Kirilenko, born in the city of Izhevsk, which hosts the Kalashnikov rifle factory, has played under No.47 in the NBA and was nicknamed ‘AK-47.’
15. Egypt has immortalized the AK-47 by erecting a giant monument, portraying a barrel and bayonet of a Kalashnikov rifle at the Sinai Peninsula.
16. A gold coated Kalashnikov assault rifle was recovered by US troops from the weapon collection of former Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein.
17. Coins dedicated to Mikhail Kalashnikov and his creation were issued not only in Russia, but also in such a peaceful place as New Zealand, which marked the rifle’s 60th birthday with special two-dollar pieces. They came in cases shaped after the AK-47 magazine.
18. French newspaper, Liberation, has named AK-47 the most important invention of the XX century, with the Russian rifle leaving the atomic bomb and space flight behind.
19. Mixing vodka, absinth, lemon, cinnamon and sugar is the recipe for the Kalashnikov shot drink. There’s also a Kalashnikov vodka brand, which has been sold in bottles resembling the shape of an AK-47 since 2004.
20. Colombian artist, Cesar Lopez, has transformed a dozen of AK-47s into guitars, with then UN General Secretary, Kofi Annan, getting one of the musical instruments as a gift in 2007.
20 facts you might not know about AK-47 and its creator:
Official Article: https://www.rt.com/news/kalashnikov-rifle-ak47-facts-691/