Have you ever wondered why nearly every armed group, be it a regular army or terrorists, separatists, revolutionaries, and criminals (if they can) use an AK-47? Is it because of the cost or the ease of availability? Is it because it is easy to use or is it the reliability? It is all of them.
1. The AK-47 was invented in 1946, a year after the World War II ended, and entered Soviet Army service in 1949.
2. The world’s most notorious assault rifle was invented by Lieutenant-General Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov – which is why the name, Avtomat Kalashnikova (Automatic Kalashnikov).
He was a wounded tank sergeant at the time when he invented the AK-47.
3. One of the principal reasons why AK-47 continues to be the best assault rifle is the fact that it is a hybrid of the assault rifles that existed at the time of its design.
It incorporates the best features of American M1 Garand/M1 carbine, John Browning designed Remington Model 8 rifle, and the German Sturmgewehr 44.
4. The AK-47 has been modified to a far greater degree than any other assault rifle in the last 60 years.
5. There are many variants of the original AK-47, but all have the indistinguishable, curved 30-round magazine.
6. Modern AK-47s can mount grenade launchers.
7. The most effective range of an AK-47 is 300 meters, and it is pretty accurate upto this distance.
But a very good shooter can hit a target at 800 meters.
8. The AK-47 is well-known for its penetration power. Its projectiles can go through walls or even a vehicle’s metal body and hit a target hiding behind them.
Technically, one cannot save oneself from being hit by an AK-47 bullet if they are hiding behind the door of a car.
9. AK-47 is so cheap (dirt cheap, actually) that it is costlier to repair than replace it.
10. India’s INSAS family of assault rifles is modelled on the AKM/AK-47.
11. AK-47 is the world’s most illegally sold assault rifle.
12. The service life of an AK-47 is between 6000 to 15000 rounds.
13. The closest competitor to AK-47 is the US-made M4 Carbine, modelled on the AR-15 class of assault rifles.
14. The average international price of an AK-47 in the black market was USD 534 in 2005.
The average price of the firearm was USD 559 in 2000, USD 425 in 1995, and USD 448 in 1990.
15. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, former Marine officer and Persian Gulf War veteran C.J. Chivers wrote ‘The Gun’.
It covers the history of the AK-47 to its ubiquitous presence and answers why it is so integral to civil wars all over the world.
16. There are over 75 million AK-47s in use in the world today.
And that is just the legal figure.
17. The AKM version of the AK-47 is currently the world’s lightest assault rifle.
A fully loaded rifle weighs just 3.1 kg.
18. The AK-47 is the only assault rifle in the world that can be operated easily by children.
This is why you see pictures of IS children wielding AK-47s.
19. Due to its low level of accuracy as compared to other assault rifles invented in the mid-1940s, the AK-47 was at a risk of rejection by Soviet trials commission.
They went for AK-47 solely because of its reliability.
20. The 198-year-old Kalashnikov Concern is the official manufacturer of the AK-47 and all other Kalashnikov series of assault rifles.
You will be surprised to know that it also manufactures commercial motor vehicles.
21. The AK-47 is the logo of the Kalashnikov Concern.
It was formerly known as Izhevsk Machinebuilding Plant or IZHMASH – a weapons manufacturing factory founded by Tsar Alexander I.
22. AK-47 is a gas operated, selective-fire assault rifle.
Selective fire means that a shooter can switch from single-fire mode to automatic mode with the click of a trigger.
23. It is the only assault rifle in the world that can function in any environment.
Immerse it in water, sand or mud, an AK-47 will still function.
And this video by Vickers Tactical gives us a quick look at how an AK-74 loads and fires a projectile. An AK-74 is one of the many variants of AK-47. The loading and discharge of bullets is the same an AK-47 and an AK-74.