Monday, July 25, 2011

The AK-47 - Kalashnikov-series Assault Rifles

There have been many important and influential firearms. The Winchester and the Colt won the West, the Enfield held an empire, the Krag brought civilization (or tried to), the Mauser attempted to dominate the world and the Garand stopped it, while the Ml6 black rifle, one of the defining weapons of the post-World War II era, has long been opposed by a somewhat ugly Russian contender. This opposing weapon is the Russian Automat Kalashnikova obraztsa 1947 goda - Automatic Kalashnikov Model 1947, more commonly known as the AK-47, the Kalashnikov, or simply the "KalashIncidentally, AK-47 is the designation of only the first model. There are now scores of models made not only in Russia but across the world, bearing many different designations. Regardless of what it is called, the AK has become an enduring image of contemporary conflicts - from major conventional battles to gang wars. While the Kalashnikov AK-47, along with its many variants, is by no means the perfect weapon and has its flaws and limitations, it is the quintessential assault rifle and indeed set the standard for defining what an assault rifle is. More AK-47s and its variants have been made than any other individual small arm in the world. An estimated 75 million true AKs (including foreign-made copies) have been produced worldwide, along with a further 25 million AK variant assault rifles, light machine guns, sniper rifles, and submachine guns. The second-most produced assault rifle is the American Ml 6 with its variants, of which a mere eight million-plus have been produced.