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Mikhail Kalashnikov Dies Aged 94

  • 23-12-2013 6:58pm
    Registered Users Posts: 510 ✭✭✭

    Variants of the original Kalashnikov design:


    The legendary AK-47 rifle - cheap, easy to maintain, easy to use, reliable and virtually indestructible - is quite simply the greatest weapon ever produced by the hand of man.

    Kalashnikov was wounded in World War 2 and while convalescing he began working on a weapon which he hoped would go into production and throw the Nazis out of his country.

    He realized that the infantryman needed a weapon that could work in the cold, in the wet, in the mud, required the minimum of cleaning, was simple to use and could be mastered in minutes in the hands of an uneducated peasant and would lay down heavy fire with reasonable accuracy at ranges of hundreds of meters.

    The bolt action rifle was accurate up to and beyond a kilometer but had a low rate of fire while the sub-machine gun had a high rate of fire but was ineffective at longer range.

    The Nazis had already developed the StG-44 which combined the best elements of the rifle and submachine gun but it had complex parts and was prone to jamming if covered in mud.

    The AK rifle overcame many of these problems with the minimum of moving parts and its robust design which literally means it can be run over by a truck or buried in mud and still fire.

    The American M-16 and many new generations of advanced automatic weapons require great care and intensive training to make maximum use.
    Some weapons currently used by special forces combine the accuracy of a sniper rifle with the firepower of an infantry assault rifle or sub-machine gun.

    However if you want to put a band of guerrillas or a conscript army together without any fuss the Kalashnikov has no equal as a basic infantry weapon.

    Kalashnikov designed his weapon to be used by ordinary people to defend their country and never intended his weapon to fall into the hands of terrorists and criminals.

    He was a vocal proponent of strict arms controls to prevent small arms fall into the wrong hands.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 16,635 ✭✭✭✭dr.fuzzenstein

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,504 ✭✭✭tac foley

    Back before it got very difficult, I had two AK variants. One was a genuine Soviet-made version with a machined receiver, and the other was an East German issue with plastic furniture and an economy-style stamped receiver.

    I used to demonstrate them to my studes by stripping them down to their component pieces, burying them in sand, then picking the bits out without looking to see which gun they had come from, blowing the cr*p off, re-assembling them and firing off a magazine in full-auto, just to make the point that I could.

    I also used to demonstrate how you could try and break an AK magazine by hitting it with an AR mag [failing utterly], and how you could totally destroy ANY AR mag ever made with one blow on the AK mag.

    We used to shoot ammunition made in twenty countries, all dumped in a pail, and load it up as it came to hand. I don't recall any misfires, either.

    Accuracy was so-so, but adequate out to 200m, even 300m if you took great care, but that was not what the AK-47 was about. With hard-chromed bolt and piston assembly AND bore, it just shrugged off anything you could do it it. Block up the gas ports with mud? Not a problem - the self-regulating system took the gas it needed, and blew the blockage out with the spare. SOOOOO clever, with no gas setting to adjust.

    There is no doubt that the AK-47, as originally made, from its inception and right down to its inevitable successors, was then and is still now the finest ASSAULT rifle ever made.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,980 ✭✭✭mikeym

    Russian Legend.

  • Registered Users Posts: 510 ✭✭✭Balaclava1991

    The AK-47 is sometimes maligned because untrained guerrillas, terrorists and criminal thugs use it and get their asses kicked by highly trained special forces with high tech weaponry with all sorts of laser sights and night scopes and other bells and whistles.
    However in the hands of a trained combat infantryman it remains a formidable weapon with accuracy that is more than adequate for engaging man sized targets up to 300 meters or more.
    In urban combat it turns cars and other vehicles into swiss cheese and can rip apart brick and cinder block.
    Only expensive heavy body armor can stop the 7.62mm round.
    This weapon will continue to be used for decades to come.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,504 ✭✭✭tac foley

    It remains MY defence rifle of choice for if/and/when the SHTF and we are over in OR. Last year we bought up all the 7.62x39 ammunition we could fit in the back of a Dodge Ram - to keep up our permanent stock of ~20,000. Between us, my cousins and I have eleven AK variants - mostly the Rumanian model with the forward grip, but a couple of VALMETs and Galils there, too. They are great gong-ringers out to 300m!

    Easy enough to handle for small-frame people - 8/9 yos can manage the fairly soft recoil and small dimensions - and accurate enough at the more realistically shorter ranges that most of us tend to shoot at to be satisfying. Cheap as dirt to buy, run and feed - spares are not a problem, but then, we've never needed any yet in over twenty years of fun shooting.

    What's not to like?


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 361 ✭✭Filibuster

    Is the AK74 much better?

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,195 ✭✭✭goldie fish

    Different calibre (5.45x39mm). Identical otherwise.