AK47 Kalashnikov assault rifle 7,62 x 39mm

Behaviour & construction

The AK-47 Kalashnikov's main selling points are its simplicity and its ability to take a beating. The gun was designed to be reliable, easy to use, and easy to repair. The ruggedness of the rifle makes it the perfect gun for dirty and sandy conditions. Its simple firing mechanism means that the gun fails very rarely. The service life of Kalashnikov can be from 20 to 40 years, depending on conditions of use. Built around a 7.62 mm round with a muzzle velocity of 700 m/sec., it had a cyclic firing rate of 600 shots/min. It was able of both automatic and semiautomatic fire. A long rounded box magazine held 30 shots. A separate gas-return tube above the barrel held a piston that was forced back upon firing to activate the mechanisms that ejected the spent cartridge and cocked the hammer for the next round.

Fields of use

This rifle is relatively cheap and easy to manufacture and maintain, contributing to its popularity with partisan forces and national armies in Africa and Asia. Over the last seven decades, the AK47 Kalashnikov has become the iconic rifle of choice for everyone, from the Soviet military to terrorists to drug lords.

Interesting facts

It has been reckoned that around 100 million AK's have been produced till present. About half of those outside Russia, and many of those under no license or under expired Soviet-era license.

The Soviet government wasn’t exactly generous with its royalty payment on his rifles. Mikhail Kalashnikov has confirmed that he never made a cent in royalties off of his gun design. The government simply took his plans and mass-produced the rifle. Kalashnikov supposedly lives off of his modest government pension. He has borrowed his name to a few other products, such as Kalashnikov Vodka, launched in 2004. As he says, Kalashnikov is very proud of having designed a workhorse rifle that served the Russian military for so long. But he is heartbroken about the role the gun has in terrorist culture, as he created it only to defend his motherland's borders. He realizes that it is not his fault that his AK-47 ended up in the wrong hands.

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AK47 Kalashnikov
AK47 Kalashnikov assault rifle
AK47 Kalashnikov
AK47 Kalashnikov assault rifle 7,62 x 39mm
AK47 Kalashnikov
Shooting AK47 Kalashnikov


TypeAssault rifle
Cartridge7.62 × 39 mm
Capacity30 rounds
ActionGas-operated, rotating bolt
Weight3.5 kg (8.15 lb)
Length88 cm (35 in)
Muzzle velocity715 m/s (2.350 ft/s)
Firing range350 m (1.150 ft)
Place of originSoviet Union
ManufacturerKalashnikov Concern (and others)
DesignerMikhail Kalashnikov
In service1947–present
Number builtOver 100 million