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AK-47[N 1]
AK-47 with 6H3 bayonet
Type Rifle
Place of origin Soviet Union
Service history
In service 1949–present (worldwide)
Used by See Users
Wars *Hungarian Revolution of 1956[1]
Production history
Designer Mikhail Kalashnikov
Designed 1946–1948[2]
Manufacturer Kalashnikov Concern and various others including Norinco
Produced 1949–present
Number built ≈ 75 million AK-47s, 100 million Kalashnikov-family weapons.[3][4]
Variants See Variants
Weight Without magazine:
3.47 kg (7.7 lb)
Magazine, empty:
0.43 kg (0.95 lb) (early issue)[5]
0.33 kg (0.73 lb) (steel)[6]
0.25 kg (0.55 lb) (plastic)[7]
0.17 kg (0.37 lb) (light alloy)[6]
Length Fixed wooden stock:
880 mm (35 in)[7]
875 mm (34.4 in) folding stock extended
645 mm (25.4 in) stock folded[5]
Barrel length Overall length:
415 mm (16.3 in)[7]
Rifled bore length:
369 mm (14.5 in)[7]

Cartridge 7.62×39mm
Action Gas-operated, rotating bolt
Rate of fire Cyclic rate of fire:
600 rds/min[7]
Practical rate of fire:
Semi-auto 40 rds/min[7]
Full-auto 100 rds/min[7]
Muzzle velocity 715 m/s (2,350 ft/s)[7]
Effective range 350 m (380 yd)[7]
Feed system 30-round detachable box magazine[7]
There are also 5- 10-, 20- and 40-round box and 75- and 100-round drum magazines available
Sights 100–800 m adjustable iron sights
Sight radius:
378 mm (14.9 in)[7]

The AK-47 is a Russian assault rifle designed in 1947 by Mikhail Kalashnikov and first used in 1949. It and an updated version called the AKM were used by the Soviet Union's Military (which was called the Soviet Army). It was later replaced by the AK-74. The AK-47 quickly became famous and spread all around the world because it was simple to fire, clean and maintain, and also because of its reliability, meaning that it can be used a long time without jamming. The AK-47 and its successors continue to be used by many of the world's armies. Many terrorist and insurgent groups also use the AK-47. It is a cheap, reliable, and easy-to-use weapon. The AK-47 was also available with a folding stock, the AKS-47, and a shortened version with the AKS74 folding stock, the AKMSU (used by armoured vehicle crews), although this was soon replaced by the AKS74U, which fires the 5.45 cartridge of the AK-74. There was also a light machine gun variant with a longer barrel and different shaped stock called the RPK.

The AK-47 uses Gas-operated reloading. When the bullet is moved down the barrel, a little bit of the gas behind the bullet is made to go up a small tube that pushes away the bolt. This is special because the person who is shooting the gun does not have to reload with their hand every time that they want to shoot - the gun reloads by itself. When you pull the trigger, the chambered bullet fires. You then release and then pull the trigger again to fire another round. This is called Semi-Automatic.

The AK-47 used many simple ideas that were first invented for the German Sturmgewehr-44 WW2 assault rifle. The AK-47 is a common gun used by many groups because it is so cheap and available. One of the reasons it is so common is that the Soviets left many behind when they left Afghanistan in 1989 after invading it in 1979. The letters AK stand for Avtomat Kalashnikova, which is Russian for Kalashnikov's Automatic Rifle. It shoots the Soviet 7.62x39mm cartridge. It is only accurate up to 300 meters, and beyond that range the bullet starts to tumble and drop. However, this is what Mikhail Kalashnikov intended, since most firefights (fights fought using guns) in WWII happened within 300 m. He wanted a weapon that was useful within that kind of range, since bolt-action rifles, despite having longer effective ranges (range where the gun is accurate), were too slow-firing and too big to be a good weapon in close-quarters combat (fighting that happens in tight spaces).

Notes[change | change source]

  1. Table data covers the AK-47 with Type 3 receiver

References[change | change source]

  1. http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2011/02/10/most-influential-weapon-our-time/ The Most Influential Weapon of Our Time. The New York Review of Books. Max Hastings FEBRUARY 10, 2011 ISSUE. "József Tibor Fejes, a young Hungarian identified by C. J. Chivers in The Gun as ‘the first known insurgent to carry an AK-47.’ According to Chivers, ‘Fejes obtained his prize after Soviet soldiers dropped their rifles during their attack on revolutionaries in Budapest in 1956…. The Hungarian Revolution marked the AK-47’s true battlefield debut."
  2. Monetchikov 2005, chpts. 6 and 7: (if AK-46 and AK-47 are to be seen as separate designs).
  3. Killicoat, Phillip (April 2007). "Weaponomics: The Global Market for Assault Rifles" (PDF). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 4202 (Post-Conflict Transitions Working Paper No. 10). Oxford University. p. 3. http://www-wds.worldbank.org/servlet/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2007/04/13/000016406_20070413145045/Rendered/PDF/wps4202.pdf. Retrieved 3 April 2010.
  4. "AK-47 Inventor Doesn't Lose Sleep Over Havoc Wrought With His Invention". USA: Fox News Channel. 6 July 2007. OCLC 36334372. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,288456,00.html. Retrieved 3 April 2010.
  5. 5.0 5.1 НСД. 7,62-мм автомат АК 1967, pp. 161–162.
  6. 6.0 6.1 НСД. 7,62-мм автомат АКМ (АКМС) 1983, pp. 149–150.
  7. 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 "AKM (AK-47) Kalashnikov modernized assault rifle, caliber 7.62mm". Izhmash. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. https://web.archive.org/20141006092719/http://www.izhmash.ru/eng/product/akm.shtml.

Other websites[change | change source]