Podcast: The AK-47, a weapon so simple, even a child can use it – and they do

September 23, 2015

During World War II, the Soviet Union was looking for alternatives to the Mosin-Nagant bolt-action rifle, first developed for the czar’s armies in 1891.

A young soldier named Mikhail Kalashnikov had some thoughts and what looked like a talent for design. He was taken from the front lines and given the chance to develop a rifle that would become the weapon of choice for militaries and insurgents alike: the Avtomat Kalashnikova, first introduced in 1947.

There have been many variants produced both by Russia and other nations around the world. As many as 100 million of the world’s guns are descended from Kalashnikov’s original. How many lives they’ve taken is unknown.

But the story of the AK is a fascinating one, and it’s the subject of this week’s War College.

Subscribe to the War College podcast on iTunes

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For further reading:

The Gun: A Violent History of the AK-47 (excerpt)

U.S. commandos had a love affair with captured AK-47s

How much does a gun cost in Kurdistan?


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“We rule the Affridi and the Hottentot,
For we’ve the Maxim gun and they have not.”

Mikhail Timofei’ich Kalashnikov sure tossed the spanner into that one, didn’t he?

Posted by cdherz | Report as abusive

1947. Some say that design was stolen from German drawings.

Posted by UauS | Report as abusive