Arguably the most reliable and famous assault rifle ever made as to a record that stands right now is the AK-47 which was founded in 1947 by a Russian named Mikhail Kalashnikov. Formerly Mikhail had been working as a tank mechanic during World War 2, and it was there that he witnessed the German’s rifle superiority over those that were used by the Soviets. As a mechanic, he resorted to establishing a better weapon that will ultimately become the most widely used assault rifles. During the same war, Mikhail was caught in a crossfire, got injured, came back home, but his determination of designing a more advanced firearm was still with him.
Kalashnikov, under his service, came up with several design attempts that were later turned down lacking agility and aggressiveness. The Germans were their main foe with a Karabiner 98k rifle in their infantry, which was light, a shorter recoil, and comfortable to handle. It was up to the soviets to put more pressure on their research and development team to at least have a better weapon with enough features that outwits Karabiner 98k. This investment ultimately led to the creation of an AK-47 rifle in the summer of 1947, after Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed.
The AK-47 is an acronym for Automat Kalashnikova and the number that follows is the year in which it was officially put into production. Up to date, many individuals think that the atomic bomb was the deadliest weapon ever to be used in the 20th century, with a record number of 200,000 deaths at a go in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It’s an undesirable truth but actually, the AK is responsible for the deaths of millions of people. Initial use of the rifle was meant for the Soviet Union army, its operation overseas and to be a preferred firearm for defending their territories. However, it penetrated outside their territories or was gained by other countries in fighting wars like the Korean peninsula war.
What makes the rifle stand out as compared to other rifles, the ones that are being in the same league, is its reliability. The cost of making a single unit is way cheaper considering it has fewer moving parts. When Mikhail was designing AK, he wanted something simple to make but has an effectiveness of a more complicated weapon. His experiences on the battlefields during the invasion of the USSR have taught him that a more reliable firearm is superior to a big complicated rifle. The AK’s rarely jam owing to its large gas piston that gives room to its moving parts, making reloading and firing a simple thing to do.
Availability of cheap labor in developing countries is the top perpetrator in the making and distribution of the rifle. Owing to its fewer parts that are easy to assemble, manufacturing of the AK has found its way deep into territories that are struggling economically. It is inexpensive to produce, and there have been multiple reports showing they are found at black markets for which interested buyers can possess them at a cheaper price of $50. The parts of the rifle comprise steel with wooden stocks, materials that are cheap and widely available. This incorporation of these materials has made the rifle light to carry, a preferred weight for soldiers or armed militants traveling on foot.
Recoil velocity, an opposite force when a rifle is fired, is responsible for shoulder fatigues which ultimately drains a soldier down. The AK is tweaked in such a way that recoil produced during firing is distributed elsewhere and only those that reach the shoulders are minimal to cause any significant injuries. Additionally, this firearm is not affected by extreme weather, be it in a windy dune of Saudi Arabia or dense rainforests of the Congo plus requiring a little maintenance gives it an enormous boost.
During a 2007 interview, Mikhail is quoted saying, “Opposing army would leave their rifles and pick up AK from dead soldiers”. In his statements, he boasts how successful the rifle is since it was released into markets. A competitor of the much-acclaimed AK rifle is M16, an assault rifle, so deadly it got gang members naming themselves after it to show how dangerous they are. Armory pundits say the M16 could most likely take AK’s spot were it not for its technological sophistication. With the rapid advancement in military technology, it will be hard to know what rifle will be crowned king.