The Автомат Калашникова ( Avtomat Kalashnikova) or AK 47 as it is commonly called is a selective-fire (semi-automatic and automatic), gas-operated 7.62×39 mm assault rifle, developed in the Soviet Union by Mikhail Kalashnikov.
AK-47: The Begining.
The AK was the result of the Soviet Union’s late-war and post-war military small arms trials. The Soviets were very interested in arming their soldiers with modern weapons, but due to WW2, they were forced to adopt simpler weapons that could be produced cheaper and faster than new ones.
Kalashnikov was a tanker and started his career in weapon designing after getting injured seriously in his shoulder. While in the hospital recovering from the injury all he thought was about an automatic gun.
Later he stated; “I was in the hospital, and a soldier in the bed beside me asked: ‘Why do our soldiers have only one rifle for two or three of our men when the Germans have automatics?’ So I designed one. I was a soldier, and I created a machine gun for a soldier. It was called an Avtomat Kalashnikova, the automatic weapon of Kalashnikov—AK—and it carried the date of its first manufacture, 1947.”
Kalashnikov had the full resources of the Soviet Union behind him. He had access to previous arms designs, and the end result was a brilliant amalgamation of their best features in one robust, reliable, simple-to-understand-and-operate rifle. It worked in any environment, was easy to manufacture, and could be assembled and disassembled with little guidance.
What’s inside an AK 47
Watch the video to know how an AK 47 works. video courtesy: Vickers Tactical
The AK fires the 7.62×39mm cartridge with a muzzle velocity of 715 m/s (2,350 ft/s). The cartridge weight is 16.3 g (0.6 oz), the projectile weight is 7.9 g (122 gr). The original Soviet M43 bullets are 123-grain boat-tail bullets with a copper-plated steel jacket, a large steel core, and some lead between the core and the jacket.
The AK has excellent penetration when shooting through heavy foliage, walls or a common vehicle’s metal body and into an opponent attempting to use these things as cover. The 7.62×39mm M43 projectile does not generally fragment when striking an opponent and has an unusual tendency to remain intact even after making contact with bone.
The 7.62×39mm round produces significant wounding in cases where the bullet tumbles (yaws) in tissue, but produces relatively minor wounds in cases where the bullet exits before beginning to yaw. In the absence of yaw, the M43 round can pencil through tissue with relatively little injury.
Difference between AK 47 AND AKM
This is a popular variant of the AK family. This was created as an improvement of the original AK-47 design. The letter M in the name “AKM” stands for Modernizirovanniy, which is the Russian word for “modernized.” The AKM design was developed in the 1950s and finally was approved for full production in 1959. It fires the same 7.62×39 mm as the AK-47 for backward compatibility.
However, the design was much revised and enhanced from the original AK-47 to allow it to be mass-produced. The Soviets acquired modern mass production technologies from captured German engineers (including Hugo Schmeisser, the designer of the StG-44) and used those on the AKM.
“I tried a dozen different modifications that were rejected. But they all served as a path to the final design.” Mikhail Kalashnikov
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