|Length of Barrel||414 mm|
|Wieght Loaded||5.13 kg|
|Rate of Fire||600 rpm cyclic|
|Muzzle Velocity||710 mps|
The AK-47, Avtomat Kalashnikova obraztsa 1947 goda was a Russian assault rifle designed in 1947. It is widely used by Russian, Warsaw Pact and Middle Eastern Countries.
During WWII, the Germans developed the assault rifle concept, based upon research that showed that most firefights happen at close range, within 300 meters. The power and range of contemporary rifle cartridges was excessive for most small arms firefights. As a result, armies sought a cartridge and rifle combining submachine gun features (large-capacity magazine, selective-fire) with an intermediate-power cartridge effective to 300 meters. To reduce manufacturing costs, the 7.92x57mm Mauser cartridge case was shortened, the result of which was the lighter 7.92x33mm Kurz.
The resultant rifle, the Sturmgewehr 44 (StG44) was not the first with these features; its predecessors were the Italian Cei-Rigotti and the Russian Fedorov Avtomat design rifles. The Germans, however, were the first to produce and field sufficient numbers of this assault rifle to properly evaluate its combat utility. Towards the end of the war, they fielded the weapon against the Soviets; the experience deeply influenced Soviet military doctrine in the post-war years.
Mikhail Kalashnikov began his career as a weapon designer while in a hospital after being wounded during the Battle of Bryansk. After tinkering with a submachine gun design, he entered a competition for a new weapon that would chamber the 7.62x41mm cartridge developed by Elisarov and Semin in 1943 (the 7.62x41mm cartridge predated the current 7.62x39mm M1943). A particular requirement of the competition was the reliability of the firearm in the muddy, wet, and frozen conditions of the Soviet frontline. Kalashnikov designed a carbine, strongly influenced by the American M1 Garand, that lost out to the Simonov design that would later become the SKS battle rifle. At the same time, the Soviet Army was interested in developing a true assault rifle employing a shortened M1943 round. The first such weapon was presented by Sudayev in 1944; however in trials it was found to be too heavy. A new design competition was held two years later where Kalashnikov and his design team submitted an entry. It was a gas-operated rifle which had breech-block mechanism similar to his 1944 carbine and curved 30-round magazine.
Kalashnikov's rifles (codenamed AK-1 and -2) proved to be reliable and the gun was accepted to second round of competition along with designs by A.A Demetev and F. Bulkin. In late 1946, as the guns were being tested, one of Kalashnikov's assistants, Aleksandr Zaytsev, suggested a major redesign of AK-1, particularly to improve reliability. At first, Kalashnikov was reluctant given that their rifle had already fared better than its competitors; however eventually Zaytsev managed to persuade Kalashnikov and the new rifle was produced for second round of firing tests and field trials. There, Kalashnikov assault rifle model 1947 proved to be simple, reliable under a wide range of conditions with convenient handling characteristics. In 1949 it was therefore adopted by Soviet Army as '7.62mm Kalashnikov assault rifle (AK)'.
The main advantages of the Kalashnikov rifle are simple design, fairly compact size and adaptation to mass production. Mikhail Kalashnikov denies his assault rifle was based on the German Sturmgewehr 44 assault rifle despite circumstantial evidence to the contrary. The AK-47 is best described as a hybrid of previous rifle technology innovations: the double locking lugs and unlocking raceway of the M1 Garand/M1 carbine, the trigger and safety mechanism of the John Browning designed Remington Model 8 rifle, and the gas system and layout of the StG44. Kalashnikov's team had access to all of these weapons and had no need to "reinvent the wheel". Kalashnikov himself observed: "A lot of [Soviet Army soldiers] ask me how one can become a constructor, and how new weaponry is designed. These are very difficult questions. Each designer seems to have his own paths, his own successes and failures. But one thing is clear: before attempting to create something new, it is vital to have a good appreciation of everything that already exists in this field. I myself have had many experiences confirming this to be so." The Chinese Version Type 56 Assault Rifle. It was used by the North Vietnamese in the Vietnam War and all Communist states. During the Iran-Iraq War, both the Iranians and Iraqis used the Type 56 Chinese Version. Thanks to the very simple construction and well understood components, the AK-47 has been widely coppied directly of in modified forms by a large number of nations. How many rifles produced is unknown, but it is considered the most common assault rifle of the world, well in eccess of any other models.