Word comes from Russia Today that Mikhail Kalashnikov, one of the most influential firearms designers in history, whose designs have been produced more times than any other firearm in history, has died at the age of 94. Kalashnikov continued to work on firearm designs for the Izhevsk firearms factory until the time of his death, giving input on the latest designs destined for use by the Russian armed forces.

195 Responses to BREAKING: Mikhail Kalashnikov Dies at 94

    • Indeed, Покойся с миром.

      As an aside, I wonder if the photographer was debating about whether or not to say: “Excuse me, General, would you please take your finger off the trigger”?

      • Kalasnikov develped a very functional rifle. He was also an admirer of Stalin, a mass murderer, and a true communist through and through. That makes him a hero? I have a different definition of hero.

      • He designed a rifle that is ugly as hell but functions extremly well. He was also a communist, and communists are not your friend. So let’s stop sucking off Kalashnikov OK?

        • It is very easy from our position and history of freedom and liberty to harshly judge those who were born into and forced to live in different societies. Even in our country far too many young people and intellectual elites drink the communist Kool-Aid.

          Having married a fine Russian lady and thereby been exposed to the nuances of their history, I now understand that many were indoctrinated when they were young as to the glories of communism, and some of them bought into it. Even those who did not truly believe were forced to at least pretend to believe if they expected any sort of advancement or success in their careers. (And to avoid the Gulags.) I cannot speak for the personal beliefs of Michael Kalashnikov, but I can say without doubt that a person of his stature, no matter what he believed in his heart, could not have spoken out publicly against communism and survived for long.

        • I guess you didn’t get the memo: there are no more communists in Russia. Not even Boris Kalashnikov.

  1. very sad news, but given MAIG founders Bloomy and Mumbles are leaving office and the recent merger of MDA into MAIG, I smell something funny. . . . . demand an investigation.

    • I love a good conspiracy like I like good women, guns and food but lets not sully the mans memory by assocating scum like that with him.

  2. Came as a shock to me. I expected it but it was sad nonetheless. I dont know what to say except that he will be missed.

    Condolences to his family, friends and associates.

    • They haven’t gotten past the “Guns are icky!” stage in the comments at Democratic Underground yet, but it was only posted a few minutes ago…give it time.

      • Well, that didn’t take long. In between posts whining about the NRA, they’re saying that he has “buckets of blood” on his hands.

    • Are you kidding? Misha was a commie who produced “guns for the people.” His guns weren’t evil. They liquidated the “right kind of people.”

      • Yeah it’s kinda ironic that there’s so much scorn heaped on lefty, socialist liberals when this guy was a bonafide communist.

    • Nope. He was a Hero of the Soviet Union, so leftists worship him.

      If they had any self-awareness and/or intellectual honesty, that would make
      their heads spin. Fortunately for them, they are not subject to those problems.

      • Nope. He was a Hero of the Soviet Union, so leftists worship him.

        Not so much…check out the comments at the British newspaper, “The Guardian” if you have the stomach. Most of them despise the man, because the designed a weapon (scary!) which was used in battle (eek!).

        • It’s pretty hilarious how “progressives” think that the world would be more peaceful if only guns had not been invented.

          I wish I could push them into a time machine headed to 1200 AD so that they could see how wars were fought before guns: with swords, spears, axes, clubs, crossbows, and burning pitch.

        • These are the very same people who have no understanding of history. During the “Great Patriotic War” (WW II) tens of millions of Russian (Soviet) soldiers died after being sent against the Wermacht with Mosin-Nagant bolt-action rifles. Kalashnikov designed his rifle to replace that with a superior technology. Can anyone imagine the lives that would have been saved if the Soviet Army had issued an AK in 1942 instead of 1947?

          I cannot say if Kalashnikov’s ultimate intent was to use his weapon to spread communism. By his own statements his desire was to, “Protect the Motherland,” NOT world domination. He had personally seen the carnage in the ranks and I suspect that more than the advancement of communism he wanted to give the average soldier a better tool ,nothing more.

        • @Akira Me too. I’m sure that shooting someone is way more humane than bludgeoning them to death with a rock. No sarcasm there.

  3. Leaving politics aside, the Red Army was a magnificent force in WWII. Another member of the Greatest Generation passes. We are all the poorer for it.

    • The Red Army beat the Germans on shear mass alone. The Russian soldier had a choice of either being mowed down by the Nazis or the NKVD at his back. Kalashnikov produced a brilliant design for the Russian/Soviet way of war. A cheap, simple weapon that you handed to a peasant, who a was virtual serf, and marched him off into battle through lots of lead in the general direction of the enemy. We will see how the Russian military adapts to a modern western style force.

      As a side note on the effectiveness of a fully automatic infantry weapon, I have just finished reading “No Silent Night” about the final German push to take Bastogne on Christmas Day 1944. The battle for the village of Champs pitted the veteran 26th Volksgrendier division armed with the new STG 44 against the troopers from the 327 Glider Infantry of the 101st AB. The M-1 proved as effective against a force equipped with modern assault rifles as is did against a force equiped with MP-40s and Kar 98ks. It’s about tactics not how much lead you throw out per trigger pull. That is something that Army reaffirmed after the Vietnam war was over.

      • “The Red Army beat the Germans on shear mass alone. The Russian soldier had a choice of either being mowed down by the Nazis or the NKVD at his back….”

        Bullshit. The Russians had the numbers, but that’s not all. Any military historian of the era looking at things objectively would tell you Zhukov was the best general on the allied side.

        • Zhukov was the best general for executing Russian tactics. He knew how to plan and execute a military operation with Soviet style force. Given a Western style force he would have failed miserably. The basic Russian manuever element was really a divison. In western armies it was the battalion. He was far from the best General on the Allied side.

          Marshal Koniev would disagree with you as well.

        • Horseshit. Zhukov became effective only after the German army exhausted itself just outside of the Kremlin. Zhukov was decent, but by no means the best.

          Patton’s campaign was much more elegant and effective.

        • The real question is could Zhukov adapt his operations to a western style force? That is the measure of how good a general he was. A great general looks at his force and plans accordingly. A mediocre one just plows ahead using whatever tactics he knows.

        • Zhukov, Chuikov, Konstantin Rokossovsky, etc.

          All brilliant and far ahead of their time.

          Nobody hears about Operation Bagration from the west, not even at west point. We could STILL learn something to this day.

      • “The Red Army beat the Germans on shear mass alone.”

        No, they did not. They beat the Germans at their own game: modern maneuver warfare comprised of armored blitzkriegs supported by massive artillery and air power.

        Research Operation Uranus sometime.

        “The Russian soldier had a choice of either being mowed down by the Nazis or the NKVD at his back.”

        Good god /facepalm

        Did you get your “eastern front” education from “enemy at the gates”?

        The NKVD machine gun units were blown way out of proportion simply because the f–king motherland was being invaded, Soviets were being systematically slaughtered and starved out. There was little “wishy washiness” when it came to Soviet resolve. The didn’t need the NKVD to galvanize their dedication to throw out the fascisti.

        “Kalashnikov produced a brilliant design for the Russian/Soviet way of war. A cheap, simple weapon that you handed to a peasant, who a was virtual serf, and marched him off into battle through lots of lead in the general direction of the enemy. We will see how the Russian military adapts to a modern western style force.”

        You couldn’t be more wrong. the AK was designed for maneuver warfare. Infantry supporting tanks with superior firepower to assault and overwhelm defenders. What was central to Soviet strategy was reinforcing “success”. Success defined as holes in NATO lines where they would keep pouring armor and motor-rifle troops through.

        The Russian army does not need to adapt to rigid western style forces. They need only to wage asymmetric war against very expensive NATO units and inflict losses.

        “It’s about tactics not how much lead you throw out per trigger pull. That is something that Army reaffirmed after the Vietnam war was over.”

        That is a strawman argument against the class of weapons similar to the AKs.

        In high intensity, maneuver warfare, assault rifles are ideal, not M1 garands or battle rifles. Superior marksmanship may have aided the defensive NATO strategy, but the AK/RPK aided the Soviet strategy. Two different doctrines, two different systems. Apples and oranges.

        • The Soviet concept of maneuver warfare was different from the Western concept. Western tactics are built on small units. Soviet tactics were built on large units. Why do you think the Soviets took such horrendous casualties even at the end of the war. You must believe in the Nazi superman theory if you believe they could inflict such casualties on a well-trained western style force. I know a lot about Soviet operations on the Eastern Front. They were built on historic Russian patterns of warfare where mass was the driver of operations and tactics.

          During the WWII each side adapted its tactics to fit national capabilities. The Germans emphasized small unit tactics and independent mobile operations. The US emphasized the rapid delivery of precision firepower. The Soviets emphasized mass. Each army had it own implementation of mobile warfare. The Soviet method would not work without a large reserve of manpower. Mass does not equal mindless human wave attacks. The Soviets used mass to push high tempo/high casualty mobile operations to limit of endurance and supply. After Kursk, the Germans didn’t stop Russian advances, supplies and manpower limited the extent of the Soviet advance at which point the Red Army would replace it losses and build up its supplies for the next massive push.

          I have talked to a number Red Army veterans from the ranks and the officer corps all the way to Colonel General Dmitri Volkoganov. They were unanimous in their opinion that NATO forces would have inflicted huge losses on the Red Army. They expected it and their plans were the same they were in 1942-45 — run NATO out supplies and manpower. It was the Russian way of war. Since the end of the Soviet Union, Russia has been moving away from the tradition of mass to a more western style of offensive operations because they no longer have manpower resources to fight war the way the used to.

        • “The Soviet concept of maneuver warfare was different from the Western concept.”

          Not too different conceptually. The Nazis were the brainchildren of blitzkrieg using the aforementioned tactics from before i.e. combined arms, emplacement of vulnerable enemy units, encirclement, etc.

          The Soviet tactics differed from Blitzkrieg in that they didn’t focus on vulnerable parts of the enemy force, such as communications centers, airports, etc. They focused on annihilating the war fighting capability of the enemy force itself, which was possible due to the Soviet Union’s large numbers of men and material.

          In conclusion, the Soviets learned much from blitzkrieg, refined it, and used it as the cornerstone of their tactical maneuvers and war fighting doctrine. And why not? After all, their numbers far exceeded those of NATO following World War 2 so it would be foolish for them to not take advantage of their strengths to offset NATO’s weaknesses.

          “Western tactics are built on small units. Soviet tactics were built on large units.”

          Yes and youll get no argument from me.

          “Why do you think the Soviets took such horrendous casualties even at the end of the war”.

          Probably because

          1.) Like I said before, they ended up destroying 75% of the wehrmacht’s combat capability
          2.) They were attacking. In most situations in conventional war, the attacker will be inflicted the most losses.
          3.) Wehrmacht losses during the defensive stage of the war were often far higher when compared unit vs unit in many battles. Example? Bagration.

          “You must believe in the Nazi superman theory if you believe they could inflict such casualties on a well-trained western style force. I know a lot about Soviet operations on the Eastern Front. They were built on historic Russian patterns of warfare where mass was the driver of operations and tactics.”

          ? Nazi superman theory? Its obvious you believe in the “west knows best” “theory” which is rife with disinformation, propaganda, and outright fabrications.

          Yes, the Red Army had the capability to inflict immense losses on NATO, despite what Tom Clancy writers may think. Moreover, the US has never faced a well trained adversary equipped with Soviet-standard equipment. Ever (and not that it really would matter since in a hypothetical WWIII scenario, it would have went nuclear anyways).

          Mass wasn’t the chief focus, but rather mobility. Mid 20th century developments in warfare made mass less critical than proper troop placement and the application of specialized units (unlike napoleonic warfare). Was it rendered “not” critical? of course not. The Soviet Union had every reason to take advantage of superior numbers of men and material, both deficient in the Wehrmacht, and they would have been stupid *not to.

          “During the WWII each side adapted its tactics to fit national capabilities. The Germans emphasized small unit tactics and independent mobile operations. The US emphasized the rapid delivery of precision firepower. The Soviets emphasized mass. Each army had it own implementation of mobile warfare.”

          Which is what I’m saying…

          The point I was making was that mobile warfare changed the paradigm of war forever.

          “The Soviet method would not work without a large reserve of manpower. Mass does not equal mindless human wave attacks. The Soviets used mass to push high tempo/high casualty mobile operations to limit of endurance and supply. After Kursk, the Germans didn’t stop Russian advances, supplies and manpower limited the extent of the Soviet advance at which point the Red Army would replace it losses and build up its supplies for the next massive push.”

          It was out of necessity that they did this. Without a high tempo mentality and casualty aversion, the Germans would have recovered and dug in after sustaining losses in Kursk.

          “I have talked to a number Red Army veterans from the ranks and the officer corps all the way to Colonel General Dmitri Volkoganov. They were unanimous in their opinion that NATO forces would have inflicted huge losses on the Red Army.”

          Of course they could have, although this argument is pretty much moot since the war would have resulted in equal destruction anyways through thermonuclear ICBM.

          “They expected it and their plans were the same they were in 1942-45 — run NATO out supplies and manpower. It was the Russian way of war. Since the end of the Soviet Union, Russia has been moving away from the tradition of mass to a more western style of offensive operations because they no longer have manpower resources to fight war the way the used to.”

          Yes and the plan had a high chance of success against NATO for multiple reasons.

          1.) The German Bundeswehr still relied on the WW2 Wehrmacht strategy of holding *all German land despite the cost. This is lunacy considering that the Budeswehr *didn’t have the numbers to do this. This is also foolish because the application of that strategy was a contributing factor to the Wehrmacht’s failure on the Eastern front towards the end of the war.

          2.) The Soviets would have reinforced success (breakthroughs), in contrast to NATO, which would have reinforced “failure” (holes in lines). From even a morale point of view, it is not hard to figure out which one would have the advantage.

          3.) NATO forces in Europe would have to wait for REFORGER convoys before they could counter-attack, assuming they had the capability to hold the ground in germany to begin with.

          In a nutshell, however, such a war would have inevitably gone nuclear. One can easily conclude that such a battle between opposites small vs large unit, high technology vs high manpower, etc would have been very bloody.

          It is easy for us in the west to downplay the former Soviet Union as “backwards”, although, in many cases, they were far ahead of us in some aspects.

        • RE:Soviet Warfighting – here’s a link to the relevant US Army Field Manual – FM 100-2-2

          http://www.cgsc.edu/carl/docrepository/FM100_2_1.pdf

          If you can get your hands on “Tactics: A Soviet View” it does a great job discussing Soviet doctrine.

          http://www.amazon.com/Basic-Principles-Operational-Art-Tactics/dp/1410201147/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1387842706&sr=1-1&keywords=tactics+a+soviet+view

          One of the things I’ve always found interesting, and other posters have alluded to, is the Soviet focus on the operational level of warfare rather than the tactical level.

        • I don’t think we actually disagree. We just come at it from a different direction.

          The myth that the Soviets defeated the Germans all by themselves is one of the great successes of Soviet propaganda. The Soviets survived because of events in the Pacific in 1941 and 1942, and turned the German defeat at Kursk into a rout because of the Allied bombing offensive in 1943,

          During the Summer of 1941 the Japanese debated a North (Soviet) vs South (US, UK, Dutch) Strategy. A faction led by the foreign minister Matsuoka Yosuke advocated an attack on the Soviet Union to support their German allies. Another faction with less than enthusiastic support from the Navy advocated for a move South to secure access to needed raw materials. During this debate the Japanese Army reinforced their garrisons in Manchuria near the Soviet border. In early September the Southern strategy won out. This was promptly reported by Richard Sorge to Stalin. With the Far East region at least temporarily secured Stalin ordered forces transferred to Europe. This is where the troops came from to first halt the German drive on Moscow and then launch the winter counterattack.

          The forces that saved Stalingrad and launch the counterattack that led to the German defeat also came from the Far East. First came Midway which halted the Japanese threat to Hawaii and then two months later came Watchtower in the Solomons. By October it was clear that Japan could not defeat the United States in the Pacific and the Soviets denuded the Far East of military units. Had the Japan won at Midway they planned to move against the Soviet Union.

          By the summer of 1943 the Allied bombing campaign forced the Germans to withdraw critical fighter squadrons and flak batteries from the Eastern Front to defend homeland. As a result, the Germans lost air superiority and anti-tank units that could have stalemated the Russians in the summer of 1943. After Kursk it was all over.

          So while it is true that Soviets took on and defeated 75% of the German Army they never would have made it to 1943 if it weren’t for the Japanese decision to move South instead of supporting their nominal allies. It is very fortunate for the Soviets that we won the Battle of Midway.

        • “The Russian army does not need to adapt to rigid western style forces. They need only to wage asymmetric war against very expensive NATO units and inflict losses. ”

          RIGHT YOU ARE. And it’s the style that must be adopted within this country when they come to collect the guns.

      • A wise man once told me “Your doctrine is developed around the employment of the weapons systems your side is equipped with.”

        And that posted under the wrong comment, but true nonetheless.

  4. Being an AK guy, this is exceptionally hard hitting to me. I offer this man a salute, and will be paying respects tonight with my AK collection.

  5. A true legend has departed us this day.

    But think on the bright side, now he and Eugene Stoner can go back to laughing at all the childish “AR vs. AK” bickering, and with a much better view 😀

  6. Rest in peace, sir. While I’m an atheist, I’d pay good money to listen in to a conversation in Heaven between Messrs Browning and Kalashnikov.

  7. Good riddance. It’s about time.

    I, for one, will not be elevating this commie bastard to hero status. My heroes are my countrymen who have been killed, wounded or had to endure the sound of his rifles fired in anger.

    And I wonder if he EVER learned trigger discipline.

    • So guns and the people who design them are evil? Are Winchester, Sharps, etc. evil men responsible for the genocide of native Americans?

      Kalashnikov was a patriot. Of Russia. Nothing more or less. He invented a device that was used by bad and good alike.

      I bear no ill will towards him and I squared off against his invention in my youth.

    • I wouldn’t put it that way, but my feelings are closer to yours than those above.

      I’m sure he was a decent fellow and obviously had some mechanical brilliance. However, at some point you need to look at what you are a part of. His creations were of course inanimate and amoral, but the ideology they served (originally) was pure evil.

      Not that I would have had the insight and courage to do any different than he did, but the real heroes were those would said to the Bolsheviks: “Stick it in your eye, I’m not working for you.” Imagine I 10% of those inside the Soviet government could have done that.

      I’m reading a history of Russia from Ruriks to Putin and it’s just passed the death of Stallin. He was a monster but there are monsters every now and then. The real tragedy was that there wasn’t one person with the courage to stand up to him.

      Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God.

      • Duke, I’m pretty sure that you’re not a big fan of the current admin and government in DC. If a foreign power invaded us and it was within your power to invent a revolutionary new weapon for your countrymen to repel the invader, would you? That’s really all Kalashnikov did. Blaming him for communism isn’t a valid point. At least in my opinion.

        • Hmmmm . . .

          Maybe I’ve got my history wrong but my understanding is that K thought of the AK near the end of WWII but that it wasn’t refined and mass produced until the cold war, wherein the Bolshevics exported misery to about half the world.

          And to be clear, I’m not hatin’ on the man, I just don’t see acclaiming him either.

          Aaaand. . . as I age, I’m beginning to see little value in patriotism for it’s own sake. If your country stands for something honorable, then love for your country is honorable. If not, not. I don’t see much honorable in the simple patriotism of “We uns, is different from you uns.”

        • The war ended before his design was ready for mass production. His motives were good.

          As for patriotism. I’m an American, not a citizen of the world. I owe my loyalty to my country. I do not support the current admin in DC but if my country was invaded by a foreign power I would do what I could in its defense.

        • JWM,
          I’m glad to hear that you are a Patriotic American. I hope that your patriotism is rooted in your admiration of the ideals upon which this country is founded. If that is the case, then we agree.
          If, however, your patriotism stems from something else, I feel you are misguided. There’s nothing special about the dirt between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans; There’s nothing special about the genetics of Americans; There’s nothing special about our government apart from the ideals upon which it was founded and was supposed to adhere. If you are patriotic to America just because you were born here, then your patriotism is no more noble than my sister-in-law’s love for the Green Bay Packers.
          I swore an oath to defend the Constitution. Not the government, not the nation, not the soil, not the tribe, but the Constitution. If the Constitution is good, then my having taken that oath is admirable (if I keep it). If the Constitution is bad, then my oath is bad.
          If Mr. K (or any foreigner) is equally admirable, simply because he was patriotic to HIS country, then the Constitution is a nullity, there is no right and wrong, and the most “admirable” thing we could do is arrange for a world war in which each man may admirably kill and die for his country.
          Aaaaand, one last time, I’m not saying Mr. K was an evil dude, or that I’m better than him. I’m just saying I don’t understand why what he did that was worthy of praise.
          Maybe it would help if somebody connected the dots and completed this sentence. “Mr. K improved the lot of man kind by _____.”

      • During that particular era, the alternatives to Bolshevism were capitalism (which had been discredited following the Great Depression and Guilded Age, at least in the eyes of many people) or fascism (its ultra-nationalist/xenophobic basis was incompatible with the multi-cultural Soviet Union).

        Not much of a choice in the eyes of a regular Soviet citizen. To them, Stalin was a better alternative to the very things that were hellbent on picking Russia clean: multinational banking/corporatism, and complete genocide via Liebestraum. Of course there were those that resisted. Many of them were devout Communists but hated Stalin and his cronies (especially that despicable reptile named Lavrentiy Beria). If you want a story of poetic justice, just read about Beria’s execution.

        You wont have a stronger opponent against that butcher Stalin or his Communist troglodytes than me, but western ignorance behind the true history of the Soviet Union is staggering.

        It probably helps that I’m married to a former Soviet citizen (who is a proud, naturalized American and loves AKs).

        • And remember that when communism took over it was Lenin, not Stalin, who lead the party. He was a bowl of rainbows compared to Stalin, whom he considered a cunning but dumb bully.

        • Don’t forget, though, that using terror as a tool of state control began under Lenin. Stalin just happened to be even more adept at it than Lenin.

      • Duke, how are you standing up to the tyrants in our government? You are one person, please show us what a little courage can do.

      • “He was a monster but there are monsters every now and then. The real tragedy was that there wasn’t one person with the courage to stand up to him.”

        Oh, PISS on your bogus “courage”. You never walked a yard, let alone a mile, in any Russian’s shoes, so just put a sock in it, already.

    • Well Blammo you played your card and demonstrated low capacity for history and inability to think. Assign you to pray to the God of reason. Millions of commie Bastards handed Nazi bastards their first defeat at Stalingrad then kept multiple divisions away from Normandy. Against this back drop, one man, a former tank driver, built the one gun that changed the world…..what have you done equaling the achievement?

      • Nothing. Not even close. And I stand by my statements without debate or justification because that’s how I feel. Thanks to those of a different ilk than MK, I have the freedom to do so.

      • We have to live with the slanted version of history we have been given in this country because when most of us were growing up it was important to NEVER say anything good about the Soviet Union.

        In WW II 90% (approx.) of the German soldiers killed in battle died at the hands of Soviet troops.

        U.S. battle losses (KIA) for the entire war, on ALL fronts, were less than 300,000 soldiers. The Soviet Army on more than one occasion lost more than that in a SINGLE battle. Stalingrad alone accounted for approximately 500,000 dead Soviet soldiers and many tens of thousands more civilians. In a single battle in Stalingrad, at the Tractor Factory, one Soviet division had more KIA in one day than the Allies lost invading Normandy on D-Day!

        We have a strong cultural bias against the Russians for communism, which is/was a bad thing, but Michael Kalashnikov did not invent that and could not have opposed it. His invention was intended to save his countrymen from the kinds of battle losses he had witnessed in the Great Patriotic War.

    • That “commie bastard” was part of the military machine that destroyed over 75% of the wehrmacht’s combat fighting capability and suffered millions of casualties while the US was fumbling around in a unprepared clusterf–k. Kalashnikov invented a firearm that was far ahead of what the US had, even before we were fielding retrofitted, obsolete 1930s technology…oh I mean the M14.

      Despite western mythology that all Russians were blind devotees to Marx, the Great Patriotic War for them was a struggle for survival. Try doing some research about what plans the Germans had for the Russians once they conquered the Eurasian continent. Americans didn’t have a *single f–king clue about what fighting for survival meant, especially when compared to a Soviet citizen.

      And some of us in certain units DID use AKs. So take your “weapons fired at friends” BS and shove it. I don’t see you making similar arguments against similarly used G3s or FALs.

      AKs have been used frequently against tyrants. The firearm is immaterial to the cause that uses it. If the day comes where I have to face off against tyrants once again alongside my merry band of brothers, it will be the AK that is in my hands.

      • But to what ultimate end? The Allies, SU included, removed the German Nationalist Socialist flavor of collectivism from half of Europe only to have it replaced with the Russian Bolshevik Socialist flavor of collectivism. It’s the anthill either way.

        • I am assuming you are referring to the EU. As much as EUROSCOC like to think of themselves as good Marxists they owe far more to Benito Mussolini than they do to Marx, Lenin and Stalin.

        • tdiinva, I think he’s talking about the half of Europe that was left behind “The Iron Curtain” once the dust settled from WWII, not the current EU.

          In any case, what was the alternative? Stalin was far more prepared for war against the Allies than they were for war against him, if it came to that, and at the time the Soviets had the largest army on the planet. The Allies were in no position to push the Soviets back, especially having seen what the Red Army was truly capable of in the last two years of the war.

        • “But to what ultimate end? The Allies, SU included, removed the German Nationalist Socialist flavor of collectivism from half of Europe only to have it replaced with the Russian Bolshevik Socialist flavor of collectivism. It’s the anthill either way.”

          I don’t have time to argue the complex geopolitics of the post-WWII era, but yes, they traded one tyranny for another…or rather, uncle joe made the choice for them. The situation was far from ideal.

          “In any case, what was the alternative? Stalin was far more prepared for war against the Allies than they were for war against him, if it came to that, and at the time the Soviets had the largest army on the planet.”

          Its a interesting point and I have heard it successfully argued that the reason why the Soviets fared so poorly during operation barbarossa was not because they were unprepared, but rather, the forward forces were aligned more closely for the offensive role; that is why there was no defense in depth until months after the invasion. Such controversy surrounds the subject, so do the research and draw to your own conclusions.

          :The Allies were in no position to push the Soviets back, especially having seen what the Red Army was truly capable of in the last two years of the war.”

          I disagree. When you look at the Red Army’s strength towards the end of the war, they literally had more weapons than manpower and the US Army had already been adequately equipped to counter Soviet armor and air power.

          War with the allies would have doomed the Soviet Union. And we had “the” bomb.

        • For those interested in the nature of Stalinist Russia up to Barbarossa, and the response to the invasion, I strongly recommend “Stalin’s Folly” by Constantine Pleshakov, which gives an alternative view to what we generally hear in the west. Pleshakov contends that Stalin’s insistence on a massive and immediate offensive and no defense in depth was his “folly” and that Zhukov, in a series of war games was able to convince him of the error, but was too late to correct all of the mistakes before Hitler attacked.

          It is a very compelling and convincing argument.

    • If not for this ‘commie bastard’ you’d be speaking German right now.

      I have no shortage of reverence for the American Soldiers who gave all in both WWs. But, the fact is that the Russians gave even more which would not have been possible without the AK-47 and the PPS-43. They carried more than 60% of the burden.

      • The AK didn’t enter service until after the war. It played no role in keeping the German language contained. Save that thanks for Sergei Mosin.

    • The man was a patriot to his own country. What did you expect, him to secretly pass his designs to America and be “our” hero? Hardly.

      I may despise Communism and the regimes of the USSR, but a man who did such superb engineering work should be judged by his own merits (national defense, invention of the most prolific rifle in the history of the world) rather than be judged because of the country and government he was born into.

      Condemning the AK-47 and Mr Kalashnikov because of what the Communist politicians did with it is exactly the same as condemning any “scary black rifle” or “high capacity magazine” that the gun grabbers do all the time. Same logic (or lack of it) in the argument.

      It’s not his responsibility what his design was used for. And I will argue that, worldwide, the AK has been used in just as many liberation/freedom movements as it has by tyrannical governments. The AK family of rifles is the epitome of the amoral tool that can be used for good or evil.

    • I love AKs as a piece of technology (I have owned a SAR-1, and want a Tantal badly) but I am ambivalent towards Kalashnikov (hey, auto spellcheck actually worked on his name) himself.

      The thing is, the USSR held him up as a human propaganda piece for the “successes” of their system for a long time. And he hammed it up in this role.

      It’s tough to imagine the USSR being as successful militarily if not for the humble AK-47. No sense bringing up WWII, the AK did not hit the scene until the crushing of the Hungarian revolt in 1956.

      Hard to see the good in that.

      Read “The Gun”. Great book.

      • I agree that the reverent attitude toward Kalashnikov seems to ignore the fact that the AK47 nomenclature was a propaganda tactic, not a reflection of how the engineering was done. For that matter some of the engineering was done in little slave islands of the soviet GULag where many of Russia’s best engineers and applied mathematicians languished. A battalion of engineers worked on what became known as the AK47.

    • you just made 0 friends.

      even if you don’t like him, he deserves the credit where its due. he made one of the best, possibly the best rifle to date.

      • Close. Alexander Zaitsev and Hugo Schmeisser (inventor of the Stg-44, along with other German gunsmiths “employed” at Ijhevsk) developed the rifle. Kalashnikov oversaw the development and ultimately took sole credit due to his political ties, plus the additional bonus of becoming Soviet propaganda narrative- uneducated home-grown peasant overcomes adversity to produce superior Russian weapon! This is despite not having formal training in engineering or gunsmithing, nor any other successes prior or after to the AK-47.

        He had a 7th grade education before joining the military. He turned a wrench as a tank mechanic and eventually schmoozed his way up the chain of command. He claimed to be the inventor of the rotating bolt (an invention that somehow wound up in the AS-44, before he started gunsmithing).

        He’s not a total fraud since he had a hand in the development, but I’m growing tired of the comparison to the likes of John Moses Browning.

        tldr: Kalashnikov was Thomas Edison while Zaitsev was Nikola Tesla.

    • It is very easy from our position and history of freedom and liberty to harshly judge those who were born into and forced to live in different societies. Even in our country far too many young people and intellectual elites drink the communist Kool-Aid.

      Having married a fine Russian lady and thereby been exposed to the nuances of their history, I now understand that many were indoctrinated when they were young as to the glories of communism, and some of them bought into it. Even those who did not truly believe were forced to at least pretend to believe if they expected any sort of advancement or success in their careers. (And to avoid the Gulags.) I cannot speak for the personal beliefs of Michael Kalashnikov, but I can say without doubt that a person of his stature, no matter what he believed in his heart, could not have spoken out publicly against communism and survived for long.

  8. I just told my AK about it. We had a good cry together. RIP to one of the greatest weapons designers of the 20th century.

  9. One of the cooler stories I’ve found about him was in the memoirs of a former selous scout named tim bax. The gist of the story was that bax was working as a contractor in south africa and was actually having dinner with kalashnikov and two of his aides. The aides were singing non stop praises about their boss and how he had built the best gun ever. Finally bax got fed up with the sycophants and said something along the lines “well personally, I think the ak47 is a terrible weapon. ” the aides look at him dumbfounded, and ask him how he had come to that conclusion. “Because I’ve been shot by one nine times and am still alive. ” The aides refused to believe him, he offered to show them the scars. Meanwhile, kalashnikov asked for a translation, and when he hears bax’s story, he is stricken with remorse and offers his sincerest apologies for the suffering his invention had caused him. They ended up exchanging watches and departing as friends. The book is called “three sips of gin”, It’s a very entertaining read for anyone interested.

    • Incredible book.

      If you want to learn a thing or two about light infantry tactics, just study the Selous Scouts and the Rhodesian Light Infantry. Too bad we didn’t ask the many Rhodesians available for advice before we invaded Iraq and Afghanistan.

      Major Charles Melson, USMC, was right. “Killing Machine” indeed.

    • “The gist of the story was that bax was working as a contractor in south africa and was actually having dinner with kalashnikov and two of his aides.”

      Wow. I read that as, “and was actually having dinner with Kalashnikov and two of his rifles.” (!)

      Only THREE sips of gin?

  10. Browning holds the title as the best designer. Stoner and Garand have a tie.

    Kalashnikov designed the equivalent of the cross bow. It put power in the hands of the peasant for peanuts to be able to resist the invader.

    Russia sold millions and Pakistan made millions more in the desert.

    Mikhail’s genius was designing something that could be built with a rock and still retain enough accuracy to be useful.

    If you like an AK, more power to you. I still think the 30-06 is about the best one going.

    • I like AKs myself, so I don’t mean to take anything away from Kalashnikov, but isn’t the AK just a cheaper, slightly different version of the StG-44?

        • Haha, I’m not trying to argue which rifle platform is better or who was the better designer, and I’m certainly no expert. But when I first saw the StG-44 (designed in 1942-43) it was pretty obvious that it looks a lot like the AK. So after a little research I found that its designer, Hugo Schmeisser, was apparently imprisoned by the Soviets from 1945 to 1952. Isn’t it a bit of a coincidence that the AK was designed / released around 1947-49? Even though the Soviets deny and foreign influence in their design (duh, what did you expect?) it’s pretty obvious that it’s a design evolution, not a completely original rifle.

          Again, I’m not saying that the Soviets just copied and pasted the StG-44 design, since the two rifles are not identical mechanically, but I think it’s fair to say that the AK was heavily influenced by the StG-44, no?

      • The Model T was based on previous cars too… sometimes making something that can be more easily produced is more important than design innovation.

      • The AK can really be sort of considered an amalgamation of many of the designs available at the time. While it appears very similar externally to the Stg44, it really is internally similar to a simplified Garand action turned upside down, firing the M43 cartridge that was designed for the SKS, and with components and ergonomics designed in a similar external layout as the Stg44.

        Also keep in mind, the AK was not the only design sharing similar characteristics to the Stg-44. Also in the runup were similar designs by Simonov, Degaryatev (sp? smartphone) and the very similar AB-46.

        Hornet’s nest indeed.

      • Yeah, Kalashnikov had to have seen an MP/STG-44 before designing the AK. But, you’re right, the AK only shares some features with the Strumgewehr. The AK’s safety/fire control bar that comes up to touch the bolt while on safe is from the Remington Model 8. The trigger system has a lot in common with the M1 Garand.

        • It certainly does, and that’s why I own one. Thanks guys for the comments. I find the development of the rifle very interesting from a historical perspective and I learned something new (like I said, I’m no expert).

        • There’s actually a good reason to believe that Garand was a major influence on AK. The reason is that during the war, Soviets have actually commissioned a detailed study of Garand and G41(w), comparing them against SVT, both at the range and in the workshop. The report was generally favorable to Garand, and noted a number of improvements that could be appropriated for the next Soviet design. They have particularly noted higher reliability of Garand in general, and especially in feeding, as well as easier maintenance.

          Furthermore, in Kalashnikov’s memoirs, there is a quote where he specifically mentions Garand action as the source of inspiration for a solution to one particular design problem. Admittedly, this was for his earlier design that bore little semblance to AK as we know it, but it clearly shows that he was quite familiar with the thing, and naturally he’d use that knowledge in his future designs.

          FWIW, among Russian gun afficionados who have studied this topic in detail, it’s rather widely accepted that Garand had the biggest influence by far.

    • I would put Paul Mauser up their with Browning. Kalashnikov is the John Garand of Russia. I know most of you are in love with Stoner’s invention but its supposed to be a weapon of war not a precision instrument. I would take a commie AK over and AR any day but the Garand is the finest infantry weapon ever produced. We have produced more “effective” infantry rifles since but none have been better.

      • I would argue that the Garand action is/was quit an achievement, but the 8-round top-loaded clip was a problem. The reduction to 7.62 NATO and addition of a 20 round box magazine was a great improvement. I think as much as Patton praised the M1 Garand he would have creamed his pants over the M14.

        • The M1 Garand with a detachable box magazine and the caliber it was SUPPOSED to come in, 267 Pederson, would have undoubtedly been the finest WW2 fighting rifle ever conceived. I know for one thing that the 7.62 vs 5.56 debate would have been never existed in the first place.

        • It was not a problem compared to other similar rifles of that period. E.g. when Soviets did a field test on Garand pitting it against SVT, they found out that Garand actually had a faster effective rate of fire, because its clips could be loaded faster than swapping magazines.

  11. Can’t say I will morn the man, but I do recognize that he designed a damn fine rifle.

    I know many would not agree, but I would take the AK over the AR any day of the week.

  12. Rest in peace Mikhail. I shall think of you when take possession of and fire my first AK47 next week, an Arsenal SAM7r. I’d be shooting it now but hey it’s California and we have an idiotic long waiting period. A VERY Merry Christmas to all. Hope Santa brings you the gun which will make you happy and LOTS of ammo too!

      • Crabcakes. That’s what Maryland gave us. There ain’t no flies on crabcakes, but I’d expect a bit more. Like Liberty.

  13. Guess he was built to endure like his guns! I’m sure there is a joke in here somewhere about digging him up later and seeing if he still works caked in dirt. Too soon? Probably too soon.

  14. Mr Kalashnikov as far as I can tell never did anything personally dishonorable. He designed a weapon for the common solider biased on what was learned from fighting Nazis.

    The evils of the Soviet state are massive but during our long struggle during the cold war we never faced them in open battle and as such I would submit that AK rifles have killed more Soviet Soldiers since WWII than all western weapons of any type combined. They did of course export millions of them but their use or misuse is the responsibility of those that received them.

    Now our friends and Allies have carried this rifle into honorable battle along side our troops. The very same troops that we ourselves have armed with AKs as well. Today thousands of American sleep better at night knowing that their AK is near at hand to be used if need be against any that would do them harm.

    Besides since the defeat of the Soviet Empire and the fall of communism men of good will everywhere can enjoy Kalashnikov’s marvelous machine!

  15. I have lost friends to the AK, but I still admire the man. He was a patriot, and his creation changed the world. The fact that he was on the other side doesn’t change that.

    Honestly, I miss the Cold War. Not for the nuclear Sword of Damocles hanging over the heads of our children (though obviously the missiles are still there), but for the clarity. That was the last time good and evil were so clearly defined. And though I despise their ideology, they were worthy foes.

    • If good and evil were easily defined during the Cold War, then you were bough and paid for by the propaganda machine.

      Naive bullshit. Nothing more.

  16. 94 years is not bad for man. I bet his weapon will be around at least twice that long. That’s as close to mortality as I see any of us getting.

      • What about you jwm? Do you consider yourself good? I know Ralph is kind of a jerk sometimes but I always think “he is *our* jerk”.

        But honestly I never understood the expression, how many criminals are killed when they are young? I wouldnt class them as good, but that expression probably came to be when young men were sent to fight for their country.

        • I always think “he is *our* jerk”.

          You have imbued me with a wonderful feeling of belonging.

          Now, where did I put that bottle of bourbon?

        • Lolinski, I was just funning Ralph. I admire his quick and sarcastic wit. As to me being good or bad? I’ve been both. But I believe I’ve never been evil.

        • I Know you were just funning Ralph, but I see him like that. You know the guy that says inappropriate things you shouldn’t laugh at but you still do? That’s kinda Ralph in my opinion.

          You jwm aren’t too different but you keep a more serious tone and have a lot of knowledge of those olden times.

          I especially liked your answer to my question I am not old enough to call someone wise, but you fit my definition of wise.

      • If you’re nice, Santa brings you gifts. If you’re naughty, you don’t need anything from Santa.

        Call me self-reliant.

    • I thought the same thing when I heard this morning. But mostly, that’s nonsense. The Universe is pretty uninvolved. You got to make the way yourself.

  17. “All that is complex is not useful, and all that is useful is simple.” Russian “Anything that is complex is not useful and anything that is useful is simple. This has been my whole life’s motto.” Michail Kalashnikov Designer AK-47 from “Tales of The Gun”

    • “Do svidaniya” literally means “until meeting again”, so it’s basically the equivalent of “see you!” in English. Not something you want to say to a guy who’s dead!

      The proper word for this is “proshchay” (farewell).

      • My bad, but it still applies since we all will die. I will be in the after life, whatever it is, soon enough.

        “proshchay” (farewell) Learned something new, thanks.

  18. If this guy is ” one of the most influential firearms designers in history” then John Browning is Jesus F*ing Christ.

  19. I hold as much respect for Mikhail Kalashnikov as I do for John Garand and Paul Mauser. The poor guy was given jack shit by his government for inventing the very weapons it adopted, all after being wounded in a war he was forced to fight in. I firmly believe his rifles could survive world-wide nuclear destruction and then some. We see them destroyed by smelters and steam rollers annually, yet they never fail to pop up in combat photographers’ lenses all over the world. May he rest in peace.

  20. “Kalashnikov continued to work on firearm designs for the Izhevsk firearms factory until the time of his death…”
    Looks like he went out in style.
    Покойся с миром.

  21. “I see communists”….Yeah, around here they’re called “progressives”. Keep a look out for them.

    If I could only own one rifle (God Forbid!), it would be a Kalashnikov. Enough said…Rest in Peace.

  22. My brothers and I spent many hours shooting rifles designed by Mr. Kalashnikov and loved every minute. His design has been used by good and bad guys alike. You may not like the way it looks, the rounds that it uses (he didn’t like the 5.45), the sometimes minute of pie plate accuracy, or the fact that it lacks the modularity of the AR platform but you have to respect it for what it is. It’s a rifle designed in the 40’s that is still being updated and used today. No other rifle is as battle proven, it works cold or hot, dirty, muddy, or sandy. I watched a guy dig one up after 30 years, kick the bolt open, and dump a 30 round mag. It’s reliable to a fault. It’s truly a sad day, just as it was when Mr Stoner’s life came to an end. Some may look at both men as designing machines of death, I look at them as designing machines of protection! Rest in peace Mikhail Kalashnikov, you are a legend and will be missed.

  23. A final note on the issue from me. I’m a great fan of milsurp weapons from the period of the first and second world wars. I’ve owned and used just about all the major names involved and some of the second string players as well. Russian, british, German, Japanese, American and more. Once you hit the level of the M1/SKS my interest holds at about there.

    Modern Sporting Rifles or Assualt rifles or what ever name you give them have almost no interest to me.

    But if I was to buy such a weapon and it was legal in my neck of the woods the weapon would be an AK. It, like me, is a large ugly piece of work that gets the job done.

  24. What a thread full of fail.

    Kalashnikov invented nothing; he was part of a group. And the communist thugs put his name on it because they needed a “Hero of the Soviet Union”. And sadly the AK became the weapon of choice for every totalitarian dictatorship and terrorist group.

    Wherever you see an AK in the World, you see a boot stamping on a human face – forever.

    enjoy your time in hell, ya commie bastard.

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