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Mikhail Kalashnikov, designer of the eponymous Kalashnikov assault rifle, is in an Izhevsk hospital with undisclosed health problems. The 94-year-old engineer has been hospitalized at least three times in the last year and spent most of the brief Russian summer in a Moscow clinic before being released in August . . .

Image courtesy

Russian President Vladimir Putin is shown here meeting with Kalashnikov earlier this month just prior to the designer’s 94th birthday. When and if Mikhail Timofeyovich shuffles off to the Great Arms Factory In The Sky, we can expect a flood of misinformed media coverage. With that in mind, this would be a great time to read The Gun, C.J. Chivers’ excellent history of Kalashnikov and his invention, if you haven’t already.

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  1. Here’s hoping Mikhail pulls through, but it doesn’t look like it will be long before he shuffles off this mortal coil.

  2. I also hope he pulls through….and I want a factory suppressed AK damnit, a real AK…we need a pro gun president and congress to do away with all the crazy import restrictions already

  3. Age, sooner or later, takes us all.

    I’m a very huge fan of his design. It’s history will be the survival of a common man that made a difference in the world. I do not judge him, BTW. We are products of our environment. Tear down Lenin and put up a statue of a soldier! His simple design has never been bettered. Like every tool in existence it can be used for good or evil.

    He will live on as Legend!

  4. Sigh the last of the ingenious weapons designers. Eugene Stoner, dead so John Grande, John Browning sad to see the last of the gun makers die. But at 94 he lived a long life and I hope he still has some nice time left here on earth.

  5. Kicking myself for not picking up a jug of his vodka in London.
    Fortunately for him, he’s probably getting better care than the average person in Russia.

  6. He is a WW2 veteran who took up weapon designing while recuperating from injuries from a tank battle in 1943.

    A man who has seen more than most.

    • Because the full auto military AK is an assault rifle. While the semi auto variants are not assault rifles or the media named, “assault weapons”.

      • And is different than “assault weapon” which is not a technical definition as far as I’m aware of, but is used all the time to make things sound scary “assault handgun, assault stick…”

    • Because the original AK-47 design is/was a select fire rifle chambered in an intermeidiate cartridge, the 7.62x39mm. Select fire is one of the parts of the true military definition of a assault weapon.

    • Because an AK is a true assault rifle, as it is an actual definition. Unlike assault weapon which could be anything.

      Edit: Wow, that was a lot of responses in between me clicking reply and taking 20 seconds to post.

    • Oh man… you kill me, haha…

      Wait, you’re serious? You’re trying to correct the author of an article on a term you obviously know nothing about?

      Read more, comment less.

    • Thanks to all the AI for jumping to my defense! I’m pretty sure it’s the ONLY time I’ve ever used the words ‘assault’ and ‘rifle’ in that order without using quotation marks.

  7. What is often unappreciated is the sheer will to survive and prevail that it took this man to live through a century of unparalleled terror, purges, famine, and tyranny in the old USSR. He outlived Lenin and Stalin – something millions of his countrymen could not boast.

    • But the rifle that he created is why quite a few of his countrymen made it home to their loved ones. That doesn’t begin to account for the forces around the world who owe this man a debt.

      It doesn’t matter what “side” you are on, when someone with this kind of brilliance or ingenuity comes about you respect them. To do less would not only ignore a great mind but also demean our own guys. We carry 30 round mags today as a response to Mr. Kalashnikov’s design.

      You bring up a good point and yes, I think we do forget that all too often.

  8. I wish him well. If his time has come though, he has truly earned his rest. I’ll gladly take a sick day in his honor.

  9. He was a patriot with a passion for his country. Those of us that stood on the opposite side of his creation may not have acknowledged or recognised that fact. To hold a grudge against him would make as little sense as holding a grudge against St. John the Browning or John Garand. I personnaly am glad that the wall came down and communism died in eastern europe.

    I also wish nothing but good for Kalishnikov. As 1 patriot to another I wish him a peaceful journey if this is the final chapter to his life.

  10. The Gun is an amazing book, to which I only confess reading half(I was 15 in my defense). It was the first firearms book I ever read. Followed by Sweeny’s book of the AR-15.

  11. Have a Chinese MAK 90,love that rifle,never a FTF,feeds perfectly,has gone for 5000rounds without cleaning,just clean the gas port with the tool.As for Mikeal he is one tough SOB,hope he lives to be over 110.He even still works in the design area of the plant.Not enough words to show him the respect he deserves.Be prepared and ready.Keep your powder dry.

  12. Excuse me, but I for one will not be elevating this commie bastard to hero status.

    Too many of my true heroes have been killed or wounded by his creations.

    • He didnt invent the IED.

      Besides, if he didnt design the ak, something else would have been designed for the same role.

      • So if you dont agree with someone politically, they are immediately a bastard. Me and my family are specifically alive because of his rifle. For me he is a hero.

        • I hate when people refer to communists, fascists, nazi, etc as a difference in politics like if we are talking about democrats vs republicans. It’s a bit beyond that don’t you think.

          As to Kalashnikov, his family’s holding were taken and were murdered by the communist regime. I would like to think he was against communism and doing his best to protect his homeland, but he never advocated for its downfall as far as i know. I respect him for designing one of the most important weapons of war of modern man.

          But since the only good communist is a dead communist…..I would toast to him like Patton did….from one sunuvabitch to another! Cheers

    • In current-ish interviews he reminds everyone he designed the weapon for defending Mother Russia, and bemoans a bit that it has become as ubiquitous as it has.

    • MK has said himself he regrets what his creation has done in the wrong hands, but is very adamant that his design was nothing but a response to the very real threat of his country’s total destruction at the hands of Germany. If things had gone differently, the AK-47 may have seen service in an extended WWII.

      It makes about as much sense as blaming any other weapon designer for the firearm you’re being shot at with.

      That being said, plenty of our allies utilize his design or derivatives of it today. It has moved far beyond the sphere of Soviet communism.

  13. It never even occurred to me that he might still be alive. If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, so said Ben Franklin, either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. Love or hate the man or his machine, how many of us can match the mission accomplished as Kalashnikov can?

    • I did a quick and cursory check. I don’t see that he was a communist. His family was deported to siberia, where his father died and he came close to dying, by the communists.

  14. A little food for thought. No firearm in the history of the world, has created more tyranny, oppression, and death in the multi-millions, than the infamous AK-47. It’s the preferred murder weapon of the soulless, collective state. Other than the hammer and sickle, no other more iconic image of the evil communist state exists. I won’t own one. Not even for the historic nature and simple engineering wonder that it is.


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