AP Photo/Vladimir Vyatkin
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The inventor with his eponymous weapon.
AP Photo/Vladimir Vyatkin


By Richard Gunderman, Indiana University

What is the deadliest weapon of the 20th century?

Perhaps you think first of the atomic bomb, estimated to have killed as many as 200,000 people when the United States dropped two on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

But another weapon is responsible for far more deaths – numbering up into the millions. It’s the Kalashnikov assault rifle, commonly known as the AK-47.

Originally developed in secrecy for the Soviet military, an estimated 100 million AK-47s and its variants have been produced to date. This gun is now found throughout the world, including in the hands of many American civilians, who in 2012 bought as many AK-47s as the Russian police and military. As a physician, I have witnessed the destruction this weapon can wreak on human flesh.

Kalashnikov’s invention

Russian Mikhail Kalashnikov invented the weapon that bears his name in the middle of the 20th century. Born on Nov. 10, 1919, Kalashnikov was a tank mechanic in the Soviet military during the Second World War. He was wounded during the German invasion of the USSR in 1941.

Having seen firsthand the combat advantage conferred by Germany’s superior firearms, Kalashnikov resolved to develop a better weapon. While still in the military, he produced several designs that lost out to competitors before eventually producing the first AK-47.

The name of Kalashnikov’s greatest invention stands for Automat Kalashnikova 1947, the year it was first produced.

In 1949, the AK-47 became the assault rifle of the Soviet Army. Later adopted by other nations in the Warsaw Pact, the weapon quickly spread around the world, becoming a symbol of revolution in such far-flung lands as Vietnam, Afghanistan, Colombia and Mozambique, on whose flag it figures prominently.

The flag of Mozambique features an AK-47 with an attached bayonet, meant to symbolize defense and vigilance.


Over the course of his long life, Kalashnikov continued to tweak his classic design. In 1959, production began on his AKM, which replaced the AK-47’s milled receiver with one made of stamped metal, making it both lighter and less expensive to produce. He also developed the cartridge-fed PK machine gun. Modified AK-47s are still in production in countries around the world.

The AK-47’s advantages and abundance

Why was the AK-47 such a revolutionary rifle?

It is relatively inexpensive to produce, short and light to carry, and easy to use, with little recoil. It also boasts legendary reliability under harsh conditions ranging from waterlogged jungles to Middle Eastern sandstorms, in both extreme cold and heat.

It also requires relatively little maintenance. This stems from its large gas piston and wide clearances between moving parts, which help to prevent it from jamming.

A Cambodian soldier carries his AK-47 rifle in 1970.


Kalashnikov liked to boast about the rifle’s superiority to the American military’s M-16 rifle. “During the Vietnam War,” he said in a 2007 interview, “American soldiers would throw away their M-16s to grab AK-47s and bullets for it from dead Vietnamese soldiers. And I hear American soldiers in Iraq use it quite often.”

The world’s most abundant firearm is also well suited to crime and terrorism. The hostage-takers who stormed the Olympic Village in Munich in 1972 were armed with Kalashnikovs, and mass shooters in the U.S. have used semi-automatic versions of the weapon in killings in Stockton, California, and Dallas.

The U.S. military has acted as a distributor of the weapon in conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. With a service life of 20 to 40 years, AKs are easily relocated and repurposed.

Today, global prices often run in the hundreds of dollars, but some AK-47s can be had for as little as US$50. The huge worldwide production of the weapon, particularly in countries with low labor costs, has driven prices downward.

A statue of Kalashnikov, featuring the inventor wielding one of his eponymous rifles, looms in Moscow.
AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin

Kalashnikov’s legacy

For his labors, the Soviet Union awarded Kalashnikov the Stalin Prize, the Red Star and the Order of Lenin. In 2007, President Vladimir Putin singled out the Kalashnikov rifle as “a symbol of the creative genius of our people.”

Kalashnikov died a national hero in 2013 at the age of 94.

Throughout most of his life, Kalashnikov rebuffed attempts to saddle him with guilt over the vast number of killings and injuries inflicted with his invention. He insisted that he had developed it for defense, not offense.

When a reporter asked in 2007 how he could sleep at night, he replied, “I sleep well. It is the politicians who are to blame for failing to come to an agreement and resorting to violence.”

The AK-47 has become a symbol as well as a weapon, as evidenced by this diamond-encrusted pendant once owned by an alleged drug fugitive from Mexico.
AP Photo/Dario Lopez Mills


Yet in the final year of his life, Kalashnikov may have experienced a change of heart. He wrote a letter to the head of the Russian Orthdox Church, saying, “The pain in my soul is unbearable. I keep asking myself the same unsolvable question: If my assault rifle took people’s lives, that means that I am responsible for their deaths.”

It’s a perennial debate: What kills? Guns, or those who carry them? At the bottom of the letter, he signed it, “a slave of God, the designer Mikhail Kalashnikov.”


Richard Gunderman is the Chancellor’s Professor of Medicine, Liberal Arts, and Philanthropy, Indiana University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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    • Excellent point. While he did not invent weapons his philosophy of violent revolution to bring everyone down to the same and equal level has been used to justify massive brutality and killing.

    • Nonsense. You say that as if marxism or socialism was some departure from the violence that men killed each other with up until the point- or that it was better at creating such killing. Should we remember that Marxism came about after World War I, perhaps the most industrialized and efficient bloodletting in history, and one with origins linked up deeply with nationalism (in direct opposition to Marxism)? And even if you want to try and claim credit for all the deaths caused by socialists, that presents a bigger problem.

      Because if we’re going to talk about ideas being a cause of killing there’s a much bigger one than a political\economic theory that was created in the 20th century. In fact I’d say the biggest killer would be one whose inventor, whomever he was, goes back many more centuries. You can take your pick which flavor is the most bloody, though.

      • Of all religions combined maybe. But individually? I’d say Marxism has them beat. People being killed by the *10s of millions* wasn’t a thing (outside of plagues) until the 20th century. I doubt thousands of years of religious war in the middle east can break that threshold. Remember the earths population was actually pretty low until the past 200 years.

      • Hannibal, violence has always existed in mankind.

        Marx’s invention was weaponizing the mass scale of ‘eliminating’ enemies…

      • Marxism had a novelty idea in terms of mass killings: for the first time, government large scale violence was turned inwards, upon the very people it ruled. Mass extermination of entire classes of society, without any other purpose than ideology, was unheard of until then. Marx invented the monster that devours itself.

      • Karl Marx preceded WW1 by decades. His utopian, economic and political philosohpy was published in three volumes in 1867, 1885 and 1894. Of course it took some time for his ideas to build a following but they were out there in the wild for a half century before WW1.

        Marx believed the move from capitalism to socialism, and then on to communism were natural evolutions that had to be defended and promoted violently against opposing ideologies. The rot in his thinking has always had the inevitable result of bringing forth brutal strong man leaders who slaughter their own people. Resulting in the life of Stalin and Mao, for example.

        The end result is that it becomes kinda silly to argue over which was the worst killer in history when there are so many who brought mass slaughter to their own populations. Marx was the seed of tens of millions of murders, is not the only seed of such insanity. Where it takes me is to see that looking at it as some sort of a contest is silly, the entire classification deserves to be despised by history and constantly guarded against by all those living in the present day.

        Karl Marx was evil. All those who promoted and followed his teachings were evil. Make a list of them and curse them all, they deserve it.

        Right down to the loyal followers of nation-states that resulted from Marxist teachings such as Kalashnikov.

        • “loyal followers of nation states” So you’re pushing for one world .gov? And how many millions/billions will you have to murder to achieve that version of utopia?

        • jwm says:
          November 10, 2019 at 08:49

          “loyal followers of nation states” So you’re pushing for one world .gov? And how many millions/billions will you have to murder to achieve that version of utopia?

          Now how in the wide wide world of sports do you get that from what I wrote?

          Re-read it, take notice of my use of the word “Evil” around all things Marxist. Including nation-states that claim to be Marxist, Evil Evil Evil and twice as Evil on weekends.

    • Regardless of how we all feel, God holds individuals accountable for their actions. Under no circumstances does that absolve Marx of the guilt of his negative ideology, not does it absolve the average Ivan who followed it.

  1. If Kalashnikov had not developed the weapon, others would have. He had no reason to blame himself for the use or proliferation of the weapon.
    Using sheet metal stampings rather than a milled receiver made it possible to manufacture them much more efficiently and in much greater quantities.
    Kalashnikov was right when he stated that it is the politicians who start wars. Kalashnikov was a designer and engineer, nothing more…

    • “If I don’t do this evil thing, someone else will anyway” is a very curious (and convenient) philosophy. Very useful for some other people during the same time period who ended up in war crime tribunals. Is creating a weapon evil? I don’t know, but I can think of some examples where I would make a good argument for it. But either way, I think it’s worth some self-reflection.

      • His point overall stands though, that politics drive the killing and the tools are secondary. In an alternate history where the AK was never invented, it would simply be replaced with another firearm, my guess being the PPSH or possibly SKS.

      • Great comments, Hannibal.

        Like the archetypical warrior – poet, one must always examine their actions and contemplate the validity of their motives.

      • ““If I don’t do this evil thing, someone else will anyway” is a very curious (and convenient) philosophy.”

        Well, it’s true.

        I just read a book on the history of nuclear materials. In the early 1940s, there was one piece of machinery that was necessary and critical for nuclear research, the ‘cyclotron’ (a type of particle accelerator). All the major powers had them. Well, at least 1 each. Japan owned 5 of the things, and during the war, had 3 separate groups competing against each other to make an atom bomb. They were strangled for resources and none of the groups were able to ‘concentrate’ fissile material.

        But if they could, they damn sure would. So the argument is valid…

      • The action of inventing the ak is no more good or evil than inventing a hammer. I am sure it has prevented massacares as well as being used for them through history.

      • Is God responsible for the killing of Abel, since he invented the rock?

        What if Abel had picked up a rock too, to defend himself?

        The inventor of zyklon was inventing a pesticide. He did not know what others would do with it later.

        Kalashnikov is not responsible for the acts of others. Not for the politicians who start wars for their own profit and aggrandizement, nor for individuals who pick up an AK to do violence whether in service to their own end or those of their masters.

        What about all those who have used the AK to throw off tyranny, or defend life and property?

        • No, but God is responsible for killing Abel because he created Cain knowing full well exactly what he would do.

      • No, creating a weapon is not evil. Weapon is morally neutral as it can be used for good or evil. It’s the person wielding the weapon who decides. I call BS on authors claim that “But another weapon is responsible for far more deaths – numbering up into the millions. It’s the Kalashnikov assault rifle, commonly known as the AK-47.” It’s not the AK that is responsible for all those shot with it. It’s always the shooter.

        Kalashnikov served his country in creating a cheap, light, easy to use rifle in time of great need. He had no reason to feel bad about all those who misused his creation. Should Karl Benz or Henry Ford feel remorse about all those who got run over by cars?

        If Kalashnikov did not come up with his rifle, not only someone else would have done it, but all those evil doers, who use the AK variants would just use the next best thing to kill and maim.

    • He was an intensely loyal follower of the teachings of Marx and a heavy share of the resulting evils of it fall upon his shoulders. Even Kalashnikov said so as later in life he sought absolution of his sins from the Russian Orthodox Church, to whom he wrote of his shame and sense of guilt.

  2. “Perhaps you think first of the atomic bomb, estimated to have killed as many as 200,000 people…”

    Dropped by order of a democrat, for anyone keeping score. Remind them of that fact, every time they try to pretend the KKK, Jim Crow, Japanese internment, etc, etc, etc, were “republican ideas”.

      • *You* & *I* don’t care who ordered it. But leftists routinely claim it as a U.S. war crime. Evidence of “western imperialism” & disregard for non-white people, they say.

        Leftist ideology has killed and maimed hundreds of millions of more people than any conservative ideology ever did.

    • Negative on that one. Dropping the bomb was necessary. It was the right call. And Truman was about as anti communist as it gets, he wasn’t like FDR in many aspects.

      • Really? The point of dropping two nuclear bombs on Japan was to put Russia in its place and prevent WW2 from closing neatly into the beginning of WW3. Well, rather that’s what it DID do. What it was SUPPOSED to do was establish a US hegemony by showing the last world power left standing that the US could genocide them in a matter of hours, but the Rosenbergs managed to foil that plan, for better or for worse.

        Bottom line is, we couldnt have cared less if the Russians and the Japanese killed another few million of their men in a land war. In fact, in the absence of the Bomb that would have been ideal; leave the last official enemy and our new unofficial enemy to destroy each other in a bloody throwback to WW1. Nobody cares, least of all Truman, about the advantages in net cost to Russian or Japanese lives that the bombings brought down, because X-day was only a theory and was never going to happen unless the Manhattan Project failed and the Russians sued for peace.

        Geopolitics is a cruel business, and if you ever think for a moment that saving lives is a consideration beyond their monetary value, you are mistaken.

        • You need to get your history from someplace other then Reddit and Wikipedia. Open an actual history book on the subject. And before you go spouting off again about an American hegemony and American genocide that’s a completely line of absolute bullshit revisionist leftist history. You don’t even know what kind of war WW2 was. You think nuking Japan was genocide. What a joke. Your clearly a modern SJW little bitch who was raised to believe in the evil American empire. Every single country in WW2 killed deaths of civilians at a rate you can’t even comprehend, and the US was on the lower end of that spectrum. Furthermore, what the US did was 100% justified. Yeah you read that right lUberal. 100% justified. It’s called “total war” for a reason and every country practiced it. Everyone was in the war. The only country that killed less civilians then the US was likely Britain and that certainly wasn’t for a lack of trying. Furthermore, the US knew the soviets were going to be able to challenge the US, that’s blatantly obvious.

        • Russia didn’t really join in on the war with Japan until it was for all intents and purposes over. All they did was pile on at the end.

        • Merle is the one sadly deficient in his knowledge of history. Read Thomas Paine’s post below to understand the real reasons the atomic bombs were dropped.

    • As enuf and Merle said above, it was an excruciating decision for Pres. Truman. No matter what he did – drop the bomb or order a conventional ground invasion – many lives would lost. He chose the path that led to the fewest anticipated deaths. I would never want to be in such a position.

  3. Not so sure about that thing about Americans picking up AK’s and using them in combat. Lots of guys in combat zones identified the enemy they couldn’t see by the sound of the weapon being fired… so if an American picked up an AK and started using it, his own guys would suddenly be trying to blow him to Kingdom Come ASAP.

    • A friend of mine was among the first unfortunates to be issued the M16 in Vietnam. To this day he gets raving mad anytime the subject is brought up, fuming against those who issued that rifle, unready for fielding, jam-o-matic POS (he uses stronger words). His buddies got killed because of it, and he told me personally how he crept on his belly to go and grab an AK from a dead enemy, under a hail of bullets.

  4. Good lord there’s a lot of bullshit in this article. I don’t even know where to start. Maybe when I have an hour or 3 to write up every lie I’ll do so.

      • I got a stack of $50s in the safe I’m ready to slip the bank sleeve off if anyone has a working AK-47 to sell for $50.

        • That’s thinking small. If anyone has a line on $50 AKs, I’ll get my FFL and start a business. I’d have to liquidate some assets, but when you’re talking free money like that who cares what it costs? I’d retire tomorrow, work part time in my gun shop and buy a big house in Orlando a couple years later at those prices.

      • “…as little as US$50.” They didn’t say “in the US”. They were referring to their value in US dollars. It’s very possible the cost of an AK in the Middle East or Africa could cost as little as $50 American dollars.

        • Exactly, that’s what they said: “Today, global prices often run in the hundreds of dollars, but some AK-47s can be had for as little as US$50.” And it so happens that if you are in troubled parts of Africa, an AK on the black market will cost you just that: the equivalent of US$50. As for global wholesale prices, they start from around $150 out of the factory.

      • No, if you’ll go back and actually read what was written, it was said that an AK typically runs for several hundred dollars WORLDWIDE, but in some places can be bought for as little as 50 USD. Meaning that in some places, not in the US, an AK can be bought for as little as 50 USD. If I had to guess, that would be in former Soviet satellite states with massive cosmoline caked weapons stockpiles and no foreseeable wars. Nowhere was it said that you could find an AK in the US for $50.

        • Then your guess is wrong. Those cosmoline embalmed guns are long gone and sold. If there is a place on this Earth where a functional AK costs $50 you have to look where USD is worth a lot and rifles are abundant. That place is nowhere to be found in Europe.

      • I don’t know how or where this is happening or if the quality even compares to say an IO or that the trunnion is make of casting, forging or cheese but for 50 bucks I’m game. I’ll probably just pull the trigger with a string the first mag or two.

    • heres one that just tells you it was written by someone who knows nothing about guns

      “””He also developed the cartridge-fed PK machine gun.””””

      Might you mean ‘belt fed’????

      you would think a Dr would know how to do research???

    • “including in the hands of many American civilians, who in 2012 bought as many AK-47s as the Russian police and military.”

      This line jumped out to me, it is supposed to invoke horror, what, American citizens bought more of these man killing machines than evil Russia?!?! Yes, throw all these people in jail, nay, execute them immediately for crimes against humanity. If… you can tell me how many people were killed by those untold numbers of civilian owned AKs. Really what does it matter if civilians own them if you can round the danger of these guns down to zero?

      “As a physician, I have witnessed the destruction this weapon can wreak on human flesh.”

      Outside of actual international conflict zones, what are the actual statistics of AKs used in actual crimes in the US? The AK certainly isn’t the weapon of choice for most common criminals or even gang types, so I wonder how many actual cases the professor Dr actually sees? He makes it sound like all physicians have to witness the horror of AK mutilated bodies on a regular basis, because of course at least one out of every two civilian owned AKs are used on our hourly killing sprees, right? I mean that is just what we do around here…

  5. I don’t believe Kalashnikov was any more deadly than Browning, or Maxim. Neither was his carbine. At least not any more than any other medium bore/velocity round. It was just used to kill more people. If we used the most killed standard, and went back far enough, I’d wager that edged weapons and variants might have the advantage.

    • C’mon, everyone. None of them were “deadly”. That would be like blaming Henry Ford for all the deaths related to the usage of his vehicles, or blaming Colonel James Beauregard Beam “Jim Beam” for all the people who have died of alcohol poisoning from abusing his products.

      In reality, I credit Winchester, Browning, Glock, Palmetto State Armory, and a few other gun manufacturers for providing me, my family, and at least three known previous generations of my bloodline for enjoying the guns that now reside in my safe, that have produced nothing but happy memories, and provide me with the ability to SAVE our lives from illicit harm if it ever comes our way.

    • Just over a decade ago Gen. Kalashnikov marketed a brand of vodka with his name on it and ads appeared in the American Rifleman. Good communist that he was, M.K. didn’t realize one kopeck in AK royalties so he needed the money.

      Wonder how big a hit Kalashnikov Vodka was.

  6. I suspect the Maxim machine gun used by both sides in WW1 (and in active service 1895 to 1960’s) has killed more than the AK. Sixty thousand killed in one day battle of the Somme.

    • I was going to suggest the humble Mauser and its derivatives. Everyone used them in WWI and lots in WWII. Saw numbers of 102M rifles produced, which could easily account for millions of casualties.

    • It’s an interesting topic to consider, which firearm throughout history has been used to kill the most people. The AK is definitely up there, and might be number one. But I think it would still be number two or three to the mosin nagant and perhaps the Mauser as you stated. I would put the Mosin as number one as it was the primary weapon of both Stalin’s and Maos purges, the Russian and Chinese civil wars, and both countries during WW2 and Korea. That’s a hell of alot of deaths.

      • Merle. The weapon of the Chinese army prior to the communist takeover was a licensed and locally produced copy of the mauser bolt gun. They had millions of mausers, enfields and springfields in service at the end of ww2 and the beginning of the communist take over.

        These rifles stayed in service up through the 60’s. The chinese got mosin nagants but they had so many of the old rifles that they made it policy to keep the rifles of one type by units so it was easier to supply their ammo.

        They also got close to a million rifles from the Japanese forces in China when the war ended.

        The mosin was probably more iconic for the Russians than the chinese.

        • Now that I did not know. I thought they were primarily armed with Mosins in that era. That changes the numbers a bit then. With the amount of death going on in China at that time that would probably push the Mauser over the edge.

        • Mao’s and Stalin’s deaths were mostly by starvation than by gunfire.

          Directly by Stalin, and indirectly by Mao via utter incompetence during his failed “Great leap forward”…

      • There were also a shit- ton of Mosin Nagants in use during the early years of the Vietnam war as well. A gift to the north Vietnamese from their Chinese benefactors i’ll wager…

        • Almost 23 trillion dollars in debt, 2 political opposites fighting to dominate America, the education system dumbing down and indoctrinating our children to leftist ideals, i would say that an economic collapse and ALL the bad shit that comes with a protraction of same, are a stark and sobering reality on our horizon somewhere down the line.
          That said, which firearm would i prefer to have on hand if it all goes to shit out there? Hands down, a COM-BLOC MADE AK-47. (The American made ones are mostly cast part garbage and not reliable long term)
          One of the features never mentioned about the AK-47 is it’s ease of training! The genius was in it’s simplicity. It was DESIGNED to take the dumbest farmboy, drop him at a training depot and have him proficient in ALL aspects of the rifle, inside of FOUR hours of concentrated training. The AK-47’s ease of training was designed to raise armies quickly.
          My other big reason? It will fire whatever it is fed! From the dirty garbage to the high end stuff, the AK fires it all!
          AR-15’s can get very finicky changing from one kind of ammo to another.
          Just my humble….

  7. While that certainly is a cool gunm, I would have ti ssy the worlds desdliest inventor award would have to go to Albert Einstien for now

    • possum, correct me if I’m wrong but I think Einstein came up with E=mc2. Robert Oppenheimer, and a few other really smart guys, built the first three bombs. One detonated at Los Alamos. Fat Man a plutonium fusion bomb and Little Boy a uranium fission bomb. Detonated over Hiroshima (Little Boy) and. Nagasaki (Fat Boy.) I could be confused. Three bourbons watching LSU and Alabama. Hell of a game!

      • You beat me to it, but I have to correct you and state that the two codenames were “Little Boy” and “Fat Man”. Otherwise, yes.

        • Haz, I said Little Boy and Fat Man. Later when I referenced which bomb was dropped on which city I called them Little Boy and Fat Boy. Just a simple mistake. After all I did confess to three bourbons while watching LSU and Alabama. It’s a Southern thing. Think I’ll have some fried chicken, greens, cornbread now and go to bed. Its been dark here for damn near two hours!

      • All of the first three were fission-only devices. Fat Man was an implosion device, Little Boy a rifle type.

        The Trinity test was conducted on the White Sands range, about 150 miles south of Los Alamos. It’s worth a visit, by the way, open to the public the first weekend of April and October. Take the North gate and go early to avoid the majority of the protesters that show up every year.

        • One day I want to catch that ‘one day a year’ opening to the ‘ranch’ in NM…

  8. Doctors are educated idiots. The like of engineers, that I deal with on a daily basis and needs a blueprint to wipe their butts. No common sense at all. Apology to any engineers and hope your better than the ones I work with.

    • Just because he designed it doesn’t mean he knows how to use it. The Cambodian solder in a subsequent pic does better.

    • Trigger discipline is absolutely irrelevant when you’re taking a staged photo under controlled conditions. Do you really believe that anybody in that room wasn’t sure that the weapon was unloaded with no round in the chamber before his finger touched that trigger?

  9. Actually you are all wrong. The most deadly invention in the history of humankind. Is language. That’s Right Words. Words have killed more people than all other inventions combined. Because Words were/are the vehicle that drives humanity. Without them none of what has happened in history would have been possible.
    As a side note to histories. More people were killed in the fire bombing of Tokyo. Than at Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined.

    • “Actually you are all wrong. The most deadly invention in the history of humankind. Is language.”

      Bad news, both monkeys, apes, and chimpanzees are known to wage lethal war on neighboring groups…

      • You’re both failing to see the big picture. The number one killer of humans is time. We invented clocks, and now everyone succumbs to time. Until we put a stop to this, humans will continue to perish. Call your representative today and demand they support common-sense legislation abolishing time.

  10. All signs point to that in all likelyhood, Kalashnikov didn’t really invent the AK-47, but Paperclip’d german engineers did.

    • “Paperclip” was a US program for rocket engineers. The Russians got the ones the Americans didn’t want to bother with…

    • This is the ugly truth about the AK…. it isn’t only likely that it was a STOLEN German design, it is FACT….
      An easy comparison to what the Russians were using and what Germans were developing at that time proves who that design belongs to….. and it ain’t the Russians…

    • Mousegun, George WashingtonGl, Mark, and any others who believe the myths that the AK-47 was a stolen German design, copied from the STG-44, or designed by Hugo Schmeisser and other captured Germans, etc., take a quick look at the 2017 article “Kalashnikov vs. Schmeisser: For the Umpteenth Time” by Peter Samsonov on Tank Archives. Peter researches original documents from the design bureaus, government/military test organizations and users, etc. and in the article below, explains “how it turned out that an unknown sergeant’s gun ended up as a symbol of the USSR.”


      • Commie pinkos lie it their lips are moving. Name an innovation where the Russians (or Chicoms) didn’t steal the basics (or blueprints) from the West.


  12. And comparing the AK to the AR is apples to oranges….
    The AK has its place just like the AR has its place…
    I have both and respect both equally….
    The AR being the most technologically advanced of the two…

    • As do I. I have the milled Arsenal SAM7R and a .300 AR pistol. Which one would I grab if shit really hit the fan, probably the AK. Seeing who’s messing around in the back yard or what ever, the AR. Different tools, different uses.

  13. LOL, that dumb fucking commie didn’t invent the AK, a German did. And compared the the M16/M4, it is a shit rifle. I own many AKs and enjoy them but my AR is at my side when I sleep and that’s the gun I’d want if we have RWOL.

    PS: Stoner was the best and always will be. Suck on that Russia.

    • This is mostly a myth. The AK rifle superficially resembles the MP44. Mechanically there are a lot of differences. The AK was a Russian group effort, Soviets liked the propaganda win of the Kalashnikov myth, it plays right into their Idyllic depiction of the Soviet citizen worker on all those murals.

  14. Mark, the #1 thing you need in any weapon is reliability. That’s an AK pattern weapon. Every time. You’re lying to yourself if you say anything else. #2 is an effective cartridge. 7.62X39 has it over 5.56 NATO. Every time. Penetration, wound channel etc. Okay, 5.56 has a flatter trajectory. Inside 300 meters it doesn’t matter. Outside 300 meters the 7.62 widens the gap in the other categories. #3 the AR wins in accuracy. But, not in practical accuracy. AK is accurate enough for its intended purpose. The AKs derivatives; the Valmet and Galil shut down the accuracy issue. ARs are inexpensive and available. That’s exactly what I want to bet my life on.

  15. Sorry. Ergonomics. The AR wins over the AK. Until the Galil. Then, except for the bolt not locking to the AR looses again.

  16. Oh for pity’s sake.

    Kalashnikov invented a rifle, not Skynet. (Or Legion, or Genesys, whatever.) Rifles are not autonomous, they do not pick themselves up and pull their own trigger. (Unless of course said rifle is owned by an enemy of HRC… then all bets are off.)

    Inventors and creators have a responsibility to the users of that which they invented, such as that whatever it is, is reasonably safe for the operator to use. The actual use of whatever is the responsibility of the user, or the user’s superiors / supervisors / parents / etc. This is true whether we are talking about rifles, cars, or iPads.

    • “…not Skynet. (Or Legion, or Genesys, whatever.)”

      Yeah, I feel ya. I grew up with the original Terminator movies, and remember when Ahhhhnold announced in 1991 that T2 Judgement Day would be “da biggest moovee uv da summa”. He was right. It was cinematic and storytelling excellent.

      All downhill from there. I’ll wait to see the latest “Wow James Cameron Is Back to Tell Us Women Will Save Us” edition when it comes out on Redbox for $1.50. You don’t tell us you’re returning to salvage and revive the franchise, then get rid of some of the main characters we grew up with that were central to the storyline (Skynet, John Connor) and claim a victory lap.

  17. nope sorry Browning has been dealing death for three centuries, Nicky for less than one. Brownings designs has influenced Every gun manufactuerer one way or another.

  18. He is only human, and it has been in such wide spread use by the criminal element. They left out a later part of the interview.

    “Whenever I look at TV and I see the weapon I invented to defend my motherland in the hands of these bin Ladens, I ask myself the same question: ‘How did it get into their hands?’ ” Kalashnikov said in 2006. “I didn’t put it in the hands of bandits and terrorists, and it’s not my fault that it has mushroomed uncontrollably across the globe. Can I be blamed that they consider it the most reliable weapon?”
    “It is painful for me to see when criminal elements of all kinds fire from my weapon,”

    He had very good intentions while developing it, to protect his Motherland, while he suffered wounds fighting the Nazi’s as a Tank Mechanic in WWII. Any successful and effective design, will spread, its only human nature to adapt what works, for any circumstances. To this day, it is still just as much in use for defense, as it is in offense, and will be for many, many more years due to the durability of the design.

  19. I can’t see myself ever owning an AK. I just can’t see it as anything but an anti-American symbol. I would never be able to hold it without thinking about how much American blood was spilled using it.

    I know it wasn’t the only weapon used against us but it is what I consider to be an important line in the sand. Now of course, in an extreme life or death situation I would not hesitate to use what I have at my disposal to protect myself. But as long as I have a choice in the matter, I choose American weaponry.

    I don’t blame Mikhail Kalashnikov any more than I blame Einstein for his role in nuclear weapons. Anymore than I blame Browning. Technology will advance and humanities weapons with it.

    This makes for an interesting read (the article and the comments) and at the same time, a rehashed boring recount of human atrocity.

    Truman’s decision to drop the bomb:
    I agree with it. I say drop the thing….twice.

    Religious wars:
    This is where The Beatles got it so wrong. As long as humans exist, there will be religion. Where there is religion, there is disagreement. The only thing that stops religious based killing is a civilization growing out of it’s infancy. This can be a very painful process and has no real guaranty.

    America’s role and it’s part in all this:
    Even with all the blood spilled (internal and external) by American hands, there simply is no other place on Earth (now or within recorded history) that exists for the betterment of the human race. It is important that what we have be maintained and not lost.

      • ….and yet

        There are more humans living on this planet right now than have ever before at any given time in all human existence.

        • And vast majority of them live in better conditions than almost anyone before. Capitalism lifts people out of poverty!
          Water and air is cleaner today than it was 50, 100 years ago. Anyone remembers how the Chicago river burned?

    • I had no interest in owning an AK too. I really like the reliability of the AK gas piston design, how cool and clean they run, and the lack of “blowback” when run suppressed. I purchased a Patriot Ordnance Factory P308 Gen4 EDGE SPR, an AR with an operating system very similar to an AK.

      • Cool? On which side of hell? The front end of AKM variants start to smoke after just a couple magazines, and the hand guards heat up very fast. The gas system gets so hot that before I put my rifle away after a range visit, I have to wait or pour water on it before it goes back in my bag or it will scorch the fabric.

        • I agree.

          They aren’t very clean either. Unlike a lot of more modern piston rifles that are sealed and vent all the gas out a port, the long stroke AK piston vents a lot of crud down the gas tube and into the receiver. The entire top of the carrier, piston rod and piston, gas tube, inside the rear sight base and even the receiver top cover are all filthy after firing much at all. Unless you never clean the rifle it won’t build up to the point you have stoppages, but if you are shooting corrosive ammo you really do need to clean everything.

          As you said, heat is an issue too. Unlike many common AR carbines, especially a mid-length, the AK hand guard is really small. Touch anything else like the receiver or the hand guard retainer and you will get burned. The sling loop that is part of the hand guard retainer is usually what gets me.

          I really like the AK and have several. I’m currently trying to talk myself out of a Galil ACE pistol, but they are a very dated design that is much harder to customize or modernize compared to something like an AR15.

        • Cool on the BCG side.
          I personally went with the POF piston gun, has the piston block covered by the handguard. Tons of meltdown vids online, you might want to view a few to see how the POF piston guns hold up when compared to the best DI ARs available .

    • Prndll said: “Truman’s decision to drop the bomb:
      I agree with it. I say drop the thing….twice.”

      You are in error on the above statement. The U.S. Government has admitted since 1945 that the Japanese had agreed to unconditional surrender and the U.S. Admitted they knew from the beginning that in order to keep the peace and get cooperation from the Japanese people they could not touch the Emperor even though everyone knew he was as guilty as the rest of his murderous henchmen.

      So why were the Atomic Bombs really dropped? It was more complex than most Americans realize and none of it was sanctimonious.

      The bomb was dropped to justify the huge amount of money spent on its development and Truman knew he would never get re-elected if he did not justify this money spent on its development without using it.

      The bomb was also dropped to terrify and stop the Russians who had every intention of seizing as much of Japan as they possible could.

      The bomb was dropped because Truman was a rabid racist who believed Orientals were all sub-human and most historians have stated he would have never dared drop the bomb on Germany with the majority of white U.S. citizens descended from German ancestry.

      The bomb was dropped for propaganda purposes as a revenge for the Pearl Harbor attack which would boost Truman’s prestige and help his re-election. The firebombing of civilians was also done for the same reasons.

      To recap, the bomb was never dropped to save American lives, that was and is the most sickening piece of U.S. propaganda ever made. Japan would have capitulated without one U.S. serviceman ever setting foot on Japanese soil but today the Russians would own at least half and maybe all of Japan and that would have upset the U.S. military and economic dominance over Asia.

      As terrible as this sounds perhaps the mass U.S. slaughter and murder of Japanese civilians that resulted from the fire bombings and atomic bombs in the end made the rest of the Japanese a free people to this very day because they were not enslaved by the then invading Russians who still occupy two of Japans Islands. The horror of the Atom bombs shocked the civilized world then and still does and so far has stopped further use of such terrible weapons. I sometimes wonder myself what shocked the world more, the Nazi death camps or the U.S. dropping of the Atomic bombs on civilians.

      • “…he would have never dared drop the bomb on Germany with the majority of white U.S. citizens descended from German ancestry.”
        Weird how he didn’t have problem with conventional fire bombing civilians in German cities like Dresden. Racist sees racism everywhere.

        • Sorry but it was not the Americans who firebombed Dresden it was the British on orders from Mad Bomber Harris who was considered insane even by his own people. Harris was indeed a war criminal but the victors do not prosecute their own criminals. Ditto for the U.S. as well as Lt. Calley is still laughing over the Mai Lai Massacre.

        • Yeah, that’s not true. In four raids between 13 and 15 February 1945, 722 heavy bombers of the British Royal Air Force (RAF) and 527 of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) dropped more than 3,900 tons of high-explosive bombs and incendiary devices on the city.

      • The last offer made by the japanese to surrender. Their terms that they dictated for that ‘unconditional surrender’? They would keep their present .gov. Not just his nibs. They would accept only a token force of allied troops in one city. Their military would remain in place and armed. They would investigate their own people for war crimes.

        Some of you guys hate America so deeply that you will swallow any bs propaganda.

        • Being objective and not blind to Patriotism is far from hating America.

          The Japanese Government had been speaking to the Russians and asking them to speak to the Americans about surrender terms. The U.S. who had long ago broke the Japanese codes (many experts claim even before Pearl Harbor) already were aware of that. Japan had suffered the worst rice harvest in decades and the people were starving. This of course was known to the Americans. Just a simple naval blockade would have forced the starving Japanese to agree to anything and the U.S. knew it. The U.S. and British war records have been sealed from the public for 100 years to spare embarrassment and even international law suits and condemnation on many of the actions of both the U.S. and Britain.

          The U.S. Government stated in 1945 after they dropped the bomb that Japan was going to surrender unconditionally. When an outcry arose over the decision to drop the bomb the U.S. Government then backtracked their statement and claimed they dropped the bomb because the Japanese insisted they did not want the Emperor harmed (which was true) but it did not erase the fact that the Japanese had offered to surrendered. What cannot yet be confirmed is whether or not the Japanese were still wanting no prosecution of war criminals or whether they had caved in and taken that off the table. None of this was mentioned in 1945 except that of the Emperor request. Future generations that are permitted to look into U.S. and British archives will finally know the truth.

          Considering the fact that Japan was being bombed into oblivion even with conventional bombs and the food and fuel shortages for heating and cooking its obvious the Atomic bombs were totally unnecessary and it would only have been a very, very short time before Japan would have had no choice but to acquiesce to the demands of the U.S. Government if they had not already done so and this we do not know to this very day because the records are locked up for 100 years. Its a no brainer.

        • I might add most of the U.S. Generals including Eisenhower, MacArthur and even Winston Churchill said it was totally unnecessary and were totally against using such an awful weapon. Churchill was so enraged that at a public gathering with many dignitaries present and listening in to the conversation, Churchill (who was as big an asshole as Truman and just as ruthless) asked Truman point blank “What did it feel like to incinerate thousands of people in an instant”. Immediately other diplomats stepped into the conversation and tried to make light of the statement and claim it was just said in jest which everyone knew was not.

        • All this whining about the atomic bomb. In many ways the Japs were worse than Germany. Ask your average raped Chinese,Korean or Filipino woman. They butchered thousands of POW’s and practised cannibalism. We SAVED Japan by using the Atom bomb. Dumbass revisionist IDIOT…

        • “Dumbass revisionist IDIOT…”

          Obviously my post got to you because you had to face the truth. Throwing a tantrum does not change the facts either which was we violated the rules of war of the Hague Convention which we signed which outlawed the deliberate mass murder of civilians. The only revisionist is you. And before you scream and rant that I am unpatriotic then you must also include Generals Eisenhower, Bradly, MacArthur, Churchill and many other military men who knew better. After all they had been fighting that war for 4 years. Now who is the Revisionist???

        • TP. How many more Americans would have died if we waited for a blockade to starve the japanese out? How many more kamikazes? How many more human torpedoes? An American president that values saving enemy casualties over his own soldiers is not worth hanging as a traitor.

          You’re a classic berkeley leftist. America is wrong. America is bad. Sell that made up history elsewhere.

        • “All this whining about the atomic bomb. In many ways the Japs were worse than Germany. Ask your average raped Chinese,Korean or Filipino woman. They butchered thousands of POW’s and practised cannibalism. We SAVED Japan by using the Atom bomb. Dumbass revisionist IDIOT…”

          You are saying that since the Japanese committed atrocities it was ok for us to do the same. Sorry but that is not how the U.S. should act, not then and not now. The U.S. murdered Japanese civilians and many Japanese prisoners of war. American flyers deliberately machine gunned downed enemy flyers and Japanese that were survivors of sunken boats. During the Doolittle raid American flyers bombed 2 Japanese schools with children in them and shot up Japanese family fishing boats. The Japanese then retaliated by killing downed American flyers and were vilified as inhuman monsters. Sorry but it was a two way street on that one but the American public was never told the truth, not then and not until recently in the last several years. The award winning book “Fly Boys” by the same author Bradley that wrote “Flags of our Fathers” documented many WWII American atrocities against the Japanese and vice versa. The long ago written book “Guadalcanal Diary” by Richard Tregaskis also documented the murder of Japanese prisoners of war.

        • “You’re a classic berkeley leftist. America is wrong. America is bad. Sell that made up history elsewhere”.

          I get a little tired of JW attacking people (like TP) and calling them traitors or fake news that reports historical documented facts that are not praising the U.S. Covering up or ignoring the truth about history is the same as lying and that is what is done in dictatorships but it sounds like this is what JW wants, a one party system which would destroy the first Amendment, and a ban all religions exempt Christianity and to ignore the rules of civilized warfare. The only made up history JW is referring to is his own.

          I would imagine JW would call the “Pentagon Papers” fake news as well even though its now 50 years after the fact or perhaps the “Gulf of Tonkin Incident” really did happened according to JW’s philosophy of “The U.S. Military can do no wrong” and never has done any wrong or any lying. Lying or covering up historical facts only leads to more of the same mistakes and mass murders being committed in the future. We criticize the Japanese to this very day for denying the “Rape of Nanking” but JW would have us believe it is ok for us to do the same in the name of Patriotism when it comes to our own committed war crimes and atrocities which he will tell everyone “never happened” and could not have happen. I am sure JW would attack anyone as Berkeley Leftists who stated that the Mai Lai Massacre really happened. Berkeley people know different, JW does not simply because he obviously never attended Berkeley.

        • More planets. Projecting much? Who brought religion into this discussion? And you’re right. I did not attend berkeley. Which explains why I remain unindoctrinated into the leftist bs.

          And if you want to see the 1a being crushed, go to the berkeley campus. Try to speak anything but the party line. antifa brownshirts will be all over you.

          But you guys go ahead. Spew your venom. And make a second term by Trump a slam dunk.

        • JWM, your 100% correct. Both Thomas and Planets are the same person. The same person that was brainwashed by their liberal professor that Japan was innocent in WW2. That us big mean white imperialist Americans only nuked them for a science experiment. They have no clue about WW2 and no nothing about it. They couldn’t tell you how evil Japan was and what extraordinary war crimes they committed, that were on par with the Holocaust. They continue their education on online forums and think they know everything from their liberal history klan circle jerks on reddit.

        • JM is not educated enough to differentiate between freedom of speech and the right to spew forth Nazi hate propaganda which is what Berkeley Students were protesting. Remember it was unchecked hate speech that resulted in the rise of Adolf Hitler and Donald Trump which has always been the darling of the Far Right, JW included.

  20. I’d say Kakasnikov “borrowed” from the Nazis. Did he murder anyone himself? Probably not…a circle jerk.

  21. “And the Union workhouses?” demanded Scrooge. “Are they still in operation?”
    “They are. Still,” returned the gentleman, “ I wish I could say they were not.”
    “Many can’t go there; and many would rather die.”

    “If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

    Straight from the Marxist playbook. They did well, with the shaky, rattly AK-47, to reach that goal.

  22. As long as we are demonizing inanimate objects, I’ll add something in for the prize. I submit the humble fork (chopstick, spoon etc.) for the running as most deadly. Heart disease is a bitch.

  23. There are a lot of myths about the AK47 v/s the M16.

    I watched a video proving that if the M16 is squeaky clean and then stopped in the mud with its dust cover closed it was able to fire off a complete magazine while the AK47 jammed up on the 3rd round.

    I Once loaded some under-powered ammo with BLC2 powder and jammed up an AK on the second round and then did it repeatedly. What jammed it? It was unburned and partially burned powder from too low a charge of powder. So does this mean the AK47 is inferior to the M16? No it does not. The AK’s reliability does not come so much because of the mythical loose fit of parts rather it comes from the 6 to 1 ratio of the gas piston to the carrier. The AK in addition also keeps burnt powder out of the mechanism as well while the M16 sprays its burnt powder all over the action and it only takes one clip of ammo to make the gun look like a dirty coal bin (notice I used the word clip instead of magazine, either word is correct historically). Overall the AK will work with sustained fire far longer than the M16 and with a forged AK receiver it is not inferior in accuracy either to the M16 , it is only inferior in accuracy with the flexible stamped sheet metal receiver. My own Chinese forged receiver AK fires with very good accuracy as compared to my current AR15, in other words there is no difference in accuracy when comparing barrels of the same weight and roughly the same diameter.

    Was Kalashnikov responsible for millions of deaths by inventing this weapon.? Looking at it honestly, yes he was, but he had little choice as he saw 20 million of his countrymen killed by the Nazi Hordes of Hitler and his country was in the past invaded by two other European countries and he and his fellow Russians had had enough of that bullshit.

    • Any rifle with additional movement or actuation of parts occurring before the bullet exits the barrel is going to be inherently less accurate. Most AK rifles are only about half has accurate as an internal piston AR15.

    • If your current AR15 shoots as accurate as a chinese AK, throw it on the scrap pile.
      Inventor of an item is ‘honestly’ responsible for all the people killed with that item? Are you for real?

      • “If your current AR15 shoots as accurate as a chinese AK, throw it on the scrap pile.”

        Unlike you I am not “La Bouche”. I have posted actually testing and its been with more than one AR15 and ditto for more than 1 AK. I merely mentioned two of them that I still own.

  24. Communism in Russia and China killed millions at time by famine as the result of asinine economic policy or as deliberate punishment. And Stalin killed a couple of million in purges. Its hard to tell about Mao. Not many western news people to report on it.

  25. The deadliest innovators would be the atomic bomb development scientists and mathematicians along with germ warfare scientists.

    Just because they have not seen widespread use yet… Give humanity time…
    You will wish for the AK to have been used more often.

  26. Many items have led to mass death, items such as the printing press, or the automobile…while the AK-47 certainly is prolific it pales in comparison to agenda driven zealots and death by/in automobiles..

  27. I think your estimates of the body count of the AK are too difficult to piece together. The stats in third world nations where the AK was used by the USSR as an instrument of political destabilization are wildly inaccurate.

    Now, the one inventor I would put forth as the single man with the highest body count is Hiram Maxim, who invented a killing machine that mowed down millions in a short period of time in the first world war.


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