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TALES OF THE GUN - AK 47


Tales of the Gun is a television series broadcast on the History Channel featuring the history of firearms that ran for one season in 1998. The usual episode includes interviews of historians and people who used the featured weapon, shows how the weapons were made, and shows the featured weapon being fired on a shooting range. The series narrator for the US version is Thom Pinto, veteran voice actor.

29.Ep 29: "AK-47"


The AK-47 (also known as Kalashnikov, AK, or in Russian slang, Kalash) is a selective-fire (semi-automatic and automatic), gas-operated 7.62×39mm assault rifle, developed in the Soviet Union by Mikhail Kalashnikov. It is officially known in the Soviet documentation as Avtomat Kalashnikova (Russian: Автомат Калашникова).

Design work on the AK-47 began in the last year of World War II (1945). After the war in 1946, the AK-47 was presented for official military trials. In 1948, the fixed-stock version was introduced into active service with selected units of the Soviet Army. An early development of the design was the AKS (S—Skladnoy or "folding"), which was equipped with an underfolding metal shoulder stock. In 1949, the AK-47 was officially accepted by the Soviet Armed Forces and used by the majority of the member states of the Warsaw Pact.

Even after six decades the model and its variants remain the most popular and widely used assault rifles in the world because of their substantial reliability under harsh conditions, low production costs compared to contemporary Western weapons, availability in virtually every geographic region and ease of use. The AK-47 has been manufactured in many countries and has seen service with armed forces as well as irregular forces worldwide, and was the basis for developing many other types of individual and crew-served firearms. As of 2004, out of the estimated 500 million firearms worldwide, approximately 100 million belong to the Kalashnikov family, three-quarters of which are AK-47s.


Throughout World War II, Soviet soldiers found themselves consistently outgunned by heavily armed German troops, especially those armed with the Sturmgewehr StG 44 assault rifles, which the Germans fielded in large numbers. The select-fire StG 44 was chambered for a new intermediate cartridge, the 7.92×33mm Kurz, and combined the firepower of a submachine gun with the range and accuracy of a rifle.

On July 15, 1943, a Sturmgewehr was demonstrated before the People's Commissariat of Arms of the USSR. The Soviets were so impressed with the Sturmgewehr, that they immediately set about developing an intermediate caliber automatic rifle of their own, to replace the badly outdated Mosin–Nagant bolt-action rifles and PPSh-41 submachine guns that armed most of the Soviet Army.


The Soviets soon developed the 7.62×39mm M43 cartridge, the semi-automatic SKS carbine and the RPD light machine gun. Shortly after World War II, the Soviets developed the AK-47 assault rifle, which would quickly replace the SKS in Soviet service. In the 1960s, the Soviets introduced the RPK light machine gun, itself an AK-47 type weapon with a stronger receiver, a longer heavy barrel, and a bipod, that would eventually replace the RPD light machine gun.

Posted by George Freund on September 24, 2015 at 9:31 PM 2741 Views