03 December 2014

Mikhail Kalashnikov, Mr. AK-47

AK-47 maker Kalashnikov gives rifles makeover
02 Dec 2014

The Russian manufacturer of the AK-47 assault rifle has unveiled a new look for its guns, as well as a new logo, at a glitzy event in Moscow. The company is also branching out into fashion, launching a line of branded survival gear. The firm, which relies heavily on the export market, is among the targets of Western sanctions imposed over Russia's role in the Ukraine conflict. The Kalashnikov, or AK-47, is one of the world's most recognizable weapons. The gun is relatively cheap as well as easy to manufacture and maintain, contributing to its popularity with guerrilla forces and national armies in Asia and Africa. It is thought that more than 100 million Kalashnikov rifles have been sold worldwide. The inventor of the rifle, Soviet Lt-Gen Mikhail Kalashnikov, died last year.

Assault rifle inventor Mikhail Kalashnikov dies at 94
23 Dec 2013
The inventor of the Kalashnikov assault rifle, Mikhail Kalashnikov, has died aged 94, Russian TV reports. The automatic rifle he designed became one of the world's most familiar and widely used weapons. Its comparative simplicity made it cheap to manufacture, as well as reliable and easy to maintain. Although honoured by the state, Kalashnikov made little money from his gun. He once said he would have been better off designing a lawn mower. Mikhail Kalashnikov was admitted to hospital with internal bleeding in November. He was born on 10 November 1919 in western Siberia, one of 18 children

Yemen: Al-Qaeda Kalashnikov prize for Ramadan
06 Sep 2013
Machine guns and automatic rifles were handed out to winners of a religious competition organized by al-Qaeda in Yemen. The contest was held during the fasting month of Ramadan in the south-eastern governorates of Ibb, Ad-Dali and al-Bayda. The prizes included Russian-made Kalashnikov rifles, Chinese machine guns, Austrian Glock pistols, as well as motorcycles and other gifts.

Russian army ends purchase of Kalashnikov rifles
27 Sep 2011

The Russian army says it is halting orders of the famous Kalashnikov assault rifle until a newer model is developed by its manufacturer. Chief of the General Staff Nikolai Makarov told Russian media that the army already had too many of the weapons in its stores. A new model is expected to be ready by the end of the year. News of the army's decision is reportedly being kept from the rifle's designer, Mikhail Kalashnikov, now 91.

Kalashnikov Backs Weapons Control
26 Jun 2006
The inventor of the infamous AK-47 assault rifle has backed stricter gun controls as a key small arms conference gets under way on Monday in New York. Mikhail Kalashnikov said he backed UN moves to halt the illicit distribution of small arms. In giving his backing to the Control Arms campaign, Mr Kalashnikov said: "When I watch TV and see small arms of the AK family in the hands of bandits, I keep asking myself: how did those people get hold of them?"

Chavez and Russia in Arms Deal
26 July 2006, CNN
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said today that his oil-rich nation will sign major arms deals in Moscow to acquire Russian fighter jets and produce Kalashnikov assault rifles, as Russia shrugged off U.S. criticism of the weapons sales. On a visit to the city of Izhevsk, where Kalashnikovs are made, Chavez said contracts to buy Su-30 jets and set up Kalashnikov rifle and ammunition plants in Venezuela would be signed in Moscow on Thursday, the Interfax news agency reported. He has used surging oil revenues to modernize Venezuela's military, signing multibillion defense deals with Russia and Spain. Venezuela earlier agreed to buy 100,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles and wants to set up factories to produce them under license.

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, 2003, Excerpts
The Russian AK – Avtomat Kalashinkova – was designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov in the 1940s. Kalashnikov’s AK-47, the most influential and widely manufactured of the new assault rifles, operated by diverting some of the propellant gases produced by a fired bullet into a cylinder above the barrel. The gas drove a piston that forced the bolt back against its spring, and cocked the hammer for the next round. The rifle weighed about five kilos, carried thirty rounds in its curved metal magazine, and fired the 7.72 millimeter rounds at around 2,300 feet per second, over an effective range greater than 300 meters. It fired more than a hundred rounds per minute on auto, and about forty rounds every minute on the semi-automatic, single-shot function.

The rifle worked perfectly after total immersion in water, mud, or snow, and it remained one of the most efficient and reliable killing machines ever devised. In the first four decades after its development, fifty million of them were produced – more than any other firearm in history – and the Kalashnikov, in all its forms, was carried as a preferred strike weapon by revolutionaries, regular soldiers, mercenaries, and gangsters all over the fighting world.

Gideon's Spies by Gordon Thomas, 1999
Marine Colonel Oliver North was put in charge of supplying the arms. In all, Iran would receive 128 US tanks; two hundred thousand Katsha rockets captured in south Lebanon; ten thousand tons of artillery shells of all calibers; three thousand air-to-air missiles; four thousand rifles; and fifty million rounds of ammunition. From Marama Air Force Base in Arizona, over four thousand TOW missiles were airlifted to Guatemala to begin their long journey to Tel Aviv. From Poland and Bulgaria, eight thousand Sam-7 surface-to-air missiles were shipped, together with one hundred thousand AK-47s. China provided hundreds of Silkworm sea-to-sea missiles, armored cars, and amphibious personnel carriers. Sweden provided 105-mm artillery shells, Belgium air-to-air missiles. The weapons were shipped with certificates showing Israel was the end user. From IDF military bases in the NegevDesert, the consortium arranged for chartered transport aircraft to fly the weapons to Iran.

Bandit Country, The IRA & South Armagh by Toby Harnden, 1999
At the beginning of October 1986, 30 Libyans took two nights to load the Villa, a converted Swedish oilrig replenisher, with 80 tons of arms including seven RPG-7s, 10 SAM-7s and a ton of Semtex-H, a Czech-made plastic explosive. Before the collapse of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia, more than 1,000 tons of Semtex, a brown, putty-like substance, had been exported to Libya. Manufactured at Pardubice, 90 miles from Prague, it is odorless and cannot be detected by X-rays. Semtex will not explode even when exposed to a naked flame but when used with a detonator can produce a blast many times more powerful than a fertilizer-based explosive. Semtex was first used by the IRA in South Armagh and radio-controlled bombs were developed there.

It was the first of four arms shipments, with a cargo courtesy of the Libyan government, to be landed by Murphy in Ireland. On board the Casamara were 300 boxes of weaponry including AK-47s, Taurus automatic pistols from Brazil, seven Soviet made RPG-7s and three Russian DShK 12.7 mm heavy machine guns.

The estimated 650 AK-47 assault rifles landed in the four shipments are still in use. Invented in the Soviet Union by Mikail Kalashnikov in 1947, the AK-47 was first issued to the Red Army hand has since been used by guerilla organizations throughout the world. Reliable, robust and easy to keep in working order, it can fire a hundred rounds per minute and is effective to a range of 300 yards.

The Last Phoenix by Carl Douglass, 1997, Excerpts
“The AK-47 or Avtomat Kalashnikova, 1947 model, or Kalashnikov Assault rifle, was invented by a Soviet gunsmith named Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov or at least copied and improved from a World War II German model. The weapon weighs 4.8 kilograms fully loaded, and is 87 centimeters long without its extended bayonet. It has a thirty round detachable magazine that fires standard M-43 ammunition – that’s 7.62 by 39 millimeter – intermediate powered cartridges. It is a gas operated, blow back system, rotating bolt gun with a muzzle velocity of 715 meters per second, and it has an effective range of 300 meters on full automatic, 400 meters on semiautomatic setting, and perhaps a little more on single shot setting. On automatic it fires a cyclic rate of 600 rounds per minute and 40 rounds per minute on semiautomatic. The weapon is essentially an elongated machine pistol that fires from the open breech position to avoid cook-off. The standard model has a simple, sturdy wooden stock, but there is a collapsible folding metal stock model available.”

“There is a reason why this masterpiece is the most popular light arm in the world. It is produced in the greatest quantities of any infantry gun and is used in more than thirty-five countries because it is cheap, light, durable, reliable, and most importantly, continues to function with lethal accuracy under the most adverse conditions. It has a straight-line stock to maintain accuracy during rapid fire or in bursts. For the purposes you new “Christians in Action” have, there is an added advantage. The bolt action is quiet; if you are careful about it, you can work the mechanisms virtually silently. And it can easily be fitted with a hush puppy [burst suppressor-silencer]. Any idiot can learn to use the weapon with a minimum of training. It is easy and quick to dissemble and clean, easy to maintain, easy to strap to one’s body, and takes up little space because it is slender. By the end of this day everyone of you will be able to load and fire the weapon on all three settings, disassemble, clean, and reassemble in the light in thirty seconds and in the dark in a minute”

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