Mikhail Kalashnikov, 1919-2013

Mikhail Kalashnikov

The arms world lost a genius today. Mikhail Kalashnikov has died.

Mikhail Kalashnikov, whose work as a weapons designer for the Soviet Union is immortalized in the name of the world’s most popular firearm, died Monday at the age of 94.

Kalashnikov once aspired to design farm equipment. But even though his most famous invention — the AK-47 assault rifle — sowed havoc instead of crops, he often said he felt personally untroubled by his contribution to bloodshed.

“I sleep well. It’s the politicians who are to blame for failing to come to an agreement and resorting to violence,” he said in 2007.

The AK-47 — “Avtomat Kalashnikov” and the year it went into production — is the world’s most popular firearm, favored by guerrillas, terrorists and the soldiers of many armies. An estimated 100 million guns are spread worldwide.

You have to love ABC’s editorializing here. Guns are evil, and to prove it, we’re going to remind our lessers the AK-47 is the preferred weapon of evildoers…

Kalashnikov was a tanker in The Great Patriotic War, until he was injured by a Nazi shell. The rest is history.

The moment that firmly set his course was in the 1941 battle of Bryansk against Nazi forces, when a shell hit his tank. Recovering from wounds in the hospital, Kalashnikov brooded about the superior automatic rifles he’d seen the Nazis deploy; his rough ideas and revisions bore fruit five years later.

“Blame the Nazi Germans for making me become a gun designer,” said Kalashnikov. “I always wanted to construct agricultural machinery.” (H/T – Jon Brooks)

Blame?? I think they meant to write “credit” or “thank.” The Kalashnikov is probably the greatest rifle the world has ever seen. The fact the creator is a former Soviet soldier changes nothing. Rest in peace, Mikhail.

6 thoughts on “Mikhail Kalashnikov, 1919-2013

  1. realwest

    The AK-47 was indeed a great assault rifle, perhaps the best. But its main drawback in Vietnam was its weight and especially the weight of the ammo. For those who are of the “Spray and Pray” school, it is simple, extremely durable and has a high rate of fire.

    Yahoo news claimed that the AK-47 killed more people than any other gun ever made. They might be right.

    RIP Mikhail Kalashnikov.

  2. JT

    RIP Mikhail Kalashnikov.

    Amen, brutha.

    This guy wanted nothing more than to expel the invaders from his homeland; he can’t be held responsible
    for what the merchants of death have done with his invention.

    That said, if he ever did invent a piece of farm machinery that was as utile as the AK, everyone on
    earth would weigh 600 lbs.

  3. Jim Scrummy

    “I sleep well. It’s the politicians who are to blame for failing to come to an agreement and resorting to violence,”-So much truth in that statement by Mr. Kalashnikov. He use to go to the SHOT show. May he rest in peace.

  4. Bob G.

    Bet you even money this man NEVER knew the implications of making such a good (but not great, imho) assault rifle.
    Sure, it goes “BANG” every time you squeeze the trigger, and will fire after being covered in damn near anything, but it jumps ALL over the place on FULL auto, has a hasty kick to it, and isn’t AS accurate as the venerable M-4.

    Still, an amazing piece ot hardware…been the bane of every U.S. soldier killed or wounded by one since the ‘Nam.

    Stay safe out there.


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