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AK-47.net: AK History

In 1916 plans for a lightweight self-loading rifle were created by Vladimir Grigorevich Federov one of the Czar's arms designers.  During this time many armies of the world were working on self-loading lightweight rifle projects following the introduction of the automatic pistol and machinegun.  Federov's idea was to use low-powered rounds to minimize recoil and wear on the rifle. However only a few of Federov Automat's were created and used in WW I.  By 1943 the USSR had adopted a cartridge designed by N.M. Elizarov  and B. V.Semin.  The new 7.62x39mm round was designated the m43. The new round had less power, was shorter, and rimless.  Soon after the word went around to Soviet designers that a new self-loading rifle was needed for the new round.  This eventually led to the birth of the AK-47.


The AK-47 replaced the Soviet rifle the SKS45 designed by Simonovs that was in use during W.W.II. The AK-47 was designed by Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov and had only the equivalent of a Russian high school degree.  In 1938 Kalashnikov was drafted into the Soviet army.   He became very interested in the operation of firearms and apparently a genius was awakened in him.  In 1941 Kalashnikov was called to active duty and became a tank driver.  He fought in the battle of Bryansk while the battle raged his tank was hit by a shell wounding Kalashnikov in the arm.  During his hospital stay he studied all the firearms books he could get his hands on. Due to the seriousness of his would he was allowed to spend six months on leave in his home town of Alma-Ata.  Kalashnikov spent his time designing a sub machine gun with his machinist friend Zhenya Kravchenko.  In 1946 Kalashnikov sent off the drawling for a new gas operated rifle based on the m43 cartridge to the Main Artillery Commission in Moscow.  The committee decided that his design had merit and gave him the go ahead to create several prototypes.  From 1946-1948 work progressed on the Kalashnikov rifle, progress was slow with changes having to be made every step of the way.  In 1949 one of Kalashnikovs rifles was accepted as the Soviet Army's AK-47 (Avtomat Kalashnikova Obrazets 1947) namely the AK-47 today.  Kalashnikov then left the military and started work at a factory where he designed server different models of the AK-47 and other spin-offs of other machine guns.  

Source: AK-47 The complete Kalashnikov Family of Assault Rifles By Duncan Long.

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