In my last post, I discussed some facets of our M4 platform, so I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the red team workhorse, the AK Family of weapons.

Like our M16/M4 Series, the Russian’s have been busy modernizing and trying to stay current over the years.  Without a doubt, the AK and varients outnumber any other weapon system in the world, including ours.  For that reason if no other, it deserves a solid look at what brought it to the level of success it has seen in the world, and we will look at where that platform is moving in the future.

I personally believe everyone should be familiar with the AK platform because it is the most encountered weapon we face in opposition, and dismissing it as an effective weapon system could be a lethal mistake.

Iraqi Kalashnikov

When most of us think of the AK, all sorts of images stir.  Typically we think of rag-tag groups of rebels or insurgents with dirty AK’s in everyones hand.  That  is due in part that the weapon is reliable under the harshest of conditions, and was cheaply built utilizing stamped receivers instead of more robust milled receivers.

The low cost, simplicity, and the desire of the Soviet Union to expand it’s influence, made it an extremely prolific weapon leading up to and during the Cold War period.  The Soviets were pumping them out as fast as they could and practically giving them away in arms deals to developing nations, and with the inherent instability in many regions following the Soviet collapse, large stockpiles fell into the hands of anyone who wanted them, and they flooded into the black-market arming entire populations.

The weapon was adopted and standardized in 1947 by the Soviet Union. It was designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov after WW II.  Mikhail was exposed to the first real assault rifle, the Nazi Sturmgewehr 44, as well as the American M1 Garand.  Both weapons appealed to him, and he set about making a hybrid of those designs competing to become the new Soviet firearm utilizing the newly produced M43 7.62x39mm cartridge.  Compared with most auto-loading rifles, the AK-47 is compact, of comparable range, moderate power, and capable of selective fire.