The Avtomat Kalashnikova rifle of 1947, better known as the "AK-47", is perhaps the most easily recognizable weapon in the history of firearms. The infamy of the AK-47 is due to several factors; it is the most extensively produced firearm of all time, it is the platform from which many other successful weapon patterns have been based, and its ever-growing association with both military and radical groups world-wide.
This legendary rifle was invented during the mid-1940s by Mikhail Kalashnikov, a then Russian tank-mechanic. The design of the AK-47 is a hybrid of successful rifle technologies that were modified and improved for use in the Russian military. The AK-47 is a prime example of soundly fusing together modern, superior mechanisms with previously identified solutions for common problems. Over time, the rifle has come to be known for its ease of manufacture, simplicity of operation/maintenance, and unsurpassed reliability even in the most adverse conditions. These characteristics, as well as a considerable amount of accessories, greatly attributes to the vast amount of AK-47s deployed by both the “good-guys” and “bad-guys”.
While it is still being produced in various countries (in a stunning amount of variations), it is estimated that the total number of AK-47s ever produced is well over 90 million units.