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AK-47
АК-47.jpg
AK-47 with 6H3 bayonet
Type Rifle
Place of origin Soviet Union
Service history
In service 1949–present (worldwide)
Wars
Production history
Designer Mikhail Kalashnikov
Designed 1946–1948
Manufacturer Kalashnikov Concern and various others including Norinco
Produced 1949–present
No. built ≈ 75 million AK-47s, 100 million Kalashnikov-family weapons.
Specifications
Mass Without magazine:
3.47 kg (7.7 lb)
Magazine, empty:
0.43 kg (0.95 lb) (early issue)
0.33 kg (0.73 lb) (steel)
0.25 kg (0.55 lb) (plastic)
0.17 kg (0.37 lb) (light alloy)
Length Fixed wooden stock:
880 mm (35 in)
875 mm (34.4 in) folding stock extended
645 mm (25.4 in) stock folded
Barrel length Overall length:
415 mm (16.3 in)
Rifled bore length:
369 mm (14.5 in)

Cartridge 7.62×39mm
Action Gas-operated, rotating bolt
Rate of fire Cyclic rate of fire:
600 rds/min
Practical rate of fire:
Semi-auto 40 rds/min
Full-auto 100 rds/min
Muzzle velocity 715 m/s (2,350 ft/s)
Effective firing range 350 m (380 yd)
Feed system 30-round detachable box magazine
There are also 5- 10-, 20- and 40-round box and 75- and 100-round drum magazines available
Sights 100–800 m adjustable iron sights
Sight radius:
378 mm (14.9 in)

The AK-47 is a Russian assault rifle first used in 1949. It and an updated version called the AKM were used by the Soviet Union's military (which was called the Soviet Army). It was later replaced by the AK-74.

The AK-47 was designed in 1947 by Mikhail Kalashnikov.

The AK-47 quickly became famous and spread all around the world because it was simple to fire, clean and maintain, and also because of its reliability, meaning that it can be fired for a long time without jamming. The AK-47 and its successors continue to be used by many of the world's armies. Many terrorist and insurgent groups also use the AK-47. It is a cheap, reliable, and easy-to-use weapon. The AK-47 was also available with a folding stock, the AKS-47, and a shortened version with the AKS74 folding stock, the AKMSU (used by armoured vehicle crews), although this was soon replaced by the AKS74U, which fires the 5.45 cartridge of the AK-74. There was also a light machine gun variant with a longer barrel and different shaped stock called the RPK.

The Russian military liked the AK's design so much that it was even used to design other types of weapons as well, including the Dragunov sniper rifle and the Saiga-12 semi-automatic shotgun.

The AK-47 uses gas-operated reloading. When the bullet is moved down the barrel, a little bit of the gas behind the bullet is made to go up a small tube that pushes away the bolt. The shooter does not have to reload by hand for every shot - the gun reloads by itself. When you pull the trigger, the bullet in the chamber fires. You then release and then pull the trigger again to fire another round. When used this way, it is called a semi-automatic firearm. A few AK-47's are made to be used only this way but most are fully automatic firearms.

Spread in third world countries

In the pro-communist states, the AK-47 became a symbol of the Third World revolution.

They were used in the Cambodian Civil War and the Cambodian–Vietnamese War. During the 1980s, the Soviet Union became the principal arms dealer to countries embargoed by Western nations. This included Middle Eastern nations such as Iran, Libya, and Syria, which welcomed Soviet Union backing against Israel. After the end of the Soviet Union (1989/90), AK-47s were sold openly and on the black market to any group with cash, including drug cartels and dictatorial states. More recently they have been seen in the hands of Islamic groups such as Al-Qaeda, ISIL, and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Iraq, and FARC, Ejército de Liberación Nacional guerrillas in Colombia.

The proliferation of this weapon is shown by more than just numbers. The AK-47 is included in the flag of Mozambique, an acknowledgment that the country gained its independence in large part through the effective use of their AK-47s. It is also found in the coats of arms of East Timor and the revolution era Burkina Faso, as well as in the flags of Hezbollah, FARC-EP, the New People's Army in the Phillipines, TKP/TIKKO and other "Revolutionary Peoples" groups.

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