|The AK firearms are the most produced and distributed series of small arms in history. The series started with the AK-47, which was developed just after World War 2 to provide an intermediate-range infantry weapon which was resilient and fast-firing. Part of Mikhail Kalashnikov’s inspiration was the German MP44 and its use of the new 7.92mm Kurz cartridge. Although Simonov produced a weapon to the new specification which
||went into production before the AK-47, it was the latter that met with incredible success. The AK-47 was a simple gas-operated design using a rotating bolt. It had a chromium-plated barrel and generally high-quality machining and finishing. It took until 1959 to perfect the design and production processes, but once this had been achieved, the Soviets were left with a truly seminal firearm. It could operate under the harshest of conditions
without malfunction, was easily maintained and could compete with any western firearm. It was also capable of extremely swift production and the AK-47 spread around the globe.
“Twentieth-Century Small Arms”, by Chris McNab