Everyone heard about this weapon, even only slightly interested in weaponry. It appeared on the flags of few countries. It is a hero of songs and movies. It is more than weapon it is an icon. Kalashnikov is one of the most famous rifles on the world. And has a great history behind it, in which facts are melting with myths, and questions are more than answers.
Let’s start with facts. Fact one. In 1919, a child is born in poor, peasant family. It is Mikhail Kalashnikov. In time of his service in army he is merely a driver of the tank and as a such he is participating in Second World War, known in USSR as a Great Motherland War. He is already known as a passionate of weapon and inventor – autodidact.
Second fact. In 1946, in military competition on the project of new Soviet weapon, project created by Mikhail Kalashnikov’s team wins. Weapon enters the mass production and is called by the name of its inventor. What’s between the facts? Soviet version tells about the great autodidact, who has created a simple and reliable rifle. All thanks to the fact, that he was consulting it with simple soldiers, instead of trying to base his work on theory. He was asking what bothers them, what’s good in their weaponry and what’s bad. USSR needed such history and Kalashnikov became a hero.
In time it was stated that if it wasn’t for a corrections provided by engineer working in his team – Zajcew, the rifle would not exist. Then, another version emerged. Facts were correlated. Shortly before Kalashnikov would create his ingenious project, USSR captured and relocated german constructor Hugo Schmeisser to the place where Kalashnikov was. Surely he wasn’t there accidentally. Was the Schmeisser knowledge that crated the great rifle, that AK-47 is? Honestly, it is hard to tell now.
However, we can talk about the future of the famous weapon. Kalshnikov became one of the most popular and recognized rifles in the world. In two thousand and thirteen it was an equipment of armies from one hundred and six different countries. It is also widely used by criminal oriented organizations and terrorist groups. According to statistics, each year a quarter million people die killed by this gun, while there are one hundred million AK-47 produced in the world. We don’t lack opinions that Kalashnikov’s rifle was a reason of death to more people, than ever other types of weapon collected together, especially considering the fact that there was no military conflict, since rifle was introduced, in which it was not used.
What happened to Mikhail Kalashnikov himself? Until the end of his days, he was stubbornly stating that AK is in fact his invention. Additionally he was working on many new weapons. Amongst his creation we can find PK/PKS 7.62 milimeter Rifle. That means, that Kalashnikov was in fact a good engineer and inventor, without having a higher education, no matter if he in fact created AK-47. He died in two thousand and three, being ninety four years old. When his statue was revealed in Moscow there was a bigger scandal as he was holding a MP-40, a rifle created by no one else, but… Schmeisser. The failure was quickly corrected and Mikhail Kalashnikov is holding a proper weapon now. However, the message that was sent this way might have been quite clear.