Speaking of Rifles..

Via the BBC:  AK47 assault rifle inventor Kalashnikov dies at 94

The automatic rifle he designed became one of the world’s most familiar and widely used weapons.

Its comparative simplicity made it cheap to manufacture, as well as reliable and easy to maintain.

Although honoured by the state, Kalashnikov made little money from his gun. He once said he would have been better off designing a lawn mower.

Consider:  somewhere in the multiverse getting out the Kalashnikov means yard work.

FILED UNDER: Guns and Gun Control, Obituaries, World Politics,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. al-Ameda says:

    The NRA will probably send a delegation to Izhevsk for the funeral. Do you think that the NRA will ask that flags be lowered to half-staff at federal buildings, post offices and state houses?

  2. John Peabody says:

    So, there’s a universe where we sent “planeloads of John Deeres” to the terrorists?

  3. Ron Beasley says:

    I remember after the M16 was introduced during the Vietnam war it proved to be so unreliable that US soldiers tried to obtain AK47s.

  4. Mr. Prosser says:

    @Ron Beasley: Going along with that, I don’t know if this is a myth or not but I was told over there that the NVA and VC would take all our ammo because the AK could use ours but we could not use theirs.

  5. Rafer Janders says:

    When you absolutely, positively, have to kill every last motherfu**er in the room….

  6. Rafer Janders says:

    I don’t always spray a roomful of enemies with an assault rifle, but when I do, I prefer an AK-47….

  7. Gustopher says:

    And in that multiverse, someone is using a lawn mower to kill a whole bunch of people.

  8. al-Ameda says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    I don’t always spray a roomful of enemies with an assault rifle, but when I do, I prefer an AK-47….

    Stay Kevlar-clad my friend.

  9. Ron Beasley says:

    @Ron Beasley: I suspect it is a myth since they are different calibers. The M16 is 5,56mm while the AK is 7.62mm.

  10. JKB says:

    @al-Ameda: Stay Kevlar-clad my friend.

    Kevlar is not that useful against rifle rounds, especially the 7.62mm.

  11. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    It’s indisputable that the man was a genius. I wouldn’t put him up there with John Moses Browning, though. Kalashnikov developed one world-changing gun. Browning was the creator of at least a dozen guns as influential. And Browning’s creations covered pistols, rifles, shotguns, and machine guns. Hell, some of Browning’s designs are still being made today.

  12. john personna says:

    So, in other news this week, a 17 year old photographer, Molhem Barakat, died covering the war in Syria.

    He was a very good photographer, and the weapons of Mr. 94 year old Kalashnikov were much in evidence.

    I would say that life is not entirely fair.

  13. Jenos Idanian #13 says:
  14. 11B40 says:


    My own experiences and current conclusions run along these AK lines.

    Very decent weapon, but somewhat weak at longer (300 yards+ [I don’t do meters or even worse metres] ranges) and with more of a recoil kick. Perfectly adequate in the jungle, probably less so in Iraq or the AF.

    Infantrymen can get a bit goofy from time to time so I wouldn’t bet even someone else’s ranch on his (not her) choice of the AK as the weapon to hump. Besides the obvious ammo supply problem, those cute green tracer rounds can both confuse and annoy your recent fellow infantrymen. In a somewhat similar vein, one of my young riflemen expressed an interest in humping a 12 gauge pump. My response was that he could as long as he humped his M-16 and its basic load too. When he asked why that, I replied because when that shotgun gets you killed, I’m going to want your ammo.

    Certainly there were earlier adapter problems with the M-16, but by the time my glory daze arrived they were mostly squared away. I never experienced any serious difficulties but I usually cleaned my weapon more than once a day or as circumstances allowed.

    My gripes about the M-16 versus the AK were two. The AK’s selector switch went from “safe” to “automatic”. The M-16’s went from “safe” to “semi-automatic” (like those rifles progressive seem to think are “assault weapons”). Some guys who actually used the “safe” position found this worrying but no change was effected. The other gripe was the magazine’s size. The AKs came with a robust 30-round capacity while the Army’s supply system was wedded to a 20-rounder for some reason beyond my own ken. One of my riflemen’s father worked in Southern California’s aircraft industry and he sent us a dozen “contraband” 30s, so we at least started off even-steven.

  15. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    @john personna: Take a look the flag of Hezbollah.

    Very interesting, thanks for the link.

    With a few modifications that could be the NRA flag.

  16. bill says:

    @al-Ameda: i dunno, it was also the preferred weapon of terrorists/freedom fighters worldwide….gray area there.
    in any event, guns don’t kill people….you know the rest.

  17. Matt says:

    @11B40: Yes that’s true. When hunting with my saiga (ak 103) I don’t take any shots outside of about 150 yards. It’s basically MOA of man at 200 yards and the round is losing a lot of power at that point. Now 100ish yards is just fine and I can get a nice almost moa at that point. The biggest issue here is the wind which makes anything beyond 200 yards an almost crap shoot (hard bursts +25mph with some quick direction changes).