AK-47 Turns 60

By NewsDude ,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 7, 2007 7:39 AM CDT
A woman smiles as she holds a Kalashnikov (AKM 47) submachine...   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – In 1941, while hospitalized for wounds received fighting the Nazis, Russian soldier Mikhail Kalashnikov designed a rifle that combined the best of the American M1 and the German StG44.  The "Avtomat Kalashnikov," first produced in 1947, became known as the AK-47.   It is prized by warriors of many stripes for its reliability in all combat conditions.

While widely associated with the Red Army and Soviet sponsored third world insurgencies, AK-47s taken from Viet Cong were frequently used by Americans in Vietnam.  The gun's inventor, now 87, is still promoting the the weapon as an export .  "The Kalashnikov rifle is a symbol of the creative genius of our people," said, Russian President Vladimir Putin.