Russians Gun for AK Profits
Others reap rewards of the Russian achievement
By Max Brallier,  Newser User
Posted Jul 15, 2007 7:24 AM CDT
Mikhail Kalashnikov, 87, poses with his AK-47 Nr.1, a prototype of the famous AK-47 rifle, during a ceremony to mark the 60th anniversary of the worldwide assault rifle's creation in the Russia's Armed...   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 7 more images

(Newser) – The Kalashnikov, the world's most popular firearm, has been a source of mixed emotions in Russia since it was invented 60 years ago, the New York Times reports. Putin calls the killing machine a "symbol of the talent and creative genius of our people." But almost none of the AK-47's worldwide sales benefit Russia.

Buyers, including the US, mostly purchase the knock-offs and imitations that fill the market; the American military has supplied them to virtually every police officer and soldier in Afghanistan and Iraq without buying one from Russia. The gun's inventor, Mikhail Kalashnikov, now 87, complained: "I take them into my hands and, my goodness, the marks are foreign."