Mikhail Kalashnikov
1919-2013

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Mikhail Kalashnikov portrait

News: the Russian designer of the AK-47 assault rifle Mikhail Kalashnikov has died aged 94.

A general in the Russian army and the designer of the widely used weapon that bears his name, Kalashnikov died in hospital yesterday after a long illness.

The AK-47, abbreviated from Avtomat Kalashnikova 1947, is a selective-fire, gas-operated assault rifle and one of the first to have been mass produced.

Kalashnikov and his team developed the gun at the end of the Second World War to function reliably in harsh conditions. Its success was put down to the simple design, compact size and cheap manufacturing cost.

AK-47 assault rifle
AK-47 assault rifle

The firearm was adopted as the standard issue assault rifle of the Soviet Army in 1949 and was later disseminated worldwide, undergoing a series of modifications until the present day.

Kalashnikov continued working as chief designer at the firm that first built the AK-47 in Izhevsk, Russia, into his late 80s.

He received many state honours and was twice lauded with the honorary title Hero of Socialist Labour by the Soviet Union.

The AK-47 was added to the collection at London's Design Museum in December 2011.

  • http://www.libertydisciple.com/ The Liberty Disciple

    This will be remembered as one of the greatest weapon designs of all time.

  • nitsan

    If you ask me, we should not honour anyone who designs weapons, especially not a “successful” one.

    • http://www.libertydisciple.com/ The Liberty Disciple

      As long as political and propaganda leaders are honoured, I think it is only fair to honour the designers of their tools.

  • David Singh Luque

    He designed the weapon, many others pulled the trigger.

    • Seb H

      Put another way: I didn’t shoot the elephant, but I love my ivory collection.

  • Alex

    This man was mainly designing guns for hunting purposes long time before being engaged with the army.

    Mihail Kalashnikov announced that if he knew how many would die from his weapon he would have never invented it.

    Absolute genius. I used this weapon during the obligatory (at that time) army service in Bulgaria for 1 year. Amazing function, assembly/disassemble happens for seconds !

    Sadly yes: it kills, but don’t associate his name with someone who makes war.

  • Seb H

    “Eames brothers”?!

  • Seb H

    Your comment could well be one from the National Rifle Association!