Not precise. Not very accurate. Not exactly selling points for any firearm. However, the AK-47 is one of the most prolific and iconic firearms in the world.
Out of the estimated 500 million firearms worldwide, 100 million of those are said to be AK-47 rifles. I’m sure the mechanically minded Soviet soldier Mikhail Kalashnikov had no idea the legacy he was developing in 1947 when he and his team borrowed heavily from the designs of the STG44, M1 Garand and John Browning, to make a lightweight fully automatic battle-ready rifle chambered in the newly developed 7.62x39mm round. In fact, according to what I have read, General Kalashnikov was always humble about his design. After all, he was merely a solider serving in a socialist country just doing his job.
The AK-47 is a simple rifle with only eight moving parts using a long-stroke gas operating system, the same used in the M1 Garand and IWI Tavor. This long-stroke gas operated system is by far a more reliable action in adverse conditions than other, more modern operating systems. The AK-47 is famous for working even when put through the worst of the worst conditions. There are reports of many U.S. soldiers ditching their M16s in Vietnam in favor of AKs they picked up from downed Vietcong soldiers. The AK functions flawlessly in heat and humidity and will fire even after being stuck in the mud. No one has said the AK isn’t reliable.
Over 50 of the world’s armies are issued AK-47s, with hundreds of fringe groups, militias and unorganized rebels also taking up arms with the rifle. Some have even turned the AK-47 into a symbol of freedom—in 1983, Mozambique adopted a new flag featuring the silhouette of an AK-47. Aiding in the AK’s worldwide success is how cheap it is to produce and how easy it is to operate. General Kalashnikov said it himself; the AK-47 is “simple, reliable and easy to use.” The rifle can be disassembled in less than a minute by even the most unskilled and untrained operator.
Everything about the AK-47 is meant for the battlefield. Its effective range isn’t considered long-range by any stretch, but at close range, the rifle proves lethal. The AK comes with iron sights and though the rear sight is adjustable for range, it is elementary at best when compared to sights on modern battle rifles.
AK owners today demand more from their AKs than the Red Army soldiers ever did. Though not as easy or with as many options, many owners of the AK47 are outfitting, updating and accessorizing their rifles, much like we do with our AR-15s. Modern sights, improved trigger, innovative and lightweight stocks—things to make the AK more accurate, more comfortable and even more fun to shoot.
This Christmas, gift the AK-lover in your life or yourself the top AK accessories and ammo from Cheaper Than Dirt! For suggestions, read the following articles:
- 10 Stock, Grip and Handguard Upgrades for Your AK
- Modernizing and Accessorizing the AK-47
- AK Optics Options
- AK-47 Magazine Clamps: Finding a Setup That Works
- Installing the TAPCO G2 Double Hook AK-47 Trigger
- All AKs, All the Time
- Converting Your Post-Ban AK-47 to be 922(r) Exempt
But the best gift is all is ammo! For the AK owner and shooter, stock sets and expensive optics are nice, however, nothing beats a few boxes of ammo. What’s the joy in having such a gun as the AK-47 if you don’t shoot it? For the AK lovers in your life or if you just want to stick a bow on it and gift it to yourself, 1,000 rounds of 7.62x39mm ammo will light them up.
Are you an AK owner? What will your AK be getting this year? Tell us which accessories are on your wish list in the comment section.