After the end of the Second World War, the world became bipolar, divided between two great powers, one capitalist (United States) and the other socialist (Soviet Union – present Russia). This period became known as the Cold War, marked by constant threats both from direct armed confrontation through troops, and indirectly, through long-range nuclear bombs.
It was in this context that the Soviet Union developed the most used and famous assault rifle in the world: the AK-47 (Avtomat Kalashnikov – model of the year 1947).
The AK-47 was not only manufactured on Russian territory. Its production was licensed to other countries that were also part of the communist bloc, such as Poland, Hungary and China. The armament was constantly improved and gave rise to other models:
- AKM (1959): Externally, there were no relevant changes, but the internal mechanism had major changes. It is noteworthy that the material used for its production was much lighter.
- AKMS: This model was developed for airborne troops. It offered the possibility of attaching accessories such as grenade launchers and infrared displays, in addition to having a folding stock.
- AK-74 (1978): It was developed in opposition to the American M-16. The armament changed to the 5.54mm caliber and became safer and lighter.
Although different models appear, AK has characteristics that are its trademark: precision and stability in shooting, manufacturing, maintenance and simple operation system and resistance to extreme climatic adversities. Later, there comes also the AK47 mag speed loader.
The AK-47 has an excellent reputation among specialists, especially in terms of its resistance to water, sand and mud, as well as for its simple maintenance. When compared to its biggest rival, the American-made M4A1 rifle, the AK-47 is considered more reliable and resistant, besides requiring less care with cleaning and maintenance.
When compared to modern rifles, it has many moving parts that can impair the accuracy of the shot, in addition to being noisier, heavier and having a considerably short effective range, well below modern rifles.
Advantages of the AK-47
Some of its innovations are responsible for the success of this rifle:
- More space: As the AK-47 has more space between parts, it tends to jam much less in snow, water or mud conditions. Another advantage is that the dirt does not accumulate, while it is expelled in the firing process.
- Spinning bolt: A common bolt pushes the cartridge to the breech, but as the AK-47 uses a rotating bolt that rotates on its axis, the cartridge is easier to get in and the chances of jamming are less.