History of the AK-47 – The Iconic Firearm’s Evolution

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History of the AK-47 – The Iconic Firearm’s Evolution

Published on March 25, 2022
By admin

The AK-47 or better known as the Avtomat Kalashnikov is a long-stroke gas piston-operated rifle/pistol chambered in 7.62x39mm. The gun was originally designed and developed by the Soviet Union and designed by the successful arms designer Mikhail Kalashnikov. The AK-47 successfully became the Soviet Unions’ service rifle and even beat out firearm designing legend Sergei Simonov’s SKS rifle for this achievement. The AK47 was finished being designed in 1947 just two years after the SKS began its service life for the Soviets the AK began its development that year.

The AK47 is distinct by having a milled receiver from solid steel. It took advantage of steel stamping for the magazine and for the dust cover. At the time this method was very cost-effective for the Soviet Union and soon for their Warsaw pact allies. Mikhail Kalashnikov was a tank mechanic during the Second World War. During this time period the Germans were rolling out the world’s first-ever assault rifle the Sturmgewehr 1944 (STG44) This rifle took advantage of stamped steel parts and a smaller intermediate rifle cartridge 7.92x33mm Kurz which gave soldiers rifle power but more carrying capacity. 7.62×39 is very similar to the 7.92×33 cartridge. There are three types of milled AK receivers developed between 1947 and 1955 type 3 was the most recent and “final” version for milled AK47s. The AK47 is different than the AKM. The AKM is functionally the same as an AK47 however it fully takes advantage of sheet metal stampings. This was, even more, cost-effective than using a milled receiver. The AKM has loser tolerances but the same reliability and function. The receiver is made of folded 1mm thick steel supported by pins and rivets. The AKM went into production in 1959 and is the most common rifle and military pistol found around the world today due to the amount produced by the Russians and their Warsaw pact allies. One of the most successful Warsaw Pact nations to utilize the AKM was the Romanians.

The Romanians called their AKM the Pistol Mitraliera Model 1963 or simply put the PM MD.63 which was developed around 1963. The Romanian AKM became very distinguishable due to the finish they used on the wood as well as adding the famous wooden “dong” foregrip. The Romanian AKs were built at the famous arms factory Cugir also known as Romarm. The PM MD.65 was later introduced as a compact AKS-type weapon. Arguably the greatest Romanian AK contributions were the PM MD.80 and MD.90 which were short-barreled AK pistols. They came equipped with the 90-degree gas block which increased reliability especially out of shorter barrel AKs. This style of the gas block would later go on to be used in many modern AK variants so the innovation was very revolutionary. The PSL-54M or Romak III would be another great example of a unique AKM variant. The rifle features budged front trunnions because it is shooting the larger and more powerful 7.62x54R cartridge. This rifle was also developed by Romania. Many people are attracted to the PSL because it looks like an SVD Dragunov, but that is not the case. After the Romanians refused to partake in the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia the Soviet Union decided not to share any more military technology with the Romanians. The Romanians would not receive blueprints and licensing for the SVD and so they had to make their own DMR by upscaling and AKM. The receiver is stamped and the rifle utilizes a long stroke gas piston system.  

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