How the AK-47 Changed the World

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Gun, Machine Gun, AK-47 AK-47 assault rifle (Wikipedia Commons/Wikipedia Commons)

The AK-47 has long been synonymous with armed combat at both large and small scale, and for good reason. The gun has remained the most widely-deployed assault rifle in the world for decades. Compact, efficient and reliable in the field, the gun releases fifteen rounds from its barrel in a single second – allowing users to annihilate their enemies with the single touch of a trigger. 

Of course, this also means that millions have died at the hands of those who operate AK-47s. The United Nations estimates that four million people died by small arms in the 1990s alone, ninety percent of them civilians.

How did the AK-47 become the go-to assault rifle? Who first developed it? And how has the world changed since it was first used?

C.J. Chivers explores these questions in his new book, “The Gun: The AK-47 and the Evolution of War.” Chivers is a New York Times senior writer, former Marine Corps officer and Moscow bureau chief.



C.J. Chivers

Produced by:

Kristen Meinzer

Comments [2]

AnnaK from Brooklyn

Mr. Kalashnikov was a great patriot of his country, and he built this weapon to fight the evil - facshists, who wanted to enslave his people. It is not his fault that this weapon is in the hands of children-soldiers now, and not he nor his rifle are responsible for any war in the world. Sofar nothing is better - this weapon doesn't jammed in sand or mud, that's why American soldiers prefer it to other
types of weapon.

Oct. 13 2010 01:59 PM
Anne from Sydney

In 2007, I read a feature article in the Sydney Morning Herald's Good Weekend magazine about AK47. The writer Michael Hodges talks to Mikhail Kalashnikov (the creator who designed it) about this ubiquitous icon.

I can't find a link to the article, but there is a link here about the book that Michael Hodges had written about the AK47.

It's a fascinating read!

Oct. 13 2010 08:12 AM

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