AK-47 is a widely accepted weapon of choice developed by Mikhail Kalashnikov in 1947. It is the most devastating weapon that mankind has ever developed after the atom bomb and claims half a million lives a year. The AK is the first choice of fighters on account of its low costs, light weight, high accuracy, acceptance by infantry soldiers and excellent Soviet design compared to its nearest rival, the American M-1. It is the firearm of preference for armies across the continent and has the capability to dominate a nation.
The AK first saw its test action in the Budapest where 50,000 Hungarians were killed compared with about 7,000 Soviet soldiers which saw the use of tanks and proved the superiority of a soldier provided right technology and strategy are supplemented. The U. S made M-1 was chunky, costly and was out of design meeting the demands of soldiers which resulted in its devastating defeat in the Vietnam War. It was never a match in the jungle warfare which needed the action for unexpected face to face quick action.
The AK had a higher magazine capacity and was automated to fire hundreds of rounds a minute. The AK`s international reach expanded after the USSR collapsed and former Soviet bloc countries auctioned off their arms stockpiles. The arms were sold at prices well below the international rates in the markets of Africa which found its way to the local tribal gangs engaged in ethnic conflicts. The dissemination of the weapon happened after the insurgents and terrorists took over the reigns after the Soviet War in Afghanistan.
The same scenario is well documented in Iraq, Sierra Leone and Sudan in the urban conflicts with guerrillas holding their own against better trained troops. Sophisticated, expensive arms are in no match for AK-47wich requires little training. It has helped in continuation of conflicts and the weapon’s spread heslps explains the emergence of `small wars` that have lingered far beyond the months and years. It is the best assault rifle developed in the past century though the judicious use remains a matter of concern.
1. Larry Kahaner, `AK-47: The Weapon That Changed the Face of War,` Wiley Publishers, USA. s