The AK-47 assault rifle has its origins in the former Soviet Union. The
designer, Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov, came up with the design after many
attempts at producing several infantry weapons. The AK-47 first appeared in
Soviet service in 1947. Production would continue in the Soviet Union until
1960. While production ceased in the Soviet Union, it would continue in other
former Warsaw Pact arsenals. The only nation still producing AK-47 assault
rifles for export sales is Bulgaria.
According to Jane's Infantry Weapons, a rough estimate of how many AK-47 rifles
that are in use puts the numbers in excess of 50 million. The Somalis used
AK-47s against the Rangers in Mogadishu.
Operation: gas, selective fire
Locking: rotating bolt
Feed: 30-round detachable box magazine
Weight: 4.3 kg
Length: butt folded, 699mm; butt extended, 869mm
Rifling: 4 grooves, rh, 1 turn in 235 mm
Sights: fore, post adjustable; rear, U-notch tangent, adjustable to 800 m with
battle sight for 200 m
Sight radius: 376 mm
Muzzle velocity: 710 m/s
Rate of fire: cyclic, 600 rds/min
Source: Jane's Infantry Weapons, 24th edition 1998-99.