The Kalashnikov          

The Kalashnikov assault rifle is in all respects the most widespread small arm on the globe. The weapon was designed directly after the Cold War and designated after his designer Dr. Mikhail Kalashnikov. Because of the two ideological main streams apposed to each other in a game of power play during the Cold War both sides of the Iron Curtain have distributed small arms around the glode intensively. Anyone willing to represent one of these two ideologies could expect to be military supported. 

The result? Military small arms everywhere around the globe still a lag effect of the Cold War. At first sight it is rather miraculous that the brand name of an assault rifle is so well known. On the other hand this in itself may not be a real surprise as the AK shows up in so many documentaries, news programs, news papers, websites, movies and even software games. So from that point of view almost anyone learns at least something about a Kalashnikov rifle. The Kalashnikov Assault rifle is often abbreviated by AK which stands for 'Avtomat Kalashnikov'. There are so many AK variants, derivatives and lookalikes that it created a need for a practical recognition guide hence the Kalashnikov Encyclopaedia

Too often every weapon with a curved magazine is designated as an 'AK47'. The AK47 however refers to three production models after that the AK47 was succeeded by the AKM. Nowadays the AKM assault rifle is frequently wrongly designated as the AK47. The difference between the AK47 and the AKM is significant. The main difference between the AK47 and the AKM is the receiver. This is one of the most important steps over the course of the Kalashnikov evolution. The receiver is the gun part to which all parts of the weapon are fixed or stored. The receiver of the AK47 is machined which makes the receiver very sturdy but on the other hand it is a rather expensive production technique. In order to improve productivity the receiver had to be replaced by one that was much easier to produce. The AKM was designed for reason. The 'M' in the abbreviation AKM stands for 'Modernizirovanniy'. The part 'AK' of the abbreviation remained unchanged it still stands for 'Avtomat Kalashnikov'. Of course the AKM had other advantages compared with the AK47. It weights less and is has a reshaped buttstock in order to have a better control over the weapon. Kalashnikov is exclusively related with this development of the assault rifle but this is just a piece of his entire work. Next to the assault rifle Mikhail Kalashnikov designed the RPK a light machine gun. This weapon was designed having the concept of a weapon family in mind. The use and maintenance of the RPK is similar to that of the AKM. During the 1970s the AK74 was introduced this was the successor of the AKM. The AK74 is arranged for the 5.45 x 39mm cartridge. The RPK74 is the light machine gun version of the AK74. The complete chronology can be read back in the Kalashnikov Encyclopaedia.

"In the Kalashnikov Encyclopaedia you will find a brief description about Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov's career. Almost every single weapon comes with at least one often more photographs and a description with cross references"


AK47 (Third production model introduced around 1954)


AKM (Modernized AK47, adopted by the Russian army around 1959)


AK103 (Latest generation AKM assault rilfe currently offered by Izhmash)


AK101 (Russian assault rifle 5.56 x 45mm NATO cartridge) 


RPK (Introduced in the Russian army around 1959)


AK74 (Third production model, introduced around 1982) 


AKS74 (Third production model, introduced around 1982)