AK 47 Kalashnikov Vodka Souvenir Bottle

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AK 47 Kalashnikov Vodka Souvenir Bottle

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History of the Kalashnikov Machine GunAK-47 Kalashnikov Machine Gun

The AK47 has the well-deserved reputation as one of the most reliable battle rifles ever produced.  There are currently over 30 million of these rifles in service around the world, making it the most widely distributed battle rifle.  This firearm was designed by Russian inventor and soldier Mikhail Timofeevich Kalashnikov, who was born in 1919 and is still alive.  The number of various Kalashnikov models, clones and copies could fill a book.  No matter what the variations on the basic models are, the firearm's function remains the same.  The AK47 evolved into what is called the AKM by virtue of improved production & design and was further enhanced to become the current production model, the AK74 in 5.45 x 39mm.

Many different countries use the AK or a newer variant such as the Galil, R4 as well as different Finnish models.  These can all be identified by appropriate markings on the receiver.


The Original AK-47 Specifications


Avtomat Kalashnikov




Soviet Union


1947 - present


7.62 x 39mm Soviet

Magazine Capacity

20, 30 or 100 rounds

Length (gun)


Length (barrel)


Weight (gun)

9.5 Lbs


6 groove right hand

Cyclic Rate

700 rpm

Modernization of the Kalashnikov Machine Gun

In 1947 the base model for all AK's entered service.  This submachine gun was manufactured up to 1959.  In several countries it is still being manufactured, albeit modernized to some extent nowadays.AK-47 and accessories

In 1959 there was a modernization of the submachine gun, aimed to increase its technical and operating characteristics.  At the same time there were light machine guns developed with a fixed and folding butt on the platform of the submachine gun "RPK-47".

In 1961 several of the heavy design Kalashnikov machine guns was adopted in the Russian Army:

  • PKS - a heavy machine gun;
  • PKB - an armoured carrier machine gun; and
  • PKT - a tank machine gun.

At the end of the 1960’s - beginning of the 1970’s work on the creation of a submachine gun for cartridges of reduced calibre began.  It was aimed to increase the battle efficiency and operational characteristics of the weapon.  After a number of experiments the cartridge 5.45mm x 39mm with a steel bullet slug was chosen.

In 1974 an array of submachine guns and light machine guns for such type of cartridge were developed and adopted in armament.

In 1990 the Army was equipped with the modernized Kalashnikov submachine gun AK-74M, having a folding plastic butt, with the accessory placed in it and a plate for mounting optical and night sights.

In 1991 the same modernization was carried out with a light machine gun.  And so, the modernized Kalashnikov light machine gun RPK-74M (5.45 mm) was adopted in armament.  It replaced four modifications of light machine guns.

Nowadays Kalashnikov submachine guns, the series 100, are developed with the purpose of expansion of their nomenclature for various types of cartridges and for export.

  • AK101 - the 5.56 mm Kalashnikov submachine gun for cartridge 5.56mm x 45mm NATO;
  • AK102 - the same, but with a short barrel;
  • AK103 - the 7.62 mm Kalashnikov submachine gun for cartridge 7.62mm x 39mm;
  • AK104 - the same, but with a short barrel; and
  • AK105 - 5.45 mm Kalashnikov submachine gun with a short barrel for cartridge 5.45mm x 39mm.Saiga Hunting Rifle

In 1993 within the framework of conversion of a defensive industry, "IZHMASH" Open Joint Stock Company (“Izhevsk Machine-Building Plant”) developed the self-loading hunting carbine "Saiga" on the platform of the Kalashnikov submachine guns.  The Saigai and other products from Izhmash are still sold world wide and and Major-General Mikhail Kalashnikov still consults to the company.


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