Mikhail Kalashnikov, Father of the Modern Assault Rifle, has passed at age 94. As a young designer in the Soviet Army, Kalashnikov adapted a number of design features from German and American firearm designs to develop the most successful assault rifle in history. The Kalashnikov patterned rifles are in use across the globe. Its success revolves around the simplicity of the design, which made maintenance easy, enhanced reliability and greatly reduced its cost to manufacture.
Mikhail Kalashnikov was born on 10 November 1919 in the village of Kurya. He was one of 18 children, of whom only six survived. Asked about his development, Mikhail said “I designed a machine gun for a soldier.” “It was called an Avtomat Kalashnikova, the automatic weapon of Kalashnikov.” Approximately 100 million AK47 patterned rifles and derivatives have been produced worldwide.
The AK47 was adopted by the Soviet army in 1949 and Senior Sergeant Mikhail Timofeevitch Kalashnikov was awarded the Stalin Prize First Class. It was just one of many awards he was to be given, among them three Orders of Lenin and the Hero of Socialist Labor. A number of firearm manufacturers copied the AK47 more notably the Israeli Galil assault rifle.
One of his regrets has always been the loss of life connected with his invention but it is certain that the young Senior Sergeant revolutionized the modern combat rifle.