Everything You Want To Know About The AK-47

When Mikhail Kalashnikov invented the AK-47, he had no idea of the impact it would have on the world. Between 1947 and now, the AK design has seen many evolutions, and it is estimated that over 100 million AK platform rifles are in circulation around the world today.

So, in today’s post, we will talk about this legendary firearm in detail, and tell you everything you need to know about the AK-47

History of the AK-47

The history of the AK-47 starts with Mikhail Kalashnikov, an Agricultural Engineer who served as a Tank Mechanic, and later a Tank Commander in the Soviet Red Army. Throughout his service during the war, he studied several German Firearms and American Firearms, which helped him develop a unique understanding of firearm design.

After the war ended, he set on a mission to develop a reliable, capable, and Modern rifle for the Soviet Military, and after several designs and prototypes, he developed the Legendary AK-47, which was adopted by the Soviet Military after trials and tests showed exceptional reliability and performance.

Over the years, Kalashnikov continued to develop variants of the AK-47 Design, including the AKM, AK-74, and the PKM Light Machine Gun.

Why is it called AK-47?

The AK stands for “Avtomat Kalashnikova” which means Automatic Kalashnikov in Russian, and the 47 indicates the year of its design, as it was designed in 1957 by Mikhail Kalashnikov.

Why is the AK-47 so Famous?

The immense popularity of the AK-47 can be attributed to its extremely reliable and simple design. These rifles were very easy to use, maintain and manufacture while being cost-effective as well, especially compared to some of the designs developed in the West.

The Cold War between Soviet Russia and the US also plays a major role in the widespread adoption of the AK-47. Throughout the cold war, Soviet Russia sold the AK-47 to various counties, and shared its production design as well, in an effort to arm like-minded nations.

How does the AK-47 work?

The AK-47 is a select-fire, long-stroke piston, gas-operated rifle, with a rotating bolt design. Now, what does that mean? Well, let’s break it down.

Firstly, the AK-47 is a gas-operated rifle. This means that the rifle cycles under the effect of the Gases that are created when a round is fired from it. As a round is fired, a part of the high-pressure gases from the barrel are tapped into the gas chamber, which is located above the barrel. These gasses then act on the long-stroke piston, which is attached to the bolt carrier, and push it back.

Secondly, the AK-47 uses a rotating bolt lockup. An AK-47 fires an intermediate cartridge, which requires lockup to be fired safely. Therefore the bolt, which has a tri-lug design,  rotates to lock into the chamber.

Lastly, the AK-47 is a select-fire rifle, which means that it can be fired in both Automatic and Semi-Automatic modes. Automatic means that the rifle continues firing until the trigger is pressed, or the rifle runs out of ammunition, whereas, Semi Automatic means that one trigger pull fires one round.

Is AK-47 the most powerful gun?

The AK-47 fires the 7.63x39mm cartridge. This is a fairly powerful cartridge, with a heavy bullet and a lot of stopping power, however, it isn’t anywhere near the most powerful gun in the world. Artillery and anti-material guns are obviously more powerful, but even rifles designed for personnel can fire much bigger calibers.

However, the AK-47 is one of the deadliest rifles in the entire world, and it has been used in almost every conflict since the 50s.

How far can AK-47 shoot?

The AK-47 is an Assault rifle designed for Short to Medium Range engagements. Though it can fire a bullet to around 600 meters, the effective range, where an average shooter can hit a target, and do damage is around 300 meters. The AK-74 and other Variants chambered in 5.45×39 have a longer effective range of around 400 meters.

How many rounds can an AK-47 shoot?

The normal magazine capacity for an AK-47 is 30 rounds, however, depending on the type of magazine used, and the variant, an AK can fire a lot more. You can use 40-round extended magazines, or 75-round drums as well.

AK-47 Variants

Over the years, several variants of the AK-47 platform have been made. The platform has been chambered in various calibers, and modernized with various upgrades throughout the years. Here are some of the most popular Variants of the AK-47

AK-47 type 1 – (1948-1949) First design with stamped sheet metal receiver. They are now very rare.

AK-47 type 2 – Milled receiver, with chrome lined barrel and chamber.

AK-47 type 3 – Lightened milled receiver.

AKM – Modernized Variant, with a lighter stamped sheet metal receiver. It also featured a slant-cut muzzle brake for better performance with automatic fire. This is the most common variant of the AK-47 today.

AKS and AKMS – An AK-47 or AKM with an underfolding stock.

RPK and PKM – Light Machine Gun versions of the AK -47 and AKM. had longer barrels, and receivers made from thick sheet metal, in the case of the PKM.

AK-74 – (1974) modernized Variant, chambered in 5.45x39mm cartridge. Still standard issue in the Russian Military.

AK – 100 series – includes several modernized Variants, chambered in both 7.62×39 and 5.45×39.

Apart from these popular variants, several foreign countries made variants of the AK-47, like the Chinese Type 56, and the Yugoslavian M72 among many others. There are also several variants with different stocks and other smaller modifications on the market.


Overall, the AK-47 has had a massive impact on firearm development and the entire world as a whole. It is an extremely reliable and practical firearm platform, which has stood the test of time and is still one of the best and most effective small arms in the world. We hope you found this article interesting and learned more about the AK-47.

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