July 6 is a historic day in the world of assault rifles history. The iconic AK 47 had its production 71 years ago on this very day by Russian Mikhail Kalashnikov. He was 23 when he began designing the assault rifle that eventually came to be known as the AK-47. And though the invention was revolutionary, it was as much destructive but even then this particular assault rifle earned Mikhail numerous honors including the Hero of Socialist Labor and Order of Lenin and Stalin Prize.
The AK47 bears its owners name, with its extended initials Avtomát Kaláshnikova essentially involving Mr Kalashnikov. And one of the most surprising facts about this invention is that Mikhail did not consider his invention as one spelling doom to mankind, for he believes that his intention behind the weapon was defence.
In the 71st anniversary of the ‘grand launch’ of the grand rifle, we bring to you a volley of facts that will blow up your mind almost as efficiently as the gun blows up its targets!
- Egypt has immortalized the AK-47 by erecting a giant monument, portraying a barrel and bayonet of a Kalashnikov rifle at the Sinai Peninsula.
- AK-47 is so cheap (dirt cheap, actually) that it is costlier to repair than replace it.
- AK-47 is the world’s most illegally sold assault rifle.
- There are over 100 million AK-47s in use in the world today and the figure has earned a Guinness entry.
- The AK-47 is probably the only assault rifle in the world that can be operated easily by children.
- It is certainly the only assault rifle in the world that can function in any environment.
- The image of AK-47 appears on the flag of Mozambique as well as coats of arms of Zimbabwe, Burkina Faso (1984-97) and East Timor. The Kalashnikov rifle is also present on the flag of Lebanese militant organization, Hezbollah.
- The parents in some African states name their babies ‘Kalash,’ which is another nickname for the Kalashnikov assault rifle, according to a documentary by Russia’s Channel One.
- French newspaper, Liberation, has named AK-47 the most important invention of the XX century, with the Russian rifle leaving the atomic bomb and space flight behind.
- Mixing vodka, absinth, lemon, cinnamon and sugar is the recipe for the Kalashnikov shot drink. There’s also a Kalashnikov vodka brand, which has been sold in bottles resembling the shape of an AK-47 since 2004.
- Colombian artist, Cesar Lopez, has transformed a dozen of AK-47s into guitars. Former UN General Secretary, Kofi Annan received one of the musical instruments as a gift in 2007.
- Gold coated Kalashnikov assault rifles were recovered by US troops from the weapon collection of former Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein.
- The AK-47 can be stripped in under a minute and cleaned quickly in almost any climatic condition because of the chrome lining underneath, which however also makes it highly unreliable.