The Salfordian features the Kalashnikov rifle in this video. We are shown the gun’s origins, how it’s made and tested, who uses it, and much more.
When US commandos fought in Vietnam, the hot and humid conditions often prompted them to improvise with captured Kalashnikovs rather than their own army-issued M-16 rifle because Kalashnikovs were much more durable in dusty and subtropical climates.
Kalashnikov assault rifles are mainly assembled by hand. Some 20 variants of the AK have been produced since 1947. People across the globe instantly recognize the Kalashnikov; it is the most widespread firearm in the world today. The rifle is not only functional, but is also a handsome model. Mikhail Kalashnikov liked to say that it cries out to be touched.
Most of the workers at the Izhmash Manufacturing Plant, where the Kalashnikov is made, are women because it is thought that they handle mechanical operations requiring constant attention better than men. Thus, they know the rifle inside and out even though the rifle is made primarily for men.
The first batch of Kalashnikovs made in 1947 was kept secret, so much so that officers concealed the weapons in cases and collected used cartridges. When the 5.45mm variant appeared in 1974, the situation was quite different. The Kalashnikov brand had gained fame far beyond Soviet borders after the Vietnam War. Special Forces were some of the first to appreciate the benefits of the said version.
The footage is from 2014, when Mikhail Kalashnikov was 93. In recent years, Kalashnikov had become increasingly unhappy about his rifle’s reputation. Each year, an average of a quarter of a million people are killed by bullets fired from one of his weapons. He didn’t want to design a weapon that was going to be used in wide-scale war. He only wanted to help protect his country’s borders. The inventor of the iconic AK-47 rifle died at the age of 94, but had outlived most of his friends and rivals, including the creator of the US Army’s M-16.