Mikhail Kalashnikov, the Soviet inventor of the most popular assault rifle in the world, died this morning at the age of 94.
A former tank commander for the Soviet Union’s Red Army, Kalashnikov began designing rifles after an injury in World War II sent him to the hospital and soon earned the nation’s highest honors for designing mass-produced, highly efficient guns.
His most famous assault rifle design was the AK-47, one of the most famous assault rifles in the history of ever (and is so iconic that it is actually on the flag of Mozambique). According to the Kalashnikov family, over 100 million AK-47s have ever been produced, many of them illegal copies of the original, and have been used in practically every major conflict in the past sixty-five years.
And why is the AK-47 so popular? Let Nic Cage explain:
Though he invented one of the most efficient weapons of the modern era (and who knows how many people the AK-47 has killed), Kalashnikov told Fox News in 2007 that he hardly lost sleep over his creation:
“I sleep well. It’s the politicians who are to blame for failing to come to an agreement and resorting to violence,” Kalashnikov said Friday at a ceremony marking the birth of the rifle, whose initials stand for “Avtomat Kalashnikov”…
“Blame the Nazi Germans for making me become a gun designer,” said Kalashnikov, frail but sharp at age 87. “I always wanted to construct agriculture machinery.”
[Photo via icollector.com]
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