Kalashnikov’s First

Not some memoir about first love and the loss of virginity…….Nope it is not a sequel to Pasternak’s Russian classic, Dr. Zhivago…..

Nowadays everybody has heard of the famous AK-47…invented by Soviet tank commander while he was rehabbing in a hospital…..his name was Mikhail Kalashnikov…but as famous as the AK-47 is today it was not his first attempt at making a compact sub-machine gun for the Soviet forces.

And there is where I pick this historic post up….

In 1942, the future world-famous arms designer and then tank sergeant Mikhail Kalashnikov was wounded and hospitalized, after which he was unable to return to frontline action against Nazi Germany.

Lying in his hospital bed, Kalashnikov began working on first weapon, which he believed the Soviet army needed — a new compact submachine gun for tank crews.

The young engineer took his sketches and blueprints to an arms factory in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, where he was able to develop the first prototype of a small-sized weapon with folding buttstock, similar to the German MP38-40 submachine gun.

Kalashnikov’s weapon borrowed the small-capacity 25-round magazine from the most widely used pistol at that time, the Degtyarev light machine gun, and was given a front handle to improve its ergonomics.

“Kalashnikov was convinced that tank crews needed such a submachine gun because they were completely at the mercy of enemy automatic rifles once their armored monster had been destroyed. Armed with a new compact weapon, tank crews would feel more confident engaging the German invaders at distances of 50 meters,” says Vadim Kozyulin, professor at the Russian Academy of Military Sciences.


I first encountered the AK in Vietnam…..and quickly learned what an excellent weapon it was for the conditions in Vietnam…..wet, muddy, sandy and nothing stopped the weapon from firing….all in all I gave it a 99 out of a 100 in usability in combat…..plus I liked the punch the 7.62 round delivered.

The AK-74 is quickly becoming another favorite…..but that is for another post at a later date.

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9 thoughts on “Kalashnikov’s First

  1. That 7.62 was a real ‘man-stopper’. I know the smaller rounds tumble inside the body, but I would think a combat soldier might have a lot more confidence firing a 7.62. Just a thought.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. The old M-14 shot a 7.62 and we could get a limited number in Vietnam…so the AK47 became the go to gun for Bush Bunnies. chuq

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