To say that the AK-pattern rifle was revolutionary when it was first introduced in the late 1940s would be a gross understatement. Following the path of design first blazed by the World War II-era German StG 44, the new AK47 designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov represented the future of assault rifle design. But what made it so significant?
As compared to the long, hard-kicking, full-powered rifles of World War II, the AK was small, handy and offered minimal recoil. It chambered the 7.62x39mm, an intermediate cartridge that offered a balance between the rate of fire of a submachine gun and the power and range of a traditional rifle. The AK was also cheap and easy to produce, being first developed with a stamped-steel receiver later
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