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Kalashnikov says he has regrets

About the firearm that bears his name:

Approaching 90, the inventor of the Kalashnikov assault rifle has one big regret:

The almost unstoppable Kalashnikov, designed in 1947, has become the weapon of choice for militants and rebels from Liberia to Afghanistan as well as gangsters and drug traffickers.

“It is painful for me to see when criminal elements of all kinds fire from my weapon,” Mikhail Kalashnikov said in a videotaped address to a conference of Russian arms traders and designers at a top-secret Soviet-era arms testing facility outside Moscow.

And I heard commies used it too.

I was surprised his list of regrets did not include short sight radius, poorly designed selector switch, awkward magazine well, and lack of a bolt hold open.

Also interesting:

Anatoly Isaikin, the chief of the arms trading monopoly Rosoboronexport, said counterfeit Kalashnikovs “tarnish the brand because these weapons are sold in conflict regions.”

“Of course, their quality can stand no comparison with those Kalashnikovs produced in Russia,” Isaikin said.
Rosoboronexport is negotiating draft agreements with foreign producers of the weapon to protect it and other Russian arms, he said. He said 30 foreign producers currently make Kalashnikovs.

22 Responses to “Kalashnikov says he has regrets

  1. Jeff the Baptist Says:

    Kalashnikov may be a commie, but he always struck me as more of a Russian patriot. He didn’t design the AK as a weapon for drug dealers and third world thugs. He built it after watching millions of Russians die in WWII because their equipment was outdated garbage and their only remaining military asset was numbers.

  2. SayUncle Says:

    I get the same impression. And he’s definitely loyal to his country. But he did design it for commie thugs.

  3. nk Says:

    I think Fermi said something of the same about the atoomie boom. And Alfred Nobel, the inventor of high explosives, thought he can bribe humanity and God with his prizes. I like, “God made men. Colonel Colt made them equal”.

  4. Less Says:

    I was surprised his list of regrets did not include short sight radius, poorly designed selector switch, awkward magazine well, and lack of a bolt hold open.

    Those are features, not bugs…

  5. Wolfwood Says:

    I was surprised his list of regrets did not include short sight radius, poorly designed selector switch, awkward magazine well, and lack of a bolt hold open.

    Eh, it’s a weapon for illiterate conscripts. The things that are awkward are things they wouldn’t have done anyway, and the troops who would do those things will find a way around them.

  6. Tomcatshanger Says:

    He built it for a government that killed millions of his own countrymen.

    You know, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

    Folks might remember Stalin as well, the batshit insane fellow who ordered the murder of so many of his own officers that the Germans had a pretty easy time killing millions of Russians in 1941 and 1942.

    I guess I just hold grudges.

  7. kaveman Says:

    The AK-47 does have a bolt hold open.

    1. Pull the bolt full back and hold.
    2. Let it advance forward about 1/4 inch, until you feel the first hint of resistence.
    3. Pull the trigger and hold triger down.
    4. Let go of the bolt.
    5. Release the trigger.

    Bolt will now stay open. To release bolt, pull full back and release.

  8. Chas Says:

    Saw a former Spetsnaz demonstrate a mag change. He was pretty fast. The trick is to knock the old mag out with the new one, and then stuff the new one in. Can’t do that with the AR. If the AR mag gets stuck, you can only tug on it – you can’t knock it out like with the AK. The awkwardness goes away with practice and/or getting kicked in the head enough.

  9. Mikee Says:

    While I have a bit of admiration for the design of the AK, making it ultra-reliable, cheap to produce, and amenable to use by ignorant conscripts worldwide, the designer’s outstanding service in creating it for his communist totalitarian state is more regrettable, and reprehensible, than anything done since then with weapons of his design.

  10. Mikee Says:

    And as for the kaveman’s description of the AK bolt hold open, it reminds me of the safety on my Mosin Nagant, about which one gun blogger wrote something like:

    “Is GUN. Is not to be safe, is to KILL. Is not to use SAFETY! Is to SHOOT enemies of state!”

  11. Huck Says:

    I understand that John Thompson regretted having designed his SMG when it became widely used by prohibition era gangsters. Bad people are always going to get their hands on good weaps, it aint the fault of the designer/manufactuer/disributer.

  12. JJR Says:

    Another Secret of AK success is that Kalashnikov fell into Stalin’s favor while Simonov (of SKS fame) was falling out…

  13. nk Says:

    I think it was the intermediate cartridge that made the AK. The Simonov was overengineered for it, BTW. And then there were the lessons from the WWII submachine guns — minimum of forging and machining; maximum of stamped parts; sub-assemblies for ease of repair.

  14. nk Says:

    From what I have read, the machined receiver AK was the second generation AK and the stamped receiver AKM the third. The first generation was intended to have a stamped receiver but quality steel for the rivets was lacking post-WWII so the machined receiver was a fallback.

  15. Diomed Says:

    Blaming the designer for how his tool is used strikes me as being little different from blaming the tool itself.

  16. SayUncle Says:

    I’m not ‘blaming’ him. However, the differentiation between commie thugs and gangsters seems odd. regretting one and not the other, that is.

  17. Sigivald Says:

    What’s it need a bolt hold open for, really?

    Similarly, it’s not really made for precise deliberate fire, so the short sight radius doesn’t matter much.

    It was good for what it was made for, and the doctrine of the time and place.

  18. Kim du Toit Says:

    Don’t care about all those shortcomings. When things fall apart — when civilization disappears — I’d rather have an AK in my hands than any other combat rifle ever made.

  19. Brad Says:

    Most of the shortcomings of the AK are only shortcomings if you consider the AK as a rifle. They don’t seem very relevant when considering the AK in it’s true role as an automatic weapon.

  20. Bill Twist Says:

    Kalashnikov is a one trick pony.

    Also, that trick was originally invented by John Moses Browning, as anyone who has handled a Remington Model 8 (most especially a ‘Police Model’) will instantly recognize.

    The AK series is essentially a Model 8 scaled down to the 7.62x39mm cartridge, changed from long recoil operation to gas operation, and from semi-auto only to select fire.

  21. Ron W Says:

    Kalashnikov can feel good that his gun has helped provide “affordable” weapons for the American militia to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic”

  22. Diomed Says:

    I wasn’t saying you were blaming him, Uncle. Sorry for the lack of clarity on my part.

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