GUN Field and Stream Mikhail Kalashnikov article

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  1. TL1000RSquid

    TL1000RSquid ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

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    Article from field and stream
    http://www.fieldandstream.com/fieldstream/shooting/article/0,13199,1159774-1,00.html

    first page
    The Father of100 Million Rifles
    Mikhail Kalashnikov was a poor russian farm boy who happened to be a mechanical genius, and for better or for worse, the rifle he designed has changed history. PLUS: A web exclusive. Kalashnikov shares a hunting story
    by C.J. Chivers


    The designer of the most successful rifle ever made sat at a table in a quiet corner of the Kremlin. He was nearly 86 years old, but he retained the upright posture of the general he is. His pale blue gaze was firm and clear.

    Virtually everyone in the world has seen the firearm that bears his name, the AK-47. AK stands for "the automatic by Kalashnikov," the one-time Red Army sergeant who created its prototype at the opening of the Cold War. The number signifies 1947, the year the Soviet army accepted the prototype for mass production. With its short barrel, stock stained a brownish orange, and distinctive banana clip, the AK-47 and its derivatives long ago transcended their medium. They are not merely the world's most widely recognized firearms. They are among the world's most widely recognized things.

    Now nearly 60 years and perhaps 100 million rifles later, Mikhail Kalashnikov is both a general in semiretirement and Moscow's unofficial firearms ambassador to the world. He agreed to share with FIELD & STREAM his observations as a designer and as a lifelong student of firearms, and to discuss his experiences as a hunter and shooter.

    On this day a limited-edition series of decorative daggers had been released for public sale, each bearing Kalashnikov's signature and the unmistakable silhouette of the rifles he designed. The daggers, each of which would be offered for prices running into the thousands of dollars, seemed to have been created as much to boost profits for the Russian firm that makes them as to salute the general. And so when a craftsman presented him with the first dagger in the series, Gen. Kalashnikov seemed to recognize the incongruity of it all. He abruptly reached into the decorative box, withdrew the diamond-studded weapon, and thrust and swung it a few times through the air. It was a reminder of just what a dagger does.

    The gesture was playful, but its message was implicit: Tools are supposed to be used. Things are only as good as they work.

    Of the many things that the name Kalashnikov has come to symbolize, for better or for worse, one is undeniable: functionality. Kalashnikov's series of rifles, now ubiquitous, achieved global circulation in part because of two reasons central to their design. They are simple to use. And they almost never fail. In an industry often enamored with the new, his rifles remain riffs on simplicity. They have undergone only modest modifications in more than five decades.

    Things are only as good as they work. This is Kalashnikov, man and gun. "Some people think a simple weapon means that it is a slapdash job," he says. "They are wrong. To make something simple is a thousand times more difficult than to make something complex."

    I have met with the general several times in the last two years, visiting him at his dacha and in Izhevsk, a formerly secret city tucked deep in the forests of the Ural range where Kalashnikov rifles are made, and now here at the Kremlin. He is a small and spry man, with an often beguiling mix of Russian hospitality and military formality.

    He is also a mass of paradoxes. He mixes nostalgia for the Soviet Union with an appreciation that his once-closed world has been opened. He is gentle and unfailingly polite but also impassioned and eager to refute his critics. He seems to wear the world lightly, but after spending years helping to arm the Soviet army and having seen his firearms end up in the hands of terrorists, he admits to pondering questions of the soul.

    His mind is largely decided. He designed firearms, he said, to defend the rodina--the motherland. When he set out to fulfill that task, parts of his homeland were under Nazi occupation. He does not rue his choices. "I am a gunsmith," he wrote in his 1997 memoir. "That explains everything."

    NEXT: A Gun Born of Necessity
    Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 | Page 5 | Page 6 | Page 7
     
  2. Thunderbear

    Thunderbear Yggdrasil's Forester.

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    Wow.

    Cool.
     
  3. jonny427

    jonny427 Scooby Doo OT Supporter

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    Great Read
     
  4. krott5333

    krott5333 Guest

    in for later
     
  5. krott5333

    krott5333 Guest

    but it'll make me depressed that I sold my SAR-1 :wtc:
     
  6. 7

    7 First comes smiles, then lies. Last is gunfire.

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    I'm still waiting for my copy in the mail :mad:
     
  7. Y2kAccord

    Y2kAccord Everything happens for reasons I just dont know

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