Tag Archives: AK-47

Ian McCollum Interviews Max Popenker Who Shares His Deep Knowledge On The History Surrounding the Design of the AK-47

I’m definitely a fan of the AK-47 rifle and am always looking for more insights about the history and design. Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons recently hosted Max Popenker, who is a Russian small arms researcher and publisher of Modern Firearms – one of the original firearm research websites. Between the two of them, there is a ton of knowledge.

The AK-47 design was the result of collaboration and competition amongst designers and didn’t happen magically overnight.

Now the video portion is ok but what is really cool is listening to Max unravel the history that led up to the AK-47 rifle’s design – the desire by the Soviets to develop a system of small arms, the influence of German small arms, and other Russian designs.

Here’s the Video


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My Favorite AK / Kalashnikov T-Shirts – May 2019

As my wife will tell you, I like T-shirts and, of course, I like AK rifles so the two go together! There are so many cool designs out there these days, I thought you might like to see them. Plus, since they are on Amazon, you know you will have their excellent customer service backing you up.


I hope you have some fun looking at the photos at least plus it is time to get ready for summer and having fun outdoors!


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


My Cool New Kalashnikov Coffee Cup

Guys, I must confess that I have a coffee addiction 🙂 As most of you know, I am into AK rifles as well. As part of that interest, I have read every biography I could find of Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov to try and better understand what led to the creation of the AK-47 and the eventual family of Kalashnikov designs.

Recently I was searching on Amazon and surprisingly found a coffee cup with a great photo of a young Kalashnikov that was tastefully done and, of courcase, had to order it. I had to wait a few weeks as it shipped from Germany.

When it arrived, I was surprised that the graphic was a different color than what the Amazon ad depicted. I thought about returning it but I do like the cup. The following shows you the cup that arrived – it is pretty cool and the color has grown on me.

My wife’s reaction was “Why did you buy another coffee cup?” To which I answered “But honey, this is Kalashnikov” at which she just turned around while shaking her head 🙂

In case you are looking for a conversation piece, check out this cup.

If you don’t see an Amazon listing, go to Amazon and search for: B07CMXMNNX


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon. With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated. Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


Larry Vickers Interview in Russia – Is the AK Outdated?

During his visit to Russia in 2018, Larry Vickers was interviewed by
Vladimir Onokoy, a technical consultant with the Kalashnikov Concern, about Larry’s views on the traditional AK platform.

The two discussed a number of topics and I’ll just hit some personal highlights that I found interesting:

  • Larry mentioned that people get hung up on the design of the safety and the short sight radius but the positives of the design far outweigh the negatives. This is especially true because the safety works just fine once you get used to it and the addition of a good red dot is a game changer. I agree with both points.
  • Vladimir asked Larry his caliber preference. Larry said if he had to only pick one, it would be 7.62×39. That’s definitely my go-to caliber for the rifle.
  • Larry made a really interesting point – the tapers of the 7.62×39 and 5.45×39 aid in reliable feeding in the AK platform. The 5.56×45 is at a disadvantage because it does not have the same degree of taper. That caught my attention – I never really stopped and thought about the impacts of case taper on reliability given how to AK operates. Interesting point.

So, is the AK obsolete? In my opinion, it is an extensible platform but watch this interesting video and here Larry’s thoughts first hand.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


General Mikhail Kalashnikov AK-47 Assault Rifle Designer JSA SIGNED AUTOGRAPHED

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Larry Vickers Shows a Federov, SKS and Pre-Production AK-47

In 2015, Larry Vickers had a great chance to visit the Central Armed Forces Museum in northern Moscow.  While there, he had a chance to visit the museum’s archives and see an original Federov rifle, an early SKS and a preproduction AK-47 that was produced in 1946.  He assembled this part of his visit along with a comparison of a German StG 44 and a Type I AK into a video.

The Federov

The Federov Avtomat was arguably the first assault rifle.  It was designed in 1913 and produced at the Kovrov Arms Factory from 1913-1925.  Roughly 3,200 of these forward thinking rifles were built.  Personally, I think the rifle was very novel for its time including the use of the 6.5x50mm SR (Semi-Rimmed) Arisaka cartridge (What we call 6.5 Japanese today).

An overview of the Federov from the video.
Larry steps shows the Federov to viewers and has a lot of great close ups of this rare rifle.

The SKS

The Samozaryadny Karabin sistemy Simonov (SKS) was designed in 1944 and went into production in 1945.  Thus, it became known as the “SKS-45” in the USSR and was widely exported.  In total, the Soviets produced about 2.7 million SKS carbines first at the Tula Arsenal (1949-1958) and also Izhevsk Arsenal (153 and 1954).  The rifle was chambered for the 7.62×39 round that would later on be used the the AK-47.

Larry provides an overview of the SKS carbine
Here, he is holding an early SKS model and gives a quick overview of it.

A Preproduction AK-47

Larry had a chance to review an actual pre-production AK from about 1946 that was used in the Army’s trials of the weapon prior to official adoption in 1947.  This is what I especially wanted to see.  You see, many people assume the AK-47 was one single assault rifle when, really, it evolved over time.  They had the Type I, II, the III/AKM and so forth.

At any rate, Mikhail Kalashnikov and his design team worked on the AK-47 design from 1946-1948.  From 1949 to present, it estimated at least 75 million AK-47s were built.  Like the SKS, it uses the 7.62×39 cartridge.

Larry shows the Army Trial rifle and the viewer gets to see a number of angles of the rifle.

German StG-44 vs. Type I AK-47

Larry then goes on to argue that the StG-44 greatly influenced Kalashnikov and his design team.  Folks, this is a hotly debated topic.  As a point of Russian pride, they minimize any thoughts of influence.  At this point, it’s really hard to say.  If it were me, I’d look at a previous design and get ideas from it to save time, money and reduce the risk of mistakes.

Larry has a German StG-44 on the left and a Type I AK on the right.

The Video

So with no further to do, here’s Larry’s video:


Please note that all images above are extracted from the video and are the copyright of Vickers Tactical.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


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Prototype AK-47 Underfolder Circa 1948

Kalashnikov Concern released an interesting short video of this prototype 7.62x39mm AK-47 that they say dates to around 1948.  There are some interesting design features to point out:

  • A sheet metal receiver with no reinforcing center rivet/spacer visible.
  • The muzzle brake is integral with the barrel
  • The fire control group is permanently mounted
  • The cocking handle is a hollow tube
Source:  Photo from the video

Source:  Photo from the video

Here’s the Video:


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KALASHNIKOV AK-47 USSR Soviet Russian Short Sleeve T-Shirt AK47 Greatest Hits

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*Blueprints Kalashnikov Soviet Russian AKM AK-47 2 Large Posters AK47 LQQK BUY

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The Thinking Behind the Nazi Sturmgewehr (StG) 44 vs. Soviet AK-47 Video From Forgotten Weapons

I’m more knowledgeable about the Soviet AK-47 than I am the German Sturmgewehr 44 (StG 44).  The main reason I even known about the StG 44 is from reading about it in books that cited it as being an inspiration to Mikhail Kalashnikov and his design team.  But was it really – I’ve heard some heated debates about this.

I had some time and watched this brief video where Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons has a Chinese Type 56 sitting next to a StG 44 as he talks.  They were both on loan from the James D. Julia auction company.

Ian gave a very interesting perspective that the AK-47 was essentially designed as a more powerful replacement for the Soviet’s PPS-43 that fired the 7.62×25 Tokarev pistol round.

In constrast, the Germans were wanting a controllable automatic fire weapon that would increase the firepower of soldiers especially during tactical withdrawals.  They had the German 7.92×57 bolt action K98 and the famous MG42 belt fed machine gun also in 7.92×57 but they needed something different hence the StG 44.

Now, I have no doubt Kalashnikov and his design team got ideas from the StG 44.  Any good engineer would take an existing design and learn from it.  The Soviets needed to build up a hero so there is a lot of myth mixed in with history so I am not sure where to draw the line myself.

The video shows you the two rifles and actually shows live firing of the two so you can see how the StG 44 was actually more controllable.  I thought this was really cool because the slow motion really shows the difference.

Here’s the video:

Click here for Ian’s Forgotten Weapons website.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


USSR Russian AKS-74U Shortened AK74 Canvas Rifle Drop Case Kalashnikov Bag NOS

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USSR Soviet AK47 AK74 AK 3 Magazines Ammo Pouch Canvas Bag for Kalashnikov Mags

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*Color Poster Soviet Russian USSR AK47 AKM 7.62x39 Kalashnikov Rifle 17x11 LQQK!

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muzzle nut Stg44 SGT 44 MP44 MP 44 MP43 G43 K98 WWII German Germany

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The Master Sniper (novel) by Stephen Hunter (STG-44 Rifle)

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Awesome Shirts and Hoodies for AK Fans

Folks, I’ve been involved with AKs since about 2006 – not a long time but long enough to watch the AK, or Avtomát Kaláshnikova, rise from a firearms embraced kind of at the fringe by preppers and guys who realized that it was extremely reliable and fun to shoot.

Today, the AK and its many, many variants (AK-47s, AK-74s,  Veprs, Saigas, PSLs, M70ss, PAPs, SLRs, Galils, AMD-65s, etc.) are really in the mainstream.  There are tons of rifles, ammo and accessories available.

What I also think is interesting and very cool is the rise of AK clothing (T-shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies mainly) where you can show off your favorite firearm — or at least one of your favorites 🙂  These used to be limited-run hard to find stuff years ago.  Now, thanks to eBay, there are tons and tons of options in terms of designs, sizes and colors plus you can see how well the vendor is doing in terms of sales volume and ratings.

There are T-Shirts

I had to order one with the 7.62×39 spam can!  Note, some of the images don’t show but when you click on the link you can see the item and some of them are hilarious!

KALASHNIKOV T-shirt AK-47 USSR Soviet Russian Russia T-Shirt Shirt S-5XL

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Sweatshirts and Hoodies

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$24.95
End Date: Saturday Jun-1-2019 10:44:08 PDT
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KALASHNIKOV Sweatshirt AK-47 USSR Russia Army CCCP KGB Gun Hoodie SIZES S-3XL

$25.00
End Date: Thursday May-30-2019 10:13:31 PDT
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AK47 hoodie funny ak-47 sweatshirt Men's size sweat shirt 2nd amendment

$29.95
End Date: Saturday Jun-1-2019 10:44:08 PDT
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Family AK47 M16 SMG USA Shirt | 2nd Amendment American Guns Crewneck Sweatshirt

$18.99
End Date: Monday May-27-2019 11:59:05 PDT
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Kalashnikov AK 47 Sweatshirt - Machine Gun Russian Military Crewneck - Men S-3XL

$35.99
End Date: Wednesday Jun-12-2019 15:47:31 PDT
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American Flag AK-47 - Gun 2nd Amendment USA Hoodie Sweatshirt

$30.95
End Date: Wednesday Jun-5-2019 8:44:09 PDT
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KALASHNIKOV Sweatshirt AK-47 USSR Russia Army CCCP KGB Gun Hoodie SIZES S-3XL

$25.00
End Date: Thursday May-30-2019 10:13:31 PDT
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KALASHNIKOV Sweatshirt AK-47 USSR Russia Army CCCP KGB Gun Hoodie SIZES S-3XL

$25.00
End Date: Thursday May-30-2019 10:13:31 PDT
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KALASHNIKOV Sweatshirt AK-47 USSR Russia Army CCCP KGB Gun Hoodie SIZES S-3XL

$25.00
End Date: Thursday May-30-2019 10:13:31 PDT
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AK-47 LEFT CHEST HOODED SWEATER HOODIE SWEATSHIRT AK47 NEW - BLACK

$39.99
End Date: Thursday Jun-6-2019 12:21:43 PDT
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Family AK47 M16 SMG USA Shirt | 2nd Amendment American Guns Crewneck Sweatshirt

$18.99
End Date: Monday May-27-2019 11:59:05 PDT
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Sweatshirt -Statue of Liberty AR15 AK47 'MERICA

$39.97
End Date: Saturday Jun-8-2019 16:59:05 PDT
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AK-47 Bullet 5.56x45mm - Guns Freedom Hoodie Sweatshirt

$30.95
End Date: Thursday May-30-2019 10:09:40 PDT
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Kalashnikov AK 47 Sweatshirt - Machine Gun Russian Military Crewneck - Men S-3XL

$35.99
End Date: Wednesday Jun-12-2019 15:47:31 PDT
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Kalashnikov AK 47 Sweatshirt - Machine Gun Russian Military Crewneck - Men S-3XL

$35.99
End Date: Wednesday Jun-12-2019 15:47:31 PDT
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AK-47 Rifle Hoodie 2nd Amendment Supporter Defend 2A Gun Rights Sweatshirt

$22.57
End Date: Sunday May-26-2019 14:05:06 PDT
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AK-47 LEFT CHEST HOODED SWEATER HOODIE SWEATSHIRT AK47 NEW - SPORT GREY w/ BLACK

$39.99
End Date: Thursday Jun-6-2019 12:25:12 PDT
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Kalashnikov AK 47 Sweatshirt - Machine Gun Russian Military Crewneck - Men S-3XL

$40.99
End Date: Wednesday Jun-12-2019 15:47:31 PDT
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Family AK47 M16 SMG USA Shirt | 2nd Amendment American Guns Crewneck Sweatshirt

$18.99
End Date: Monday May-27-2019 11:59:05 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $18.99
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Family AK47 M16 SMG USA Shirt | 2nd Amendment American Guns Crewneck Sweatshirt

$18.99
End Date: Monday May-27-2019 11:59:05 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $18.99
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Family AK47 M16 SMG USA Shirt | 2nd Amendment American Guns Crewneck Sweatshirt

$18.99
End Date: Monday May-27-2019 11:59:05 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $18.99
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Family AK47 M16 SMG USA Shirt | 2nd Amendment American Guns Crewneck Sweatshirt

$18.99
End Date: Monday May-27-2019 11:59:05 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $18.99
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Family AK47 M16 SMG USA Shirt | 2nd Amendment American Guns Crewneck Sweatshirt

$18.99
End Date: Monday May-27-2019 11:59:05 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $18.99
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Sweatshirt -Statue of Liberty AR15 AK47 'MERICA

$44.97
End Date: Saturday Jun-8-2019 16:59:05 PDT
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Sweatshirt -Statue of Liberty AR15 AK47 'MERICA

$49.97
End Date: Saturday Jun-8-2019 16:59:05 PDT
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American Flag AK-47 - Gun 2nd Amendment USA Hoodie Sweatshirt

$30.95
End Date: Wednesday Jun-5-2019 8:44:09 PDT
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American Flag AK-47 - Gun 2nd Amendment USA Hoodie Sweatshirt

$30.95
End Date: Wednesday Jun-5-2019 8:44:09 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $30.95
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American Flag AK-47 - Gun 2nd Amendment USA Hoodie Sweatshirt

$30.95
End Date: Wednesday Jun-5-2019 8:44:09 PDT
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Kalashnikov AK 47 Sweatshirt - Machine Gun Russian Military Crewneck - Men S-3XL

$40.99
End Date: Wednesday Jun-12-2019 15:47:31 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $40.99
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Kalashnikov AK 47 Sweatshirt - Machine Gun Russian Military Crewneck - Men S-3XL

$40.99
End Date: Wednesday Jun-12-2019 15:47:31 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $40.99
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Family AK47 M16 SMG USA Shirt | 2nd Amendment American Guns Crewneck Sweatshirt

$21.99
End Date: Monday May-27-2019 11:59:05 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $21.99
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Family AK47 M16 SMG USA Shirt | 2nd Amendment American Guns Crewneck Sweatshirt

$21.99
End Date: Monday May-27-2019 11:59:05 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $21.99
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Family AK47 M16 SMG USA Shirt | 2nd Amendment American Guns Crewneck Sweatshirt

$21.99
End Date: Monday May-27-2019 11:59:05 PDT
Buy It Now for only: $21.99
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Needless to say, I’ve bought a few and hope you find some cool garb to express yourself as well!

P.S.  If you want to limit your risk a bit, buy from vendors with more sales (I like over 30) and positive reviews.  Anyone can get one or two great reviews from friends and family so be cautious.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


 

Learn About The Type 2 Soviet AK-47 – Forgotten Weapons Video

It’s interesting that we hold the AK-47 in near mythic regard when it comes to reliability.  It took almost 12 years from 1947 to the release of the AKM (Avtomát Kaláshnikova modernizírovanny or  “Modernized Kalashnikov Automatic Rifle”) in 1959.  The journey the design team made over the years is quite interesting.

I did a post on the Type 1 previously (click here to open it) and that first iteration had problems with the stamped sheet metal receiver that affected reliability.  In response, Valeriy Kharkov lead a design team who created a milled receiver from a forging to address the reliability problems and it was ready by 1949.

The Soviets had plenty of labor, that wasn’t a problem so in a manually intensive manner, they machined a six pound block of steel that required 120 steps into a finished 1.4 pound receiver.  That means they wasted almost 3.6 pounds of quality steel and used a ton of consumables and machine time.  To be honest, it boggles my mind but they accomplished their mission – the QC problems with the receiver were addressed.

In the following video, Ian McCollum does a great job showing a type 2  and describing the differences between it, the type 1 and the following type 3.   For example, he points out the rear receiver extension that is made from sheet metal that is an instant identifier of a Type 2 fixed stock rifle (sometimes referred to as the “2A”).  Note, they made the type 2 with an underfolder stock also (the “2B”).

Another tell is that the lightening cuts are parallel to the top of the receiver in the type 2 and in the type 3 they are parallel to the bottom.

There are quite a few other changes such as the grip now being a single piece, the selector lever having an additional clearance added above the pins, gas vent holes moved to 10 and 2 o-clock and more.

By the way, one thing Ian does is refer to it as the AK-49 and I have never read anything that supports that nomenclature.  If you Google AK-49, nothing turns up.  I would recommend you refer to it as an AK-47 Type 2.  Other than that, I think it is a great video and you can actually see the many details as Ian points them out:

https://www.youtube.com/watch">

If you want to read a book that does a great job detailing the Type 2 and its history, I would recommend The Grim Reaper by Frank Iannamico.  Poyer’s book has details but not as much history.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something using one of the links to eBay and Amazon.  With Amazon, if you click on one of our links and then buy something else – even unrelated stuff like clothes, electronics and groceries – we get credit and it would be hugely appreciated.  Doing something like the above will help us fund continued development of the blog.


USSR Russian AKS-74U Shortened AK74 Canvas Rifle Drop Case Kalashnikov Bag NOS

$16.96
End Date: Tuesday Jun-4-2019 11:09:31 PDT
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*HUGE Color Poster Soviet Russian USSR AKM AK-47 7.62 Kalashnikov MAN CAVE BUY!!

$17.97
End Date: Thursday Jun-20-2019 0:25:24 PDT
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USSR Soviet AK47 AK74 AK 3 Magazines Ammo Pouch Canvas Bag for Kalashnikov Mags

$23.99
End Date: Friday Jun-14-2019 5:07:01 PDT
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*Color Poster Soviet Russian USSR AK47 AKM 7.62x39 Kalashnikov Rifle 17x11 LQQK!

$12.97
End Date: Sunday Jun-23-2019 3:22:13 PDT
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Nobody Needs An AK47 Whiny Little Funny T Shirt Guns Gun Rights Rifle Hunter Tee

$6.99
End Date: Monday Jun-3-2019 14:11:23 PDT
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KALASHNIKOV T-shirt AK-47 USSR Soviet Russian Russia T-Shirt Shirt S-5XL

$12.99
End Date: Thursday May-30-2019 9:57:42 PDT
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Russian Graphic Cotton Blend Gray T-Shirt AK-47 Kalashnikov Gun Shirt

$12.00
End Date: Sunday Jun-23-2019 16:08:41 PDT
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Nobody Needs An AK47 Whiny Little Funny T Shirt Guns Gun Rights Rifle Hunter Tee

$13.99
End Date: Monday Jun-3-2019 14:11:23 PDT
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AK47 T Shirt Soviet USSR Russian Poker Hand Printed 100% Cotton

$16.99
End Date: Wednesday Jun-19-2019 7:37:25 PDT
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Video: Legendary Kalashnikov: Story of AK-47 Rifle (RT’s Documentary)

I have a number of books both about the Kalashnikov rifles and also biographies of Mikhail Kalashnikov, the chief designer.  I always find documentaries of either the rifle or the man very interesting.  This particular video combines some fascinating footage about current use, manufacturing and testing with historical information and perspectives on Mikhail Kalashnikov vs. Stoner.

The video was released in 2013 and is 25:57 minutes long and is well worth the time.


If you find this post useful, please either buy something from one of the Amazon links, or use one of the links to go to Amazon and buy something completely different — as long as you use one our links to go and buy something from Amazon, it helps us out.  For each item you purchase, we get a small bit of ad revenue from Amazon to fund the blog.  The same is true for eBay as well — we don’t get anything unless you buy something.