On November 10th, 1919, Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov (Михаи́л Тимофе́евич Кала́шников) was born in Kurya, Altai Governorate, Russian SFSR (now Altai Krai, Russia). He grew up from humble beginnings to be known as the father of a very famous rifle, the Avtomat Kalashnikova model 1947, or AK-47 as we know it in the West.
While he died on December 23rd, 2013, at the age of 94, he is still revered as one of the leading small arms designers in history. In memory if him, Russia is celebrating his 100th birthday today. Being a student and fan of his designs, I would like to also say, Happy birthday Mr. Klashnikov.
You definitely need to visit the memorial website that the Kalashnikov Concern is hosting – it is in Russian and your browser can translate some of it but not the videos. Click here to visit the site– knock on the door and click on various items in the study to learn more.
Want to learn more about Mikhail Kalashnkov? Then I would suggest the following:
- Wikipedia has a nice summary biography.
- Famous Inventors has a brief summary
- The Kalashnikov Museum has a brief biography
There are a lot of books on the rifle that also discuss Mikhail as you need to understand the designer (really the most publicized of the designers involved) to understand the evolution of the rifle. There is one book that I really like gets into more detail about the man and he even authored the introduction. That books is “Kalashnikov: The Arms and the Man” by Edward Clinton Ezell.
If you want to learn more about the rifle, the best reference source is “AK-47: The Grim Reaper” by Frank Iannamico, now in its second edition.
There are a few brief videos on YouTube that touch on Mikhail’s life and let you hear different perspectives and see a number of different photos and videos of him at various events:
Without a doubt, Kalashnikov was a superb designer and it does seem very fitting to take a moment and remember him on his birthday. As always, best wishes to all and hope you find this interesting.
Please note that all photos used are the copyright of their respective owners or public domain. The stamp and rifle photos are from Wikimedia and the website screenshot is from Kalashnikov Media’s website.
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