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December 23, 2013
Last updated on 12/24/13.
Well, it was a pretty good run, especially for a Russian. Gun designer/developer Mikhail Kalashnikov, beloved by both the Russian people and American firearm afficianados, managed to make it to the ripe old age of 94, until nature finally took its ultimate course today, and claimed him for the ages. Kalashnikov was a tank commander during World War II (WWII) before a war wound sent him to the hospital, and side-tracked him into a new direction designing guns, most importantly the ubiquitous Kalashnikov AK-47/AKM (Avtomat Kalashnikov-1947/Avtomat Kalashnikov Modernizirovanniy) assault rifle, essentially a much-simplified and less expensive derivative of the German StG44 (Sturmgewehr 44).
"I sleep well. It’s the politicians who are to blame for failing to come to an agreement and resorting to violence," Kalashnikov said Friday at a celebretory event for the AK-47." "Blame the Nazi Germans for making me become a gun designer,” he continued. "I always wanted to construct agriculture machinery."
DefenseReview (DR) never got to meet the old guy, but we certainly wanted to. Even though his creation and its offshoots were a huge thorn in the side of the U.S. military machine and American foreign policy, ya' gotta' hand it to him. He created one hell of an infantry small arm that became the most ubiquitous assault rifle in the world. The AK-47/AKM is so beloved and respected around the world that some third-world countries have put it on their flag.
Anyway, he'll be missed by a lot of gun people, but he lived a nice long life, and one that was respected by a lot of people.
Happy trails, Mikhail.
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