AK-47 Review

The name AK47 is synonymous with reliable functioning, simplistic design, and the Soviet Union.  It is the most common assault rifle the world has ever known and is responsible for the most combat casualties.  The rifle or variants are still in use today by over 25 countries.  The current World Bank estimates suggest that there are over 500 million AK 47s or variants available today. 

Much like everything else in life, necessity is the mother of all invention.  After the Second World War, where the Soviets faced the German Sturmgewehr 44, the Soviets realized the need to move to a new assault style rifle.  The weapon system had to operate under extremely harsh conditions and be able to be used by a undertrained civilian military.  This led to Kalashnikov creating one of the most simplistic but effective firearm designs of all time; so effective that the AK-47 adorns the flag of Mosambique.

AK47 History

Mikhail Kalashnikov began development of a new assault rifle for the Red Army in 1944.  The AK went into military trials in 1946.  In 1947 the firearm was given the designation Avtomat Kalashnikova – 1947 or simply AK 47.  The production of the AK-47 was labored at first.  The original stamped sheet metal receivers were having issues with warping while being welded.  The change to a milled steel receiver was made to alleviate the issue with the stamped sheet metal until the welding issues could be resolved.  The milled steel AK47’s were more time consuming to produce and this prevented the rifle from making it out into the general Army in any abundance. 

In 1957 the AKM-47 was introduced.  The M version (modern) switched back to the stamped steel metal for the receiver and added chrome lining in the barrel and chamber for increase wear and corrosion resistance.  A rate reducer was added to reduce the chance of firing while the bolt was not completely seated and to reduce the rate of fire to make it more controllable under full-auto fire.  The AKM 47 is the basis for the majority of the civilian variants. 


The original AK was also known as the AK-47. The AK47 is gas-operated, selective-fire weapon; it fires the Soviet 7.62 x 39mm round and used a standard 30-round curved box magazine. The AK came in two versions: one with a fixed wooden stock and another, the AKS, with a folding metal stock. Except for the differences in the stock and the lack of a tool kit with the AKS, the two versions are identical. 

The AK 47 took the best functions of the firearms of the day and combined them into one of the most complete assault rifles of all time.  The John Garand M1 influences include the trigger, double locking lugs, and unlocking raceway.  The gas piston operation was taken directly from the German Sturmgewehr 44.  Kalashnikov denied the influences of other weapons as the basis of the AK-47, but the lineage is hard to ignore.  This takes nothing away from the genius of the AK47.  The simplistic operation has made it the people’s firearm and the average training time to learn the weapons system is 1-3 hours. 

AK47 Upgrades

  • Polymer butt stock
  • AR style collapsible stock
  • Side Folding stock
  • Under Folding stock
  • Optics Mounts
  • Receiver see thru Optics Rail
  • Side mount Optics Rail
  • Gas Tube replacement rail
  • Fore grip Upgrades –
  • with Picatinny rail
  • Grip
  • Flashlight
  • Bipod
  • Laser
  • Polymer Grips
  • Wood w/built in Hand Grip
  • Bayonet
  • Flash Hiders
  • 75 round Drum Magazine

Civilian AK Country of Origin Variants

  • Russia
  • Yugoslavia
  • Chinese
  • Romania - WASR-10
  • Poland
  • Finland
  • Egypt
  • German
  • Bulgaria
  • Hungary

Comparable Firearm Reviews

  • SKS
  • AR-15
  • AR-10
  • AK-74
  • FN FAL
  • Steyr AUG
  • FS2000
  • Bushmaster ACR


  • Chambered in 7.62x39mm round.
  • The standard for reliability.
  • Cheap to manufacture, purchase and maintain.
  • Parts are not always interchangeable with other AK-47s.
  • Different variants available to cover every combat situation.
  • 7.62x39mm ammunition is typically 50% cheaper than 5.56/.223.
  • Magazines are cheap and many different capacities are available.


  • Accuracy is not near as good as its modern counterparts.
  • Rapid fire can cause the wooden handguns to ignite on fire.
  • Short sight radius, ballistics of the round, and the operation effect accuracy.
  • Muzzle velocity is extremely low for an assault rifle.
  • Sharper felt recoil than the M16/AR-15.