Madonna wielding an AK-47, used by modern-day insurgents, during her concert in 2012 in Israel. She told the crowd: “If there is peace here in the Middle East, there can be peace in the whole world.”Reuters
The AK-47 has become a symbol of
Pierce Brosnan with an AK in the 'Golden Eye’ movie from the James Bond series.Getty Images
Cuban president Fidel Castro wielding an AK as a symbol of revolution during an annual revolution anniversary in 2001.Getty Images
In a couple of years, the country produced its first AK-47 assault rifle, with a unique cartridge that stuck out in the middle, between where a standard rifle and a pistol one was located. The new round design allowed manufacturers to enhance the submachine gun potential of that age and turn them into one of the most powerful forces to reckon with.
Belorussian president Alexander Lukashenko testing an AK at a manufacturing factory in Minsk in 2001.Reuters
So, the new AK-47 allowed shooters to fire in bursts and eliminate enemies at distances of up to 200 meters with powerful 7,62x39 mm rounds, which were able to penetrate brick walls.
Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez with an AK-103 during a military exhibition in Caracas in 2006.Reuters
Nevertheless, this new Soviet gun still had to undergo a number of modifications to become one of the most widespread weapons in the world. Its main issue at an early stage of production was its fire accuracy, or more precisely, the total lack of it.
Actor Steven Seagal checking an AK during a military exhibition in Russia in 2006.Ramil Sitnikov/Sputnik
With the help of captured German engineers from the Schmeisser concern during World War II, Moscow fixed the issue and produced one of the most reliable gun platforms ever created. It could withstand sand, dirt
Basketball superstar Andrei Kirilenko wielding an AK in a photoshoot for his new basketball club.Ilya Pitaev/Sputnik
This reliability, alongside ease of production, became the secret of
Russian president Vladimir Putin testing an AK-74 during a military exhibition in Russia.AP
Nowadays, there are around 100 million officially produced AK rifles around the world. And there are probably even more reverse-engineered copies in third world countries. These backyard-manufactured weapons can often be seen in the hands of so-called ‘freedom fighters’ or ‘partisans’.
Besides that, AKs are simply cheaper than its direct competitors. For example, a basic AK-47 carries a price tag of around $300-500, while an American AR-15 gun will cost no less than $1000.
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