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AK-47 rifle was agriculture’s giant loss?

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  • What might have been for agriculture? Looking at the life of Mikhail Kalashnikov, father of the AK-47, the question looms large.

What might have been for agriculture? It’s never possible to walk back to the fork in the road, but looking at the life of Mikhail Kalashnikov, father of the AK-47, the temptation to rearrange pieces of history is overwhelming.

Kalashnikov, creator of the AK-47 rifle — often labeled as the gun that’s killed more people than any other in history — died aged 94 in December 2013 in his native Russia. He leaves behind approximately 100 million AK-47s spread out across every war zone and hellhole on Earth. Find conflict and be sure — AK-47s are in use. Mozambique has an AK-47 on its national flag; even the terrorist group Hezbollah features an AK-47 on its banner.

At age 18, Kalashnikov was drafted into the Red Army, trained as a tank driver and was wounded in 1941 by a German shell at the Battle of Bryansk. From The Independent: “A soldier in the bed beside me asked: ‘Why do our soldiers have only one rifle for two or three of our men when the Germans have automatics?’ So I designed one. I was a soldier and I created a machine gun for a soldier.”

 

See related: Nazis and Russians tangled in seed bank history

 

He did just that, finishing his brilliantly simple design in 1947. The Automatic Kalashnikov-47, with its light weight, durability, minimal parts and ease of operation, was a military masterpiece with no equal. With a somewhat short barrel it lacked long range efficiency, but could wreak havoc at short range or in tight conflicts — capable of semi-automatic or automatic fire. From Bloomberg: “Probably the most important feature of Kalashnikov’s design was the loose fit of the gun’s moving parts. As he described it, ‘all the elements are spaced out, as if they are hanging in air.’ Later, when he demonstrated the weapon, he would sometimes pour sand into the firing mechanism and the AK-47 still would not jam.”

 

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Kalashnikov was born to make something; possessing a mind for design and invention. But if not the AK-47, then what? A day after his death, Bloomberg ran a short piece titled Kalashnikov Should Have Made Farm Tools and the words beg the “What might have been?” question.

Discuss this Blog Entry 2

on Jan 8, 2014

Kalashnikov invented the AK-47 for protection not unlike the weapons used by every country in the world. Would we look at the AK -47 differently if it was invented in America? A similar question is if depending on the country you live in and the information you receive by media and how you perceive the media. This is going to make you determine if those bombs dropping out of the sky or many allies or terrorists. Yes I am pro American but I questions what are country does sometimes.

Willyda (not verified)
on Mar 12, 2014

poorly written but you are as accurate as an m16. the money we spend on foreign aid is a drop in the bucket that is spent on military research alone. Geopolitics are getting worse not better. I just heard that 200 civilians starved to death last month in Syria. By their own government. We could stop it if Syria did not have so many chemical weapons at their disposal. I am rambling so I will stop there.

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