Mikhail Kalashnikov’s invention may have changed history more than practically any other discovery. He invented the weapon that carries his name, the AK-47, a lightweight, durable machine gun/semi-automatic rifle. To read about him you’d think he was the most evil man on Earth:
Mikhail Kalashnikov, the Russian designer of the AK-47 assault rifle which has killed more people than any other firearm in the world, died on Monday aged 94, officials said.
In reality, Kalashnikov wanted to create a rifle that his countrymen could use to defend their nation from German invasion – a noble goal. Since the weapon’s invention it has spread across the globe to be used on every continent. U.S. soldiers have faced AK-47s in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and every since conflict in between. Even the weapon choices of the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. said about their respective peoples: The AR-15 (U.S. rifle) was over engineered, precise, and complicated whereas the AK-47 could be disassembled in less than a minute and only contained a few parts and rarely jammed.
Having fired both the AR and the AK I preferred the later.
Kalashnikov’s weapon was so easy to build and operate that it ended up in the hands of dictators, criminals, and mercenaries.
But that wasn’t the fault of the weapon – it is simply an inanimate object that can be used however its owner sees fit.
The press I read, however, seemed to try and imbue the AK-47 with some Satanic power.
But Mikhail summed it up best himself in 2007:
I sleep well. It’s the politicians who are to blame for failing to come to an agreement and resorting to violence.
Guns don’t kill people… people kill people and the AK-47 has allowed too many people to count the abilities to defend themselves, their friends, and their property.
Rest in Peace, Mr. Kalashnikov.