AK-47 Automatic Rifle

Physical Description
Chinese-made AK-47 assault rifle, marked with "66" in a triangle.
General History
The AK-47 was designed by Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov. Kalashnikov was drafted into the Soviet Army in 1938; while serving as a tank driver-mechanic, he became interested in the operation of firearms. After being seriously wounded in 1941, he was given six months of leave, and spent that time designing a submachine gun with his machinist friend Zhenya Kravchenko. In 1946 Kalashnikov sent the Main Artillery Commission in Moscow his drawings for a new gas-operated rifle based on the M43 cartridge. The committee gave him the go ahead to create a prototype. From 1946 to 1948 work progressed on the Kalashnikov rifle. In 1949 one of his rifles, the Avtomat Kalashnikova Obrazets 1947, was accepted by the Soviet Army and quickly dubbed the AK-47.
Object Name
rifle, automatic
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
metal (overall material)
overall: 10 1/2 in x 34 1/4 in x 3 in; 26.67 cm x 86.995 cm x 7.62 cm
place made
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Vietnam War
Postwar United States
See more items in
Armed Forces History: Armed Forces History, Military
The Price of Freedom Americans at War
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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