"Lt. Gen. Mikhail T. Kalashnikov, the arms designer credited by the Soviet Union with creating the AK-47, the first in a series of rifles and machine guns that would indelibly associate his name with modern war and become the most abundant firearms ever made, died on Monday in Izhevsk, the capital of the Russian republic of Udmurtia, where he lived. He was 94."
—- C.J. Chivers, war correspondent for The New York Times
Fresh Air’s Terry Gross spoke with C.J. Chivers in 2010 just after he wrote his book, The Gun. The book traces the migration of the AK-47 across the world, detailing the consequences of its spread.
One of the first true assault rifles, the AK-47, or Kalashnikov, was designed for soldiers who have to endure terrible conditions on the battlefield: It’s light, it can carry a lot of ammunition, and it can withstand harsh weather and poor handling. In the past few decades, the AK-47 has become one of the weapons of choice among small-arms dealers — and one of the most commonly smuggled weapons in the world.
Photo via Natalia Kolesnikova / Reuters