On July 6, 1947, the first copies of the Soviet AK-47 assault rifle were produced. AK stands for Kalashnikov assault rifle, literally Kalashnikov automatic rifle, while 47 stands for year of manufacture. The rifle was still used in limited quantities for some time, and in 1949 it was accepted for general use.
Mikhail Kalashnikov designed a rifle named after him. The design idea was based on the German StG 44 assault rifle, a revolutionary weapon that was not produced in sufficient quantity to change the course of World War II. The goal was to create a weapon that is lighter and has a higher rate of fire than an ordinary rifle, but greater striking power than a pistol or light submachine gun (Schmeisser).
Thanks to its simple construction, reliability and low production cost, the AK-47 has become the most manufactured of all rifles – more than 75 million have been produced to date. For comparison, 35 million copies of the M91 Mosin-Nagant, a standard Russian World War II rifle, were produced, while the Germans produced only 20 million copies of their famous Mauser rifle (variants G98, M98 and K98). Only 8 million modern American M16 assault rifles and its variants have been produced.