The AK-47, officially known as the Avtomat Kalashnikova (Автомат Калашникова; also known as the Kalashnikov or just AK), is a gas-operated assault rifle that is chambered for the 7.62×39mm cartridge. Developed in the Soviet Union by Russian small-arms designer Mikhail Kalashnikov, it is the originating firearm of the Kalashnikov (or "AK") family of rifles. After more than seven decades since its creation, the AK-47 model and its variants remain one of the most popular and widely used firearms in the world.
Design work on the AK-47 began in 1945. It was presented for official military trials in 1947, and, in 1948, the fixed-stock version was introduced into active service for selected units of the Soviet Army. In early 1949, the AK was officially accepted by the Soviet Armed Forces and used by the majority of the member states of the Warsaw Pact.
The model and its variants owe their global popularity to their reliability under harsh conditions, low production cost (compared to conte