Introduction to the AK47 Assault Rifle
The AK47 or AK-47 has been one of the most popular and widely used assault rifles in modern history. It has been used in countless wars and due to its low production cost has been made available in nations worldwide and subsequently produced under different variants by many nations. The AK47 is a gas-operated 7.62x39mm assault rifle, developed by the Solviet Union and originated from the Kalashnikov rifle. Some estimates say that there are around 100 million AK47s worldwide!
History of the AK47
The rifle originated shortly after WW2, developed from the Soviet 7.62x39mm M43, the semi-automatic SKS carbine and the RPD light machine gun. Early variants of the rifle included the AK-1, AK-2 and AK-46 amongst others. The Soviets believed the AK47 to be far superior to the previously available rifles and shortly after developed the AKM variant in 1959. This lighter steel version was the most sought after variant at the time. Subsequently, several iterations have been released over the years, including the RPK light machine gun.
Caption : AK47 firing in warfare. Credit : Mirror
1948: First AK47 stock produced. Type 1 A/B.
1951-1954: Type 2 A/B in production. The distinctive metal boot connecting the receiver and butt stock ran parallel to the rifle barrel.
1953: The Type 3 A/B final production version of the AK47 was produced, the most widely common version of the AK47 rifle.
1959: The Type 4 A/B AKM series rifle went into production, the most produced of the AK series rifles.
1974: The AK47 is officially replaced by the Soviet AK74 or AK-74 rifle.
It is important to note that although in the west, all of the 4 variants above are referred to as AK47 rifles as they originated from Kalashnikov rifles, in fact only the first 3 variants are technically part of the AK47 family. In Soviet areas, the rifles were simply refered to as Kalashnikov rifles or AK rifles.
What is special about the AK47?
The AK series rifles were notoriously strong at penetrating through heavy foliage, walls or metal vehicle bodies and subsequently the opponents using them as cover. In addition, the AK47 is renowned for its unbeatable reliability and resilience to abuse in testing environments. The guns fire from a 7.62x39mm cartridge and most popularly fired the M67 bullet in more recent times which had a greater wounding potential in the human body than the original M43 projectile due to the increased ability of the bullet to yaw once entering human flesh. The ability to fire in semi automatic or fully automatic rates meant that the AK47 was a flexible and deadly weapon of many wars. Studies have shown that a trained AK47 rifle operative can hit a human sized target successfully at around 300m and that the best shooters can hit a target at 800m!
Alternatives to the AK47
If you’re unsure about the AK47, you could consider the AKM variant as discussed above, or even the later developed AK74 for a more modern variant. If you are interested in a western competitor to the AK47, you could consider buying a M16 (M16A1 or M16A2) which were developed for the United States Military in 1967 and 1982 respectively.
Caption: M16 rifle. Credit: Gun Digest
Why should I buy a deactivated AK47?
The AK series of rifles are undoubtedly the most iconic assault rifles in modern history and would represent a key component to any gun collection. If you are looking for a piece of militaria which has been used in countless wars and over several decades then this is the gun for you.
Where can I legally buy a deactivated AK47 in the UK?
Deactivated weapons in the UK are subject to laws which have changed through the years. The official deactivation standard was originated in 1988 and has been revised many times to reflect changes in gun technology and due to EU Regulations. Most recently, an EU deviation standard in 2018 meant that guns cannot be sold in the EU unless deactivated to the most recent EU specifications (2018/337).
Deactivated AK47 rifles can only be purchased in the UK by adults over 18 years of age and through a registered gun dealer.
How much do deactivated AK47 rifles sell for?
The average cost of a deactivated AK47 can vary between £300-£700 when sold through reputable dealers and to the latest deactivation standards in the UK. The price depends on the quality and the rarity of the gun model on sale.