18 Apr 2006

Mikhail Kalashnikov Says His Rifle Is Better

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86-year-old Mikhail Kalashnikov has read some of the reports coming out of Iraq, and he’s delighted. Reuters reports that the old rascal was goating over the superiority of his own assault rifle at a recent news conference in Moscow:

“Even after lying in a swamp you can pick up this rifle [the AK47], aim it and shoot. That’s the best job description there is for a gun. Real soldiers know that and understand it,” the 86-year-old gunmaker told a weekend news conference in Moscow.

“In Vietnam, American soldiers threw away their M-16 rifles and used [Kalashnikov] AK-47s from dead Vietnamese soldiers, with bullets they captured. That was because the climate is different to America, where M-16s may work properly,” he said.

The old fellow is getting perhaps a little too carried away, but there is clearly some basis for a claim to superiority for his rifle in field conditons. A letter from a Marine serving in Iraq, published here last November 10th, observed:

The M-16 rifle : Thumbs down. Chronic jamming problems with the talcum powder like sand over there. The sand is everywhere. Jordan says you feel filthy 2 minutes after coming out of the shower. The M-4 carbine version is more popular because it’s lighter and shorter, but it has jamming problems also. They like the ability to mount the various optical gunsights and weapons lights on the Picatinny rails, but the weapon itself is not great in a desert environment. They all hate the 5.56mm (.223) round. Poor penetration on the cinderblock structure common over there and even torso hits cant be reliably counted on to put the enemy down. Fun fact: Random autopsies on dead insurgents shows a high level of opiate use.

AK47’s. The entire country is an arsenal. Works better in the desert than the M16 and the .308 Russian round kills reliably… Luckily, the enemy mostly shoots like shit. Undisciplined “spray and pray” type fire. However, they are seeing more and more precision weapons, especially sniper rifles. (Iran, again) Fun fact: Captured enemy have apparently marveled at the marksmanship of our guys and how hard they fight. They are apparently told in Jihad school that the Americans rely solely on technology, and can be easily beaten in close quarters combat for their lack of toughness. Let’s just say they know better now.

5 Feedbacks on "Mikhail Kalashnikov Says His Rifle Is Better"

R. A. W.

I wonder if, all those years back when he met with Eugene Stoner, Mr. Kalashnikov had similar boasts to gloat.

No question that the kalashnikov is more reliable. It doesn’t shit its own insides with the gas action. It’s also better suited to close quarters with those bigger, slower rounds.

It does bear mentioning that the russians eventually copied the M-16 though. The AK-74 is chambered in 5.45x39mm, pretty comperable to the m-16’s 5.56×45, and the same idea of using smaller, flatter shooting, lower recoil bullets too.

So I don’t know if mister Kalashnikov can go slamming the concept when his own engineers did the same thing in response to the M-16!


The experience in Iraq seems likely to produce a return to larger (white tail deer-sized) calibers, as opposed to smaller (woodchuck-sized) calibers.


I asked the young SEAL who lives next door, who’s currently in Iraq, which of the many weapons he’s trained on did he prefer, and to my surprise, he replied “The AK-47, because it’s accurate”.

Peter Pioneer

Well, saying the AKM/AK74M are inaccurate weapons is a total lye. they are both very accurate at semi auto if you know how to use the sights. if you dont – you will think they are inaccurate, but you will be wrong. and the AK74M is full auto has 2 times less recoil than an m16 in full auto because of the exotic hollowpoint 5.45mm bullet


well, if you read reports form afganistan and iraq, you would say the m16 plataform is shit (just like mrs kalashnikov) but if you make a further inpection of the topic you will discover that most problem with the plataform can be traced to unproper handling and that both the m16 and the 5.56x45mm round have archieved a good succes with many armed forces aorund the world (not only official military forces but, insurgent forces as well) for example a pretty popular irregular armed force form colombia (FARC EP) uses the m16 wich are well like among the insurgents and are usually issued to the most experienced rebels (most high rank FARC members uses m16 derivates) any abiusly the rifle has some flaws and its reliability is far from beign ideal, this rifle still beign a fairly decent rifle wich can get the job done.


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