Mikhail Kalashnikov was born November 10, 1919 in the village of Kurya, Russia. In 1938 he entered the Soviet army where he specialized as a tank mechanic and took part in the design of tanks. After being wounded in battle he was transfered by his superiors to take part in weapons design in 1941. By 1942 he had designed his first submachine gun however is was passed over for another design. Over the next few years Kalashnikov invented several experimental models of assault rifles. In 1949 the Soviet Army adopted one of his designs dating back to 1947 and designated it the “Avtomat Kalashnikov 1947”, abbreviated AK-47. Variants of his AK-47 design are still used by military forces around the world making it the most popular assault rifle ever produced.

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