Who Really Designed The AK-47?

V-RU08

This article will cause controversy and upset a few people, so if you believe that Mikhail Kalashnikov is on the same level as John Browning when it comes to firearms design, you may want to stop reading now.

That said, I do not believe that Mikhail Kalashnikov was as involved in the development of the AK-47 as the Soviets led the world to believe. So who was? Well, there can only be one answer: Hugo Schmeisser. Schmeisser is perhaps most famous for the MP18 (the world’s first submachine gun) and the MP43/44 “Sturmgewehr” (the world’s first assault rifle). Obviously the latter firearm is more pertinent to this article.

gunhugo4

Here are a few facts to back my hypothesis:

  • In “Tales of the Gun”, Kalashnikov was interviewed and claimed that there were no similarities between his gun and Schmeisser’s. This was in the 1990s.
  • Around 2002-2003 he said he drew “a little bit of inspiration” from the Sturmgewehr, negating what he said a few years earlier.
  • Then in 2009 he admitted to working alongside Schmeisser and that he “helped” design the AK
  • But Schmeisser couldn’t simply “help” him. Schmeisser was working in Izhevsk while Kalashnikov was supposedly developing the AK–47 from 1945 to 1947 in a different plant, in the city of Kovrov.
  • Russian experts admit it is hard to determine Hugo Schmeisser’s contribution to the design and development of the AK-47 assault rifle because all official documents pertaining to his time working alongside Kalashnikov as a gun designer are still classified (suspicion increases).
  • In 1945 the USSR made 50 StG44s from parts and confiscated 10,785 sheets of technical designs.
  • In October 1945, Schmeisser was forced to work for the Red Army and instructed to continue development of new weapons. He worked for them for 7 years, then died the year he moved back to Germany.
  • The early AKs were stamped, but came apart forcing the Russians to use a milled receiver.

Ok, so the facts can make even the most stubborn AK fan raise an eyebrow. Also, If you’re familiar with how the USSR did things, then it all makes sense that Kalashnikov would make a great poster child for designing this symbol of national pride. They put this “common soldier” with a humble, agrarian background on a pedestal as an example of how great and excellent communism was. If the above facts are taken in to account, he may for all we know have been Schmeisser’s errand boy. He never spoke like a humble engineer deserved of respect in interviews, and even lied about Schmeisser being involved in the project at all for many decades.

So let us take a look at the MP43 and the AK:

IMG_4409

  • Both rifles are stamped
  • Both use the same diameter bullet as their country’s full sized rifle round, but with a scaled down case and lighter bullet weightIMG_4414
  • Both are select fire
  • Both use long stroke pistonsIMG_4411
  • Both have a similar layout (box magazine, pistol grip, sights)
  • Indisputably, Hugo Schmeisser had a hand in both designs

Other influences could have been from a number of places, as the two locking lugs and unlocking channel resemble that of the M1 Garand and the trigger and safety mechanism are eerily similar to a Remington Model 8′s:

remington-model-81_004

So with the above listed facts and observations, I am of the opinion that the AK-47 is much more German than Russian, and I am pretty sure that it isn’t Danish.

Related

Alex C.

Alex is a writer for The Firearm Blog who was born and raised in Texas with years of experience in hunting, shooting competitions, and general collecting. A degree in History from Baylor University has contributed to his love of both early and modern firearms technology, but Alex is most fond of machine guns and other NFA toys.
You can reach Alex at alex.capps@thefirearmblog.com


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  • schizuki

    I’ve believed this for years. The two biggest Russian achievements of the 20th Century – the AK-47 and Sputnik – were mostly the work of Germans.

    • Nicks87

      The Germans are responsible for many impressive engineering achievements. From guns and cars all the way to dishwashers and vacuum cleaners and everything in between. It just goes to show that a strong work ethic and great beer can motivate people to do amazing things.

      • dp

        You are correct; in addition the microwave oven is also their invention. It’s origin goes well into time of WWII. You can imagine, in midst of cold winter next most important item after ammunition is hot meal and Germans had it too. They did not do as well with clothing though.

    • Lance

      Yes and no some of the original specs may have been from war capture but overall the Russian did go with there own designs and follow ups to them that where not from Germany.

  • aserbayan

    FACEPALM

  • echelon

    Read the book “The Gun” by C.J. Chivers. It is all about the history of the AK47. It talks about this controversy as well as others. There is even a parenthetical section on the M16 as well that will just make you cringe. I consider it a must read for any firearm enthusiast who is interested in history and design.

    • enscriptchun

      This.

    • Steve_7

      Absolutely, read this.

  • suchumski

    once we will know, on can speculate a lot of
    things and the russians had other nice guns to.
    the PPSH, Simonovs, the SKS is a good one to.
    i am writeing from germany, the AK47 is against
    german work-etics, the big tolerances, the
    rough finish in germany everything must be in
    hi-Kraftmanship, 100% fittings no tolerances,
    lots of tiny fine parts…..
    if the AK-47 has a german vather, then a russin mother!
    -
    one thing it would explain, the low militeri rank MK had in the sovjet union.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Alex C.

      But the AK47 is not contrary to German craftsmanship of latter days of WWII. If you have felt a sturmgewehr 43/44, you will notice the loose tolerances that are similar to an AK’s. The Germans made some really sub-par firearms post-42 as a result of desperation (volksturmgewehr, panzerfaust, mp3008, etc).

      • RickH

        This is true. Look at detailed pics of the MP43/44/STG, and you see some very roughly finished parts from the early models to the last. Not that it was any hindrance to its basic purpose!

      • suchumski

        actuali i live in germany, i know german working-ethiks,

        in times of problems they make strange stuff, usualy they do not.

        the only thing i like in russian products is the undestruktibiliti.

        a nato fighting airkraft needs a hangar. russians have no hangars

        the mig is standing outside, in sibirian cold and kasakstan heet

        this makes the AK famous.

        and this is a russian symbol of recognition.

        who knows, time will bring answers

        sorry for my english.

        PS.: the west has no transporter to space for astronauts anymore.
        there are just strange old SOJUS Rockets left in russia and
        they are build not by germans. time for a space shutle II. ;)

        • dp

          Hi suchumski!
          I am sure you absorbed the “Germany’s way” of being, but let’s look at it in practical terms: it is impossible to do anything of meaning without some sort of discipline, no matter what is the particular local or culture. I think you will agree.
          Further about clearances vs. tolerances, they are related but not the same and many people confuse them. You may have large clearances (for dirt, snow and mud) but very close tolerances (to assure inter-changeability and inter-operability). All of this has its own merits. Large (-er) clearances don’t necessarily testify lesser quality. Economy of production is also big part of it. Take care!

          • suchumski

            Äh, i have no idea how to explain this, it is not important.
            one day we will know it, today i do not know nothing.
            it is not important, if schmeisser had a part in the AK47
            it is written somewhere, when putins time is over on will
            know, i think. it is a historical question and history is not
            running away, new history at least. if one has a AK47,
            may you use it in peace and for fun. ;)

    • dp

      Actually, arguably first assault rifle was this one:
      http://world.guns.ru/assault/rus/automatic-fedorov-e.html
      It was constructed shortly after Russo-Japanese war and creator was impressed with Arisaka 6.5mm round to the point he decided to use it.

      • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Alex C.

        I am well aware of the Fedorov, but 6.5 Jap can hardly be considered an intermediate cartridge.

        • http://196800revolutionsperminute.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel F.

          I don’t see why not. It produces energy comparable to the 7mm Murray or .280 British, for instance.

        • Beaumont

          I can only argue that some folks considered it an intermediate cartridge compared to other military cartridges of its day. Fedorov, for one.

        • dp

          Not suggesting your view is short of validity Alex, but at the same time if we consider that 7.62×51 Nato was at the outset called “medium round” (scaled down 30.06 Spring.) things gel little clearer. The terms are not really absolute, true enough; that is to say, there are some overlaps.
          The 6.5×50 Jap is considered as benchmark in many studies (for instance in Tony William’s page). This round is derived from originally Italian shot used in WWI, so it has chunk of history behind it. If you asked me to review a potentially ‘new’ round for general use (including MG role), this might be first one to look at. The next one which deserves attention is 7.62×45 Czech. At the end the optimum might be somewhere between them (6.8x 45, maybe).

  • Troy S

    Unless Kalash. left a secret confession behind, which would undoubtedly hurt his children, it does make sense, I had no idea that Shmeisser was a “guest” in soviet Russia. Russia still does use propaganda to further their percieved Russian weapons superiority. I recently read a article were Russian media were claiming some tech group had developed a new superior boron ceramic body armor that was expected out next year. I can go buy that new formula body armor right now as it has been out in the US for several years. If Schmeisser did invent the AK which is possible, we will certainly never hear that from any official source. The theory does sound plausible.

  • Alvar

    So what, German rocket engineers (Arthur Rudolph and Wernher von Braun) landed US astronauts on the moon.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Alex C.

      That is pretty well known and there isn’t a super secret cover up about it though. The allies benefited greatly by the works of German scientists. The West however has opted for transparency, the East has chosen to classify all documents.

    • dp

      There used to be a joke about this behind ‘iron curtain’. It said: “they (Americans) got the better Germans”. But on the other hand, Russians picked up reasonably soon on their own.

      • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Alex C.

        dp, I always value your comments, and as a Czech and former Eastern Bloc soldier I hold your posts in extremely high regard. As usual, your input was valuable and pertinent. If you ever come to Texas, I will most definitely give you the same experience I did Y-Man. Thank you for commenting!

        • dp

          Thank you Sir; the respect is mutual. I’d certainly use the opportunity, let’s see if we can do it in future. Take care and stay in action!

    • Lance

      Though Wernher von Braun is a war criminal and should have bared some respounabilty for his crimes for the V-2 program.

      • bbmg

        “I aim at the stars, but sometimes I hit London” is a beatiful line.

      • Matt

        Yes, He deployed the Atomic bomb….oh wait…

        • Sulaco

          Air Marshal Gorring (SP?) engaged the building of the flying wing type bomber too late for Germany but the plan was to us it to drop Germanys A-bomb on the US. Germany was less than a year away from a nuk when defeated according to some estimates. You think they would not have used the V rockets as well?

      • The Hun

        I prefer “Hero of the Fatherland”

      • gaajjn

        The V rockets were fantastic terror weapons.

      • Tierlieb

        “Once rockets go up / who cares where they come down / this is not my department / says Wernher von Braun” – Tom Lehrer interpreted it this way.

      • John D

        So I guess you would have refused to work for Hitler and been gassed instead? Fool.

    • javierjuanmanual

      Who cares. We did not prop up some plow boy or stable boy as the one true inspired solution to getting us to the moon.

  • Gary from Michigan

    Wait, are you saying the Russians didn’t invent their own stuff? I’m shocked I tell you, SHOCKED!

  • mechamaster

    Well, technically history is written by winner so it’s not 100% accurate. But I think mr. Kalashnikov surely has inspiration from German design and learned from Hugo Schmeisser. He just don’t want to reveal the truth in ‘wrong’ era.

  • n0truscotsman

    Im very skeptical of that claim.

    after all, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

    The long stroke piston is even dissimilar from the AK and the STG uses a tilt lock action, rather than a rotating bolt.

  • dp

    Here is pertinent reading: http://www.xliby.ru/istorija/otechestvennye_avtomaty_zapiski_ispytatelja_oruzheinika/p1.php#metkadoc23
    It lists entire history going back to 30′s. At time in 44-45 as M.K. worked on his prototype, there were other promising designs available such as Korobov’s and others. So M.K. was not alone in this effort and he had domestic competitors, which is normal Russian practice . There were several rounds of testing and returns “back to drawing board”. The usual stuff.
    From what I read time ago about Hugo Schmeisser’s time in Russia, it’s kind of difficult reading because of natural compassion you have to feel for him. He was not falling in place and was relegated to less critical tasks and eventually also his salary was cut. Such as not really fertile conditions for productive work. My opinion is that they did not get much from him. However, I’d leave every eventuality open.

  • Rick32

    I’ve never actually researched what you’ve written here, but a few years back there was a camera crew who were following Kalashnikov through the AK factory in Russia, and he was asked whether he was actually the inventor of the AK or whether it was the German..He responded instantly with one of those “I cant stop myself from smiling because what you say is true” coyish grins before denying the German had anything to do with it. He instantly reminded me of someone who was lying. Take that anecdote for what its worth, but given the Russians history of copying literally everything they can and then taking credit for it, it would not surprise me to find out the AK47 was actually the product of German engineering.

  • S O

    The Danes invented the intermediate cartridge around ’30 for a light machinegun which was no success because the gun design was poor. German companies kept experimenting with the intermediate cartridge (GECO etc.) and Vollmer created the first assault rifle (machine carbine) in the late 30′s. It was fine and provided workarounds for stupid army procurement agency demands (they didn’t want the barrel perforated for tapping gas pressure), but the design wasn’t cheap and officials paid little attention.

    Two competing Walther and Mauser designs for an assault rifle were tested and combined tot he StG 44. The wartime use of these combined with the widespread appreciation for submachinegun and self-loading rifle firepower made assault rifles of some kind a logical choice for almost all post-WW2 armies.

    The Soviets had a competition with several promising designs for assault rifles (including a bullpup) in the late 40′s using an intermediate cartridge in their established 7.62 mm diameter.

    The conceptual influence from Germany as well as the “Sturmgewehr” / “assault rifle” word for it is obvious. (Sturmgewehr was a kind of hoorah propaganda term; the logical designation would have been “Maschinenkarabiner”).

    It’s rather uninteresting who exactly drew the AK-47 prototype.

    • S O

      @Bruce:

      The Weimar Republic-era cooperation with the Soviet Union on tanks and military aircraft got canned by Hitler almost immediately.
      There wasn’t much of a cooperation for years, until by the late 30′s a handful of German military aircraft prototypes (He 100D fighter, for example) were sold, largely because of the need for foreign exchange currency.
      The cooperation after the non-aggression and zones of influence demarcation pact was largely limited to normal trade.

  • The Hun

    Who cares- just admire it for what it is.

  • fred

    Interesting I had not heard this. But I always thought the story about how he “invented” it was a little strange. Sounds just like the soviets “why tell the truth when you can lie?”.

    We should campaign to spread the truth and give credit to Schmeisser.

    • iksnilol

      What if he didn’t design it?

  • Jonathan

    I have to disagree for a couple reasons. First, the 7.62x39mm was invented for the SKS before the AK-47. Second, Bren light machine gun was invented by the Checs in the 1930′s. Third, the bolt on the MP44 is very different from the AK. Fourth, stamped metal sub-guns were used by both sides during WWII, i.e. the Sten and Grease Gun.

    • RickH

      Actually the round was designed before the SKS. Simonov built the SKS with this round in mind, as they wanted to move away from the full powered standard cartridge.

  • http://196800revolutionsperminute.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel F.

    I do not find this reasoning very compelling. I’ll explain:

    1. Soviet assault rifle experiments predate their capture of German Sturmgewehr factories and technical know-how. The Sudayev AS-44′s long-stroke piston design, seen here: http://img40.imageshack.us/img40/9909/sudajevkoottu.jpg is very reminiscent of the Kalashnikov’s. It’s more likely that it was institutional knowledge passed down to Kalashnikov through the Soviet design bureaus, and not a copy of the MP.44′s gas system.

    2. The Soviets surely learned things from the stamping knowledge they acquired from the German factories, but they were producing PPSh and PPS submachine guns from stampings since 1941. It’s difficult to imagine that, given the volume they were able to achieve making those weapons, that they wouldn’t eye stamping technology for their next issue weapon.

    3. There is a very good record of Kalashnikov’s designs prior to the AK-47. Kalashnikov designed a submachine gun in 1942 (http://www.cruffler.com/KalashnikovExperimentalSMG.jpg), and several self-loading carbines in the years between 42-27. The early Kalashnikov avtomat designs use a short stroke piston, like an SVT, not an StG-44: http://world.guns.ru/userfiles/images/assault/as01/ak46_2.jpg

    4. The short Russian 7.62mm cartridge was in development since late ’42 at the latest, before the Russians would have ever encountered MP.43s. Here is the early predecessor to the 7.62×39, the 7.62×41 M43:http://ammo-collection.com/index.php?title=7,62%D1%8541_%D0%BE%D0%B1%D1%80._1943

    It’s well-documented that Kalashnikov was a capable designer. However, one must also remember that Russian design ethics were different than American ones. Cross-pollination of design features was not only accepted, it was heavily encouraged. Thus you’ll see in the Kalashnikov design shades of Tokarev’s, Garand’s, Williams’, Sudayev’s, Simonov’s, Bulkin’s, and yes, Schmeisser’s work. However, when all the evidence is taken into account, it is clear that Schmeisser was not directly responsible for the Kalashnikov rifle as whole.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Alex C.

      Nathaniel, that rifle is even more identical to the Sturmgewehr’s. The carrier looks like the MP43/44s without the additional rings and it even uses a tilting breech block like the Sturm!

      • http://196800revolutionsperminute.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel F.

        The Sudayev’s bolt also looks a lot like the SVT self-loading rifle’s bolt, designed in 1937. Tilt-locking was a fairly common mechanism at the time, not at all unique to the StG-44.

        • iksnilol

          Don’t forget that two rifles can use the same operating system without being copies or clones.

          While I like German design it is not the be all end all of technology.

          • http://196800revolutionsperminute.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel F.

            Yes, and for the record, there is excellent documentation (I recommend checking out the Collector’s Grade book “Sturmgewehr!”) that the StG-44 was, internally, a direct copy of the Czechoslovakian ZB-26 light machine gun, that being the ancestor of the Bren. If you look at a picture of the ZB-26′s bolt and carrier, you can see the resemblance: http://www.chinesefirearms.com/110108/parts/zb26bolt.jpg

            The ZB-26 was an extremely influential firearm at the time, so it’s not surprising that others would adapt its design fort heir own needs.

        • dp

          You are absolutely correct. During first experiments with self-loaded rifles, and this pre-dated WWI, there we designs od this kind. Some were recoil operated, others were gas-powered. For further info I suggest to look into Forgotten weapons.com

      • Rusty Shakleford

        It’s not much of a secret that Hugo Schmeisser was the man behind the AK-47, but most people automatically think it is a copy of the STG 44 when it is actually closer to the final version MKB 42(H).

        • http://196800revolutionsperminute.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel F.

          This is simply not the case.

    • dp

      Thanks for bringing this up. Sudayev is mentioned in document I refer to further down in discussion (unfortunately for most is in Russian language).
      When I look at this I do not see this it in any way related to StG other than generic gas piston. Soviets had at that time plenty of experience with gas powered rifles in form of SVT-40. It is known that Germans were using captured SVTs before they had their own self-loading rifles in sufficient quantity.

    • n0truscotsman

      Wow…

      Excellent post. Your post alone draws more than just a sliver of” reasonable doubt” on the claim that the article makes.

    • guest

      Everybody, PLEASE! If you are so historically lost in these wild speculations, read this article:

      http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Ftopwar.ru%2F13322-glavnyy-konkurent-ak-47-na-konkursnyh-ispytaniyah-avtomat-bulkina-ab-46.html&act=url

      And look at AB-46 and tell me who copied what.

      • http://196800revolutionsperminute.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel F.

        I feel this ignores the engineering culture of Russia at the time. Unlike in the United States, the emphasis was on designers using the best elements of existing designs to create the best possible product for the state (and thus the people), while in the US the emphasis was on coming up with unique and innovative ideas. The individual features of the AK and AR-15 very much reflect these philosophies, I think.

        • guest

          Nope, not responding to this derailment of the conversation.

          • Tommy Schlong

            You just responded by saying you were not gonna respond.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Alex C.

      Nathaniel, your line of reasoning does little to debunk the theory that Schmeisser had more to do with the development of the AK than is traditionally held to be the truth. Why would Kalashnikov initially deny working with Schmeisser, and then years later admit that he did in fact work with him? Why are the records regarding Schmeisser’s work on the platform still sealed?

      • http://196800revolutionsperminute.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel F.

        Is the only possible answer to that question “it’s a conspiracy and Kalashnikov was just Schmeisser’s errand-boy”? Who knows? Maybe Kalashnikov was pen pals with Schmeisser and they corresponded over the design. I could tell you that if I were Kalashnikov, I would certainly seek the advice of any established small arms designers that I could.

        The records on all sorts of Soviet documents are still sealed, because the Soviets have extensive archives (including hand-written memos, the Soviets were absolutely meticulous), and no one will bother to lower the classification of a document that no one is requesting. Unlike certain American documents, there’s no time limit on a Soviet/Russian document remaining classified.

        Even ignoring the very poor sources for the 2009 “admittance”, the memory of a 90 year old man of events 63 years past and the necessary translation issues, what does “help” mean? Does it mean Kalashnikov had Schmeisser review the work? Does it mean he asked him for advice on one specific element of the design? Does it mean that he asked him for a political favor? Maybe Kalashnikov wanted to ask Schmeisser what sort of problems they encountered in the Haenel factory when designing the 42(H).

        If one doesn’t go into the issue with a bent that there must be something fishy going on, the evidence does not even remotely suggest that Schmeisser designed the AK whole hog. For one particular example from the design, German designers were fond using multiple stamping operations (in the case of the StG-44, IIRC it took seven stampings to make the upper) that made the bodies very rigid. This is why the StG-44 has rigid bumps and waffle lines in its body. The MP-40 is also like this. The PPS and AK are not like this, being made from a single sheet in a single operation.

      • Leonids Smagars

        They are not sealed, at lest they are not top secret.
        I’m not sure if I still have it, but I red an article about Schmeisser’s work in USSR, basically he was bored to death, as they only gave him some minor, pretty primitive jobs. I guess the main point, if there was any point at all, wasn’t to get Hugo exploited as much as possible, but to not let him fall in the hand of Western allies.
        P.S. Besides, why would Russians admit German involvement in work over early Soviet ballistic missiles, but not small arms?

      • Geodkyt

        Kalashnikov’s first statement – there are no similarities between them, is correct. The Russians _probably_ copied the idea of the 7.92mm Kurz. . . but almost certainly BEFORE the war, because the round was finalized back when Hitler and Stalin were still just BFFs. (The 7.92x33mm was finalized in the late 1930s, the AK shoots the M43, developed in, wait for it. . . 1943 – not leaving time for reverse engineering battlefield captured MP43 ammo. Keep in mind, the M43 is NOT a straight copy, not even a straight copy in a different caliber, of the 7.92×33 – it is merely _inspired_ by the _idea_. The “battlefield pickup” story smells more like SOVIET propaganda, rather than admitting that German and Soviet military engineers worked VERY closely right up until 1940.)

        Later stating he took some inspiration from the StG design neither contradicts that nor means that he worked on the idea with Schmeisser. It means he was inspired by a mid-power assault rifle that could replace both rifles and SMGs in the infantry. “Form follows function.”

        The reason both guns use lightweight bullets at the same dore size AND TWIST RATE of their full size cartidge counterparts is the same – LOGISTICS. It’s easier to do R&D when you can pull your barrel blanks through the normal tooling ALREADY set up for high volume production. When you go to production, knowing you can use the EXISTING tooling for one of the most critical (and difficult) operations is also really nice.

        The fact that the guns have vaguely similar profiles is no more significant than the fact that they are assault rifles using stubby tapered cases, with magazine capacities that mimic one of the guns systems they were designed to replace — the box magazine of a SMG. Note that pretty much every successful assault rifle that isn’t a bullpup has followed that same exact layout and profile.

        Of course, Schmeisser DID NOT invent the assault rifle, either, as the Fedorov (development history starts in 1906, with development of the mid-power version beginning in 1913, and used in combat in small numbers in 1940 well before the MKb42 was ever fielded) beats it by decades.

        Sure, in comparison to the VERY refined StG44, the Federov doesn’t look nearly as cool (LOOK at the German design history of dead ends, bad ideas, and “not quite ready for prime time” assault rifle attempts it took to get to the StG – like the M16A1, the MP44/StG44 are evolutionary developments based on combat service, of a MUCH cruder design), but once he got it working, Fedorov stopped messing with it, because it was the middle of WWI. The Fedorov went out of production due to the aftermath of the Russian Civil War, and it saw continuous line service until it was retired for reasons of ammunition standardization, ten years later. (About the same run as the US M14.) It was later withdrawn from stocks and issued to elite troops for combat with Finland (like we did with our M14s. . . )

        I’m a little dubious about the fawning “Oh, the Russians invented everything,” schtick, but I am just as tired of the “German ordnance engineers are the best!” fanbois. {grin}

      • http://realskill.ru Ayur Sandanov

        I am sorry, but this article sounds like newcomers’ “discoveries”.
        The eternal holy war of “did Schmeisser design AK” is a veritable staple
        of Russian general forums and firearms communities, and is long since
        has been dismissed as a conspiracy theory — not because of the
        admiration and awe before Kalashnikov, but because of the research put
        into the question by historians and enthusiasts alike. Nowadays, the
        “discovery” can only be made by the new guys on the forums and social
        networks, to be quickly put to rest with a comprehensive explanation,
        data and illustrative material from more experienced folks. To sum it
        all quickly:

        1. The layout similarities of StG-44 and AK are “evident” only to a
        layman. Internally, almost all of the main design choices are different,
        so much that the similarities end with the top gas tube and raised
        sights. Different are the structure of the receiver/foreend/pistol grip,
        takedown principle, the layout of recoil mechanism and so on.

        2. The heart of every selective fire weapon – the locking mechanism -
        is markedly different in its operating principle. AK is not
        tilt-locking. That alone puts both weapons in different design
        pedigrees.

        3. It is generally agreed that Hugo Schmeisser did not work on the
        design of firearm itself, but most likely contributed greatly to the
        refinement of cold stamping technology, which was leading-edge
        everywhere – and lacking in USSR at the time.

        4. There is, indeed, much doubt about the official story about
        Kalashnikov as a young but already accomplished genius. Though looking
        at his later designs, we can’t dismiss his proficiency as a firearms
        engineer, but his breakthrough, the AK, most likely was a collective
        work. There is a detailed analysis of designer notes, acceptance trials
        notes and different first-hand accounts of the time. On one side of the
        spectrum, there is a notion that Kalashnikov was someone’s protege (as a
        young, bright, unaffiliated designer), and as such was given all the
        resources, an experienced Russian team (headed by Zaitsev), and was
        permitted to borrow without restraint from the competing rifles after
        the first round of trials. The other side of the spectrum is basically
        the same, but with better intentions and nicer vibe: when after the
        first round Kalashnikov’s rifle was found lacking, his older colleagues
        helped him basically overhaul the design (again, borrowing from
        competitors). Either way, the trials themselves are documented, and AK
        lost the first round but was overhauled and won the second (and even
        then with reservations on grouping). Again, all of the versions are
        documented and info on them is openly available and published.

        5. The design influences are accepted openly, even by Kalashnikov
        himself. As any firearms designer will know, much of his work is
        compilative – even more so when all the designers are considered
        comrades working towards the same goal. There were a plethora of sources
        for imitation, including open borrows from Browning, Remington and
        Sudaev (who died before finishing his entry to the same project), and
        controversial borrows from Bulkin (the main competitor at trials) and
        other competitors.

        As for imitation of German designs, it is undeniable and logical –
        Germans were long on a forefront of firearms development, and, as others
        posters pointed out, for these designers it was commendable to borrow
        from the latest and the best. But researchers point out that precisely
        because of this, AK borrowed second-hand, from already implemented
        Soviet developments (including, of course, the intermediate round which
        was THE WHOLE POINT of the project, and was made by downsizing the
        respective standard rounds of the respective country). It is interesting
        to note that both Chinese and Russians have a “reputation” of borrowing
        Western ideas and developments, but there is a marked difference:
        Russians started doing this several centuries earlier, in the early
        1700s, and ever since took the “originals” with a grain of salt. Almost
        always, improvements were proposed and some parts of the adopted
        technology overhauled or dismissed.

        Lastly, I apologize for the long post. I see that Max Popenker already entered the conversation, and very emotionally at that!

    • John D

      Nathaniel is apparently one of the AK diehards that cannot see the forest for the trees.

      • http://196800revolutionsperminute.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel F.

        Hah! Maybe you and the people who sometimes call me an AR fanboy should get together. I’m sure you’d have plenty to talk about.

  • John Dalton

    I had always heard that the AK was modeled after the STG with Mikhail borrowing from the German design. I find it interesting, but in the end I am just glad to have one of the best designed battle rifles in the world. To whomever designed it, my hat’s off to you!

  • Mystick

    Even if he did reverse-engineer the MP-44 and borrow something from Remington, a unique, highly reliable design resulted.

    All technology is built upon the prior art. It’s a process of mutation – sometimes something original pops up.

    • Sulaco

      Including St. Browning?

  • The Docent

    The facts you cited do not demonstrate that Schmeisser had anything to do with the development of the AK. (1) Stampings were not unique to the MP43. It was the “high-tech” method of producing parts in the 40′s and 50′s. I think it significant that the MP43 used ribs in the stamped receiver to increase strength and stiffness, but the AK employs none of those features. (2) The Russians were impressed by Germany’s intermediate round, but so were the Europeans–it was merely imitation. The selection of a bullet of the same diameter was a wartime expediency. Also, as someone else noted, the Russian 7.62×39 was produced prior to the end of WWII. (3) Other weapons employed select-fire. The BAR was select fire, and was invented long before the MP43. (4) Other weapons, such as the BAR, Bren machine gun and M-1 Garand used a long-stroke piston. It was also used in the FAL. (5) The similar layout is not dispositive either because form follows function. The location of the sights is consistent with other Russian weapons, including the Mosin-Nagant. A variant of the BAR made by the Swedish in the 1920′s (the Kg m/21) used a pistol grip, as did the Bren machine gun, which was developed in the 30′s.

    You must also consider that Schmeisser worked at a different factory from where the AK was developed, and he was described as uncooperative with the Soviets, and unproductive because of his poor health. Frankly, I can’t believe that the AK was a product of German engineering because it is too simple. Certainly the MP43 was influential on the design and development of the AK, but probably no more than it was to the FAL.

  • Tactical Tightwad

    So then where did the SKS come from?

    • Wtchftsh

      Most likely created by a time travelling german POW, of course, don’t you know russians never invent anything? Likewise, the T64 is just a rebranded Panzer IV, and the Hind D was actually designed by Goering himself before the treacherous, jew controlled soviets stole it from the vaterland.

    • Edward Franklin

      The SKS is entirely Sergei Gavrilovich Simonov. In principle the SKS-45 is pretty much a shrunken PTRS-41 stuck in a wooden stock. I’ve occasionally heard reference to a 7.62x54R SKS-41 but have yet to encounter any hard evidence of it’s existence.

      As for the idea Hugo Schmeisser was behind the AK’s development I’d advise anyone to take a look at the Sudayev AS-44 and the Bulkin AB-46 first and see the obvious relations. Odds are if someone could ever learn the whole story the Soviet designers combined the best features of the AB-46, AS-44, and AK-46 together into a single design and attributed it to Kalashnikov. It would make an impressive story for the Soviets to ship around that this everyman with no formal training had been able to design this amazing new rifle singlehandedly.

  • Lance

    Doubt all the AK design is from Schmeisser. The layout of the rifle Kalashnikov probably mimicked BUT I say the inners caliber and inner design is his own design. I don’t think the AK-47 is a real Nazi design. just some layout IE pistol grip goes here an mag well here may have been mimicked but not stolen from.

    • Karina

      Fact #1: The Soviets captured Schmeisser, who designed several successful firearm designs, but especially this:

      http://world.guns.ru/assault/de/mkb42-h-e.html

      Fact #2: The above rifle is the predecessor of the StG-44, and was produced in the same plant, at the same location.

      Fact #3: We also know for a fact that the USSR and Soviet doctrine encouraged inspiring and drawing from other designs; particularly in the domain of engineering and firearms, because they believed technical knowledge and know-how belonged to the people (or the state, really)

      Now, you draw whatever conclusions you want from that, but the AK design, while absolutely incorrect to call it German, has very strong German influences. It should NOT be that surprising.

      • n0truscotsman

        That is circumstantial evidence at best and hardly determinative where the AK truly came from.

        Or you can use occam’s razor logic and conclude that the AK, like other astoundingly successful rifle designs of this century, borrowed from other relatively successful designs to create a amalgamation of success.

      • Beaumont

        Karina, you finally said something I can agree with.

  • Miško

    Kalashnikov did not reinvent the wheel, he borrowed all the best already existing solutions and not only from Germans or Americans but from all competitors that competed for the new Red army assault rifle

    He borrowed left and right from all competitors and that is why his rifle won against all of the well-established firearms designer (who were not willing to copy as much as he did)!

    He was not the greatest inventor but a very successful engineer!!!

    His first three designs, all rejected

    Kalashnikov Sub machine gun 1942 (similar to Thompson SMG)
    Kalashnikov Machine gun 1943
    Kalashnikov Semi-auto rifle 1944 (heavily based on M1 Garand)

    • Miško

      P.S.This article is substandard, written by not so knowledgeable author I hope that other (more knowledgeable) TFB authors will make a more detailed article on the history of AK and other competitors

      • Bob.O

        Your English is substandard. I hope the moderators allow other (more knowledgeable) comments.

        • wetcorps

          Wow we’re in 2014 and people still do this?

          • Bob.O

            What do people still do? If someone is going to blast an article as substandard, then I expect their own reply to be up to par.

        • iksnilol

          You do know that English is not the main language of many people (for a good reason)?

          • Miško

            English spelling is incredibly difficult, especially as my native language has no “spelling” (each letter of the alphabet corresponds to a single sound)

          • iksnilol

            Lemme guess, you are from the Balkans? So am I.

          • Miško

            Yes, from Serbia-Croatia

          • iksnilol

            I am between those two (Bosnia).

            Inace ljudi fokusiraju na gramatiku kad se ne slazu al nemaju argumenata protiv. Siguran sam da to vec znas.

            Nazalost koristim tastaturu bez neki slova kao sto mozes vidjeti.

        • Miško

          English is my fifth language, how many languages do ​​you speak?

          The quality of my English has nothing to do with this poorly researched article,

          Again just because Sturmgewehr is similar in concept to Kalashnikov’s Automat does not mean that Hugo Schmeisser designed both!!

          • n0truscotsman

            Fifth language or not, your points were spot on and your argument perfectly valid.

            There is no “smoking gun” that kalashnikov stole from the STG44 and like I said before, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”.

          • 2hotel9

            No, actually as soon as any person dies the leftarded f**ks scuttle out of the dark and start screeching about how that person was sh*t. Turn the lights on and those leftarded f**ks all scuttle back into thew sewer.

          • 2hotel9

            Oop, there it is. And yes, “Sturmgewehr” is the only weapon that can be legitimately called an “assault rifle”, everything else leftarded c**ts spew is just that, leftarded spew from leftarded c**ts.

        • Karina

          Ad hominems are a substandard method of refuting the opinion of someone you don’t like. No better than liberals vs conservatives or antigun vs progun debates which invariably end up in personal attacks.

          Bob.O, I kindly suggest you go fuck yourself. Mishko (if I can use this spelling) brings up important points, you’re just acting like a dick because his username doesn’t sound American and his grammar isn’t top notch perfect.

          We don’t need Grammar Nazis on TFB and we especially need even less people like YOU, whose comments should be moderated, for how baseless and uncontributive they are.

          • Bob.O

            Thank you for your comment, Karina. By telling me to “go fuck myself,” you have risen above my comment. I’m also glad that you are basically calling me an intolerant racist American, because of your warped view of the world. I am now enlightened, because I actually did not think I felt that way, until you commented. Now I realize that I was a jerk. Why should I point out the irony of someone telling me that an article is poorly written, when their own comment is written poorly?

  • /k/ommando

    More wheraboo revisionist history. The AK has more in common with the Garand than the StG.

    Next I assume we’ll see a article here about how the Tiger II couldn’t be penetrated by a Abrams, or that the Wehrmacht didn’t commit war crimes.

    • SP mclaughlin

      That’s a slippery slope leap, I don’t think this article worships German engineering.

      • Michael

        No this article can’t backup their sources. There is no evidence that Hugo designed or made the metal stamping technology for the ak-47.

  • törefeldt.

    actully the stg44 is not stamped, its milled.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Alex C.

      No.

      • http://196800revolutionsperminute.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel F.

        The trunnion on the StG-44 is milled, and it’s a huge honking chunk of the receiver. Here’s a pic: http://www.forgottenweapons.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/akstg-trunnions.jpg

        The body of the gun is stamped, though.

        • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Alex C.

          Yes, that is a given. Usually when one refers to a gun as “stamped” they are referring the the receiver.

          • http://196800revolutionsperminute.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel F.

            Well, in the case of the StG, though, the trunnion is most of the upper receiver, and the stamping is almost just an extended dust cover.

      • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

        and another no

  • Graham2

    Firearms aren’t designed in a vacuum on some far off planet! All designers look at existing designs and often use features from them, after all, a good idea is a good idea. People like Dieudonne Saive and Eugene Stoner for instance had a lot of existing designs to take inspiration and ideas from, as did Kalashnikov.

    I consider John Moses Browning however to be the greatest firearms designer of all time, as he had hardly anything other than his own brain to get ideas from.

    • dp

      Very good assessment. I would also add to this ‘chosen few’ group Ferdinand Mannlicher. He was extremely proficient in span of less than 2 decades. Some call him “Austrian Browning”. M. Kalashnikov is not far behind, if you look at impact of his work – most widespread rifle system ever.

    • wetcorps

      Agreed. Fighting over who invented what seems a bit silly to me.

  • Max Popenker
    • dp

      This speaks volumes, Max. Well of course, you have one advantage – right at the source. Thanks for invaluable knowledge made available to masses!

    • http://196800revolutionsperminute.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel F.

      Oh, dear, that was very direct, Max!

      • Max Popenker

        honestly, I’m sick and tired of this stuff coming up every spring and authumn, like some sort of flu. Maybe I should do a guest post for TFB about the birth of AK. The story is certainly has more depth than its official Soviet version, but Hugo Sch… was never any major part of it.

        • DW

          Do it please.

        • http://196800revolutionsperminute.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel F.

          I am substantially interested in doing a post on the history of the assault rifle before the Sturmgewehr. I would be very interested to read your history of the AK!

          • Max Popenker

            Then you have to start from the trenches of the Great War and dig it up from there, passing French, Italian, Swiss, US and Danish developments which happened way before Germans

    • Burst

      On the plus side, Alex, earning a personal dis from Max is a rare distinction.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Alex C.

      I just read this piece, and it seems to validate that the MKb was, incredibly influential. “The true story of AK began late in 1942, when Soviet troops captured several specimen of the very new German MKb.42(H) machine carbine(assault rifle), along with some 7.92 Kurz ammunition”. And again, why would Kalashnikov initially deny working with Schmeisser, and then years later admit that he did in fact work with him? Why are the recordsregarding Schmeisser’s work on the platform still sealed? This should make any reasonable person suspicious.

      • Max Popenker

        The Mkb.42 was as influential as M1 Carbine – but as a proof of concept only. As for keeping Schmeisser works secret… It was in line with general Soviet policies. Try to find anything on Barnitzke works in Soviet captivity, for example. Or, if it come to that, anything at all about official weapons development during WW2 era and afterwards, beyond official brieifs about weapons that were adopted. Most of it is buried deep in archives, awaiting declassification, which, under Soviet / Russian rules, is NOT applied automatically after a predefined amount of time.
        So take off your tin foil hat and get some cold vodka.

        • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Alex C.

          That is believable and logical, but it still does not explain why Kalashnikov himself would initially lie about working with Herr Schmeisser, and then admit that he in fact did just that. Your input is appreciated and I rather like your website!

          • http://196800revolutionsperminute.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel F.

            Your source for this claim is an uncited blog post on a malware ridden website. I do not feel that is very reputable. I have tried to track down this 2009 “admittance” that Kalashnikov received help (and maybe pin down the nature of what that help might have been), and have found only this: http://transsylvaniaphoenix.blogspot.com/2009/02/michail-kalashnikov-admits-german-help.html which I don’t find very helpful.

          • Tierlieb

            The uncited post on the malware ridden website refers to world.guns.ru, right? So, basically, you are telling Maxim Popenker that he should not quote his own website, right?

            Maybe if I quote his book instead, it might look more legitimate, because I am quoting a very renowned source on modern firearms?

          • http://196800revolutionsperminute.blogspot.com/ Nathaniel F.

            I was not referring to Max’s website, but one of the website’s Alex cited: http://www.henrymakow.com/compiled_by_gary_gwhen_did.html

          • Tierlieb

            Maybe because it was in 2009 and he either was allowed to be more free in his opinions or he was very old so he did not care much. For example. There’s lots of reasons in the political area. As Max pointed out, external sources of knowledge are usually not acknowledged in politically fraught topics. As an example, look how long the Sowjets stuck to Lysenkoism, which was based on a wrong, but homegrown theory.

  • Geoff a well known Skeptic

    Didn’t the AK-47 have a forged receiver and the AKM stamped?
    Geoff
    Who just had to note that.

    • dp

      The commonly accepted version of events is that first AK receivers were milled – inefficient way if you thing about it. Later, with advent of AKM, the receiver became stamped and that remained. As far as other similar designs such as Finnish Valmet and later IMI Tavor, they used forgings for some time at beginning, but later ‘came to their senses’. As far as use of forging by Arsenal, I think it is sales gimmick for most part.

      • dp

        ….ooops, not Tavor but Galil !
        When I am at it, the Vz.58 with its milled received is anomaly in a away. But that is dictated by its method of locking; you pay for your pick, that’s the way it goes.

    • claymore

      The first version of the AK was stamped.

  • Tyler M.

    I thought this was a website on gear and firearm reviews not wild conspiracy theories.

    • Tuulos

      Original research is fine too as long as actual & proper researching is done. Unlike in this case.

  • Acuet

    Just like vodka is russian when wodka is actually polish;)

    • Zugunder

      Well, THIS “honor” i would like to give up to any other country.

  • 2hotel9

    Funny, someone dies and people fall out of the woodwork making claims that he never did what he did.

  • cody
  • Asdf

    Look, the MP44 and the AK47 are both assault rifles, the had to be designed by the same guy….*rolleyes*

    Their actions are different, so much so that you might be able to get away with one being inspired by the other. Not much else.

  • SP mclaughlin

    7.62×39 was first used in the RPD machine gun, correct?

    • iksnilol

      Acording to wikipedia, yes.

  • Dan

    You talk like dissident, comrade!!

  • HerkyBird596

    We Americans often underestimate Russians. We consider ourselves and our western allies to be technologically superior because our system is better than communism. In other words, for we Americans to admit Russians can match us or come close to our technological ability during the Cold War, we would validate their system. That attitude cost us during the Korean War with the MiG-15. The MiG-15 quickly gained air superiority over the skies of Korea until we rushed the F-86 Sabre into service to defend our bombers and regain air superiority. That wasn’t the first time we were shocked by Russian technology. They beat us into space with Sputnik 1. They beat us with the first man in space and the first space walk. We caught up and surpassed them during the Space Race, but they nevertheless proved they could match or come very close to our technological ability during the Cold War. Captured German technology after World War 2 and several notorious spies certainly aided the Russians during the Cold War. Despite the help from stolen German and western technical data, Russians still had to turn that stolen technical data into working machines, which required talented engineers in their own right.

    As for the continued controversy regarding who designed the AK-47, it’s entirely plausible that Mikhail Kalashnikov was responsible. Perhaps the reason many people cannot hold Kalashnikov in the same regard as other great firearm designers is because of that old attitude left over from the Cold War. Many people cannot accept the AK-47, which is widely considered by many military historians and subject matter experts to be the best assault rifle design, has communist origins. A German firearms designer who made weapons for the Nazis is more acceptable than a Russian firearms designer who made weapons for the Soviet Union.

    • n0truscotsman

      Not only that, but if you look at the composition of Soviet motor-rifle regiments, you see a MTOE very similar to modern Stryker brigades.

      Among these other things that we recently “invented’ to better fight our 21st century war in Afghanistan

      -”designated marksmen”-Soviet “snipers” with SVDs

      -M27 IARs- RPD and RPK light machine guns.

      -tan anti-tilt follower magazines- original and subsequent AK mags had anti tilt followers

      -”digital pattern” camouflage- http://www.kamouflage.net/camouflage/00070.php

      I could go on and on, but there ya have it ;)

    • ghann

      Not really, money wise the soviet union spent a much larger percentage of it’s GDP on the military than the U.S did.

      • bsnighteye

        USA had much stronger economy than USSR. Factories, R&D facilities and infrastructure of USA weren’t touched by horrors WW2, their cilivians weren’t directly exterminated as untermensch, meanwhile USSR during that war lost many of civilian and military infrastructure, the rest of it was reallocated far away to East – behind Ural mountains. Therefore, in order to reach military parity with USA, USSR had to spend more of it’s GDP on military budget.

    • billy smith

      The Mig 15 had an engine
      given to them by the British that was huge, swept back wing German work I say
      the Russians are smart to take a good system and make it better what is wrong with
      that? The Germans admitted they looked at Robert
      Goddard rocket work took it to the next level.

      The German Sturmgewehr 44 was
      used mainly on the Eastern front .The Russians were aware of the benefits of assault
      weapon Russians took what was around mainly German and came up with the AK
      smart move.

      Engineering is not
      only creating new idea, but mostly in upgrading and modification.

  • Zugunder

    So… Do you expect every gun designer to start from scratch? Schmeisser maybe has influenced on ak design a lot, but did he developed his guns without other systems in mind? The thing is, Kalashnikov’s rifle turned out to be way more successfull. No fanboysm, just sayin.

    • Karina

      How is that a bad thing? The Soviets popularized what were already good ideas. AK fanboyism is stupid, people should just appreciate the rifles and the rich history of their design, instead of resorting to senseless pride for the misattributed achievements of a nation that is very probably not even theirs.

      Such people are childish and deserve NO respect, whatever the platform, it’s not just a problem with AK fanboys.

  • guest

    I am fed up with this ignorance. Use google translate, and read up on the 1945 and 1946 assault rifle competition. The original AK DID resemble a similarity to StG, but only by layout (separate receiver, hinged by pins). This Rem m8 bs is a benign attempt to discredit Kalashnikov, the real “victim” if you like was A.Bulkin who had his rifle literally copied with very few modifications.
    Everything else is Discovery-channel level of complete BS about StG and AK being in any way similar, other than being assault rifles.

    • Beaumont

      In a completely unscientific survey, I pulled an AK and a Remington M8 out of the safe and demonstrated the safety actions to three non-shooting acquaintances. I told them that the rifles were the product of two different designers on two continents. Even without being told which was the older design, all three felt certain one designer copied the other.

      • guest

        Safety lever look similar. American logic: he stole the WHOLE rifle.
        Hey, does that also mean that NSV 12,7×108 machine-gun is an AR-15 clone, since it also has a lever-type safety that rotates from one position to the other? This is the problem when debating anything with people like you, no offence, but you take a completely remotely related feature, and start a big fuss about it.
        What’s next: Tavor uses Stanag magazine… ohhhh!!!! That means it’s a copy of the Browning BAR because it ALSO used a box magazine!!! Sensational news of the century!

  • snmp

    1) First SMG is italian Villar Perosa M1915
    2) First Assault Rifle is Russian Fedorov Avtoma M1916 with 6.5x50mm Arisaka
    3) One the First purpose-designed intermediate ammunition is the 8mm Ribeyrolle (a neck down Winchester 351SL brass for 8mm Lebel bullet) in M1918

    The MP42/STG44 is same league weapons of tthe PSS43 & US M1 carbine t17, with more Weigh & less reliable.

    In Fact, AK47 are more link with an US Weapon than with german’s technologie

    • Joshua Madoc

      Shit, now I have to check my guns folder to see if any of those guns are in it.

  • Evan

    Actually lending some credence to this theory are not only was Schmeisser in employ by Izhvek, but also 16 other weapons designers, among them Werner Gruner, designer of the MG42. Arguably one of the greatest machinegun designs ever, but one of the best examples of “modern” production techniques with mass-production in mind.
    This is significant because official Soviet reports match the personal notes of Yevgeny Dragunov, described Gruner as a brilliant man, who made significant contributions to Dept 58.

    Granted, the MG42 and AK are not very similar in design, and neither are the STG44 and AK.

    But please note Gruner seemed to be a gifted engineer at the very least, evidenced by the fact that before working on the MG42, Gruner knew nothing about machine guns; but he specialized in the technology of mass production. Indeed, the company he worked for had no experience with weapons manufacture or design.

    The extent of his familiarization was to attend an army machine-gunner’s course, and to talk to front line troops about actual use of the weapon. He also made his own detailed critiques of existing designs.

  • Shaun

    Uh oh. Tim Over at the military arms channel is going to have a heart attack. He probably has a poster of kalishnakov above his bed. Lol

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      Nope no heart attack over it. I’ve spent the last week with him at the Big 3. I’m sure he saw it and never said a word about it.

  • Steve Truffer

    Wow, I must say, I am disappointed at the very heavily pushed angle. You admitted that Schmeisser was in a different part of the country during the design of the AK. If I recall correctly, there was the AK47 in 3 different versions, then the stamped design was revisited by Izhvesk, producing the AKM. Now, which design had overcome separation issues between sheet metal? STG44. And was the designer of a firearm with this solution in Izhvesk at this time? Yes. Was the design reproduced in sample quantity, post-45? Yes. The AK47 was not based off the STG44, but the production tweaks were ostensibly done with the aid of Schmeisser. The design was not done by Schmeisser, the alterations to make stampings viable were (Again, ostensibly).

    • Michael

      Did you know that Schmeisser had his Stg44 stamping done by ANOTHER GERMAN COMPANY during ww2? So how did he know how to make the stampings for the AK?

      • Steve Truffer

        The STG had a stamped/ machined receiver from the get-go. He designed it with stampings in mind.

  • eric

    1. No one cares
    2. being a german shill seems ironic
    3. no truly unique gun design was invented around this time its all borrowed from previous designs

  • Jonathan Ferguson

    You’re going to need better references than online rumour to make the claim re K being helped by S. Just not convincing overall I’m afraid.

  • bsnighteye

    COME ON! How much do you want to speak about Kalashnikov? AKM, it’s derivatives and WWII weapons is all that whole world know about Russian weaponry?
    Why can’t we talk about Gryazev and Shipunov, for one instance? They both created so many weapons that were ADOPTED into service:
    PP-90M1, PP-93 (APB), PP-2000 – submachine guns;
    P-96, GSh-18 – pistols;
    V-94, OSV-96, VSK-94 – sniper rifles;
    9A-91, A-91M, ADS – special automatic rifles;
    GM-94, AGS-30, 6G30 – grenade launchers;

    And I do not talk about whole family of GSh multi-barreled 23mm and 30mm automatic weapons for aircraft, ships and anti-aircraft vehicles…

    AK, AK, AK… Tonns of them everywhere… on every forum…

    • abecido

      This is because most Americans can buy an AK at a local gun storre.
      GSh aircraft cannon and grenade launchers, not so much.

  • suchumski

    this is what i like about TFB, you say AK47 and get so much information about other guns.

  • Thenewwheel

    I thinks was something like current AR, direct or short stroke, full taticool wave. All soviet engineers were working around the same concept, I guess a “evo-StG44″. If you keep in mind that was a communist country “sharing” details between design teams. Hero comrade kalasnikov was part of the process.

    StG44
    StG44

  • John C.

    Is the AK the same design as the STG-44? Certainly not. Was it inspired by the MKb-42, the STG-44, and late war German assault rifle prototypes? Definitely. The Soviet concept of the “assault rifle” was the same and both developed an intermediate cartridge by starting with their standard rifle ammo and shortening the case while using a lighter bullet. That was probably a matter of efficiency as opposed to merely copying the Germans however.

    The Soviets were huge users of SMGs so naturally they loved what the idea of such a weapon. Yet despite having the same goal and similar outward appearances they Soviets designed it their way. It was an operating system they had some experience with via other prototypes. They had to built it to the production methods practiced by the Soviet Union.

    Like many firearm’s designers Kalashnikov drew inspiration from other successful designs Russian, German and American. That doesn’t mean his design belongs to the Germans or Americans however.

    Was Schmeisser involved to some extent? Probably. Both the Americans and Soviets did not hesitate to take advantage of the German expertise they had obtained. Yet I doubt he did any of the actual design work. It wasn’t a matter of “help us copy/improve the STG-44″ but probably “tell us about requirement you set out to achieve, how you went about it, the problems encountered during development” etc.

    Obviously the Soviets had a lot of captured STGs and some MKbs to look at, yet such an inside view of the German rifle’s development process could only help efforts to make their own assault rifle. Maybe Schmeisser’s experiences proved useful in helping Kalashnivok’s team perfect the AK-46 into the final AK-47 design which beat the competition. Yet such help wouldn’t make it “his design” over Kalashnikov and his team. It’s likely that the competing design teams also benefited from the various German weapon designers working for the Red Army. Yet AFAIK none of the competing designs were direct copies of German weapons either.

    Would the Soviet have ended up with an assault rifle without Schmeisser? Of course. It just may have been a competitors instead of Kalashnikov depending on timing.

  • Timothy Wahl

    the ak-47 looks a lot like a copy of the sks(sks-45)…..figuring it pre dates the final ak-47 design…..call it what you’d like…similar operating system…similar trigger group…similar piston assembly….just too much in common to call it his own creation…

    • Raymond Hietapakka

      …operating system, SKS, tilting block,,,AK, rotating bolt? The CZ/VZ 858 is a better comparison, and the better performer.

  • Alex Kevarsky

    Kalashnikov’s story has plenty of missing or made up parts, but the author’s theory is not very convincing. For starters, I’d like to see the real sources for the purported admissions by Kalashnikov. What is cited in the article are quotes of quotes of quotes.

  • Greg

    I think America did.

    • MichaelZWilliamson

      Indeed. This sounds like something G Bush Sr had the CIA do in order to keep the Russians busy with Afghanistan, to set up the necessary political climate for his presidential run, then his son’s.

  • jack

    I have a few books about this subject in that early period in time. I will try to dig them out and report back. You need to understand that Mr. K did not design and build this himself. In fact he had a team of people helping him each step of the way. Many who were very experienced with prior designs. This was not hidden in the books that I have….

  • Russ

    I never once heard that guy ever mention a technical aspect of his design: Steel? Nyet! Chrome plating? Nyet! Welding? Nyet! Rate of twist? Nothing. A fraud.

  • Dracon1201

    You’re all dumb. The French developed the metallic cartridge which allowed these designs to exist. Since that allowed for modern firearms technology, we can thank the French for being the true designers of all modern firearms technology like the STG44, AK, HK, and AR.

  • 10x25mm

    Not sure who came up with the design elements of the AK-47, but the manufacturing engineering which made the design producible almost certainly came from Dr. Gruner (Grunow) of Metall und Lackierwarenfabrik Johannes Großfuß AG in Doebeln. He designed the MG.42 and was a ‘guest’ of the Russians into the 1950′s. Hot riveting, capturing machined steel elements within stampings, and the takedown methodology of the two weapons are strikingly similar. Only after Dr. Gruner’s redesign was the stamped steel receiver AK-47 producible.

    • Thiago Kurovski

      That I can believe. Making the stamped steel receiver AK producible (AND NO IT DOES NOT FALLS APART, a guy found working examples and wrote about them in this same site) was probably above Soviet engineering capacities of the time (hey, it was probably above everybody but the germans).

  • ramblin84

    If you want the best assessment of this topic, the book, The Gun by C. J. Chivers contains some of most thorough integrated research on the topic.

  • KC O

    I think logic would dictate that if you were Russia in the 40′s and had access to someone like Schmessier you would use his vast knowledge to assist in any way the development of a new national gun. Since the war was over and Russian and German relations were “strained” one could also see the idea of using Kalashnilov as the poster boy for the new weapon. The AK has several different influences of previous guns and that is what designers do: build off of great designs and improve/alter them for the situation. Arguing about the absolute designer of the gun is like arguing about who makes the best pasta….

  • Zenchan

    Alex, I have heard this story a couple of times over the years, and it does not add up to the historical facts: The AK 47 draws inspirations from a number of forerunners, most of them russian designs from the 1920ies und 1930ies. At this time (and most people do not know this, there was a secret cooperation between the Weimarian Republic (post WWI Germany) and the Soviet Union on industrial an military level. Google: 1922, Treaty of Rapallo. The intermediate cartridge was a German brainchild of the early 1930ies and some specimen found their way into the “Leningrad Nikolaevsky Military Engineering Technical Institute of the Armed Forces of the USSR” (mother of all small arms developments) and to the Schuworo training and testing institute outside Moscow. Also note that the cartridge “obrazet goda 1943″ is much longer and more powerful that the 8 x 33 of the Sturmgewehr. Nathaniel is right, the long, massive gas piston design can be found in various Soviet Weapons, all of which were gas-operated, the same goes for banana magazines and similar recognizable outside features. The inside of the AK 47, the hammer/trigger group, the locking mechanism is very unlike the Stgw 44. I had the chance to quizz M T. Kalshnikow twice, once on his first trip to Germany in 1997 and then for more than a week in 2002, when I hosted him in Suhl (home of the Stgw 44 made by Haenel there and the East German AK copy). According to him, he looked more to Garand and Simonow for inspirations than to the German MKb-Series from Haenel and Walther, as he never had a chance to really inspect those captured in the years 1944 and 1945 . Only much later he got to see them. Schmeissers big influence in the Stgw-design was not so much on the operatuing parts, but in the way it was manufactured with pressed and cold-bent components. That was the expertise the Russians wanted, when they took him to Ishewsk to work there from 1946-1952. By the time he arrived in Ishewsk, the first AK-design had long been finished. Developed in 1945 and 1946, it fired a 7.62 x 41 mm cartridge, which was then favoured by the army.

    • Dokpkj Nonya

      The FCG is very similar, in fact.

  • Dokpkj Nonya

    The Soviets were KNOWN for stealing ideas and white washing the truth. Here is a channel that is just a quick example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NU6C6Gj2XlE

  • John D

    The gun forums are full of low information ideologues that insist the STG44 did not inspire the AK. They also make ridiculous claims about the accuracy of the AK.

    • Dokpkj Nonya

      The totality of the circumstances tell anyone with a brain that the theory of use was stolen and thus the assault rifle concept. Hugo was delayed a full 6 months from returning to Germany, behind other POWs.. the entire thing, when considering the Soviets’ reputation for doing this type of crap, is a white wash. And LOL @ Russian “snipers”. All propaganda.

      • Thiago Kurovski

        The assault rifle concept can be boiled down to “SMG with real bullets.” Everybody had thought of it.

  • k

    Not this again, Alex. Wasn’t trolling your favorite message board with this enough?

    • Dokpkj Nonya

      Idiots like you also believe George Zimmerman is guilty? Or perhaps you haven’t noticed how white washing happens?

  • Tracy Thorleifson

    It’s just plain silly to think *any* firearm design springs full-formed from the forehead of its inventor. All firearms designs are influenced to one extent or another by existing weapons; gun design is an incremental, evolutionary process. You can be sure Kalashnikov (and whoever else who may have contributed to the AK design) carefully studied every extant military firearm available, including the StG 44, before putting pen to paper on the AK.

    • Dokpkj Nonya

      No, you can’t “be sure” because Kalashnikov likely didn’t design anything at all..

  • Leonids Smagars

    Such “revelations” about Hugo Schmeisser or “AK is just a rip-off of StG-44″ have been chewed over and out for decades.
    They all ignore “little” facts like the history of automatic and semiautomatic Soviet designs made not just during WWII, but well before it. AVS-36, SVT-40, anti-tank rifles, all had over the barrel gas piston, detachable box magazine, sights typical of AK style. AVS and SVT were of short stroke design though. Still AK looks somewhat like a shortened version of those two.
    Bolt is “a bit” different from StG-44. So is the disassembly, however disassembly is actually a tricky one fact, see, Kalashnikov actually preferred lower+upper receiver style, much like that on StG-44 and even AR-15 in most of his early SMG, machine gun, carbine and early AK designs, this changed only on later AK prototypes. Some believe it was because Kalashnikov snatched ideas from other competitors during 1946 trials.
    And there we come to another point, if AK was a copy, why make a whole competition with all the best gun design bureaus involved? After all, Soviets copied B-29 and made it under the name of Tu-4, no concourse was needed. Same with AK being designed by Germans, why other teams? It would make sense to run other competitors as a backup, if Germans sabotaged te project, BUT there was a backup for AK anyway – more traditional SKS. So what’s the point?

    Also, Schmaisser and Kalashnikov worked not just in different bureaus, but in different towns. And if AK was designed by Germans… was it more help or a diversion, since AK as intended – stamped, was finally made possible only in late 1950s? That’s some help, it took “only” a dozen of years to finally reach the original goal! Common, with some hints from their spies Soviets made nuclear bomb in just a few years, is a rifle that much more difficult?
    What is true, Kalashnikov wasn’t alone, it was a whole bureau, but he was either a chief designer or no less than a very influential one.

  • EthanP

    Without getting involved in Kalashnikov’s involvement (speculation) there are some facts. The USSR had a proud tradition of claiming invention of other’s ideas. The AK 47 internals bare strong resemblance to other designs. The trigger group has strong similarity to the US M-1 Garand. The bolt appears to be from an M-1 Carbine. The overall layout does indeed resemble that of the Stg-44. Remember that the pre production series, the MK-42h would have been captured in 1943. Finally, and this IS irrefutable, the 7.62×39 M-43 ammo is so close to the experimental “Geco” M-35 7.75×39.5, to include the case taper that it can’t be coincidence. In 1942 the 7.75 was reduced to 7.62. If we accept the Soviet designation of M-43, it’s plenty of time for Soviet intelligence to have obtained samples and specs. And the actual date could easily have been 1944 or 45. The Choice of caliber was certainly based on national caliber. But the choice of cases? The Germans were already equipped to make 7.92 barrels, but the 33mm case used was also based on the existing 57mm rifle case. In the USSR, the 7.62mm bullet was also the logical choice. But since they had no analogue of the Mauser case, it was just as easy to go to the Geco design rather than the one from Polte. And it is usual with the USSR to go in directions no one else does. No Soviet weapon intentionally interchanges with any one elses’, Parts or ammo. My information on the development of the “Geco” round is from “German Military Rifles and Machine Pistols” by Hans Dieter Gotz, pp 198-200.

  • Steve_7

    I agree with you to the extent that other people were involved, but we don’t know exactly who and to what extent. That Kalashnikov developed it on his own clearly isn’t the case, nothing in the Soviet Union was developed by one guy or one guy and his own team, it was all a socialist paradise supposedly. Him inventing it largely on his own is just a Soviet propaganda story that has persisted to this day.

  • A.D. Hopkins

    Compelling arguments. But I didn’t understand the reference to it not being Danish. Please let me in on that joke, or whatever it is.

  • SandMouse

    A lot of people have openly proclaimed over the years that Kalashnikov’s designs were merely Soviet knockoffs, but I applaud the honesty, and no doubt courage, that it took to post this article in a professional industry publication. I find this very compelling, especially considering most engineers never invent one thing and then stop inventing. Why is Kalashnikov the only firearm inventor in the world with only one invention?

    • Seryoga

      You were not careful reader of the above, SandMouse. Kalashnikov had several significant developments. In particular his GPMG “PK” is great and famous too.

  • CF

    There’s obviously a lot more copied tech that went into the AK than MK’s original genius.
    You’ll have to do better than an some old guy telling me that ‘his’ rifle and the German one are nothing alike; when I can see the similarities inside and out…
    Also, MK didn’t seem to keep on inventing like most other weapons designers do. Not much else, if anything else, has really come from him. His job seems to have been a national hero for PR than a true weapons developer… just saying.

    • Zugunder

      You can see the similarities, huh? Well that’s worth a lot, lol.

  • Seryoga

    Thank you Nathaniel! We can also mention Bulkin tkb-415. Study arms history Alex before making a hint of Kalashnikov vodka as his best advantage. He developed many pieces of art before he passed in the age of 94. E.g. His GPMG “PK” was a separate great device. Probably the best in the world till now. Please find and have a look. If you like to compare Kalashnikov to anyone, your choice of Eugene Stoner would be more correct than Browning. You can easily find a video of their friendly conversation where many things were clearly explained.. Good luck!

  • walter12

    Oh, come on, everyone knows that the Soviets copied the Germans on almost every thing.

  • http://www.serbu.com Mark Serbu

    I love this article, and the subsequent discussions…very interesting! Not to dis my friend, Max, but I tend to subscribe to the notion that Kalashnikov was elevated to hero status more for political than for actual reasons. And whatever the real history, I love my MP-44 and I love my AKs!

  • tinacn

    Ngh…yawn. There are similar stories from quite a few places about how someone “stole” someone elses’s design, got rich or famous or both while the REAL inventor died a pauper…nice article, cool thorough research, but who really cares? Both men are dead, and who would be surprised if Kalashnikov was the “junior designer”? Would WE give credit to our enemy for designing a successful weapon we liked? Nope.

  • Capt. Obvious

    Because it’s not like the Russians ever borrowed on designs of others right????? If anyone can produce an example of a gas operated semi-automatic Russian assault rifle which used a 7.62×39 like round prior to the invasion by Germany I’ll concede that the AK was a Russian design. Until then there’s too much evidence to case more than enough doubt on Kalashnikov’s claim.

  • Bobnailer

    CJ Chivers book “The Gun” goes into great detail as to the origins of the AK47. The Soviets admit that they took what they considered the best aspects of the world’s small arms and incorporated it into theirs, including the AK’s design. Kalashnikov became the Soviets’ poster-boy for the alleged inventiveness of the working class proletariat. The AK is remarkable in that was designed by committee and as we all know, decisions made by committee usually suck, but in this case they succeeded magnificently. Heck, the Bear bomber is based on the old Boeing B29 bomber, three of which Stalin kept when American airmen had to make emergency landings in Russia during WWII; Stalin ordered that they be copied. So ya, I agree Kalashnikov didn’t create the AK, but I’m sure he had made a little contribution to it.
    Bob

  • http://realskill.ru Ayur Sandanov

    I am sorry, but this article sounds like newcomers’ “discoveries”. The eternal holy war of “did Schmeisser design AK” is a veritable staple of Russian general forums and firearms communities, and is long since has been dismissed as a conspiracy theory — not because of the admiration and awe before Kalashnikov, but because of the research put into the question by historians and enthusiasts alike. Nowadays, the “discovery” can only be made by the new guys on the forums and social networks, to be quickly put to rest with a comprehensive explanation, data and illustrative material from more experienced folks. To sum it all quickly:

    1. The layout similarities of StG-44 and AK are “evident” only to a layman. Internally, almost all of the main design choices are different, so much that the similarities end with the top gas tube and raised sights. Different are the structure of the receiver/foreend/pistol grip, takedown principle, the layout of recoil mechanism and so on.

    2. The heart of every selective fire weapon – the locking mechanism – is markedly different in its operating principle. AK is not tilt-locking. That alone puts both weapons in different design pedigrees.

    3. It is generally agreed that Hugo Schmeisser did not work on the design of firearm itself, but most likely contributed greatly to the refinement of cold stamping technology, which was leading-edge everywhere – and lacking in USSR at the time.

    4. There is, indeed, much doubt about the official story about Kalashnikov as a young but already accomplished genius. Though looking at his later designs, we can’t dismiss his proficiency as a firearms engineer, but his breakthrough, the AK, most likely was a collective work. There is a detailed analysis of designer notes, acceptance trials notes and different first-hand accounts of the time. On one side of the spectrum, there is a notion that Kalashnikov was someone’s protege (as a young, bright, unaffiliated designer), and as such was given all the resources, an experienced Russian team (headed by Zaitsev), and was permitted to borrow without restraint from the competing rifles after the first round of trials. The other side of the spectrum is basically the same, but with better intentions and nicer vibe: when after the first round Kalashnikov’s rifle was found lacking, his older colleagues helped him basically overhaul the design (again, borrowing from competitors). Either way, the trials themselves are documented, and AK lost the first round but was overhauled and won the second (and even then with reservations on grouping). Again, all of the versions are documented and info on them is openly available and published.

    5. The design influences are accepted openly, even by Kalashnikov himself. As any firearms designer will know, much of his work is compilative – even more so when all the designers are considered comrades working towards the same goal. There were a plethora of sources for imitation, including open borrows from Browning, Remington and Sudaev (who died before finishing his entry to the same project), and controversial borrows from Bulkin (the main competitor at trials) and other competitors.

    As for imitation of German designs, it is undeniable and logical – Germans were long on a forefront of firearms development, and, as others posters pointed out, for these designers it was commendable to borrow from the latest and the best. But researchers point out that precisely because of this, AK borrowed second-hand, from already implemented Soviet developments (including, of course, the intermediate round which was THE WHOLE POINT of the project, and was made by downsizing the respective standard rounds of the respective country). It is interesting to note that both Chinese and Russians have a “reputation” of borrowing Western ideas and developments, but there is a marked difference: Russians started doing this several centuries earlier, in the early 1700s, and ever since took the “originals” with a grain of salt. Almost always, improvements were proposed and some parts of the adopted technology overhauled or dismissed.

    Lastly, I apologize for the long post. I see that Max Popenker already entered the conversation, and very emotionally at that!

  • raven

    This is exactly why I don’t read anything Alex C. posts on this blog.

  • medawar

    This isn’t the only field in which America and the USSR did long-term damage to their own technical progress by unthinkingly grabbing every Nazi designer that they could, in preference to developing their own innovations, had they any.

    For a long time, both countries had rocket programmes based on the V2, and when the Americans finally dropped this for the space shuttle, it was largely General Dornberger’s concept of the shuttle which prevailed. This concept had been on his desk while he was working for Hitler. Quite a lot of original American concepts were shelved or junked because “Nazi science” was cool, not because it was actually better.

    With regard to military firearms design, I think the Swiss got a better deal out of fleeing Nazi engineers that either America or the USSR:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MG_51

    Meanwhile, the Sten Gun (like the more nicely built Lanchester carbine) was heavily inspired by the MP18 and MP28, but that didn’t stop the Germans copying the Sten gun back again!

    The Makarov pistol and its 9mmx18 cartridge seems to be a direct copy of a Luftwaffe programme to update and improve the Walther PPK, too.

    Nobody, however, tried to copy THIS design:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sterling_7.62

    and I really don’t think the MoD ever seriously planned to adopt it, even in an emergency.
    Even the designer lost all enthusiasm for it once he test fired it himself.

  • Max Glazer

    Total load of rubbish if ever I read one.

    Lets list the key differences.

    AK has rotating bolt. STG uses tilting bolt.
    AK has a full-length box receiver with a top cover while StG is a “breakable” design similar to that of AR-15 and to open up the receiver one had to remove the butt stock off the StG.
    StG was stamped and the first serially produced AKs were milled.
    The system which uses a long stroke gas-driven action has been developed long before WW2 even took place. Funnily enough in Russia.

    So some parts were influenced by foreign weapons. Based on that I might claim that Israelis copied AK by having long-stroke gas system. Or that AR is a copy of StG because of “breaking” 2-piece receiver. Stupid claim.

    The claim that AK is a copy of StG-44 is old and is a long-ago disproven myth. So Mister Alex C. is far from being first to claim it and surely won’t be the last to be proven wrong. Keep stepping on the garden rake.

  • Azzy

    Wow, I see you’re still upset over this Alex. Did somebody copy your homework as a child, and leave you permanently distraught over “stolen” ideas? Yes, Kalashnikov drew inspiration from the StG rifles. Just like practically every other engineer in every field of study in the world draws inspiration from designs that already exist. And yeah, maybe he lied about it, so what? Have you never told a lie before, Alex?
    The bottom line is that Kalashnikov’s rifle is among the most iconic and prolific rifles in the world, while the StG sits in museums as a neat novelty. Kalashnikov made a better gun, and that’s why he gets remembered. Are you also going to write an article about how almost every modern handgun made drew inspiration from Browning’s tilting barrel design? It’s always struck me as strange, how you’re so unbelievably hung up on bashing Kalashnikov, but I guess that’s just your obsessive personality.
    But go ahead. Type a holier-than-thou, condescending response, as usual. You have to look good in front of your TFB pimps. I’m sure you really “appreciate my input”.

  • Rage

    Alex C., you are a disgrace and a complete novice.

  • eric lockshaw

    What about the develoment of the SVT 40? it also used the long piston & adjustable gas port.

  • Kivaari

    I suspect you missed much of the pre-war designs looking to come up with similar weapons. The intermediate cartridge was being looked at in Germany, Soviet Union and Switzerland. Soviets were looking at 5,6 mm cartridges pre-war. The 6.5mm civil war era Federov should not be dismissed.
    Both Soviets and Germans made the logical choice to use the bore diameters used in the standard issue rifles. A M91/30 barrel could become several PPSh41 or AK barrels. When Soviets were turning out thousands of PPSh41s mid-war changing caliber would have been crazy. Same for the STG43/44.
    Neither cartridge performed well as far as range. Both did conserve materials.
    The early AK (what we call the AK47) used sheet metal receivers, with the stock attachment point being weak. The milled receiver guns lasted a short time, until better sheet metal receivers were developed (AKM). The 1mm thick receivers were easily crushed, and still are. The Yugo uses 1.5mm material, and the light machinegun barrel extension to improve weapons life.
    In talking with N. Sirkus regarding the Galil work, he said Galli picked up an AKM, looked at it, threw it to the ground, stepped on it and crushed the receiver. Then said, “When we build ours, it will have a milled receiver”. Unfortunately the Galil is prone to receiver cracks at the rear of the locking lug recesses.
    The first 1000 rifles were built using Valmet M 62s actions, M16 barrel blanks and Stoner 63 magazines.
    Neither the AK or STG44 was completely thought out. Just from the aspect of hand guards and heat shields, crude sights, lack of bolt hold open, and on the 44, sling swivels on the wrong side.
    I like the AK, but it sure needs modern features to make it a better rifle. The mm is really club-like.
    The Swiss test pieces at least looked better, and had a visual resemblance to the VG45.
    The stubby Swiss round in 7.5mm is very 7.62x39mm like.

  • Michael

    Kalashnikov NEVER admitted any help from Hugo, this is a lie that has been repeated OVER AND EVER on the internet, and sadly we’ll probably will see no end of it. There is no sources for this claim.