The Kalashnikov Encyclopedia – A Three Volume Set

Just when you thought print was dead. Dr. Cor Roodhorst has authored a second edition monumental three-volume encyclopedia set on the Kalashnikov rifle. Each volume contains manufacturers from different countries along with detailed pictures and diagrams that complements the vast amount of history and information.


From a post on the website:

There are currently only a handful of noteworthy English language reference books covering the AK-47 and its variants. Probably three of the most recognized, comprehensive, and sought-after works in the US are Frank Iannamico’s AK-47: The Grim Reaper: Second Edition, the bilingual Russian coffee table book Kalashnikov Arms by Alexei Nedelin, and AK-47 & Kalashnikov Variation by Masami Tokoi. Unlike the Nedelin book, which is more of a pictorial history with minimal textual content, Iannamico’s book is filled with both photos and written information. The Tokoi book is entirely in Japanese, but was offered with an English translation booklet that frequently is not included with the tome.

Although The Grim Reaper is superlative and arguably the finest book when compared to the other two, color photos are only found in an insert section added to the second edition. The first edition does not include them. Kalashnikov Arms is replete with beautiful images, but lacking in terms of informational content. As previously cited, AK-47 & Kalashnikov Variation frequently becomes separated from its translation booklet, making the text useless to English speakers that do not read Japanese. When the English add-on is available, the information is good, but not all-encompassing.

Furthermore, except for AK-47: The Grim Reaper: Second Edition, which was published in 2013, Kalashnikov Arms was released in 1997, while AK-47 & Kalashnikov Variation came out in 1993. Consequently, two of these reference works are relatively outdated.

Enter Dutchman Cor Roodhorst’s The Kalashnikov Encyclopaedia, which not only addresses all the shortcomings of the three books previously mentioned, but also fills in gaps that have never been addressed by any book ever written on the AK-47 and its derivatives. With a publishing date of 2015, it is also the most recently updated of all AK reference guides.

Roodhorst’s work is impossibly ambitious. In the space of three enormous volumes weighing 17 lbs. 3 oz. and spanning 3,860 pages with thousands of photographs—most of them in full color—virtually every variation of AK is covered in depth based on an evaluation and flowchart system that identifies what firearms are AKs, variants, derivatives, or distant inspirational relatives. By rating the interchangeability of parts with established AK types, while also ranking functionality and cosmetics into his methodology, Roodhorst has developed a logical classification system, along with a flowchart to explain how a firearm is classified.

For example, guns that are both Russian and indisputably pure AKs are considered to be “Original,” while those with the least amount of parts commonality are defined as “Derivative Type Z.” All of the weapons that fall in between these two maximum and minimum categories are broken down into other groupings (e.g., Copy Type A, Copy Type B, Copy Type C, Derivative Type A, Derivative Type B, Derivative Type C, Derivative Type D, and Derivative Type Y). That is how the author identifies how and what firearms are included in the encyclopedia.

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I can think of at least three TFB writers that would love to have these books. Myself included.



Place An Order (USA):



LE – Science – OSINT.
On a mission to make all of my guns as quiet as possible.
Twitter: @gunboxready
Instagram: @tfb_pete


  • Giolli Joker

    I don’t know if TFB readership is ready for the fallout of articles after the arrival of these books in Fitch’s mansion. 🙂
    (BTW, I want it)

    • Hinermad

      Bring it on! I’m ready.

      They even have a photo of a PSL. Cool!

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    TFB needs a copy to ref fights in the comment section.

  • Malthrak

    $65 for shipping, $213 for the books, $~280 combined.


    I picked up Iannamico’s book for like $80 or something a couple years ago, but man, while this looks super cool…thats a spicy meatball to swallow.


    • Pete – TFB Writer

      See updated post. $199 shipped.

      • Malthrak

        Why would you tell me this? This is how my wallet dies…

        • Pete – TFB Writer

          I’ll split it with you.

  • Sermon 7.62

    Kudos to this dude!

  • roguetechie


    You had to show those two teaser pictures at the bottom with the Lada 2000’s!

    I’ve been fascinated from first mention with the Czech AK builds. In general I love czechnology!

    Everything from two of the three vz52’s, vz 58, cz 75, cz 82, cz 83, and even the funky grand power pistol have found homes in my gun safe.

    • BattleshipGrey

      Czechnology, that’s awesome.

      • roguetechie

        I only wish I could complete the triad of vz 52’s with a semiautomatic version of the vz52 lmg.

        What’s a vz52 lmg you ask?

        Weeellll imagine that you left an rpd and a vz26/bren alone on a summer night with a bottle of wine…

        9 months later a bouncing bundle of joy comes along firing either 7.62×45 or 7.62×39 in belts a la rpd or in top fed magazines a la bren. Unlike 249 the magazines do apparently work just fine, as does the belt feed mechanism.

        If I could get one of those, I’d be very happy. However AFAIK there’s a very few post samples around and possibly a couple transferrable, but I don’t have that kinda cash.

        Still sad that the cz805 is so disappointing, and that the uk59 is being abandoned.

        • BattleshipGrey

          Could you find a non-operating version of the vz52 if you need to fill a wall hanging space?

    • iksnilol

      Grand Power is Slovak. And as far as I know the Czechs never made AKs, only VZ 58s.

      • roguetechie

        Yes I’m aware grand power is Slovakian, however it still counts… Don’t ask why it just does lol.

        The number of Lada AK’s made wasn’t large by any means, but they do exist. They’re extremely nice, and interestingly a very small shipment wound up here during the golden years of buying up whole warehouses of milsurp sight unseen post soviet union.

        Just Google Lada 2000 AK and click to images for a view of them.

        P.S. I had no idea they existed for a long time either.

        • iksnilol

          I thought those were only prototypes and whatnot. Color me pleasantly surprised.

        • Sermon 7.62

          Lada is good!

  • john huscio

    Looks like a Nice supplement to my “assault rifles of the world” (Gary Paul Johnson)….. that one is as thick as a Chinese phonebook and deals with rifles by country.

  • Tritro29

    As a Russian I find the use of Federal Flag inappropriate. There should be a red banner or nothing. At least 13/14 ethnicities were involved in creating the AK (from design to quality control. Ok sometimes they were asleep during QC, must have been Estonians).

    • Vasily

      Agree, countryman. Wonder how many people can actually appreciate the “asleep” joke? 🙂

      • Tritro29

        I don’t think one can appreciate the asleep joke, but Russians (or Russian-Estonians, or Estonian Russians, there’s another joke in here somewhere).

        While we’re at Estonian jokes, how do you know how far you are from Tallinn? By asking how close you are from the border with Russia.

        Why do Estonians try and suppress Russian language? Because you got twice as many chances to find a work (this one is complicated).

        • Vasily

          Heh, I got the first one, bun no, I’m not getting the second one. I’m from Siberia, things like modern Russian-Estonian humor are beyond me 🙂

    • Sermon 7.62

      It’s the flag of Russian Empire. The red flag is the flag of Communism.

  • M

    CJ Chivers’ “The Gun” is another good read

    • M

      Less technical, more historical though

  • Jas

    Interestingly, Dr Roodhorst almost did not write the book. The Dutch police withdrew his collectors license because they thought he was getting too famous by writing this book and that would attract criminals to the place where he keeps his collection. In the Netherlands you have to be active if you want to collect any sort of firearms. If you are not active (eg writing books, lecturing, publishing research etc) your license will be withdrawn. However, in this case the police used the fact that dr Roodhorst published his encyclopedia V1.0 (thus conforming to the legal requirement to be an ‘active’ collector) as an excuse to withdraw his license, considering him a threat to public order. Dr Roodhorst spent two years and a loooot of money fighting this decision in court. Typical case of ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’. The police does not want the encyclopedia in their library. They say it is too expensive.

  • Ominae

    Dammit. I want these.

    Unfortunately, I’ll need to figure out space in my bookshelf and my folks’ll think I’m too obsessed with firearms.

  • Chris22lr

    What always makes me wonder is how all these books, with so much effort put into them, still use popular, but erroneous, moniker “AK-47”.

    In the era of a truly world wide web it is not a problem to find hundreds of original Soviet/Russian references to the history of M43 cartridge, AK and SKS rifles. You can learn that “AK-47” is a name given to two different designs by M.T. Kalashnikov, and that up until 1949 the M43 cartridge was actually a 7.62x41mm. You can read that in 1949 AK was adopted by Soviets as just “AK” and it was firing new 7.62×39. Then you can read about it’s problems, replacement design with new milled receiver from 1951 and it’s final form in 1954. The whole story is available on the net, and for free. You want to know more – you can find many in-depth books by Russian authors who dwell on smallest details.

    Despite of all this there is another Western book about “AK-47” and that puts me off. I’d have no problem with using that name in a popular science style work (or work which doesn’t focus on firearms history and development), but these books are presented as a definitive reference to the topic. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe it’s all there but author’s webpage still refers to three AK production variants as “AK-47”, and makes no mention of 7.62×41. This makes me wary.

    We make fun of not gun-oriented, general news journalists who can’t learn the difference between M16 and AR-15, or call every pistol a “Glock”. But in the same time we, gun professionals and enthusiasts, make the same mistake we laugh at. Can’t we get a little more… accurate?

    • Tritro29

      1. What? The 57-231 (M43 -41mm) was redesigned prior the end of WW2. And It was done by adding the boat tail and shortening the case (38.5mm). The AK/Bulkin/Dementiov and the gang were all tested with the 57-231PN or PS (38.5mm). The only rifles tested with the 57-231( were the Tokarev family and the Sudaev 44.
      2. IOC rifles were all dated. Before the AK model of 47, there was the AK model of 46. The introduction of the rifle as the AK sometimes has had literature highlighting obr. g. 1949 (which means model of year 1949).

      3. There was no “new” milled receiver, but rather the 47 model had two types milled and stamped receiver as a fall back measure while the 46 model was inherently stamped and more fragile. The milled was rejected as time consuming. Unfortunately, this came to haunt the committee when the stampings were not sturdy enough to be inducted.

      It’s a two way street.

      Edit: Also the Simonov family or Rifles along with the Tokarev family of rifles have no bearing with the “assault rifle” program.

  • HAHA73

    These would look good next to my encyclopedia Britainicas

  • Kalash

    If you hop on to the TheAKForum you can buy them for $190, shipped, from a guy who imported several pallet full of them. Great deal. Just got mine yesterday. They are packed well, using an exterior box with packing peanuts and a box inside with each volume shrink wrapped.

  • Kalash

    You can get them for $190 shipped from a guy selling them on TheAKForum. He imported at least a pallet full of them. They come well packaged. Just got mine yesterday. Nothing else like it.

  • philippes

    I’m the official US distributor for this set. The overview/review found on the AK Forum shown above was written by me. I charge $199.95 (shipped in the US). I can be found by Googling “Cool F/X.”

    • Pete – TFB Writer

      Email me your contact information and I’ll update the story. From your orginal post, it looked like the preorder timeframe was over.

    • Pete – TFB Writer

      Disregard. Post updated.

      • philippes

        Thank you!