Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Milestones Passed

Sic transit gloria mundi! 
For those of you who don't speak Latin, "Thus passes the glory of the world.” 

Mikhail Kalashnikov was not a man you could easily pigeon hole. He wanted to be a poet but his love of country lead him to serve first as a tank mechanic and later as a tank commander. Despite his skill at weapon invention and improvement, he continued to write and publish several books and poems. 

Mikhail Kalashnikov has died but his ideas remain. You may not recognize the name Kalashnikov, but we all recognize his legacy, the AK-47. 

Two AK-47 on wood floor
I stole this photo from the Internet.  These two might be the nicest AK-47s  I've ever seen.  The wood furniture looks nice and the metal has a nice finish.  The gun's real glory is it's simplicity and reliability. 

I remember seeing those ugly, crude-looking semi auto rifles at gun shows in the late 70s when they were selling for well under $100. Why would I want that piece of Russian junk I asked myself? Later with more wisdom and 20/20 hindsight I wish I had bought several.

You'll probably never see an AK punching holes in the X-ring at 600 yards without extensive re-work. But if you need a rifle you could drop in a river, shake it out and shoot all day and hit a man-size target at 200 yards, an AK would be a good choice. 

America often found AKs in the hands of our enemies, with good reason. The rifles are robust, durable, easy to repair, easy to make and easy to use. And they require little training to fire. It has been said that Mikhail Kalashnikov's genius was not in making an easy-to-manufacture rifle, but in making a rifle that allowed an untrained man to become an effective fighting unit with 4 hours of training. 

Tactical content? 
Simple is good. Any weapon that performs in cold, dirt, rain, muck and mire and still gives you a minute of man groups at 200 yards is better than that ultra precise, highly tuned weapon that delivers four-leaf clover groups at 200 yards, but jams if you look at it sideways.

If you think you might be going to dangerous places in this world and you know you might have to pick up a weapon and use it, you would be wise to spend a little pre-trip time getting to know the AK-47.

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