AK-47: Best 6 Myths and Truths

The AK-47 is a legendary weapon and there are over 100 million Kalashnikov assault rifles in the world.
Soldier training with an AK-47 in a forest

Since 1947, there have been many legends about, probably the world’s most popular weapon ever made, the Kalashnikov assault rifle. Today, there are an estimated 100 million of these weapons worldwide in their different variants (AK-47).

Many people assume that the weapon we know today started its road to fame in 1947. Although, it was created in 1947, but this rifle went through an extensive series of adjustments to create the gun we know today. In the last 70 years, the famous AK-47 collected many myths around it.

Myth 1. The AK-47 is unique and unrivaled

ak 47 fire drill

AK Range by Eric Cerami. Public Domain.


The truth is that the Kalashnikov structure and technology are not unique. In fact, to date, more than 100 million Kalashnikovs have been produced by many countries around the world, and at least, half of them are fake. The official manufacturer of the Kalashnikov only makes about 10% of the Kalashnikovs in the world today.

Additionally, it has had a fierce competence against the M16, the American assault rifle. Although the Ak-47 has better performance regarding reliability, it isn’t that accurate compared to the M16.

Myth 2. The Kalashnikov cannot hit a long-distanced target

ak 47 long distance target
AK Range by Eric Cerami. Public Domain.

For highly trained soldiers, this is not an insurmountable problem. An experienced shooter doesn’t shoot directly at the target but aims slightly to the side and upwards taking into account wind force, air pressure, and range. It doesn’t sound easy, but all professionals know that long-range shooting brings these additional factors into play.

So, the AK-47 can perform well in long-range shooting in the hands of the right shooter.


Myth 3. The AK-47 is invincible and it cleans itself

ak 47 inspection
Sgt. 1st Class Phill Osbourn inspects an AK 47 found by 22nd Mobile. Public Domain.

There is a belief that the Kalashnikov is an all-terrain weapon that never fails even if you don’t take proper care of it, and that no matter the amount of mud or sand you throw at it, it will always keep on firing.

But, this is not entirely true. The whole idea of a self-cleaning firearm is not realistic, and even if the AK-47 is very reliable in extreme conditions, it can fail too. The AK-47 can function under extreme conditions longer than most rifles, including the M16, but it loses its reliability without good maintenance.

Myth 4. Kalashnikov-type weapons are old

ak 47 old
AK-47 Range by Anthony Zendejas. Public Domain.

The AK-47 is quite old with over 70 years on the battlefield but it is definitely effective. And it has evolved to be useful even in the modern era.


The modernization of the AK models led to the appearance of the 100 series which contains new materials, new technologies, new design, new solutions, and the firing characteristics are much better than previous variants.

As if that was not enough, in 2020, the AK-19 was announced which has improved ergonomics, and it looks like it will be many more decades in the global’s conflicts.

Myth 5. The AK-47 is extremely cheap

ak 47 pile
AK-47 by shutterstock.com.

The AK-47 is cheap to build when produced in a massive factory with low-wage workers and low-skilled labor.


But building a factory is expensive, and the materials, research, and design can be costly too. It is only cheap once you have all the tools, affordable labor costs, and a fabric. But, it will never be cheap when you take into account all the overhead involved in building a huge factory.

Myth 6. The AK-47 was Kalashnikov’s idea exclusively

AK 47 blueprint

Many people take it for granted that the Kalashnikov was created by Mikhail Kalashnikov alone since he is the one who is closely associated with the weapon.

But building a revolutionary weapon is no easy task, and a team of designers helped Kalashnikov mass-produce the AK-47. So, it is not only the embodiment of Kalashnikov’s genius but the result of a group of designers and engineers for many years.


The AK rifles are legendary and they have countless stories

The Ak-47 and all the Kalashnikov rifles are some of the most reliable weapons in the world.

But they aren’t perfect. If the Ak-47 is not well maintained, it will become useless and ineffective as any other rifle. It isn’t that cheap, and it’s not old; it is constantly evolving to face the challenges of the 21st century.

Featured image credit: MARSOC Marines complete AK-47 weapons by Janessa Dugan. Public Domain.