He overheard wounded Russian soldiers, in 1942, complaining about Soviet rifles and Mikhail Kalashnikov decided to change that.
2. Kalashnikov rifles were first produced in 1947 and went on to become the standard issue assault rifle of the Russian Army in 1949.
3.Mikhail Kalashnikov did not patent the design, therefore he did receive any royalties from the sale of the guns. This means that he did not get rich off his invention.
4. The AK-47 was first seen by the world in 1956 when the then Soviet Army used them (with their tanks) to crush the Hungarian uprising. Thousands of people were killed.
The gun is not really accurate, however it's selling points are as follows:
It is very durable.
Low cost of production.
Low cost of maintenance.
It is easy to operate (a 9 year-old can learn how to use it in just a few hours).
It can perform in both sandy and wet conditions without jamming.
According to the Guiness Book of Records, the AK-47 is the most widely used gun in the world and in history. There are more than 100 Million Kalashnikovs in use.
7. More than 30 countries are licenced to produce the AK-47 including China, Israel, India, Nigeria e.t.c. And there are many illegal and low-quality copies flying around.
8.The AK-47 has killed more people than artillery fire, airstrikes and rocket fire combined. At least 250,000 people are killed by AK-47's every year.
9. Mikhail Kalashnikov actually said that he did not lose any sleep over his invention. "It's the politicians who are to blame for failing to come to an agreement and resorting to violence" he said.
However four months before his death he wrote a letter in which he wrote that he was worried that he may have been complicit in the deaths of countless innocent people.
He was obviously one troubled soul.
The AK-47 is very cheap, in some African and Middle-Eastern countries it can be bought for just $200 or even much cheaper than that.
11.The AK-47 rifle is the standard issue rifle of many national armies, many commando groups and all guerilla and insurgency groups.
12. Many American soldiers still actually use the AK-47 rifle, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan, not only because the sand and dust does not affect them but also because it is so widely used that you can easily get the bullets off dead enemy soldiers during battle.
Some countries and armed groups actually have the symbol of the AK-47 on their emblems: Mozambique has the image of an AK-47 on it's National flag.
Zimbabwe, Burkina Faso (1984-1997) and East Timor have AK-47 in their Coat of Arms.
The Lebanese militant group, Hezbollah, has an AK-47 on it's flag.
14. The AK-47 has been immortalised by Egypt which has erected a giant monument in the Sinai Peninsular portraying a barrel and a bayonet of a Kalashnikov rifle.