Kalashnikov Biography

Mikhail Kalashnikov is inventor and designer of the world's best assault rifle. He was the first in the world to develop and manufacture an operational line of small unified automatic weapons, based on the identical automatic action, design and operating principle.

Mikhail Kalashnikov was born on November 10, 1919, in the village of Kurya in Siberia. He was the seventeenth child of Timofey and Alexandra Kalashnikov. After graduating the 9th grade of a secondary school, Kalashnikov went to work in the Matai depot as an apprentice and later became a technical clerk at the Turkistan-Siberian railway.

In 1938, Kalashnikov was called for military service, served in Kiev's special military district and graduated from tank driver's school. During his service, Kalashnikov established him self as inventor. He devised an inertia revolution in counting and registering the number of actual shots from a tank gun, made a special appliance for the TT pistol to enhance fire effectiveness through the tank turret slits and designed a tank running time meter.

In June of 1941, Kalashnikov, as an inventor, was sent by Army Commander General Zhukov to Leningrad to work on implementation of his recent invention. From the outset of the World War II Senior Sergeant Kalashnikov fought against fascist invaders as a tank commander. In October of 1941 he was seriously wounded in the violent battle for Bryansk. While in a hospital, Kalashnikov conceived the idea of a submachine gun. Later, while on a six-month sick leave, and with help of Matai depot craftsmen he implemented his invention and fabricated the first submachine gun and left for Aviation Institute in Alma-Ata. A second model of Kalashnikov's submachine gun was devised and manufactured in the shops of the Aviation Institute.

In June of 1942 the machine gun model was sent for evaluation to the Dzerzhinsky Academy in Samarkand, where an outstanding small arms specialist Blagonravov, expressed interest in sergeant Kalashnikov's submachine gun invention. This submachine gun was recommended for use in Army. Originality of design, the talent and efforts of the self-taught designer were highly appreciated. In 1942 Kalashnikov was assigned to the Central Research Directorate of the Small Range Arms of the Russian Army.

In 1944 Mikhail Kalashnikov devised a prototype of the self-loading carbine - a lightweight rifle with a short barrel; its main assemblies were used as a basis for an assault rifle made in 1946. In 1947, Kalashnikov's updated assault rifle demonstrated high reliability and fire effectiveness in robust competitive testing and was found to be the best. In 1949, modified version of originally designed in 1947 AK, the famous "Kalashnikov 7.62mm” assault rifle, was adapted by Russian Army.

Since 1949 Mikhail Kalashnikov has been living and working in Izhevsk. He worked his way up through the ranks from soldier to General Lieutenant and Chief Designer of small arms in the Russian Army.

Between 1950 and 1970, a series of unified small arms weapons developed by Kalashnikov - AKM, AKMS, AK-74, AKS-74, AK-74U, RPK, RPRS, RPK-74, RPKS-74, PK, PKS, PKM, PKSM, PKT, PKTM, PKB, PKMB, were adopted. The Russian government highly appraised Kalashnikov's contribution to the defense force of the country. To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the great designer, Russia's President honored Mikhail Kalashnikov with the Order "For Distinguished Services to the Motherland" Second Class and promoted him to General-Major.

The automatic weapons based on designed by Kalashnikov system are widely used and extremely popular world wide. Some countries, declared that the AK assault rifle helped them to gain national sovereignty and included its image in their national emblems, while in other countries newborn boys were named "Kalash."

So, what is behind the unprecedented popularity of the Kalashnikov assault rifle and what manifested it into a symbol? Mikhail Kalashnikov created an optimal symbiosis of a large number of features ensuring weapons high firing effectiveness and reliability.

These include the short locking assembly, balanced bolt, unseating of the cartridge case after shot, preventing failure during extraction of fired cases and trouble-free operation in any climate conditions.

For many years, Kalashnikov automatic weapons have been the focus of home and foreign arms historians. Many military historical museums around the world established collections of his weapons. Kalashnikov’s weapons were adapted as a primary standard for service at different times in different countries. The largest collection of experimental and standard small arms, developed by Mikhail Kalashnikov during the period of 1942 -1990, is kept in the Military Historical Museum of Artillery, Engineering Troops and Communications in St. Petersburg, the oldest military museum of Russia.

A second largest collection of developed by Kalashnikov weapons is located at the Izhmash JSC in Izhevsk, where Mikhail Kalashnikov has headed a design bureau since 1949. The Izhevsk collection comprises mostly systems developed by Kalashnikov after 1960.

With great honor Trevi Media offers its visitors and collectors around the world a unique collection of long blade armory designed and hand crafted in commemoration of great talent and accomplishments of renowned Russian designer Mikhail Kalashnikov who will turn 90 this year. All 25 items in this exclusive collection carry the engraved image of corresponding machine gun, General Kalashnikov embossed portrait and signature and accompanied with passport authenticated with Kalashnikov personal signature.