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Mikhail Kalashnikov

Mikhail Timofeevich Kalashnikov (born November 10, 1919) is a famous Russian gun designer.

He served during WWII as a tank commander. He was seriously wounded in October 1941. He designed his first submachine gun while in the hospital. In 1947, his updated assault rifle, known as the AK-47 (an acronym for "Avtomat Kalashnikov model 1947"), was found to display the highest reliability and most effective fire during arduous competitive tests. In 1949 the AK-47 assault rifle became operational in the Soviet Army.

Later in his career he developed a squad automatic weapon variant of the AK-47, known as the RPK-47 (Ruchnoi Pulemyot Kalashnikova - Kalashnikov's Light Machinegun), and also the PK (Pulemyot Kalashnikova - Kalashnikov's Machinegun), which used a much larger cartridge (the same full-powered rifle cartridge as employed in the Mosin-Nagant rifle). The cartridge was belt-fed rather than magazine-fed. In other respects, it was nearly the same design.

His son later became a weapons designer, and lost in the recent "Abakan" design competition which saw the adoption of the AN-94 Nikonov rifle by the Russian army.