How has the AK-47 become such a common weapon used world wide?How has the AK-47 become such a common weapon used world wide?

Expert Answers
brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One thing that has not yet been mentioned is that, besides being mass produced for both the Cold War and for arms sales abroad, the Soviet Union also licensed Eastern Bloc countries to manufacture them, as well as some countries in Asia and Africa.  This meant they were made by the millions.

Its reputation as a durable, all purpose assault rifle has made it an inexpensive, easy to maintain and easy to find ammunition for weapon of choice for armies, rebellions and terror groups.  You can find one in a street bazaar in Somalia for just over $5, and the Russian government is still making them.  recently they agreed to sell 100,000 AK-47s to Venezuela for "Peoples' Militias" favoring Hugo Chavez.  So its reputation as a good weapon, its cheap price on the world and black markets, and its multiple sources of manufacture have made it the most readily available gun in the world.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In order for a weapon like the AK-47 to become popular worldwide, it has to be suitable for use by all the small armies and by the militant groups that exist in so many countries.  A weapon will be suitable for use by these kind of groups if it has characteristics like the following:

  • It has to be cheap.
  • It has to be easy to use.
  • It has to be easy to maintain
  • It has to be durable.

Many of the people who are buying these do not have all that much money.  They do not have much training and they are operating in harsh conditions.  Because of this, they need a cheap weapon that is easy to use and will last a long time. The AK-47 fits all these criteria and that is why it is so popular.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Soviet Union-made AK-47 (Avtomat Kalashnikova) still maintains a reputation as one of the finest fast-firing automatic assault rifles of the 21st century. Today, it is especially popular with revolutionary and terrorist groups. It is a fact that more AK-47s have been made than all other similar assault weapons of its kind combined. The AK-47 is a gas-operated rifle that fires a 7.62 mm round known for the hydrostatic shock wounds it produces. It originated in the 1940s and received its permanent name in 1947. Its greatest assets are its rugged durability, compact size, simplicity of use, and low cost to make.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Weapons such as the AK-47 are common because they are cheap, easy to use, and durable. I agree with the above posts that the weapon has a reputation as being tough and long-lasting. Let's admit it, it's also a pretty scary looking weapon and intimidation is important.
lrwilliams eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would agree that the fact that it is mass produced all over the world is a major reason it is so popular. This mass production also plays a role in keeping the cost of the weapon lower and more easily affordable for all types of people.

william1941 | Student

The AK 47 is a machine gun designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov. This was accepted by the Soviet Union’s military in 1949 and soon by all the member nations of the Warsaw Pact. During the Cold War, the USSR and China manufactured the AK 47 on a large scale and exported it to all the nations that they considered were opposed to the nations that were part of the NATO. Many nations also reverse engineered the gun to produce it themselves and make it part of their arsenal.

The wide spread sale of the AK 47 soon saw it fall into the hands of every terror regime and terrorist group in the world. This was a cheap weapon to buy and could be purchased from a large number of legitimate and illegitimate groups around the world. This has led to every terrorist group flaunting an AK 47 and using it to wreck havoc all over the world.