Learn what keeps an AK-47 on top of the world

The world's most popular weapon

The ultimate tool associated with almost every war in last 60 years is the AK-47, a Russian-made assault rifle. But, have you ever asked yourself why it is the world’s favorite small arms weapon? Durability, low production cost, availability and ease of use are the features, which assured the Kalashnikov AK-47’s global success.

The Avtomat Kalashnikov is legendary assault rifle which has been introduced into the Guinness Book of Records as the most widely spread weapon in the world, with 100 million AK-47 rifles currently in use.

So far, it has been manufactured in the numerous versions and the ordinary rifle has been the subject of numerous aftermarket improvements presented below.

Slide handle

The factory installed bolt support is thin and smooth. To prevent unwanted slips aftermarket designers have come up with a hefty barrel-like cylinder with notches.


The standard-issue controller/safety catch assembly could be handled with both hands. An upgraded version features an additional “spur” enabling the shooter to  unlock the safety catch and change rates of fire with one hand.

Ergonomic Grip Designs

The finger grooves with interchangeable inserts fit any hand. More so, the grip at the front of the weapon ensures excellent balance and makes the weapon easier to handle.

Butt Stock

AKs typically come with either a traditional fixed stock in wood or polymer or the various folding stocks that make the gun compact to carry. An optional telescopic butt makes it possible to adjust the weapon to its owner’s anatomical characteristics.

A cheek rest provides additional comfort and ensures better aiming.

Muzzle adaptors

There are several types of muzzle adapters. Muzzle recoil compensators help keep the weapon steady during firing. Some feature rugged tips effective during hand-to-hand combat. And there are also flash suppressors and silencers which make the shooter less visible to the enemy and keep  the noise down.

Picatinny rail

A bracket that provides a standard mounting platform consisting of rails with multiple transverse slots and designed to mount heavy sights of various kinds.

A great variety of accessories and attachments are now available and the rails are no longer confined to the rear upper surface but are either fitted to or machine milled into the upper, side and lower surfaces of all types of firearms.


The AK-47 uses a notched rear tangent iron sight calibrated in 100 m  increments from 100 to 800 m. The front sight’s post is adjustable for elevation. Some AK-type rifles have a front sight with a flip-up luminous dot that is calibrated at 50 m, for improved night fighting. Modern laser sights are also available to ensure more accurate target acquisition and fire.

For sure, it could easily last up to 100-years with certain improvements, because it will always be easier to buy a full track of AK-47 for the price of 100 M-4 assault rifles.