Mikhail Kalashnikov in his later years with his signature vodka.
The AK 47 was one of two weapons which evolved from lessons on the Eastern Front in World War II. The other is the German post war G-3 assault rifle. Although the G-3 was handicapped by using the too powerful 7.62 NATO instead of the more sensible 7.92 x 33, the simplicity of the G-3 and its incredible durability and reliability match the AK-47. This is not a coincidence, it was a lesson learned the hard way during intense combat. It's interesting to note that neither rifle has a bolt hold open device and each one works with mass produced lower quality steel cased ammunition. They are remarkable rifles born from a unique and remarkable experience.