How many AK47's did the Russians make?

And are they still making them?

It seems like every army, paramilitary group, terrorist group, posse or person with a grudge in the world is armed with a limitless supply of AK47’s. Did the Russians make millions of them? And I know that they are pretty cheap in world black markets. And what about the ammo for them? Is it abundant and cheap as well?

Perhaps I’m wrong, but I do recall reading that the Soviets weren’t the only ones to be making Kalishnakovs. IIRC, the AK47 and its close cousins were the de facto weapons for third-world countries to stamp out (literally–these are not complex weapons) if they don’t want to design their own guns. Thus, I suppose you can expect to see Kalashnikovs that will accept a range of ammo.

The main advantage of the design is that you can issue them to peasants and expect them to be functional after years of indifferent maintenence. That is, you can fill them with sand, clean them out quickly, and they’re usable.

from this site about the only firearm on a national flag.

I was wondering, considering that the AK-47 is so cheap and reliable, why don;t larger countries like the US and Canada use them, it would help cut costs; this would be esp good for Canada’s Chronically underfunded military.

Ditto with the RPG’s that the terrorists like to use, they seem to be very effective at destroying things (read the popular mechanics cover story this month).

Is there some reason that Large countries don’t use AK-47’s and the terrorist RPG’s, even though they are cheap and effective, or is it that the large contries don;t want to be associated with the terrorists?

The best answer is that, for many years, we could only get them by trading with our enemy.

China also made and exported gajillions of them, originally under license. Later, after relations between Moscow and Bejing broke down, China gave up on licensing and just copied them. Many smaller nations also made copies or licensed versions. IOW, it’s our old friend, supply and demand. Supply for these weapons is relatively high so the cost is relatively low.

It’s not like we couldn’t have copied a captured AK-47 if we wanted to. The performance advantages of the US assault rifles were considered to outweigh the reliability issue.

IIRC, the M-16 is lighter, more accurate, and has a greater rate of fire than the AK-47. It uses a smaller round, which means that it is easier to carry a lot of ammo.

First this often a question of national prestige. That’s why many countries continue to use domestic equipment without much objective benefit.
Additionally armies in industrialized countries are very expensive per soldier anyway so that costs of small arms are never a limiting factor. Therefore they might be willing to pay substantially more for a marginal increase in performance.

Ak style rifles were made by many different companies from many different countries, not just Russia.

The U.S. uses a rifle that takes different ammo than the AK. The AK shoots a 7.62mm round, while our M16’s take a .223. IMHO the .223 is easier to shoot.

Even with the “Assault Weapons” ban, AK style rifles are very inexpensive, and very available. As a FFL holder my theory on it is because more people want the .223 caliber over the 7.62.
My wholesale price for a Bulgarian SLR-95 is less than $350. That’s nothing for a gun of such high quality.

And, remember, large countries do and did use AK-47’s. That, and its improvement, the AK-74, was the standard assault rifle in the Soviet Army, and the Chinese Army until recently, used the Type-56, which was a version of the AK-47.

We never used it because, in the first place, like Mr. Moto said, it was an enemy weapon, and because, instead, we had the M16. Here’s info about the M16:

I own an AK-47, and the ammo is abundant and cheap. You can get the 7.62x39mm rounds at your local Wal-Mart, although for the Winchester stuff you’re looking at around $8 for a box of 20. You can buy Wolf brand (Russian) ammo for $85 for 1000 rounds. It is a fun gun. It’s an absurdly simple design, can take lots of abuse and still work flawlessly, and looks great, especially with the 30-round banana clips.

The question is asked in the past tense. Afaik, they’re still manufactured all over the troubled and/or developing world in small ad-hoc machine shops – that’s why they’re still so popular; the design allows any guy with basic equipment to set up shop and start milling.

And then the ignorant media guys doing the reporting don’t know anything to they’ll write that any old generic rifle turned out in a village machine shop last week is a “AK47”.

Don’t believe everything you . . . etc, etc . . .

I have an SKS (the Chinese version of the AK) and the ammo is very cheap. I also have an M-1 carbine, and would prefer that over the SKS if I was in a war.

And they both look REALLY neat with the 30 clips.

According to this article, US soldiers have been using confiscated AK47s in Iraq.

The SKS is a totally different animal than the AK. The AK-type rifles are a newer design than the SKS-type variants, the Russian army was armed with the AK’s to replace the older, non-fully automatic SKS’s. The most popular Chinese variant (available in the US anyways) of the AK-47 is the MAK-90. I also have a SKS (the Yugoslavian M55/56), I find it also be quite a nice rifle. Just a little note, it’s illegal to replace the fixed 10-round magazine on SKS’s with a removable magazine such as the 30-rounder, at least for the Yugo versions, unless you permanently remove the grenade launcher (which I defenitely wouldn’t do!) If you don’t have one with the grenade launcher, the removable clips are probably legal though…

To partiallly answer the OP, there are over 30 million of the AK-type rifles in service throughout the world. Of these, probably a minority of these are Russian-made. For lots of info about AK’s and all the variants check out

I wonder how you can actually have an SKS and think it is a chinese AK-47. Not to denigrate the gun itself- they are solid built, efficient, and very inexpensive.

Virtually all the communist countries with a decent industrial base manufactured a version of the AK – either the original AK-47 (which the Chinese and N. Koreans continued to make), the 1960s AKM, or the later (Soviet/Russian only) AK-74. (Notable exception: the Czechs had a very advanced arms industry so they made their own homegrown assault rifle). The Russians still make AKs in various versions, including a modernized weapon in 7.62x39. However they have one small problem: the over saturation of the market during the Cold War. Who wants to pay a Russian plant a few hundred hard dollars/euros for each brand new AK-104 when it can buy you adequately functional AKM-clones for half a squad in the grey market.

Finland and Israel make derivative weapons using the AK mechanism (Valmet and Galil) not only in 7.62x39 but also in .223 and in 7.62x51.

Oh, BTW, re: the “Chinese SKS” – be sure you’re not confusing true SKS with a Type-68, a derivative from the AK series.

I’d say it’s often a national security issue, too. If we start buying guns from, say, Canada, and then things turn hostile, we won’t have guns. Absurdly simple example, but you get the idea.

large countries don’t use the AK because it is the symbol of terrorist and militia groups.
Also there are more effective weapons now days and the US has a massive military budget so they update their stranded weapon every so often