Is there a handgun equivalent of the AK-47?

By ‘equivalent’, I mean sharing the most famous traits of the venerable AK-47; namely designed to be very easy to use, to be picked up and fired by illiterate Russian peasants. Robust construction - hard to break or jam even in harsh conditions. Easy to take apart, clean and put back together again. Not necessarily known for its accuracy.

Are there any handguns experts would point to as being to its smaller brethren what the AK-47 is to assault rifles?

A revolver is one firearm that can defeat illiteracy and ignorance. But if you stick to military weapons, the 1911 Colt .45 is it. Chambered for a powerful cartridge, built with sloppy tolerances to allow reliable operation in the field, even those picked up months after they were abandoned. Today the design is still the most copied for large automatic handguns. Its only undoing is the risk of discharge at condition one. Well users for 70 years rarely had to carry their .45s with a cartridge down the spout.

+1 to the above. The 1911 is over 100 years old but nobody has managed to come up with a simpler or better design. Nor is any modern firearm as famous. Glocks are also highly renowned for simplicity and reliability, but they are newer and not as “legendary.”

Back in the day, the Colt revolver filled this function. Check out some of the absurd guns people tried to make to worm their way around Colt’s patents… nobody could come up with an easier, more reliable design.

If you include its various clones, then the Browning Hi-Power is also in the running.

Ah, for reliability on a par with the AK-47, I’d have to vote for a wheel gun.

How similar is the 1911 of today to the original design? Wikipedia says “similar” but doesn’t really explain what changed.

That depends on the maker. The authentiic M1911 and M1911A1 had very minor changes, on the same Wikipedia article it details the changes in between the World Wars and those were to make it even easier to handle.

OTOH various private makers just go nuts modifying mechanicals and overall pimping up their .45s.

But as for simple reliability, must agree a Single Action Colt Peacemaker/Army revolver probably wins.

RNATB, the answer’s probably somewhere at this site devoted to the 1911. My guess is that some of the major differences are incorporating a firing pin safety (to prevent ADs caused by dropping the pistol onto the muzzle, as was infamous with Series 70 1911s), a beavertail and/or a bobbed hammer to prevent ‘hammer-bite’, and things like bull barrels that remove the need for a barrel bushing.

That said, my own choice for the AK-47 of the pistol world would be a Glock. Famously rugged, high capacity, easy to disassemble, goes bang every time you pull the trigger, and doesn’t go bang unless you pull the trigger. I can hand a Glock to a complete noob to pistols, and provided they can cycle the slide, they will be able to use it adequately in an emergency, with little to no preventative maintenance. EDIT: Other than using a holster. They’re so essential for Glocks, that IMHO, one should come with the pistol when you buy it.

By itself, the SAO manual of arms on a 1911 would dissuade me from handing it to a newbie, never mind trying to also teach a beginner to remember a malfunction drill. Will a Glock win bullseye matches against a tricked-out 1911? No, but I’d trust its reliability a lot more vs a 1911 that cost as much to twice as much. My own Glock is capable of a lot more precision than I am.

Yes, a DAO revolver is even simpler to use, and if it doesn’t go bang, just pull the trigger again, something you can’t do with a striker-fired pistol like a Glock. But if you should ever have a malfunction with a revolver, good luck trying to fix it yourself. The heavier trigger pull on a DAO revolver also precludes it from being used by frailer people.

There was a Colt M-1917 revolver that fired .45 ACP with half moon clips. Stopping power of a M-1911A1 and reliability of a revolver.

My main issue with Glocks is I’d prefer a frame or slide safety in addition to just a trigger safety. Sure, it’s user carelessness, but there are several reported cases of ADs by people reholstering a Glock. There are even videos of this occurring on YouTube.

Per the OP, I don’t think the 1911 or a revolver fits the bill.
First, the OP specified “illiterate Russian peasants” (which rules out a capitalist pig-dog gun like the 1911) and secondly, wheel guns are hugely complicated in comparison to semi-autos (ruling out the Peacemaker, revolvers, etc.).

I wonder if this fallacy stems from revolvers predating semi-autos, and people are assuming earlier = more simple. In reality, the guts of revolvers have been compared to clockwork before. If you’re having a timing issue on your revolver, you’re probably going to be spending lots of money on an experienced gunsmith. Some revolvers will lose their timing over the course of their life. I remember my Dad complaining about one of his .38’s spraying hot copper because the cylinder wasn’t lining up with the barrel.

My vote is for the Tokarev TT-30 or TT-33. Meets the requirement for Russian, and is actually simpler than the 1911, citing the Wiki page below. Bonus points for having the same caliber bullet (but different shape and case) as an AK-47.
[](Wiki Tokarev)

Glocks meet the criteria very well. They are *designed to be very easy to use, to be picked up and fired by illiterate … peasants. Robust construction - hard to break or jam even in harsh conditions. Easy to take apart, clean and put back together again. *

You can see various torture tests of Glocks where they are fired thousands and thousands of times, buried in mud, fired under water, dragged behind trucks through dirt, dropped from buildings, etc and they perform. AND they are accurate.

The lack of manual safety is a feature not a bug. If you give one to someone who is unfamiliar, the only thing they need to know is you pull the trigger and it goes bang. Can’t be simpler than that.

But if you really want a pistol equivalent of an AK, why not an AK pistol?:slight_smile:

Thanks for the replies so far fellas.

Ha, just meant something that can be used with minimal prior knowledge of firearm mechanics or even firearms in general. All takers welcome; military, civilian, Commie, capitalist.

I thought of one of these; though according to Urban Dictionary you probably mean a revolver. :smack:

The Browning Hi-Power and mechanically similar CZ-75 pistol, both using a short recoil cammed tilting-block type action what a single with high capacity magazines anda 17°-18° grip angle, and upper frame mounted safety/slide lock/magazine release are some of the most widely produced and copied large bore pistols, the essentially features of which have found their way into many other pistols over subsequent decades such as Sig Sauer, Glock, Smith & Wesson, Ruger, et cetera. They’re also very robust and contamination-resistant designs which have endured in real world use.

The M1911 was iconic, but most of its salient features–the swinging link design, the fragile barrel bushing, the grip safety–have not found nearly as wide an application. The Glock has enjoyed great popularity due to law enforcement usage and cultural saturation, which is largely attributable to how well Glock marketed and positioned itself rather tha essential features of the weapon. Yes, the Glock is a very tough and functionally accurate pistol that you can drag through sand and mud, fail to lubricate, and fire into a blocked barrel without it exploding, but it isn’t unique; you can do the same with a Sig Sauer or H&K pistol.


The big selling points of the AK-47 and its derivatives are that they’re simple, cheap and reliable. That’s it.

As far as a handgun that fits that bill… maybe something like the Tokarev or Makarov would fit the bill, but the M1911 family, Glocks and CZ-75 pistols are too expensive to really match well as a pistol version of the AK-47, and the M1911 is fairly complicated when compared to a lot of other automatics.

Some of the Ruger P-85 series pistols might fit the bill, although they haven’t been super-popular.

You can find dirt cheap Bulgarian, Hungarian, and Argentine Hi-Power clones available which function just fine even if the fit and finish isn’t of Belgian or German quality or precision. Ditto for CZ clones from a variety of sources at a range of prices and quality.


Doesn’t the TT pistol (Tokarev) take apart pretty much like a 1911?

Agree, 1911/Glock/CZ are pricier than they would be to fit in this category.

Me? I’m partial to the .223 pistol. It didn’t fit the bill in 2161, being rather rare, but became much more popular in 2241. :smiley:

Google “Drako” or " ak handgun "

It’s hard not to like “That Gun”.

The Mauser C96 is hard-hitting, accurate at range, & can be field-stripped without tools.