[Abbreviation of Russian Avtomat Kalashnikov 1947, the designation of the original model designed by Mikhail T. Kalashnikov (b. 1919).]
A type of assault rifle originally manufactured in the Soviet Union.
I've chosen to include the AK-47 in Lexicolatry due to its iconic status both as a weapon and a word. As a word, someone that knows the name of no other weapon will have heard of an AK-47. As a weapon, it has an unrivaled place in human history and culture. In the West, we know when watching a film that if someone is carrying an AK, they're almost definitely a bad guy; in other parts of the world, it's seen and revered as the weapon of freedom fighters and revolutionaries. It's famed for its rugged construction, low production cost and ease of operation. It has appeared on national flags and emblems. It commands an enormous illicit trade, both in smuggled weapons and counterfeit variants. Its ease of use, cleaning and disassembly is often said to have changed the face of modern warfare, allowing poorly trained militias to command the firepower of a professional military unit. It's so easy that a child can operate it, and children often do. The AK-47 is one of the outstanding icons of the 20th century, both as a scourge and an emblem of our bloody history.
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