Wednesday 13 February 2019

By Any Other Name

The AK is subject to a number of ongoing raging discussions, one of which had to do with its name. Some claim that there was no such thing as an AK-47, with the name of the gun being simply AK, later replaced with the AKM. Sound logic, but it is not confirmed by documents, which use the name AK-47 extensively. For instance, the manual.

Internal documentation uses the indexes AK and AK-47 to refer to the same item interchangeably. From a list of experimental works of the NKV for 1951:

"Increasing production rate and quality of mechanical finish on parts and assembly of new types of weapons. Development of new high production rate processes of finishing parts and assembly of the AK-47 system.
  1. Development and agreement on blueprints.
  2. Development of high production rate technical processes for mechanical finishing and control of AK-47 parts (factory #74 and NITI-40).
  3. Development and distribution in the Q1 of 1950 of technical tasks for design of new equipment and modernization of old equipment. GSPI-7 is to receive a task for design of transport devices and planning (NITI-40 jointly with factory #74) by August 1st, 1950.
  4. Development of transport devices, planning of equipment, and composition of technical-economical metrics (GSPI-7 jointly with the factory).
  5. Production of harnesses, experimental trials and implementation of labour intensive processes (see topic 104-102 for equipment) in 1950.
  6. Development of a project to organize and launch production of a new product (AK-47) and partial execution in 1950 (NITI-40).
  7. Production and implementation of the remaining harnesses and equipment, as well as introduction by NITI-40 of new processes for the production of the AK-47 system, development of guiding materials for the organization of assembly line production.
  8. Composition of a joint technical report."
4 pages later, we see:

"4. Execution of trials of an optical calibration system for the AK, correction of working blueprints, correction of the prototype in metal, correction of the optics, introduction of the device into production, composition of a technical report with trials and acceptance documents."


  1. Many years ago, in Polish language part of internet, exist a theory that "AK-47" designation was invented in... USA. Generally, in Poland, "AK-47" designation don't be popular before 1989. Maybe typical Polish soldier from 60ties even don't know "AK-47" designation. After 1989 popularity of this designation grow, due western popculture. But... in some Polish sources from pre 1989 era exist designation with "47" number. As example, in Polish manual of T-34-85M tank (manual from 60ties) we can see "pmK-47" designation (many, many years ago, in Poland, we use "pmK" designation, which mean "pistolet maszynowy Kałasznikowa/Kalashnikov submachine gun", later name was changed for "karabinek Kałasznikowa/Kalashnikov carbine"). And in old Polish "training poster" for kbkg wz. 60 (Polish AK which can fire rifle granades) we can see small designation "pmK – GN wz. 47/60". That's only two old Polish sources which include "47" number in Kalashnikov Avtomat designation, which I know. I add that in many Soviet armoured vehicles manuals I found "AK-47" name. I add link to page from T-34-85M Polish manual:

  2. It should be noted that the manual above is dated 1949 (so a trial manual basically). According to basically all other manuals and internal documents the weapon was officially designated just the AK (7,62 mm avtomat Kalashnikov). Here is a doc from 1949 for example: