I am very happy to be joined today via Skype by Russian small arms researcher Max Popenker. You may know Max from his nearly 20 years publishing Modern Firearms, one of the original small arms reference web sites. He has also written numerous magazine articles and several books in both Russian and English.
Today, Max is going to discuss the development of the AK and address several questions that are not well understood in the US:
How did a neophyte designer like Kalashnikov produce such an excellent gun? Was he just a fake figurehead created for Soviet propaganda?
How much influence did German engineers have in the design and production of the AK?
When the whole story of the AK is understood – as Max does a great job conveying – lots of things make much more sense. The AK was just one element of a much larger program to create a wholly new small arms system in an intermediate caliber. The SKS, RPD, and AK were adopted as part of this program, filling the roles of infantry carbine, squad automatic weapon, and submachine gun. So settle in and join me for a history lesson from an expert int he subject!