By Larry Kahaner
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Additional info for AK-47: The Weapon that Changed the Face of War
Every time the trigger is pulled, the firing pin strikes the primer in the center of a cartridge, firing a bullet, and the cycle continues. This happens at a rate of more than 600 rounds per minute when the selector lever is in the automatic position. Because their fast-moving parts are confined in such a small space, automatic rifles have a tendency to jam. All it takes is a speck of dirt to clog the various movements or keep a round from being positioned properly in the firing chamber. This is where Kalashnikov shined.
Military’s weapons maker since 1794, tested the Soviet weapon that year, they too appeared indifferent. It would not be until a decade later during the Vietnam War that American GIs would face the AK in action for the first time. These soldiers would pay dearly for their government’s abject failure to recognize the far-reaching significance of Kalashnikov’s simple weapon. 2 A REPUTATION BORN IN THE RICE PADDIES BY THE LATE 1950s, the Soviet Union was employing the AK as a key component of its strategy to spread Communism throughout the world.
The European NATO nations believed that the day of intermediate rounds had come, and their struggle with the United States for a smaller standardized round left the world of reason and entered the realm of nationalism. With the United States being the most powerful nation in the world, and the force that had defeated the Axis powers, the Europeans faced an uphill fight. The large round became the cause célebrè for the Americans and a point upon which they seemed unwilling to yield.
AK-47: The Weapon that Changed the Face of War by Larry Kahaner