The AK-47 is a selective fire, gas operated, 7.62mm assault rifle developed in the Soviet Union by Mikhail Kalashnikov.
It has been manufactured in many countries and has seen service with regular armed forces as well as irregular, revolutionary and terrorist organizations worldwide.
The AK-47 was one of the first true assault rifles and, due to its durability, low production cost and ease of use, the weapon and its numerous variants remain the most widely used assault rifles in the world — so much that more AK-type rifles have been produced than all other assault rifles combined together.
The main advantages of the AK-47 rifle are its simple design, fairly compact size and adaptation to mass production. It is inexpensive to manufacture, and easy to clean and maintain; its ruggedness and reliability are legendary. The AK-47 was initially designed for ease of operation and repair by glove-wearing Soviet soldiers in Arctic conditions. The large gas piston, generous clearances between moving parts, and tapered cartridge case design allow the gun to endure large amounts of foreign matter and fouling without failing to cycle. This reliability comes at the cost of accuracy, as the looser tolerances do not allow for precision and consistency. Reflecting Soviet infantry doctrine of its time, the rifle is meant to be part of massed infantry fire, not long range engagements. The average service life of an AK-47 is 20 to 40 years depending on the conditions to which it has been exposed.