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The People's Weapon

What does AK47 stand for?

A: Avtomat (Automatic)
K: Kalashnikov (After its inventor – first name Mikhail)
47: The year it was first made.

The “People’s gun”, as it is described by Michael Hodges in a new book, maintains its mystique for the fact that it has helped peasants win wars against the US in Vietnam, provided a vital tool in at least half a dozen overthrows, and has become the jihadists' weapon of choice in the war on terror. Yet for all its anti-American credentials, the Kalashnikov has been consumed by the very enemy that it is often pointed against, becoming, in Hodges’ words, the “Coca Cola of small arms”.

Globalisation has meant that the Russian production line from which it first appeared has been forced to close due to foreign competition. How ironic that the gun of the Marxist answers to the call of the capitalist.

Believing the ridiculous

Style matters