Military Archive Research
by Dr. Stuart C Blank
Member of the Orders and Medals Research Society (OMRS)
Member of the Royal Air Force Historical Society (RAFHS)
Member of the Naval Historical Collectors and Research Association (NHCRA)
Member of the Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS)
Member of the International Bank Note Society (IBNS)
Member of the International Bond and Share Society (IBSS)




Review of
Kalashnikov AK 47 Series
The 7.62 x 39 mm Assault Rifle in Detail
By Martin J Brayley
ISBN 9781847974839
Published by The Crowood Press (

The Kalashnikov AK 47 is perhaps the most famous assault rifle in existence and it is most certainly the most famous “Eastern Bloc” weapon of all time. Its true title is the “Kalashnikv obrazets 1947g” but it is more generally known around the world as the “AK47” or just the “AK”.

The AK47 was introduced into service with the forces of the USSR (principally the Soviet Army) in 1947 it only really came to the notice of Western powers during the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. The Soviet troops sent to quell this Revolution used these “new” assault rifles. Since this “introduction” it has featured widely in all the campaigns of the Soviets armed forces. As a result of this it has become one of the most famous and easily recognisable rifles of all time.

This rifle was adopted as the standard rifle of the Eastern Bloc and it has now become synonymous with terrorists and revolutionaries. The book illustrates how famous the AK47 is by saying that the rifle is displayed on the Mozambique national flag, and that it also appears on the flags of Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. It has appeared in most of the conflicts of the past 60 years and it can be expected to continue to be the weapon of choice for soldiers and revolutionaries.

Since the introduction of the “original” AK47 there has been numerous versions and in a number of different calibres. The modern (2013) versions are very different to the original specification. This book details the principal design features of the AK47 that used the original 7.62 x 39 mm ammunition. Both the licensed and illegal variations produced worldwide are considered.

There are over 350 interesting photographs and they show numerous features in close-up. The book has a modest introduction and then the versions used / developed by a number of nations (13) are catalogued. I am confident that this book is going to become the English language reference book on the AK47. The author’s efforts are admirable and this is reflected in the quality of his work.

April 2013