Mikhail Timofeevich Kalashnikov (Михаи́л Тимофе́евич Кала́шников, born November 10, 1919) is a famous Russian gun designer.
He served during WWII as a tank commander. He was seriously wounded in October 1941. He designed his first submachine gun while in the hospital. In 1947, his updated assault rifle, known as the AK-47 (an acronym for "Avtomat Kalashnikov model 1947"), was found to display the highest reliability and most effective fire during arduous competitive tests. In 1949 the AK-47 assault rifle became operational in the Soviet Army.
Later in his career he developed a squad automatic weapon variant of the AK-47, known as the RPK74 (Ruchnoi Pulemyot Kalashnikova - Kalashnikov's Light Machinegun), and also the PK (Pulemyot Kalashnikova - Kalashnikov's Machinegun), which used a much larger cartridge (the same full-powered rifle cartridge as employed in the Mosin-Nagant rifle). The cartridge was belt-fed rather than magazine-fed. In other respects, it was nearly the same design.
Mikhail Kalashnikov (holding an M-16) and Eugene Stoner, designer of M-16 (holding an AK-47)Mikhail Kalashnikov was awarded twice the title of Hero of Socialist Labour. In 1998 he was awarded an order of Saint Andrew the Protoclet (орден Святого Андрея Первозванного). His military rank is lieutenant-general. He is a Doctor of Technical Sciences.
His son later became a weapons designer, and lost in the recent "Abakan" design competition which saw the adoption of the AN-94 Nikonov rifle by the Russian army.