The Economics Of The AK-47

January 10, 2014 in Daily Bulletin

The Economist applied its lens to the AK-47:

  • About 10% of all firearms in the world are AK-47s.
  • The gun is so popular that “Kalash” is a common name for boys in parts of Africa.
  • It is popular because of its supply chains. The Soviet Union wanted to standardize military equipment among its allies and supplied the guns and built factories in various countries to churn out the rifles. They flood the markets today.
  • Due to its ubiquitous supply and usage it’s also easy to find ammunition for it.
  • It isn’t a particularly good gun. Its features mean that it has low accuracy. However those very same features mean that it is unlikely to jam in a variety of conditions including in the desert or muddy marshes.
  • It was designed to be used by Soviet soldiers wearing thick winter gloves – meaning that even children can use them.
  • In Lebanon a version of the gun labelled “Bin Laden” sells for twice the normal price of an AK-47 because it’s the version that Al-Qaeda’s former boss is seen carrying in his videos.

Read more about the gun, its history, and the country that pays homage to it on its flag over here.

Source: The Economist