Kalashnikov or Schmeisser: Who was the father of the AK? (VIDEO)
By Chris Eger
Other than the “.45 or 9mm” debate, few questions have caused so much heartburn in the gun community as the paternity of the AK47.
For those not familiar with the ongoing debate, German firearms wonk Hugo Schmeisser, responsible for inventing the MP18 Bergmann submachine gun and the StG44 among others, spent six years on a vacation he could not decline in the Soviet Union after the end of WWII. The fact that he was there while Kalashnikov was finishing his AK47 has produced any number of lingering arguments that Schmeisser may have had a hand it the famous rifle’s design.
Maxim Popenker, who (disclosure) works for the Kalashnikov Concern and has maintained the expansive historical gun site Modern Firearms since 2000, has weighed in on the subject extensively in the past, detailing the developmental history of Kalashnikov’s AK-46, which was largely complete before Schmeisser came to the Soviet Union and was even tested head to head against Alexey Sudayev’s 7.62×39mm AS-44 rifle, with the subsequent redesign into the AK-47 winning out due to its better reliability. Further, he holds that while Schmeisser was in Izhevsk under close custody, Kalashnikov was finishing his rifle at Kovrov which was some 900 km away and