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Designer of the World's Most Popular Gun Dies After a Lifetime of Sleeping Well

Peter Z. Scheer
Managing Editor
Peter Scheer grew up in the newspaper business, spending family vacations with his mother at newspaper editors' conferences, enjoying daycare in editorial departments and begrudgingly reviewing his father's…
Peter Z. Scheer

Mikhail Kalashnikov is dead 64 years after creating the AK-47, a gun so simple, cheap and effective, it continues to be the weapon of choice for the world’s killers.

He was inspired while recovering from injuries sustained in the fight against Nazi Germany. Hitler’s army had more advanced weapons, and Kalashnikov developed an automatic rifle for the masses. Vladimir Putin called it “a symbol of the creative genius of our people.”

Because the AK-47 is simple and reliable, it works in rough conditions where other guns fail, making it the perfect weapon for dirty wars, literally.

More than 100 million of the guns and derivative models have been made. We may never know what multiple of that number have died at the other end of the barrel.

Six years ago, the gun’s designer confronted the bloody nature of his famous invention: “I sleep well. It’s the politicians who are to blame for failing to come to an agreement and resorting to violence.”

He died Monday at the age of 94, a hero in Russia, and the architect of much suffering.

— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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