Russia started quietly giving countries like China, East Germany and North Korea free licenses to start mass-producing the AK-47. Decades of Cold War aggression had the U.S. and U.S.S.R. fighting so-called “proxy battles” in distant countries with terrible fighting conditions, poorly-trained soldiers and virtually no infrastructure in place for weapons repair and maintenance.
And here’s where the AK was absolutely perfect for the job. I mean, if you put the AK-47 up against the vast majority of American firearms, it looks like it comes up short on paper. It’s well known to be wildly inaccurate due to its wide manufacturing tolerances and poor sighting equipment. If you watch one being fired in slow-motion, you can see the whole thing bending and flexing around with each shot, it looks like it’s just about to fall apart - and that adds to the recoil effect, making it even less accurate if you’re holding the trigger down in full-automatic machine gun mode.” —Inventions that changed the world: Mikhail Kalashnikov’s AK-47