Gun of the Week #20: Bulgarian Ak-47


My Ak-74 on a bench at my gun club.

Every week I feature a gun from my collection. This week it is a Bulgarian Ak-74 that was assembled by Tennessee Guns Incorporated( TGI). I think have changed their name to Waffen Works since I bought this gun.  I bought his gun 18 months ago from Classic Arms for the bargain price of $500 including shipping.  This was before Sandy Hook and the dramatic increases in gun prices..  It is my favorite AK out of the 3 AK’s that I own.   I own a Romanian WASR, and a Bulgarian SAR3( In .223) . The picture above shows it with a Russian Surplus Bakelite 45 round magazine that i got from AimSurplus. With the .545x.39 round this is very little kickback when firing a round. Unlike my AK-47.You can see all the previous gun of the week posts here.


My AK collection. Top AK-47, Middle Ak-74, Bottom Sar-3

The AK-74 (Russian: Автомат Калашникова образца 1974 года or “Kalashnikov automatic rifle model 1974”) is an assault rifle developed in the early 1970s in the Soviet Union as the replacement for the earlier AKM (itself a refined version of the AK-47). It uses a smaller intermediate cartridge, the 5.45×39mm, replacing the 7.62×39mm chambering of earlier Kalashnikov-pattern weapons.

The rifle first saw service with Soviet forces engaged in the 1979 Afghanistan conflict.[Presently, the rifle continues to be used by the majority of countries of the former USSR. Additionally, licensed copies were produced in Bulgaria (AK-74 and AKS-74U), the former East Germany (MPi-AK-74N, MPi-AKS-74N, MPi-AKS-74NK) and Romania (PA md. 86) besides former Soviet republics and eastern European countries, Mongolia, North Korean Special Forces, and Vietnamese People’s Naval infantry use AK-74s.The rifle was originally developed, in 1974, by Russian designer Mikhail Kalashnikov.


Ak-74 and the now banned russian surplus 5.45

The AK-74 is an adaptation of the 7.62×39mm AKM assault rifle and features several important design improvements.These modifications were primarily the result of converting the rifle to the intermediate-caliber 5.45×39mm cartridge, in fact, some early models are reported to have been converted AKMs, re-barreled to 5.45×39mm.[ The result is a more accurate and reliable rifle than the AKM.The AK-74 and AKM share an approximate 50% parts commonality (interchangeable most often are pins, springs and screws).


Obituary: Mikhail Kalashnikov


Freddy’s Note: I am a AK guy more than I am a AR guy although I have 3 of each.  I am sad to report that the creator of the AK Mikhail Kalashnikov has died. I offer condolences  to his family.  Mr. Kalashnikov weapons did change the world.

Mikhail Kalashnikov Dead

Mikhail Kalashnikov developed the AK47 to match the firepower of German weapons Mikhail Kalashnikov’s automatic rifle became one of the most familiar weapons on the planet.

It was employed by the armies of dozens of countries, and incorporated in several national flags.

But the AK47 also became a symbol of revolution around the world. It saw action on battlefields as diverse as Angola, Vietnam, Algeria and Afghanistan.

It was also heavily utilized by Palestinian groups and famously appeared in the hands of Osama bin Laden.

It’s comparative simplicity made it cheap to manufacture as well as reliable and easy to maintain in the field. It became the most widely used assault rifle in the world.

Yet Kalashnikov, although honored in Russia, made very little money from his gun and once complained he would have been financially better off designing a lawnmower.


Mikhail Kalashnikov was born on 10 November 1919 into a Russian peasant family in the village of Kurya, Altai Territory. He was one of 18 children, of whom only six survived.

He was called up by the Red Army in 1938, and his design skills were used to improve the effectiveness of arms and equipment used in Soviet tank regiments.

It was after he was wounded in October 1941, when the tank he commanded was struck by a German shell, that Kalashnikov began to design the firearm that was to make his name famous.

An estimated 100 million Kalashnikov rifles have been produced
The German army had pioneered the concept of an assault rifle, a weapon that combined the accuracy of a conventional rifle with the firepower of a sub-machine gun.


Russian troops frequently found themselves outgunned by German weapons which were far superior to those available to the Soviet army.

While he was in hospital he was approached by a fellow soldier who asked why the Russian army could not come up with a gun that would match that of the Germans.

“So I designed a machine gun for a soldier,” he said. “It was called an Avtomat Kalashnikova, the automatic weapon of Kalashnikov.”

There were teething problems with early prototypes but in 1947 he completed the Avtomat Kalashnikova model 1947, the name quickly shortened to AK47.

The new rifle was adopted by the Soviet army in 1949 and Senior Sergeant Mikhail Timofeevitch Kalashnikov was awarded the Stalin Prize First Class.

It was just one of many awards he was to be given, among them three Orders of Lenin and the Hero of Socialist Labour.

A man reaches for an AK47 assault rifle during a fishing expedition on Lake Turkana  in north-western Kenya October 13
The AK47 is used all over the world, in war and peace
In 1987 he was made an honourable citizen of Izhevsk, where he had lived and worked from 1949. On his 75th birthday, he was promoted to Major-General by President Boris Yeltsin.

However the simplicity of his weapon meant that he failed to gain much financial benefit from his invention.

Dozens of arms manufacturers in other countries found the AK47 very easy to copy and few paid any royalties because of a dispute over patents.

But late in life – when he was 83 – Kalashnikov was reported to have acquired a 30% share of a German company in exchange for the use of his name for products including Kalashnikov umbrellas and mineral water.

But it is the AK47 which guarantees that his name will be remembered.

Mikhail Kalashnikov refused to accept any responsibility for the many people killed with the weapon.

“My aim was to create armaments to protect the borders of my motherland,” he said.

“It is not my fault that the Kalashnikov was used in many troubled places. I think the policies of these countries are to blame, not the designers.”