Tag Archives: AK-47

Maritime Discount Goods

In a modern version of Operation Market Time, the storied and long-lasting effort to prevent seaborne infiltration of supplies from North Vietnam into the south, U.S. and allied forces have been stopping guns from getting from rogue states (let us just say, “maybe” Iran) to Yemen, a country that has been enmeshed in a brutal civil war for years. While the USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) alone picked up 1,000 AKs last year, other countries like Australia and France have picked up their fair share as well.

In 2016, the French Navy destroyer FS Provence stopped a stateless dhow that contained 2,000 AK-47s, 64 Dragunov SVD sniper rifles, nine anti-tank missiles, and other munitions.

Guns seized by the French Navy on March 20, 2016 (Photo Combined Maritime Forces)

Ever wonder what happens to them?

Well, I guess to the victors goes the spoils of when it comes to spare Kalash, and the French government just recently gifted 1,400 of those same AKs to the Central African Republic (formerly the colony of French Equatorial Africa) in an effort to strengthen the country’s military.

France has long had a thumb in the CARs affairs and has maintained a sizable military force there since 2013, its 7th such deployment since the country gained nominal independence in 1960.

Zveroboy #196

Whenever October-November starts creeping in, I find myself thinking in of the men and women of The Corvin (Kisfaludy) Passage. Those freedom fighters in the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 held out against the Soviets and the country’s puppet regime in bitter street fighting that pitted a handful of insurgents with largely small arms against a modern Eastern European military force that had cut its teeth in nasty house-to-house combined arms operations a generation before.

Among the hottest parts of Budapest during the conflict was the Corvin Cinema, which was used as the headquarters of revolution leader László Iván Kovács. The narrow streets around the cinema allowed Kovacs’ 1,000~ irregulars to hold off a full Soviet mechanized infantry division, and, using Molotov cocktails and improvised anti-tank weapons, the Covin group knocked out 12 tanks including a few massive ISU-152s– itself a heavy assault gun fielded by the Soviets in the last days of WWII. Termed the zveroboy (Russian: “beast killer”) it was designed to smash through concrete bunkers and Panther/Tiger tanks with ease.

The Covin group held their position for 15 days. But one of the most iconic fixtures from Corvin captured by Western journalists covering the fighting was ISU-152 #196 and its partner, abandoned by its crew along József Boulevard.

Street fighters with PPS sub guns and swagger

It can be seen in a number of images from those days.

An M44 Mosin-armed Hungarian soldier, wearing an armband marking his defection to the anti-Communist insurgents.

A young Hungarian girl emerges from a building housing resistance fighters carrying a Mauser. 196 is a street cart

Note the knocked out T-34/85 in the right

I can’t find out what happened to #196. The Soviets likely scrapped it as to not be a lesson to those that the iron giant could be stopped by determination. That the beast-killer itself was a monster when viewed through the lens of those in Budapest.

As for the fighters, it is estimated that the three-week Revolution resulted in the combat deaths of 722 Soviet troops and some 2,500-3,000 Hungarians. To this figure can be added some 253 Hungarians executed or died in prison for their part in the Revolution.

Just some domestic AK pron from out west

A couple of URD SBR builds from Jim Fuller’s Rifle Dynamics in Las Vegas. The top rifle is a Pacnoir barrel, the bottom was done with a Vepr barrel and a refinished Romanian wood foregrip.

“The 74 URD, the fighting rifle perfected, no matter how you configure it the size weight and handling characteristics of this rifle performs beyond all others,” they say.

According to RD, the guns shoot just fine for the shorty barrels.

(“W)e have yet to get chronograph readings on these but they are hitting man-sized targets out to 500 yards, with the 11.5″ barrel the velocity loss is minimal. With 60 grn Wolf they hold about 2MOA, with Hornaday 1MOA @100yards.”


I bet Hugo Schmeisser is rolling and spinning

There, under the Krinkov, is a German StG44 in exploded view, which would probably be OK on any monument except that of Mikhail Kalashnikov

As I covered over at Guns.com, the Russians spent 35 million rubles (about $580K US) on a sprawling monument to the late firearms engineer Mikhail Kalashnikov that was unveiled in Moscow last week. Besides a nearly 30-foot high statue of Kalashnikov, the base of a monument to St. Mikhail, the Orthodox patron of gunsmiths and warriors, contains a representation of several of the engineer’s designs including an AK42 sub gun, AK47, AKM and AK74 rifles, as well as RPK and PK machine guns.

However, as noted by some sharp-eyed firearms enthusiasts and reported by Russian-based Kalashnikov magazine, just under a Krinkov AKS-74U is what appears to be the parts diagram for a German StG-44 Sturmgewehr.

Which some (notably outside of the Motherland) have contended that the AK was based on for decades.

This has caused understandable heartburn in Russia, and, as Russian firearms wonks pile on to disagree with the lineage of the AK– noting it is as Russian as a Florida pirated movie salesman, the offending diagram has been torched out.

Roll that beautiful RPK-16 footage

Designed to be the Russian military’s new light machine gun, the 5.45x39mm RPK (Ruchnoy Pulemyot Kalashnikova)-16 sprouted from the Rostec state-owned Kalashnikov Group last year and is expected to be placed in service with the Rosgvardiya (think National Guard), internal affairs troops and Army to replace older RPKs.

It draws from the AK-12 program and comes in a few different barrel lengths while including a folding stock that, when swung shut, drops the overall length to just 25-inches. Weight without the detachable bipod and mag is 8.8-pounds.

End of the line for VEPR?

A classic Molot VEPR in .308 with the long 22-inch barrel and Counter Sniper Mil-Dot 4-16x44mm optic with illuminated reticle. Now more expensive than ever!

Back in January, I spoke at length with people over at Molot who were working hard on extending their exports of VEPR rifles and shotguns to the U.S. They were hopeful that the new Trump administration would be friendly to lifting some sanctions on Russian-based companies. Russian-made firearms were popular export items to the states until the conflict in the Ukraine and the resulting international backlash triggered a host of official embargos.

Per figures from the International Trade Commission, 204,788 firearms of all kinds were imported from Russia in 2013.

This figure plunged to just 9,556 in 2015 — mainly from Molot, the only large firearms maker not named in sanctions.

Well, it looks like that figure is going to be a lot lower in 2018…

Will Russian AKs and Korean war surplus M1s come ashore post-Trump?


Some are hopeful the new management in Washington will be able to lift barriers to overseas firearm imports erected over the years, though the going could be slow.

President Donald Trump on Friday said it was “very early” to tell if the United States should lift sanctions on Russia, but that he seeks a “great relationship” with Putin and Russia.

On the campaign trail, Trump’s platform on trade concentrated on American jobs while floating the possibility of a tariff on all imported goods to help ease the current trade deficit. However, the Republican’s position on gun rights promised to curtail federal gun bans and limits. The two concepts, when balanced against one another, leaves open the possibility of action on foreign-made guns currently off-limits to buyers in the U.S.

I talked to industry insiders on both sides of the pond, the ATF, and the International Trade Commission to get the scoop on if bans going back to the 1960s could be reshaped.

More in my column at Guns.com

2 Great tastes that shouldn’t taste great together– but somehow seem to work

German firearms wonk Herbert Werle doesn’t a talk a lot in his videos, but that is OK because the custom creations he comes up with carry the conversation just fine.

Hailing from Ludwigshafen, Germany, Werle really digs custom Garands and Lugers and one of his latest experiments is a rock-and-rolling full-auto Luger with a custom Kalashnikov-style rear stock and forearm/barrel assembly that still uses the standard Luger 32-round artillery “snail” drum and toggle action.

First test fire above, second below, followed by a bonus video (!) of a similar build he did on an AR Luger. You know you want one.

[ Gattip, cerebralzero/Gunblr]

Three pipehitters from the Corvin Passage, 60 years ago this month

The below image by Peter Dennis via MHE shows off a motley group of three freedom fighters in the Hungarian Revolution of October-November 1956 against the Soviets and the country’s puppet regime who would all lose their lives in the bitter fighting and subsequent repression.

From left to right, they are the real life Belane Havrilla, Mesz Janos, and Jozef Tibor Fejes. In the background, note the flag with the central motif cut out, and the captured 76.2mm anti-tank gun with the traditional coat-of-arms being painted on the gun shield.

They are depicted in front of the Corvin Cinema in Budapest, which was used as the headquarters of revolution leader László Iván Kovács. The narrow streets around the cinema allowed Kovacs’ 1,000~ irregulars to hold off a full Soviet mechanized infantry division, and, using Molotov cocktails and improvised anti-tank weapons, the Covin group knocked out 12 tanks including a few massive ISU-152s.

The Covin group held their position for 15 days.

Each of the three Covin group rebels shown below had their own story. Many were captured in a series of photos by LIFE’s Michael Rougier, which were sadly in some cases used by security officials after the uprising to track down rebels.

MTI Photo: Laszlo Toth

MTI Photo: Laszlo Toth

Béláné Havrilla was born in 1932, one of five children, growing up partly in an orphanage. She worked in a textile factory; married in 1952, but soon divorced; worked as a cleaner, then in a lamp factory. On 24 October she took part in the protests, joining the Corvin group first as a nurse, and later taking up arms herself, usually fighting together with Maria Wittner (shown with PPSh to the right).

Dennis: Photos show that she equipped herself with a khaki padded jacket (differing slightly from the regulation military model in having no side pockets); large stocks of these jackets were kept at Army depots and they were often worn by insurgents in the increasingly cold weather. Here the jacket is not fastened but closed in ‘female’ (right over left) style, and held fast by the Sam Browne-type belt; she has added a national armband to the left sleeve. She has a standard Mosin-Nagant M91/30 infantry rifle in addition to a holstered pistol.


János Mesz was born in 1931, one of 12 children in a worker’s family in Pecs. He spent part of his youth in a home for destitute children, and worked at various times as a gardener, a miner and in a factory. He lost his leg in an accident when run over by a suburban train. In 1956 he joined the ‘Corvinites’ – according to recollections he introduced himself as an officer (which was not true), but actually proved to be a fine gunner, commanding his group’s artillery. He was wounded in the head when his anti-tank gun (or 122mm howitzer – accounts vary) was hit and both his two helpers were killed; several photos show him as here, with a bandaged jaw. On 27 October he saved the lives of two injured Soviet soldiers who were taken prisoner.

Dennis: Here he wears a khaki Army M-51 uniform jacket without insignia apart from a narrow sleeve band in national colors, trousers of apparently the same shade, and a civilian fedora hat. He armed himself with a Mosin-Nagant M44 carbine and a PPSh-41 submachine gun; he also carried stick grenades in a canvas pouch for a PPSh drum magazine, and slung an extra 7.62mm machine gun cartridge belt around his body.


This newswire photo is stamped by the Hungarian Security Police in the corner

jozsef-tibor-fejes-rs jozsef-tibor-fejes-the-bowler-hatted-hungarian-revolutionary-who-in-1956-is-considered-to-be-the-first-person-ever-to-have-wielded-a-captured-ak-47-in-battle
Born in 1934 into a workers’ family, Fejes, known as “Keménykalapos,” the man in the bowler hat, spent his childhood in an orphanage after his parents divorced. While still a child he was transferred to Transylvania to work, spent some time in a correctional home, and only returned to Hungary in January 1956. In October he was with the crowd tearing down the Stalin statue, and was among the first members of the Corvin group.

Dennis: He is shown here wearing typical workers’ dress – a mid-blue loose shirt and trousers, with heavy laced boots. Over this he wears a lady’s dark grey jacket (note the buttons on the left), and a knitted scarf apparently of sand-colored wool. When photographed he was well armed with a captured AK-47 assault rifle; on his belt are two leather rifle cartridge pouches – probably he had had a Mosin-Nagant before laying his hands on the Kalashnikov. Slung from his shoulder is a thermos bottle.

Cj Chivers in his book on the AK47, The Gun, calls Fejes the first known insurgent to use a captured AK in warfare (the AKM was only issued to front-line Soviet troops at the time).

“He did so before Fidel Castro, before Yasser Arafat, before Idi Amin. He was years ahead of the flag of Zimbabwe, which would expropriate the AK-47 as a symbol. He was ahead of Shamil Basayev and Osama bin Laden, who would convert the product of an atheist state into a sign of unsparing jihad. József Tibor Fejes was the first of the world’s Kalashnikov-toting characters, a member of a pantheon’s inaugural class.”-– Chivers

All three perished soon after their resistance.

On 7 November Havrilla managed to escape to Austria, but on the urging of her boyfriend returned in December. She was arrested on 25 July 1957, and executed on 26 February 1959. Mária Wittner, shown above with Havrilla, was also sentenced to death. Her sentence was commuted to life imprisonment and she was released in 1970. She was subsequently awarded the Grand Cross star, as well as Ministers of silver and gold medals in 1991 by the new government.

On 4 November Mesz was mortally wounded.

As for the bowler hat man, Fejes quickly went home on November 5th after the pocket fell but was identified from press photographs, and was arrested in April 1957, and executed on 9 April 1959 for allegedly shooting State Police Lt. János Balassa— with his captured AK.

In all some 253 Hungarians were executed or died in prison for their part in the Revolution by the government. The Hungarian State Security Police (Államvédelmi Hatóság, ÁVH) was very efficient.

It is estimated that the three-week Revolution resulted in the combat deaths of 722 Soviet troops and some 2,500-3,000 Hungarians.

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