For any firearm owner or enthusiast, an AK-47 and it’s simple, reliable design is one of the most significant and identifiable rifles of its time. The arms designer of the AK-47, Lt. Gen. Mikhair T. Kalashnikov, passed away this past Monday at the age of 94.

General Kalashnikov was credited by the Soviet Union with creating the Ak-47, which still today associates his name and reputation for innovative firearm design and manufacturing. The AK-47 has become a mainstay in ongoing modern war and international conflicts, while also becoming one of the most plentiful firearms in history.

From his early beginnings, Kalashnikov had a knack for mechanical skills and studied weapons and their construction and architecture. His role in the development of the AK-47 (which stands for Avtomat Kalashnikova, meaning “Kalashnikov’s Automatic Rifle”) helped propel him to senior positions within Soviet arms-manufacturing and political organizations like the Supreme Soviet.

For more history about Kalashnikov and his AK-47, watch this video:

Millions of Kalashnikov rifles have been manufactured. Their reliability, simplicity, and ubiquity, made them efficient weapons in conflicts throughout the globe, small and large.

While the AK-47 became a symbol of violence between terrorist and thuggish conflicts in underdeveloped countries, Kalashnikov had stated in the past that the weapon was designed to protect his motherland, not to be used by terrorists or thugs. “This is a weapon of defense,” he said. “It is not a weapon for offense.”

Originally developed in the 1940s as the Soviet infantry rifle for the Cold War, the simplicity of the rifle’s design is due to large open space between the moving parts inside the receiver, which coupled with a minimal amount of moving parts in the trigger group, allows all kinds of deposits before problems arise. And when they do, it’s incredibly easy to open up and maintain the moving parts.

Not only that, but the design of all of the parts considered many aspects of active combat, and every measure was considered to prevent corrosion, jamming, and clogging. For more videos showing just how resilient the AK-47 is, follow these links:

The AK-47 was easy to make, maintain and use because it was designed with toughness and simplicity in mind, with overwhelming force and usability as well. The passing of General Kalashnikov marks the end of one of the world’s most renowned arms-manufacturing individuals.

The information in this article is referenced in the following complete NY Times report: