Assembled AK-47 Kalashnikov.

История Дизайна,
Румынский Строительства

The History of the Kalashnikov Design

The Автомат Калашникова 47, Avtomat Kalashnikova 47 or Kalashnikov Automatic Rifle 1947 Model, simply the AK-47, is a sturdy and utilitarian item produced in vast numbers. About 75 million AK-47 and 100 million AK-type rifles have been built so far. Let's learn about its history and its early production before we try to build one.

The AK-47 was designed by Mikhail Timofeevich Kalashinikov in 1944-1946.

It was originally manufactured at the Izhevsk Mechanical Works, the Izhevskiy Mashinostroitel'ny Zavod or Ижевский Машиностроительный Завод (abbreviated in the common Russian style as IZHMASH or ИЖМАШ).

Mikhail Kalashnikov in 1949.

Mikhail Kalashnikov in 1949.

This arsenal was established in 1807 by decree of Tsar Alexander I. It's in the Western Urals, well to the east and safely far away from any Western European invaders.

ИЖМАШ still operates there, producing arms including the Kalashnikov series of rifles, cannons, missiles, and guided shells, as well as motorcycles and cars, cutlery, lathes, and gas meters.

This of western Russiamap shows Ижевск, between Kazan' (Казань) and Perm' (Пермь). It's on the banks of the Izh River, draining from the western slopes of the Urals into the Kama River, which in turn flows into the Volga and toward the Caspian Sea.

Map of Western Russia, from Poland and Ukraine east as far as Novosibirsk and Tomsk.

Many AK-47 variants have been built in countries once allied with the Soviet Union, including Romania.

Romanian Construction

Romania's variant is the Pistol Mitralieră model 1963/1965, abbreviated PM md. 63 or just simply md. 63. The PM md. 63 was manufactured by the Romanian State Arsenal or Regia Autonomă pentru producţia de Tehnică Militară (RATMIL), located in Cugir, in west-central Romania. RATMIL produced these from 1963 into the 1980s. They were exported under the designation AIM to many countries including Iraq, Morocco, Jordan, India, Pakistan, Liberia, Rwanda, Sudan, Sierra Leone, and Libya.

Map of Romania.

Map of Romania.

Cugir is a town of just 25,950 people, too small to appear on this atlas page. It's at 45°50'37"N, 23°21'49"E, just south-west of the much larger Алба-Юлия, with its population of 66,747.

A civilian export variant of the PM md. 63 is the Garda version, originally manufactured for the Romanian Patriotic Guards.

The Guards were formed in 1968 after Nicolae Ceauşescu's speech condemming the Soviet crushing of the Prague Spring. Ceauşescu called on the Romanian people to resist any similar Soviet move against their country.

That threat had subsided by the end of the year but the Guards remained in place. In Ceauşescu's Romania, that first meant military training for all university students, soon followed by compulsory work in agricultural fields.

Ceauşescu eventually discovered that if you arm a large block of the population, exhort them to resist oppression, and then try to heavily oppress them, things might turn out very different from what you had intended. In Ceauşescu's case, the Romanian people hunted him down and executed him on Christmas in 1989.

Letter G on left side of rear sight block on a PM md 63 Garda Romanian AK-47 / AKM-47 variant.

"G" engraved on the rear sight block, empty triangle indicating Cugir arsenal, year of manufacture (1980) and serial number on left side of front trunnion, and "80" on top of trunnion.

Letter G on left side of rear sight block on a PM md 63 Garda Romanian AK-47 / AKM-47 variant.

The Garda sear was removed and the disconnector modified to render them semi-automatic only. The letter G is stamped or engraved on the left side of the rear sight block, sometimes outlined with orange paint as seen here. The receivers were then destroyed with cutting torches and the Solomon-like result imported into the U.S. as a "parts kit", the subject of the next page in this series.

Romania built these until 1986 or 1987 when their military and the Garda officially adopted the 5.45x39mm cartridge and started producing and using the Pusca Automata model 1986, abbreviated as PA md. 86 or simply md. 86, and exported as the AIMS-74.

Arsenal mark Selector Country Notes
1 round
Arrow in a triangle,
Arrow in a shield,
Н or У in keystone,

Izhevsk arsenal


U.S.S.R. г = году, year
АВ = автоматический, automatic
ОД = один, one
огонь = fire
Star in triangle,
Н or У in circle

Tula arsenal
АВ ОД U.S.S.R. г = году, year
АВ = автоматический, automatic
ОД = один, one
Arrow in a triangle,

Cugir arsenal
S FA FF Romania S = Sigur, safe
FA = Foc Automat, automatic fire
FF = Foc cu Foc, fire with fire
Romanian markings on domestic units
"11" in triangle with
rounded bottom

Carfil arsenal
S FA FF Romania S = Sigur, safe
FA = Foc Automat, automatic fire
FF = Foc cu Foc, fire with fire
Romanian markings on domestic units
Arrow in a triangle,

Cugir arsenal
S A R Romania S = Safe
A = Automatic
R = Repetition
S,A,R on export models
Number in a
double circle
АВ ЕД Bulgaria АВ = автоматичен, automatic
ЕД = едно, one
"11" in a circle C P Poland
Crossed swords 30 Czechoslovakia
"M22" or number in a
circle or triangle
L D People's Republic
of China
"L" and "D" on export units,
Chinese used domestically.
Circle in a diamond,
"C" or "X" circled by rays,
letter above shield,
"K3" in ellipse
D E East Germany
1 Hungary
R J Yugoslavia
••• Finland 3-round burst
Star in a circle ㄹㅕㄴ ㄷㅏㄴ North Korea

The Romanian arsenals used a numbering system to match parts, similar to what was done by other AK manufacturers. This was done to account for variations in dimensions. They marked the parts attached to the barrel with a number, where 1 is under-sized, 2 is nominal, 3 is oversized, and 4 is even more oversized. The barrel usually has a sequence of four numbers, for the size of the barrel at the front sight block, gas port, rear sight block, and trunnion. The barrel to trunnion mating is the most critical: it might be slightly loose if the trunnion is too large, or even risk cracking the trunnion if it is too small.

Next step: The parts kit

Rear sight on a PM md 63 Garda Romanian AK-47 / AKM-47 variant.

The rear sight is calibrated in hundreds of meters. "P" stands for Privelişte, meaning landscape or view. There are claims that it stands for "pogrom" meaning "battle", but that is not the Romanian word! Battle in Romanian would be one of bătălie, luptă, bătaie, conflict, or întrecere.