Most of the anti war brigade always castigate the western nations for arms sales but maybe they should be looking elsewhere. What is the most common conflict weapon of choice? The AK47
The AK-47 is a selective-fire, gas-operated 7.62×39mm assault rifle, first developed in the Soviet Union by Mikhail Kalashnikov. It is officially known in the Soviet documentation as Avtomat Kalashnikova (Russian: Автомат Калашникова). It is also known as Kalashnikov, AK, or in Russian slang, Kalash.Design work on the AK-47 began in the last year of World War II (1945). After the war in 1946, the AK-47 was presented for official military trials. In 1948, the fixed-stock version was introduced into active service with selected units of the Soviet Army. An early development of the design was the AKS (S—Skladnoy or "folding"), which was equipped with an underfolding metal shoulder stock. In 1949, the AK-47 was officially accepted by the Soviet Armed Forces and used by the majority of the member states of the Warsaw Pact.Even after six decades the model and its variants remain the most popular and widely used assault rifles in the world because of their substantial reliability under harsh conditions, low production costs compared to contemporary Western weapons, availability in virtually every geographic region and ease of use. The AK-47 has been manufactured in many countries and has seen service with armed forces as well as irregular forces worldwide, and was the basis for developing many other types of individual and crew-served firearms. As of 2004, out of the estimated 500 million firearms worldwide, approximately 100 million belong to the Kalashnikov family, three-quarters of which are AK-47s.
Over 20 years ago my ship was seconded to the UN to assist in peacekeeping in Angola As you can imagine after 20 years of civil war the country was awash with weaponry. During our time in Angola we were mainly stationed in the southern port of Lobito. The caring and sharing UN lent the ship a minibus for use during our stay. This was used for all manner of trips including trips to a safe bar (Can of beer $2*) on a spit of land outside the town. The trouble was you had to go through some dodgy areas to get there which meant having a welsh guardsman from our protection company, having to ride shot gun. After a couple of weeks I was advised that I could obtain an asset for the minibus's protection from the local police station.
Arriving at the police station I was astounded to be offered a selection of killing means at knockdown prices. Anti tank mine $8, Anti personnel mine $5, and last but not least an AK47 with a thirty round magazine for $1. (I turned down the 4 barrelled ant-air craft artillery as impracticable for a minibus).
I took the AK 47. A cheap, cheerful, and very effective weapon.
And we all lived happily ever after.
* Bloody expensive when you consider that a medium civil servant only earnt the equivalent of $8 dollars per month.