Not long after the end of World War II, Kalashnikov completed work on a new type of automatic rifle, the AK-47. His design was selected from a number of entries in a competition and put into production. The AK-47 proved to be easy to use and clean, and worked well in a number of different environments, from deserts to jungles. The gun's initials stand for "Avtomat Kalashnikov," or "automatic Kalashnikov," and are often referred to as "Kalashnikovs."
“This is a weapon of defense. It is not a weapon for offense.” -- Mikhail Kalashnikov
Today, the gun remains one of Russia's most recognizable brands, and it is made in Russia and by licensees abroad. Roughly 100 million Kalashnikovs have been produced since the gun's initial release, and its reliability has made it a favorite weapon of many types of armed groups, from military personnel to terrorists. Kalashnikov later expressed some regret over who has used his prized invention. "It is painful for me to see when criminal elements of all kinds fire from my weapon," he said, according to a Reuters report.