This intricate graphic shows the inner-workings of the world's most popular rifle

No other weapon in the world has had the same success as the variations of the AK-47.

First put into production on July 6, 1947, the rifle is now one of the most ubiquitous firearms in the world. According to NPR, citing estimates from the World Bank, the rifle and its variations comprise a fifth of all firearms currently in the world.

This successful rise and spread of the rifle is due largely to its design, its ease of use, and its simple but rugged nature.

The following graphic by Russia-based designer Anton Egorov
depicts the inner workings of the rifle:

The Kalashnikov is essentially built to be as reliable and effective as possible during actual wartime conditions. Pieces can be easily removed and attached to make for easy cleaning, transportation, and assembly.

“It’s almost intuitive,” The New York Times war correspondent C.J. Chivers told NPR. “You can take it apart very quickly and put it back together just as quickly. It’s simple to clean. It’s simple to maintain. Most of the Kalashnikovs out there are very well made for the actual conditions of war.”

The rifle’s firing system is gas-operated. The advantage of such a design is that it is generally simpler to manufacture and operate, increasing the reliability of the weapon.

Such a design, combined with the weapon’s general cheapness, has made variations of the Kalashnikov a favourite of armies and insurgents around the world.

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