AK-47 – Parts and How It Works

One of the most creative weapons ever created in the history of guns and weaponry is AK-47.  It was designed and developed by a then-twenty six year oldUnion Soviet soldier, Mikhail Kalashnikov. Since then, AK-47 has been enhanced and further developed. From an assault rifle of 10 pounds, it is now modernized in the length of 35 inches with weight of 8 pounds.  To better know how AK-47 works, we have to be acquainted to its parts.




  • Stock and Handgrip
  • The original stock for AK-47 is made of solid wood but is now replaced with stronger but less expensive plywood. AKMS, a variant of AK-47 best works against airborne opponents and those who are in armor vehicles.


  • Trigger
  • When it comes to the trigger, the rifle has borrowed its design from John C. Garand, the maker of M1 and Hugo Schmeisser.


  • Receiver
  • Within AK-47 is the receiver that serves as the anchor for the trigger and group gas piston. The combination of the parts of the bolt carrier and the gas piston were designed to have enough breathing space, enabling the inside mechanism less prone to the by-products caused by carbon build-up, dirt and rust; thus, it is more reliable since it’s less likely to jam.


  • Selector switch
  • There are three firing modes for AKM: safe switch when it cannot accidentally fire; semi-automatic when it can release single shots; and automatic when it can fire up at 700 rounds a minute.


  • Gas Piston
  • In every round that the rifle is fired, gas goes straight into a chamber through a passage located just right at the top of the barrel, forcing a piston back and draws back the bolt from the chamber and ejects the already consumed cartridge. The magazine which is spring-loaded brings the next cartridge into the place. With the return spring thrusting the bolt assembly and piston forward, the cartridge then is placed into place for the next round of firing.  What’s cool about this weapon is the fact that it can still function even when hindered by lack of lubrication, fouling and dirt.


  • Magazine
  • The Soviet Union has discovered the technology to bring the magazine into its place in no time. The banana shaped magazine enables hassle-free attachment that makes a lot of difference in times of heightened alert.
  • Protective coating
  • AK-47 has phosphate coating rendering the rifle to be rust-resistant. Moreover, the barrel is also chromed so the rust is not accumulated inside.


Bottom Line

Usually, AK-47 is not seen in a very good light since it’s often dismissed as something not too automatic or modern enough compared to the weaponry today.  However, in the face of war, this rifle that can be modified with bayonet is uber-reliable.