Named after its designer, Mikhail Kalashnikov, and the year it was developed, the AK-47 was introduced into selective Soviet army units as early as 1948. In 1949, it became the official gun of the Soviet military and its allies.
It would take the U.S. another ten years before it developed an assault rifle that matched the effectiveness of the AK-47. The Soviet gun still had the advantage in the fact that it could be developed much more inexpensively. It remains a marvel in world firearm history.