♦ In some places, an AK-47 assault rifle Kofi A. Annan, “Small Arms, Big Problems,” International Herald Tribune, July 10, 2001.

♦ That rifle hanging on the wall George Orwell, “Don’t Let Colonel Blimp Ruin the Home Guard,” Evening Standard, January, 8, 1941.

♦ I’m proud of my invention Kate Connolly, “Kalashnikov: ‘I Wish I’d Made a Lawnmower,’” Guardian (UK), July 30, 2002.


As the Apaches hovered in position Mary Beth Sheridan, “Ground Fire Repels Copter Assault; Two Crewmen Seized by Iraqis as Apache Goes Down,” Washington Post, March 25, 2003.

Why the U.S. military Ibid.

This “way we go to war” Interview with Major General William J. Livsey Jr. at Fort Benning, 1978.

Consider the U.S. Rangers in Mogadishu Jonathan Fryer, “Jingoism Jibe over Black Hawk Down,”, January 21, 2002.


12 Mikhail Timofeevich Kalashnikov was born Much of the personal information about Kalashnikov’s early life comes from his autobiography, From a Stranger’s Doorstep to the Kremlin Gates (Moscow: Military Parade, 1997), translated from the Russian. Where possible, all incidents were confirmed with those involved and with other objective historical accounts.

13 Only a few weeks after shipping out Ibid., 50, 92.

20 The U.S. military was oblivious William H. Hallahan, Misfire: The History of How America’s Small Arms Have Failed Our Military (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1994), 402-404.

23 In addition, rather than build components See Kalashnikov, From a Stranger’s Doorstep, 231.


32 One of the champions of the .30 caliber Edward Clinton Ezell, The Great Rifle Controversy: Search for the Ultimate Infantry Weapon from World War II Through Vietnam and Beyond (Harrisburg, PA.: Stackpole Books, 1984), 49-51.

34 But the Americans did not keep their promise Hallahan, Misfire, 435-437.

41 Stoner would not have known Much of the material about Stoner’s efforts to push forward the AR-15 project and resistance from the army came from the Ichord hearings (see page 44 note below) into M-16 malfunctions during the Vietnam War. Stoner also did a series of videotaped interviews for the Smithsonian Institution (as did Kalashnikov) in which he talked about his battles with the army. Also, The Great Rifle Controversy and Misfire, both referenced above, contain extensive documentation about this period. This particular quote can be found in the History Channel’s series Tales of the Gun: The M-16, in which Stoner explains on camera the genesis of the M-16 rifle.

43 Their luck turned From an October 3, 1968, press conference where George Wallace announced that LeMay had agreed to serve as his vice presidential candidate.

44 Boutelle’s farm was a shooter’s paradise Report of the Special Subcommittee on the M-16 Rifle Program of the Committee on Armed Forces, House of Representatives, 19th Congress, First Session, October 1967. This was dubbed the Ichord hearings after Missouri representative Richard Ichord, who championed Congress’s inquiry into failures of the M-16 during the Vietnam War.

47 Whatever his reason, McNamara was clearly angry Report by Preparedness Investigating Subcommittee of the Committee on Armed Services, U.S. Senate, on M-14 Rifle Program, 1961.


55 The war that Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev Lester Grau, “The Soviet-Afghan Wars: A Superpower Mired in the Mountains,” Journal of Slavic Military Studies, March 2004.

57 Strategically, the invasion was brilliant Ibid.

58 The Soviets with their tanks The CIA’s operations in Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion have been well documented. Sources include congressional testimony on CIA operations as well as Charles G. Crogan, “Partners in Time,” World Policy Journal, Summer 1993; and Steven Coll, Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and Bin Laden from the Soviet Invasion to September 102001 (New York: Penguin, 2004), 58.

58 Soviet weapons designers Val Shilin and Charlie Cutshaw, Legends and Realities of the AK (Boulder, CO: Paladin Press, 2000), 38.

59 Kalashnikov, well aware of the move Kalashnikov, From a Stranger’s Doorstep, 292.

59 Making a smaller-caliber weapon Much of the technical data for this section is drawn from Shilin and Cutshaw, Legends and Realities of the AK.

60 Again, Western intelligence underestimated Edward Clinton Ezell, Kalashnikov: The Arms and the Man: A Revised and Expanded Edition of the AK47 Story (Cobourg, ON: Collector Grade Publications, 2001), 121.

61 The new bullet consisted of a thin-jacketed point Galen L. Geer, “Jihad in Afghanistan,” Soldier of Fortune, September and October 1980.

62 Another tactic of the mujahideen David Rooney, Guerrilla: Insurgents, Patriots and Terrorists from Sun Tzu to Bin Laden (London: Brassey’s, 2004), 227-228.

63 The covert pipeline managed by the CIA Bobi Pirseyedi, The Small Arms Problem in Central Asia: Features and Implications (Geneva: United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, 2000).

64 As more and more AKs flooded the region See Coll, Ghost Wars.

65 Despite the graft, corruption, and skimming The State of the World’s Refugees 1995: Conflict and Reconstruction in Afghanistan, UNHCR. See also Chris Smith, “Light Weapons and Ethnic Conflict in South Asia,” in Jeffrey Boutwell, Michael T. Klare, and Laura W. Reed, eds., Lethal Commerce: The Global Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons (Cambridge, MA: Committee on International Security Studies, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1995), 64.

66 Regardless of the large troop numbers See Grau, “Soviet-Afghan Wars.”

67 Economically, the war’s drain on the faltering A. Z. Hilali, “Afghanistan: The Decline of Soviet Military Strategy and Political Status,” Journal of Slavic Military Studies 12, no. 1 (March 1999): 102.

68 Just prior to the Soviet withdrawal Henry Kamm, “Pakistani Arms Dealers Hail God and the AK-47,” New York Times, March 8, 1988.

68 A 1988 story in the Los Angeles Times Mark Fineman, “Ethnic Tensions Grip Hyderbad; Pakistanis Fear for Lives in Kalashnikov Culture,” Los Angeles Times, October 5, 1988.

68 In Peshawar itself, people reportedly could rent Mary Williams Walsh, “Guns and Gunmen Rule in Pakistan’s Wild West,” Wall Street Journal , June 30, 1987.

69 This economic and social reliance on AKs Ibid.

70 When the Albanian government fell Chris McNab, The AK47 (St. Paul, MN: MBI Publishing, 2001), 60.

70 Now, with the Soviets gone Jane’s Intelligence Review, August 1, 1997.

70 When the Soviets attacked Afghanistan For an excellent and concise summary of bin Laden’s rise, see Rooney, Guerrilla, 229-241.

73 In essays from al-Qaeda writers From English translations of al-Qaeda essays cited in Michael Scheure’s “Al-Qaeda’s Tactical Doctrine for the Long War,” Terrorism Focus, March 14, 2006. Scheuer also addressed al-Qaeda doctrine in his book Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing ther War on Terror (Dulles, VA: Potomac Books, 2005).


76 “A few planeloads of arms” PBS, Frontline/World, “Gun Runners,” May 2002.

79 Instead of ignoring Taylor Howard Witt, “In Liberian Jungles, Teens Take Charge,” Chicago Tribune, July 15, 1990.

80 Taylor went further Tom Kamara, “Children Remain Useful,” The Perspective, January 24, 2001.

80 Taylor’s Small Boy Units Jamie Menutis, “No End to the Ugliness in Liberia,” Alternet, June 24, 2003.

81 In a perverted context “Up to 15,000 Child Soldiers in Liberia, UN Says,” IRIN News, September 24, 2003. IRIN is the Integrated Regional Information Networks, part of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

81 The Small Boy Units were often looked Howard Witt, “In Liberian Jungles, Teens Take Charge,” Chicago Tribune, July 15, 1990.

81 Nobody knows how Taylor got the idea Michael Klare, “The Kalashnikov Age,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, January 1999.

81 During the capital’s siege “Liberia’s Killing Goes On,” Economist, September 15, 1990.

82 Some international observers, including former U.S. president Jimmy Carter Fadiru B. Koroma, “War in Liberia Threatens to Destablise Region,”, August 14, 2002.

82 With the elections drawing world attention P. W. Singer, Children at War (New York Pantheon, 2005), 56.

84 Despite a UN embargo Ken Silverstein, “Comrades in Arms,” Washington Monthly, January 1, 2002.

85 To maintain control of these diamond mines Holly Burkhalter, Physicians for Human Rights, testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade, September 13, 2000.

85 Taylor repeatedly denied any involvement Tamam Ahmed Jama, “Soaked in Blood,” Al-Ahram Weekly, January 23, 2003.

86 As the years progressed, Taylor found Alex Vines, Hunting the Illegal Arms Traffickers, report to Norwegian Initiative on Small Arms Transfers, December 6, 2003.

86 One of the problems encountered by officials Paul Salopek, “Disarming Sierra Leone,” Chicago Tribune, December 23, 2001.

87 The shame of blood diamonds “A Region in Flames: West Africa Wars,” Economist, July 5, 2003.

87 One incident, not publicized at the time Kim Sengupta, “British SAS Overpower West Side Boys with Military Precision,” Hamilton (ON) Spectator, September 11, 2000. An entire book detailing the incident is William Fowler, Operation BarrasThe SAS Rescue Mission, Sierra Leone 2000(London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2004).

88 Although many countries employed child soldiers “Children of the Gun,” Children in Crisis Report, Save the Children, September 2000. Also see Singer, Children at War, 15.

89 Court testimony has stunned the world Clarence Roy-Macaulay, “Sierra Leoneans Testify on Rebel Abuse,” Associated Press, July 21, 2004.

90 Reports from the war crimes court showed Terrorist Responses to Improved US Financial Defenses, testimony by Douglas Farah before the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Committee on Financial Services, February 16, 2005. Farah is also author of an in-depth investigation into blood diamonds and their use by terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda. He makes a convincing case that the September 11, 2001, attacks were funded in part by illegal trading in these and other precious gems. See Douglas Farah, Blood from Stones: The Secret Financial Network of Terror; (New York: Broadway Books, 2004). See also “9/11 Funds Traced to Taylor,” Africa News, July 22, 2004.

93 In Somalia, as in many areas of the world “Somali President a ‘Man of Peace,’” BBC News World Edition (online), October 14, 2004.

94 Kalashnikovs poured into Rwanda Stephen D. Goose and Frank Smyth, “Arming Genocide in Rwanda,” Foreign Affairs, September/October 1994.

95 Most news accounts emphasized Jeffrey Boutwell and Michael T. Klare, “A Scourge of Small Arms,” Scientific American, June 2000.

95 In mid-July, RPF forces Carter Dougherty, “Rwanda Marks Genocide Anniversary,” Boston Globe, April 8, 2004. See Linda Melvern, A People Betrayed: The Role of the West in Rwanda’s Genocide (London: Zed Books; 2000), for a description of Boutros-Ghali’s role.

96 There was little public mention Richard D. Hooker, By Their Deeds Alone (New York: Ballantine, 2003).

97 Rwanda and other countries in Africa Shapi Shacinda, “Tides of Guns Leaves Africa Awash with Misery,” Reuters, November 14, 2004.

98 The AK changed cultural patterns Anthropologists and other researchers have studied the effect of AKs on pastoral people. For one case study, see Mustafa Mirzeler and Crawford Young, “Pastoral Politics in the Northeast Periphery in Uganda: AK-47 as Change Agent,” Journal of Modern African Studies 38, no. 3 (2000).

99 One report had the Mozambican government Small Arms Survey 2001 (Geneva: Graduate Institute of International Studies, Oxford University Press, 2002); 64.

100 Even if the AK image is deleted Tom Bowman, “The Father of Terrorism: Kalashnikov Is a Trademark for Revolution,” Daily Telegraph (Sydney), March 9, 2002.


106 These civil wars, fueled by AKs The testimony of Adolfo A. Franco, Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Latin America and Caribbean, U.S. Agency for International Development, Committee on House International Relations Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, April 20, 2005, offers insights into the Latin American crime problem.

109 The Israelis had built the Galil Chuck Taylor, “Galil: The World’s Best Assault Rifle,” Guns, August 1994.

109 For Somoza, a major draw of the Galil “Israel Shows Off a New Rifle That She Says Rates with the Best,” New York Times, April 15, 1973.

111 As hostilities grew, small arms rushed Christopher Dickey, With the Contras: A Reporter in the Wilds of Nicaragua (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1985), 118-119.

112 In August 1985, the Contras received George Gedda, “Contras Obtain 10,000 Polish AK-47 Rifles, US Officials Say,” Associated Press, August 31, 1985.

113 When soldiers reached the wrecked plane Michael S. Serrill, “Shot out of the Sky: A Captured U.S. Soldier of Fortune Spins a Tale of CIA Intrigue,” Time, October 20, 1986.

114 Calero testified that Secord and Singlaub Elaine Sciolino, “Contra Leader Discloses Bank Records,” New York Times, March 6, 1987.

114 Further media investigations revealed Some of the best reporting at the time was by the Wall Street Journal, in particular, John Walcott and David Rogers, “Ship Used to Send Arms to Contras Said to Aid Delivery of East-Bloc Arms,” February 13, 1987.

116 During this time, the FMLN had received large shipments of AKs Roy Gutman, “Bush Assails Soviets on Salvador Aid; He Says They’re Exporting Revolution,” Newsday (New York), May 3, 1989.

116 As it turned out, the weapons came from an unexpected source “Grapevine,” Time, March 27, 1989.

117 This influx of AKs bolstered the rebels’ morale Frank Smyth, “Mysterious Influx of Soviet and Chinese Arms for Salvador Rebels,” Sacramento Bee, June 4, 1989.

120 One incident in October 1999 Report of the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States on the Diversion of Nicaraguan Arms to the United Defense Forces of Colombia, January 6, 2003.

122 What makes this example El Tiempo, June 30, 2002. The first story on the arms diversion was published on April 21, 2002.

125 Montesinos went into business with the country’s drug dealers DEA unclassified document written August 27, 1996. Part of a FOIA request in the National Security Archive, George Washington University.

126 As more details emerged about Montesinos’s arming of Colombian rebels Juan O. Tamayo, “Peru’s Link to Arms Deals Worried U.S.,” Miami Herald, September 20, 2000.

127 A more intriguing possibility For pricing information, see An Vranckx, “European Arms Exports to Latin America: An Inventory,” IPIS Background Report, Antwerp, Belgium, updated January 2005.

128 The only bright spot for the Colombian government El Tiempo, June 16, 2004. See also Marcela Sanchez, “Guerrillas March to War in $100 Boots,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, June 25, 2004.

130 U.S. officials paid less attention “The Iron Fist of Hugo Chavez,”, February 4, 2005.

131 Rumsfeld discussed the AK purchase Pablo Bachelet, “Rumsfeld ‘Concerned’ about Venezuela’s Plan to Buy AK47s,” Miami Herald, March 24, 2005.

131 Chávez did not immediately respond Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough, “Inside the Ring,” Washington Times, February 18, 2005.


134 Fearful that government agents See Kalashnikov, From a Stranger’s Doorstep, 335.

134 Over the following years, Ezell mailed Kalashnikov Ezell, Kalashnikov: The Arms and the Man, 231-239.

135 On May 15, 1990, Kalashnikov arrived Author interviews with William Addison Hurst, September 2004.

137 Over the following days Sergeant Chris Lawson, “Top Weapons Designers Meet Here,” Quantico Sentry, May 22, 1990.

137 They also shared a sense of humor Interviews with William Addison Hurst, September 2004.

138 Kalashnikov received unexpected praise Author e-mail and phone interview with Major General Matthew P. Caulfield (ret.), May 2005.

142 Still friends, the two did not have much time Stephen Johnson, “The Rifle Men; Meeting of the Minds Behind AK-47, M-16,” Houston Chronicle, January 18, 1993.

143 This small, modest man J. Kampfner, “Kalashnikov,” Courier (Queensland, Australia) Mail, March 5, 1994.

144 Observers also took note of Kalashnikov Celestine Bohlen, “Arms Factory Can Make Bricks, But, Russia Asks, Is That Smart?” New York Times, February 24, 1992.

147 “It did not look like he was really angry” “Five Children Killed as Gunman Attacks a California School,” Associated Press, January 18, 1989.

150 Even former president Ronald Reagan Laurie Becklund, “Saddled Up, Reagan Vows to Speak on Issues,” Los Angeles Times, February 7, 1989.

150 President George H. W. Bush Douglas Jehl, “Bennett Pressured by NRA on Gun Views, Officials Say,” Los Angeles Times, March 18, 1989.

151 He reassured gun owners “Bennett Feels the Heat over Stand on Guns,” Chicago Tribune, March 18, 1989.

157 Within a few months of the ban Interview with Ron Whittaker, 60 Minutes, February 8, 1995.

158 Gun magazines, which had opposed the ban Gun World, August 2001.

158 “If I could have gotten fifty-one votes in the Senate” Interview with Dianne Feinstein, 60 Minutes, February 8, 1995.

159 On February 28, 1997 There are many accounts of the North Hollywood shootout. See Nancy J. Rigg, “Shootout in North Hollywood,” 9-1-1 Magazine, Sept/Oct. 1997, for a discussion from the dispatcher’s point of view; “Botched L.A. Bank Heist Turns into Bloody Shootout,”, February 28, 1997; Beth Shuster and James Rainey, “The North Hollywood Shootout,” Los Angeles Times, March 1, 1997; “Stunned Police, Residents Cope with Aftermath of L.A. Shootout,”, March 1, 1997; and 1997 LAPD Annual Report. A recording of the police radio transmissions during the forty-four-minute incident is also available to the public from several sources on the Internet.

163 Police were routinely issued shotguns Mark Schlueb, “As Danger Grows, Orlando Cops Get Rifles with Punch,” Orlando Sentinel, June 4, 2002.

165 Some state assault rifle bans Author interview with John Rosenthal, June 2005.


171 As he hailed a cab outside the UN building Mei-Ling Hopgood, “Gun Lobby Keeps Heat on U.S. at Conference,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, July 11, 2001.

172 Individual countries and regional groups Mike Crawley, “Kenya Trade-In; Guns for Schools,” Christian Science Monitor, January 2, 2001.

172 In a presentation a year earlier Kofi Annan, We the Peoples: The Role of the United Nations in the 21st Century, October 2000 Millennium Report, April 3, 2000.

173 Even before the conference began Setting the Record Straight, UN Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects, New York, July 9-20, 2001. Published by the United Nations Department of Public Information in cooperation with the Department for Disarmament Affairs, July 2001.

173 Despite these clarifications Global Structures Convocation (3rd: 1994), February 2-6, 1994, Washington, D.C.

183 The implications of such bullet-tracing systems Joint Report of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the United Nations Operation in Burundi and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights into the Gatumba Massacre, October 5, 2004.

186 Even if marking and tracing Johan Peleman, “Tracing Arms Flows,” presentation given at the international experts meeting on tracing illicit small arms and light weapons, organized by the GRIP and the European Cost programme, Brussels, October 22, 2004.


189 One of the groups assigned to the area Gordon Dillow, “Battle Transforms Fresh Faced Troops,” Orange County Register, March 23, 2003, in conjunction with Department of Defense Press Releases.

193 As we’ve seen in many other countries Anna Badkhen, “Gun Market Thrives on Dread,” San Francisco Chronicle, March 26, 2003. See also Small Arms Survey 2004 (Geneva: Graduate Institute of International Studies, Oxford University Press, 2004), 48.

196 Early reports from the front Andrew England, “US Troops Using Confiscated Iraqi AK-47s,” Associated Press, August 25, 2003.

199 Members of Congress wrote letters Ted Strideland, letter to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, October 1, 2003.

202 Coalition Provisional Authority officials William Matthews, “U.S. Officials Rap Rifle Buy for Iraqi Corp,” Defense News, December 22, 2003.

202 Even the Russians were angry C. J. Chivers, “Who’s A Pirate? Russia Points Back at the U.S.,” New York Times, July 24, 2004.

203 The story took an even stranger turn Northern District of California indictment, U.S. District Attorney, May 23, 1996. See also Jonathan S. Landay, “Chinese Firm Linked to Smuggled AK-47s Picked to Supply Iraqi Army,” Knight Ridder Newspapers, April 27, 2005.

205 With the continuing violence in Iraq Oliver Poole, “The Iraqi GP: Stethoscope and AK-47,” The Age, May 19, 2005.


212 Years earlier, Kalashnikov had felt Kalashnikov, From a Stranger’s Doorstep, 444.

213 Viktor was more outspoken and bitter “Kalashnikov Inventor Wants Peace; Recalls Soviets Nostalgically,” Agence France-Presse, May 7, 2000.

215 Even commercial high-end artists and designers joined the AK design movement E-mail to author from Starck representative.

215 The founders of the online photography magazine AK47 E-mail to author from Joerg Diekmann.

216 The fact that AKs enjoyed Dave Graham, “Kalashnikov Sets Sights on Superbrand,” Reuters, February 17, 2003.

217 Still, the AK mystique grew stronger Playboy, January 2004.

220 The Kalashnikov 41-proof vodka “Russian Routlette,” Growing Business, June 2004.

222 In interviews after the reception Vicky Allan, “Kalashnikov Calls New Kinds of Shots,” Sunday Herald (Scotland), September 26, 2004. See also “Kalashnikov Launches Liquid Weapon,”, September 20, 2004. (Notes 129-132 include material from an author phone interview with Florey.)

223 Florey argued that the Kalashnikov brand was based John Ness, “Swords into Vodka,” Newsweek International, November 22, 2004.

224 Florey put Kalashnikov out front to help “Britain’s Kalashnikov Vodka to Change Name after Anti-Violence Campaign,” Reuters, January 15, 2005. See also Adam Jones, “Lobby Sets Sights on Kalashnikov Vodka,” Financial Times, October 26, 2004.

224 The group’s assessment was both good and bad news Report of Panel Meeting, January, 21, 2005.

226 That same year Billy Hidge, “Killing Machine,” Stuff, April, 2005


230 Kalashnikov lobbied heavily See Shilin and Cutshaw, Legends and Realities of the AK, 144.

234 In 2002 Kate Connolly, “Kalashnikov: ‘I wish I’d made a Lawn-mower,’” Guardian (UK), July 30, 2002.

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