November 13, 1947. So it began.

1943: The Soviet Union develops the 7.62x39mm cartridge.
1945: A contest is launched in secret by the USSR to develop a new model assault rifle.
1947: Mikhail Kalashnikov and his team of designers create the AK-47, which is submitted for trials and accepted as the winning entry.

1949: The AK-47 is officially adopted by the Soviet Union.
1956: China creates its own AK-47 clone, known as the Type 56.
1959: The AKM is introduced. Its stamped metal (versus milled) receiver is much less costly to produce and allows for more widespread production.
1974: AK-74 is introduced in the lighter recoiling 5.45x39mm cartridge.