Kalashnikov is one of the world's most recognizable names. And many of the readers of this magazine know why. They've served in the U.S. military in Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Balkans, and Vietnam over the last few decades and come under fire from one of the world's most common guns, the Automat Kalashnikov 47 or AK-47. The "K" in AK-47 is the name of its inventor, Mikhail Timofeevich Kalashnikov.
Earlier this year, Böker Knives and Kalashnikov agreed to develop a folding knife that's worthy of the Kalashnikov name and that upholds the AK-47's reputation for reliability and durability.
The first thing you'll notice about the AK-47 is the machined serrations on the frame. Not only are they present where you grasp the knife with your thumb and forefinger, but the rear of the frame is also serrated. These added serrations keep the knife from slipping in your hand no matter what you are doing with the blade. They look uncomfortable, but as deep as the serrations appear, they are not hard on your hands, and they give a very good purchase of the knife to a gloved hand.
Most of today's clip-it knives have a spacer at the back of the knife frame that adds to the structural integrity. The AK-47 knife does not use this construction. Instead, it has three solid pins secured to each side of the frame with stainless-steel screws. The use of pins instead of a solid spacer allows debris and fluid materials to pass through the knife and not clog its folding action.
Unlike many of its contemporaries, the AK-47 features a liner lock that is actually machined right into the clip side handle. This is a machining- and labor-intensive procedure, but it makes for a very solid locking mechanism. Another nice detail on the AK-47 is the nylon bushing in the locking lever, which facilitates smooth opening and closing of the blade.
The AK-47 could be a very heavy knife, but Pohl made some material choices to keep it light. For example, weight is cut by the use of anodized aluminum handles.
Of course, anodized aluminum is extremely smooth and users need something on the handles to keep the knife from slipping in their hands. To give the user a positive gripping surface, knife designer Dietmar Pohl installed G-10 inlays into the left grip panel.
The most important part of any knife is the blade, and the AK-47's blade is a great example of form and function. Böker uses 440 stainless steel for the blade for its durability and resistance to corrosion. But 440 stainless is more than just rugged; it's also fairly easy to sharpen and will hold a good edge, even with sustained use. The blade is semi-serrated to further enhance its cutting capability. Like any of the items with the Kalashnikov name, the AK-47 folder from Böker is meant for hard use in challenging environments. The AK-47 knife will serve you well in the field and on the streets, and it is designed to last a lifetime.
Also, unlike many duty knives, the AK-47 makes a great presentation gift for a retiree, or for someone who is a collector of knives.
Blade Length: 4 inches
Overall Length: 9 inches
Weight: 6 ounces
Blade Material: 440 stainless steel
Handle Material: 6061 T6 anodized aluminum (G10 inserts)
Scott Smith is a former active-duty Army MP. He is airborne qualified and has attended several civilian and military schools. Currently he is serving with the 171st Security Police Squadron of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard.