The success of the rifle was based on its ease of production and legendary reliability.
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Mikhail Kalashnikov, who is credited with inventing the AK-47 rifle — or Automatic Kalashnikov Model 1947 — died Monday in the capital of Udmurtia, Russia after a lengthy battle with illness. He was 94 years old.

Born Nov. 10, 1919 to Russian peasants who were deported to Siberia when he was a child, the future lieutenant general fought in, and then commanded, a tank brigade in World War II, but ended up in a gun shop after a wound took him from the front.

After the war, Kalashnikov and a team entered a state-sponsored contest and invented the rifle, which became the best-selling rifle in history.