Mikhail Kalashnikov was born on November 10, 1919, in the village of Kurya, Altai Territory, in a large peasant family.
Father — Timofei Alexandrovich Kalashnikov (1883-1930)
Mother — Alexandra Frolovna Kalashnikova (1884-1957).
In 1930 his family was dispossessed and deported to Nizhnaja Mokhovaya village, Tomsk Region. Up to 1936 Mikhail Kalashnikov studied at school. On finishing the 9th grade, Kalashnikov went to work as a technical clerk in a political department of the 3rd branch of Turkistan-Siberian Railroad.
In 1938, Kalashnikov was called up for military service. He served in Kiev Special Military District, Tank Division, where he completed tank drivers training. His Division was deployed in Striy town.
During his service, Kalashnikov designed a tank gun shots counter and running time meter for tank engine. The work on the latter took several months. The device demonstrated stable and accurate performance: it registered engine operation on-load and no-load. Eventually the Command took the decision to start series production. When the Great Patriotic War began Mikhail Timofeevich was in Leningrad at Zavod in the name of Voroshilov (No.174) to test his invention.
Since September of 1941 Kalashnikov had participated in battles as T-34 tank commander. In October 1941 he was seriously wounded and contused in the battle of Bryansk. He and his fellow soldiers tried to overcome the blockade for two weeks and only after that Kalashnikov was sent to a front-line hospital in Trubchevsk, Bryansk region, and then evacuated to a hospital in Eletsk.
There in hospital the need in a submachine gun in the army was a constant subject of discussion among the patients and Kalashnikov conceived the idea to design the one. While on after-treatment, he came to the Matai depot (Kazakhstan) to implement his idea of the machine-gun in the depot shops where he had worked before the War. At the end of the third month of the intense work the designer manufactured the first model of the gun. Kalashnikov modernized the model with the help of instructors and foremen of training & production shops of Moscow Aviation Institute evacuated to Alma-Ata.
For the first time the pilot model was evaluated by Professor A. A. Blagonravov, the Head of the Dzerzhinsky Ordnance Academy, Major General. Anatoliy Arkadievich detected the design deficiencies, and praised, however, the talent of the designer. In July of 1942 Blagonravov recommended Kalashnikov for advanced technical study and Kalashnikov went to the Central Scientific Research Firing Ground for Testing Small Arms (NIPSMVO) of Moscow Military District. The machine-gun passed full-scale tests, but was not recommended for the army due to some particular shortages and expensive production.
In addition to the submachine gun by 1944 Mikhail Kalashnikov had developed a light machine gun and self-loading carbine. Although these prototypes were not used in the armament, the inventor got necessary experience and confidence in success.
In 1945 г. M.T. Kalashnikov participated in a competition for a machine-gun design solution compliant with the shootshell of 1943. As a result, at the end of the competition in 1947 AK-47 machine-gun was recommended for the Soviet Army.
In 1948 the yang designer was sent to Izhevskiy Motozavod, the plant producing pilot batch of the gun for military tests. At that time Kalashnikov couldn?t even think that he will stay in this town strange to him for all his life.
In September of 1949 AK-47 series production began and Mikhail Timofeevich was directed to Chief Designer Department of «Izhevskiy Mashinostroitelniy Zavod».
Other modifications of small arms which Kalashnikov designed in addition to AK-47 are improved 7.62 mm model «AKM» and a model with a fold stock «AKMS». Many representatives of Kalashnikov machine-gun family appeared after the adoption of 5.45 mm caliber standard: AK-74, AKS-74U, AK-74M.
M. T. Kalashnikov designed machine-guns as well. Among the products invented by him are:
In the beginning of the sixties a unified machine-gun compliant with rifle cartridge of 7.62 × 54mm was adopted for service by the Army.
In total the Kalashnikov Design Bureau developed more than a hundred service weapon models. The main creation of Mikhail Timofeevich, the Kalashnikov gun, got recognition as the best invention of the century. Such evaluation the gun was given by French newspaper Libйration that made a list of most remarkable inventions of the XX century: from aspirin to atomic bomb. Well-known Israel designer Uzi Gal even told him once «You are the most reputable designer — no one of us can go better.»
Foreign experts estimated that by the beginning of 1996 from 70 to 100 samples of the gun had been manufactured. The Kalashnikov gun is used in 100 countries. It is represented in national emblems of several countries.
Mikhail Kalashnikov got the Stalin State Reward First Class for his invention. For the development of the light machine gun Kalashnikov was awarded the title of the Hero of Socialist Labour. In 1964 he received the Lenin Premium. 34 years later, M. T. Kalashnikov became the Laureate of State Reward again. In 1976 Mikhail Timofeevich was awarded the second Golden Medal «Sickle and Hammer». Among his awards there are three Orders of Lenin, Orders «For Services to Fatherland» Second Class, the Order of October Revolution, the Order of the Red Banner of Labor, the Order of the Friendship of Peoples, the Order of the Great Patriotic War First Class, the Order of the Red Star and a number of medals, as well as the Order of St.Andrei Pervozvannyi.
Kalashnikov is the Doctor of Technical Sciences, honored industrial worker of the USSR, honored scientist and technical worker of Udmurtiya, honorary member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Russian Engineering Academy, he is the actual member of Petrovsky Royal Academy, as well as USA Industry, Education and Art Academy, International Informatization Academy, Designers Union of Russia and a number of other major institutions. In addition, Kalashnikov is the Honorary Citizen of Udmurt Republic, the city of Izhevsk and the Kurya village of the Altai territory.
Kalashnikov has published four books of memories titled «The Arms Designer Notes» (1992), «From Alien Threshold to the Spasskiye Gates» (1997), «I Walked Along the Same Road as You Did» (1999), «Fate trajectory» (2004 г.). He is the member of the Russian Authors Union.
Wife: Ekaterina Viktorovna Kalashnikova (1921-1977) — Technical Engineer, She performed drawing works for Mikhail Timofeevich.
Daughters: Nelli Mikhailovna (born in 1942), Elena Mikhailovna (born in 1948), Natalia Mikhailovna (1953-1983).
Son: Viktor Mikhailovich (born in 1942).