Kalashnikov’s designs faced stiff competition, and had to ultimately win out on merit alone against competing designs from established designers with chests full of Al Capp-style Russian Hero Ribbons awarded for past arms designs. Once the M43 cartridge was adopted for the SKS rifle (then 7.62×41, later 7.62×39), the search began for a selective fire, high capacity assault rifle.
Many designs were submitted during many trials from 1943-1947. As they are essentially unknown in the West, we will briefly illustrate some of the designs submitted by otherwise-famous Russian arms designers, which ultimately lost out to the Kalashnikov.
(Adapted with permission from The World’s Assault Rifles [Johnston/Nelson, 1200 pages, © 2010 Ironside International Publishers], available at: www.worlds-assault-rifles.net)