Mikhail Timoveeich Kalashnikov was born on November 10, 1919 in the town of Kurya, Russia. The town was in northern Siberia and his parents were peasants with many children. After graduating from secondary school, Mikhail left to work for the Turkistan-Siberian Railway's Matai Depot. There, he was given a position as an apprentice technical clerk. He stayed there until 1938, when he was drafted into the Red Army.
In the army, Mikhail received formal education in engineering at the tank mechanics school. Using his knowledge, he designed a revolution counter that was able to count the number of shells fired from the guns on Russian tanks. He also developed a meter that measured the distance that the tank had covered and a fitting for pistols that made them easier to fire through the slits in tank turrets.
In 1941, General Zhukov sent Mikhail to Leningrad to implement his tank improvements. At this time, the Nazis were also invading and he found himself commanding a tank for several battles against the invaders. In October, he was wounded and forced to recover in a field hospital. While there, he continued designing various weapons and improvements.
After being released from the hospital in 1942, Mikhail went immediately to his tank depot's workshop, where he began building his designs. His work caught the eyes of his superiors and he was transferred to the Moscow Aviation Institute to work with more resources. One of the scientists there, Blagonravov, was impressed by Mikhail's ingenuity and made sure that he had all of the materials he needed.
In 1944, Mikhail finished his development of a self-loading carbine, which could be fired very quickly. He continued refining the design while the army tested it and realized its potential. In 1947, his final design was dubbed AK47 and made the standard rifle for the Red Army. In recognition of his great accomplishment, he was awarded the Stalin Price First Class award.
After some time, he was appointed general designer in the Red Army and allowed to direct research of weapons. He continued to make inventions, but none of them had the impact of his original AK47.
In 1971, he was given the honorary rank of colonel, awarded with an honorary doctorate of engineering science, and given three Order of Lenin awards. Later, he was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor, the Order of the Great Patriotic War First Class, and the Order of the Red Star.
In 1994, he was promoted to the rank of major general and awarded the Order for Distinguished Services to the Motherland. Currently, he is still working as chief designer at the Russian army's Izhmash Engineering Plant in Izhevsk. In 2004, he released his own brand of vodka with an alcohol concentration of 41%.