The AK-47 is a 7.62 x 39mm assault rifle designed by Mikhail Timofeevich Kalashnikov in 1947, hence its name. It was an outstanding firearm for its time, although was let down to a certain extent by its stamped steel receiver. In 1959, the '47 evolved into the AKM, which is the most common Kalashnikov found today. Visible differences between the AK-47 and AKM are a slanted muzzle and recesses over the magazine housing.
Although frequently compared with the M16, because of their interaction in the Vietnam War, the AK-47 is more comparable to the M14, whereas the M16 is compared with the newer AK-74. The light-support weapon designed from the AK-47 is the RPK.
Quick, shoot that terrorist before he waxes you with his AK-47.