There's over a hundred million of them out there.
Sure, by modern firearms standards, they aren't terribly powerful. The rounds it uses have a hard time penetrating more than a quarter inch of steel plate, and only have a range of about three hundred yards. The rifle itself isn't very accurate, either—beyond a hundred yards, you can't reliably hit a man.
But isn't that enough?
The AK is a big reason why the world is full of endless bloody civil wars and insurrections and border conflicts and so on.
And I just found an article saying that if you thought having a world full of AK-47s was bad, you can look forward to the cruise missile being to the start of the 21st century what the submachine gun was to the end of the 20th.
How many cruise missile types exist in the world today and how many countries have them? Given that reverse-engineering and modification have produced different variants of the major types, some accounts reckon that as many as 130 types exist, with 75 countries possessing them.Emphasis mine. Are we just running out of time to find a better way than war to resolve our differences?
Regarding the democratization of cruise missile technology generally, Arquilla continues: “When cruise missiles are as widespread as AK-47s, we will truly have the war of all against all.” As for the strategic prospects in such an era, [U.S. Naval Postgraduate School professor John] Arquilla says, “I always send people back to Jean Bloch's The Future of War (1898). Bloch was a banker and he looked at society, security, and strategy all together. Before World War I, he understood that technological advances were creating systems of enormous destructive capacity, but the societal systems that were emerging would be capable both of taking great damage and of continuing. Because everybody had these capabilities, you would end up with a long attritional war, which both sides would lose. I think we're in a similar situation to the one Bloch described, where the barriers to entry have dropped sufficiently so that, as long as anyone has the will to fight, they'll be able to continue fighting. I think that's the strategic picture that's most pertinent to our time.”