Izhevsk (Izhmaesh) AK47 bayonet

This is the daddy of the Russian post-WW2 bayonet range, an AK47 made at the Izhevsk (Izmas, Izhmaesch) arsenal in Russia. Compared to modern bayonets it’s lacking in ‘extra features’. In fact, it’s designed for one thing only but it’s simplicity, practicality, and crude aesthetic make it perfect for that task.

Holding it in the hand really feels like holding a piece of history. The one I’ve got (in the photo) is covered in Cosmoline (that’s not rust on the blade but protective grease…) and the frog is still wrapped in the original grease paper. It’s just not feasible to use the AK47 bayonet as a bushcraft or survival knife, or for anything other than for what it was originally intended, but it definitely stands apart from modern blades.

It is amazing to see the evolution of bayonets over the last century as soldiers’ needs changed. The AK47 bayonet, with its long thin blade and blood groove, and lugs serving as handguard, is the last vestige of the old 1st and 2nd World War fighting knives, a shortened version of the short swords which used to be affixed to bolt action rifles for close quarter confrontation. The modern soldier, with his snub nosed assault rifle, needs a multitool and not a spike to turn his lengthy rifle into a pike. The AK47 bayonet is from another era; one, scarily, still in living memory.

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