I can't give a particularly informed answer about the AK-variants most common in the United States; it has not been the focus of my study. But certainly many Gun Nut readers can weigh in with first-hand knowledge. (I would add only that I understand that the Arsenal variants, assembled in Las Vegas, are made from original Soviet-era drawings and a degree of collaboration with Bulgarian and Russian factories that once made the Cold War-era items. I would venture that these variants are well-represented among American owners.) As for overseas, in conflict zones, each war can have its own assortment. At present in Afghanistan, most of the Taliban AKs I have seen are old Chinese and Russian stock, including the solid-steel milled receiver variants and early original AKMs and the reverse-engineered Chinese copy. The Afghan police have been issued about 75,000 Hungarian AMD-65s, which is a poor choice but in wide use. (The AMD-65 might be the most commonly seen weapon in Kabul, where the police presence on the street is high.) The police also often have older Russian, Romanian, and Bulgarian AKs. The Afghan National Army has carried a mish-mash of original Soviet AKs from the plant in Izhevsk along with all of the variants above. (The Pentagon is distributing M-16s to Afghan soldiers now, so the AKs are gradually disappearing from Afghan soldiers' hands.) A lot contractors in Afghanistan, where private security is a huge urban industry, carry older Russian AKs. But the bigger mix is in view every day.
The Great Debate Goes On. And On…**
You were allowed to graduate with a degree from Cornell being in ROTC? Incredible. Being in Officer Corps in '70s and '80s there was present a big, savage debate within the Officer Corps between leadership and management. For example: "A conflict is managed, but troops are led, not managed, to their deaths." Or: "Staff is there to support, not to be supported." How did this debate fare in the end, or is it the debate still active?_ --Mark-1