I was recently forwarded this article about the AK-47. Having been brought up in Africa, I have always seen the 'AK' command a great deal of respect as a weapon (it notably features on the Mozambican flag) and so I was surprised to see it being written off as not commanding respect. Admittedly, the weapon has always had major problems. It was never terribly accurate, even at close range - especially when on fully automatic. But it was reliable, sturdy and virtually unbreakable - qualities that have made it the weapon of choice for armies and militia in third world countries for decades.
Admittedly, I am sure that most people would choose a more expensive weapon over an AK-47 if they could afford it - but the whole appeal of the AK is that it is a cheap, affordable weapon and readily available weapon isn't it?