German A. Korobov
German Aleksandrovich Korobov (Russian: Герман Александрович Коробов) was a Russian firearms designer who worked for Tula arms.
Korobov was born on June 16th, 1913 in Samara, Russia. He completed schooling in 1939, afterwords where he worked at the TskB-14 factory (TsKIB SOO) in Tula. He died on Dec 27, 2006 at the age of 93.
After graduating from the Ural Industrial Institute his first design was to improve the ShKAS machine gun. At the sametime Kalashnikov was setting up production of his tank motor resource counter, Korobov was sent to the Tula design bureau, TsKB-14. Very early in his career at Tula, Korobov was taking part in some very interesting and promising projects. In February of 1940, he designed a helical magazine with the ammunition fed through a spiral channel, very similar to how the Bizon or Calico drums work.
He was an expert in metal working and minimized how many milled parts were required in his designs. Some of his fellow Tula workers said that part of his process was working with cardboard. Korobov would make a pattern in cardboard, then use that to work the sheet steel to get to his final design.
Korobov had several projects at TsKB-14, including a new submachine gun and a new type of metal machine gun links, but his most famous design was the TKB-408. The rifle that went directly against Kalashnikovs rifle, the AK-46 now known as the AK-47 Type 1. While the TKB-408 stood out in the competition for being a very well and unique design, it was not as reliable as its competition. After 5000 rounds of fire in the competition the rifle was removed. Korobov later came back in 1952 with TKB-517, but that too could not compete with Kalashnikovs design.
In 1961 Korobov designed one of his most iconic rifles, the TKB-022. The rifle was designed the same year Yuri Gagarin went to space and since the 1960s are considered the beginning of the space era, it seems fitting that his rifle, with a very futuristic design would come to light the same year the Soviets would sent the first human to space. The rifle is currently on display at the Tula Arms Museum.
One of the reasons the Soviets were hesitant to adopt any of his designs were his heavy use of polymers. Many of his designs such as the TKB-022 used the new polymer in his designs and was very forward thinking. The Soviet Union was only finally sold on the polymer after the introduction of the AK-74 and its use of the AG-4 polymer in his magazines.
Korobov had one last chance to go up against the Kalashnikov design with the TKB-0111 in the Abakan trails. One of the points behind the trail was to find a rifle that could give a shooter a higher hit probability. The TKB-0111 did very well and was able to shoot 2,000 rounds per minute in a 2 round burst, with a rate of fire of 500 rounds per min under normal full auto fire. The end of the trails Korobov was passed up again, this time for Nikonovs rifle, later known as the AN-94.
He is considered one of the great designers from Tula, with his use of polymers and his forward thinking and futuristic designs.
He was known for creating some of the most unusual and forward thinking rifle designs. One of his many designs include the TKB-408, the rifle that competed against Mikhail Kalashnikovs design, the AK-47. He has created many rifles over his long career, but sadly very few, if any of his designs made it to any production.