7/13 Larry Towell / Magnum
Solentiname Islands, Nicaragua, 1984
A woman and child in socialist Nicaragua train with a local defense militia to fight against the invading contras, the U.S.-backed counterrevolutionaries who sought to remove the left-wing government.
8/13 Steve McCurry / Magnum
The U.S. government has been a significant purchaser of AK-47s — or at least guns that look similar to them — for decades. During the 1980s, it supplied Chinese and Egyptian rip-off Kalashnikovs to anti-Soviet insurgents in Afghanistan. In the above photo, a Shi'ite Muslim fighter guards a checkpoint in Kabul.
9/13 Oleg Nikishin / Getty
Izhevsk, Russia, 2002
Although the manufacturers of the AK-47 are proud that America likes the gun enough to support its piracy, they are outraged at the loss of profit. The flood of knockoffs, some selling at a quarter of the price of the real thing, makes it next to impossible to do business. The gun lines in Izhevsk, shown above, employed some 12,000 people in 1991 but support only 7,000 now. Analysts estimate total world output of these guns at between 70 million and 105 million.
10/13 Michael Hanson / Aurora / Corbis
Hamer Village, Ethiopia, 2009
An Ethiopian man shows off his weapon.
11/13 Abbas / Magnum
Basra, Iraq, 2004
The U.S. provided more than 165,000 Kalashnikovs to Iraqi security forces from 2003 to 2006, a significant number of which wound up on the black market. Indeed, Iraq's recent history is clearly reflected in the changing price of the gun on the street. Just after the invasion, as soldiers laid down their weapons, looters raided armories and optimism briefly overtook the country, weapons prices dropped. In the summer of 2003, as multiple customers entered the market, from recently released common criminals to Sunni insurgents to Shi'ite paramilitary units, prices rose again. Here, an armed member of Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army stands guard over the Central Sunni mosque, where Friday prayers are being performed.
12/13 Lynsey Addario / VII Network
Bar Kambar Khel, Pakistan, 2008
Pakistani Taliban fighters jump out of a truck in the tribal area near the border of Afghanistan. The leader of the Taliban, Mullah Mohammad Omar, once challenged U.S. President Bush and U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair to a duel with AK-47s. The U.S. government has again made bulk shipments of faux Kalashnikovs to Afghan forces, this time to combat al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
13/13 Michael Kamber / Polaris
Dhushamareb, Somalia, 2009
A Sufi Muslim fighter attends an outdoor religion class. Traditionally nonviolent and tolerant, Sufis in Somalia have only recently picked up guns in response to attacks from al-Shabab, a hard-line Islamist group that has subjected the country's south to a reign of terror. So far, these moderates control an area in the center of the country, enjoy popular support and have fended off incursions.