A better place?
Sadly, I doubt it. Human nature is such that, even if Mikhail Kalashnikov had not created his eponymous assault rifle, someone else would have created something similar.
After all, (as I'm sure you know) Kalashnikov based his initial design for the AK-47 on the German StG-44 and one or two semi-auto rifles (the US M1, perhaps?) so it wasn't a new idea.