AR-15 and AK Dust test

The Cav Arms guys did an extreme dust test on an AR-15. Turns out AR-15 cannot handle being buried in sand and then run over by a Jeep … who knew? Apart from the “Jeep test”, it did really well.

AR-15 dust test

They also tested an AK derivative, a 5.56mm SAR-3, which did not do as well. It seems odd that the trigger group would fail to function. I have posted videos on the blog showing AKs working under worse conditions.

AK dust test


Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • gun nuts from china

    what kind of AR they are using anyway?

  • Paul_In_Houston

    And how did the AK derivative perform on the “Jeep test”?

    • Paul_In_Houston, they did not do a jeep test.

  • Paul_In_Houston

    Sorry if that’s a dumb question already answered in the video. My computer and dial-up service make viewing videos fall into the “life’s too short” catagory.

  • Crabula

    When they did the test for the AK-47 they left the safety off. Part of the design of the safety is to cover the gap where the bolt handle slides between the dust cover and the reciever. I think that the test results might have been different if they had put the safety on before burying it or if they had buried it bolt handle down.

    To me, that is the big problem with the AK Lightning Bolt kits. They make the opening huge, and there is no way to block it.

    On a side note, the other unique feature of the safety is that, when engaged, the aforementioned opening is blocked but there is just enoung distance between the end of the safety and the bolt handle to allow the user to check if there is a round in the chamber. It allows you to pull it back just far enough to see the base of the round.

    I’m not really trying to defend one as being better than the other. Thats just what came to mind when I saw this video as to why the AK failed.

    • Crabula, good point about those kits

  • Bandito762

    if he had turned the safety on before burying it, it would have probably worked fine.

    • dan

      Probably, but imagine running through the desert shooting at infidels and you drop your AK or get incoming fire and hit the dirt are you going to remember to put the safety on just prior to flopping in the sand? The only thing this test proves is that guns will cease to work under certain situations doesnt matter what kind they are.

  • Bandito762

    I guess then it wouldn’t be an open dust cover test though… but did you see how easy it was to get the AK going again.

  • “I have posted videos on the blog showing AKs working under worse conditions.”

    Link? All I found was an AK blowing up in a dudes face.

    • Chris, off the top of my head there is a post recently showing a 20 or 30 year old rusted AK pulled out of a arms cache, motor oil is poured on it and then it performs perfectly.

  • Matthew

    Looks like one of their Polymer lowered offerings.

  • Lance

    Cav arms AR-15

    Prof to me that a AR can handel dusty situations just fine. AK can too but can also heavaly malfuntion too.

  • jdun1911

    There is a big difference between rusted gun and foreign debris getting into the firing control. There is also a difference between carbon built up and foreign debris getting into the gun. No gun will work; AK, AR, etc if there are foreign debris inside the gun. The AR handle foreign debris very well compare to other firearms like the AK.

    Will putting the AK into safety help? It might but there still ways for debris getting into the fire control. It will stop some but not all.

    By flipping the switch the AR can easily go from safety to fire and back without any effort. This isn’t the case for AK and he pointed it out on the Youtube comments.

    If a jeep ran over an AK the AK will get pancaked. I don’t believe 1mm thin sheet metal will hold up to that kind of pressure.

    There was a lot of morons on AR15 saying the first dust test wasn’t realistic. So they did the jeep test to please those morons. Like some people mentioned how often does rifles get run over in the field?

    http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=3&f=118&t=464962&page=1

  • Blackwater

    They left the safety off which also serves as the dust cover to be fair to the AK. That allowed all kinds of rocks and crap to get in. It’s not a fair comparison.

  • ArcMAge

    Blackwater: After the first AR test, they got complaints that they ran the AR test with the cover closed, so they ran a new test with the dust cover open.

    Then for comparison, they ran the same test on an AK, under the same conditions: dust cover open.

  • Lance

    Sosent matter on how they done the test they got dirt into the gun and the AR still fired fine.

  • TommyLiGrant

    It’s very intresting videos
    Where it was?

  • justbill

    Shocking news! An AR-15 manufacturer claims that their design is “more reliable” than an AK derivative they don’t sell. Who would’ve thought they’d come to that conclusion?!

    If anyone thinks these videos are anything but carefully crafted sales pitches for Cavalry Arms’ wares, I have a beautiful bridge over the San Francisco bay I’ll sell you. You’ll get a great deal, I promise. πŸ˜‰

  • Spook45

    I have always known that the AR platform was hartier than a lot of people give it credit for, but the test was flawed. I had a friend that served 3 tours in Vietnam on a MAC-SOG team and he said his weapon worked great, he also said he cleaned it regularly during down times and when it got wet he simply pored the water out. What genius is that! The Ak is a very reliabel platform and the fact that these gents did not know how to operate an AK(IE leaving the safety off as it is part of the dust cover) flaws the test and also this is just one type of environment, in my experiance the AR is weaker in a wet environment, they dont deal well with moisture, I have studied this argument for years and came to a very simple and cost evective solution……BOTH. Both platforms have thier respective pros and cons and both are great weapons. Given the inexpensive nature of the AK I will probably always keep one. Given the accuracy and versatility of the AR I love mine , I own two that I built and set them up just the way I wanted I wouldnt trade them for anything. All in all, the test is a waste of video but it was intertaining to say the least.

  • TommyLiGrant

    But it’s not a AK. It’s Saiga.

  • Lance

    I dont really care if the test was the hardest test they dirted up a AR and it fired fine. It prov the people who say AR-15/M-16s fail too ealiy wrong.

    What do you think Steve.

    • Lance, I think everything can fail. On the other hand it shows that a few dirt particles are not enough to mess with an AR-15, contra to what many say.

  • Phil

    “Cavalry Arms’ ”

    That’s curious.

  • Redchrome

    Interesting!
    One of the better sets of videos I’ve seen. Usually when people dust-test AKs they close the safety to cover up that opening. It’s worth seeing what happens when that isn’t done. Impressive that the AR still functioned with the cover open. (Also that the plastic bits didn’t break).

    It does point out that any gun will fail if you put too much crap in between the fine-tolerance parts. The AK has fewer fine-tolerance parts, but the question then becomes ‘will crap get in there’.

    The direct-impingement ARs blow crap into the action by design. The AKs have big openings for crap to get in (or conversely, to get out). Both suck in their own way.

    No one has yet built an assault rifle with all the best-known technological features. The SIG 550, XCR, ACR, and RFB are some of the best designs, but none is yet perfect. πŸ™‚ (In fact, the necessary compromises for one goal or another preclude perfection).

  • capitalpwnishment

    People are getting way too worked up about this. The modern AR/M16 platform is quite reliable if you aren’t an illiterate mongoloid and (even though I’m more partial to the Stoner design) the AK platform is usually even moreso. This test was not to say that AKs are jamomatics and ARs are unstoppable murder machines but rather that ARs are not nearly as susceptible to dirt, or AKs impossible to stop, as every Counterstrike kiddie on Youtube claims.

  • Not real AK, only fake model made in US

  • fallout11

    ….and with an aftermarket 922R compliant US-made trigger group as well, not even the original trigger group components.
    That said, the original AK trigger group was heavily inspired by the M1 Garand trigger group (per Kalishnikov himself). Quite a reliable and battle proven design, not to mention the decades of “legendary” AK reliability accumulated since. If the AR upper was opened and pebbles poured into the trigger group, the result would have been the same.

    The take away – It’s an advertisement from an outfit that makes AR’s, to sell you an AR. Treat it as such.

  • zach

    @ uncle Sam SAR-3’s I believe are Romanian

  • Mike N

    Not to be a jerk, but why would you us a 5.56 AK for this test? They are known to be less reliable. Would this have prevented the failures? Probably not, but still.

  • subase

    These tests are bogus, unless they repeated it over one hundred times, it’s not scientific in the least.

    Also the only way that could ever happen is if you dropped your rifle (your’s supposed to be wearing a sling) and covered it with sand. (A specific as yet unknown type of sand, I might add)

    The only way to really perform a dust and dirt test is to construct a chamber that continually simulates blowing dust around, (as in realistic desert conditions) leave the rifle in there for around 10 hours and see if it works. The ‘dust’ can would be artificially made of different fineness of grains, with a specific ration. All the specs and materials should be easily available, not expensive and posted on the Internet, and then people would actually be able to replicate the test and see if it holds up. Not only would that be somewhat realistic, but it actually approaches the level of a scientific test, instead of this crappy promotional video.

    I can’t wait until mythbusters tackles this.