A Few Reasons I Like The Kalashnikov Better Than The AR-15

The author's SO fires the SLR-104FR from the bench, using a dollar pack of bedsheets as a support.

The author's SO fires the SLR-104FR from the bench, using a dollar pack of bedsheets as a support.

I’ve written a lot about the AR-15 and M1 Garand rifles, and after a time I will have written nearly as much about the EM-2, M14, and FAL. One rifle, though, hasn’t been the subject of very much of my writing, in part because reliable historical information on it is difficult to acquire in the English-speaking world, and in part because my focus has so far been elsewhere.

I would like to change that now. This is a gun that has earned at least as high a place in the hierarchy of 20th Century firearms as any one of those other weapons, and you wouldn’t find a shortage of people who would argue that it is the most important. It is also, out of all of the rifles thus far mentioned in this post, my favorite type.

I’m talking about Kalashnikov’s avtomat, and what follows are some of the reasons to like it as much as I do.

 

It is its own cutaway model

The AK allows the user to “get under the hood” in a way that few other rifles do. The receiver cover comes right off, giving AK owners the unique ability to instantly convert their rifles into a firing cutaway model:

As Rob Ski often demonstrates, an AK user can simply and quickly vivisect his rifle to spend quality time with each individual part. How much this matters to the infantryman is not for me to say. For someone like me, though, who enjoys tinkering and toying with mechanical things to find out just how they work, the AK offers a lot more idle recreation than the AR-15.

 

Each rifle tells the story of how it was made

The AK today represents the Old World of manufacturing holding its ground against modern total-interchangeability mass production. Many AK parts are file-fitted, and most manufacturers still sort components according to tolerance to achieve a fit. In contrast, manufacturing disciplines pioneered in the United States have since helped reduce or eliminate variations in parts that would prevent any given manufactured part from fitting with any other part. The AR-15 rifle constitutes a set of thoroughly-standardized parts; take any given bolt, and it will headspace properly with nearly any given barrel extension (many AR-15 builders, in fact, don’t even bother checking headspace on their builds, even if their bolts and barrel extensions from different sources). The Kalashnikov rifle is very different; for example, special attention must be paid when pressing the barrel into the trunnion, to ensure that headspace is correct.

This has benefits and drawbacks. On the one hand, the AR-15’s high level of parts interchangeability makes assembling one easy; on the other hand, the Kalashnikov’s Old World manufacturing paradigm has made it the favorite of Third World gunsmiths, most notably those of the Khyber Pass region in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

It’s this different theory behind the mass production of the AK that has caused so many headaches for American Kalashnikov manufacturers, but it’s also something that I find highly endearing. Each rifle is unique, and carries forward a tradition of manufacturing that is much, much older than that characterizing the AR-15. A European-made AK carries much of the appeal of a surplus firearm – even if it isn’t. The whole rifle is a construct of file marks, bent sheet, and manual milling operations. Almost all parts carry with them the evidence of the hands that helped make them, even the magazines (and even the polymer ones!). Maybe that’s why the AR-15 market is characterized by an unending desire for infinite customization, and the AK market less so. It might be more than just a desire for simplicity – each AK already is unique in a way that each AR-15 is not.

Today factories in Europe and Asia still churn out AKs by the thousands using older, more personal methods than the CNC milling, forging, and casting that makes the AR-15 so cheap and consistent. Sure, I’ll say that because of this the AR-15 may be the better weapon of war, but I can’t give up my appreciation of the visible record of human work.

 

The 5.45mm is a ballistician’s delight

IMG_1089

5.45mm 7N6 ammunition in magazines, and loose. Image source: mrgunsngear.blogspot.com

 

If 5.56mm represents the first generation military service small caliber high velocity round, then 5.45mm represents the second. The configuration of the 5.45mm is decidedly superior to the 5.56mm; despite having a lighter bullet moving at lower velocity, the 5.45mm’s better ballistic shape allows it to perform better at range, with more energy and velocity, and less drop and drift than the 5.56mm 62gr projectile when fired from comparable rifles. This means comparable ballistic results with a lighter weight and lower-recoil round, and that’s definitely something worth appreciating.

While the 5.56mm currently has the better bullet selection in the Western consumer market, it’s easy for me to appreciate the “ballistician’s delight” that is the 5.45x39mm Soviet.

 

The Kalashnikov is the heir to the Garand’s crown

Every criticism I have of the M1 rifle has been addressed in Kalashnikov’s adaptation of it, and all the best design characteristics are retained. The mediocre moving parts mass ratio has been augmented so far as to be the gold standard, the gas system has been appropriately shortened, lightened, and made more durable and repairable through a riveted semi-flexible linkage between the piston rod and bolt carrier, the en-bloc mechanism has been deleted in favor of extremely robust detachable box magazines, and most importantly the receiver has been closed off from the elements, protecting the locking surfaces, moving parts, and feed geometry against debris ingress. Likewise, the Garand’s excellent trigger mechanism and bolt group have been preserved in simplified form, and the excellent anti-pre-engagement mechanism of the M1 soldiers on in the Kalashnikov.

It’s not hard for a gun nerd like me to get excited about a rifle design that has the kind of pedigree that the AK does.

 

It is General Winter’s own rifle

It’s very difficult to make a self-loading rifle that works well in the cold. When temperatures fall, lubricants gel and harden, steel shrinks slightly, and ammunition produces much lower pressure levels providing less power to cycle an action. The Kalashnikov scores extremely well in cold weather performance; a fact that reflects very well on its designer, however unsurprising it may be that a Russian firearm would perform well in these conditions.

One shouldn’t discount Garand’s influence on the Kalashnikov’s sub-zero supremacy, though. As related in Lt. Col. Roy Rayle’s book Random Shots: Episodes In The Life of A Weapons Developer, the Canadian-born gun designer had intimate knowledge of the advantages of using loose clearances everywhere but in the areas (such as the locking mechanism) where it was essential to have a tight fit, a practice dutifully carried on by Kalashnikov and his team when designing his avtomat. This generous gift to the moving parts allows the drain of water which might freeze, and helps prevent the seizing or binding of parts in the cold. It is – in short – the essential ingredient in designing the superior winter rifle.

Kalashnikov freely admitted that Garand’s rifle was a major influence on his work, and communicated this to Dr. Edward Ezell during the writing of the latter’s excellent The AK-47 Story. It’s therefore worth remembering the praise so often lavished on Kalashnikov for designing his rifle with loose clearances first belongs to John Garand.

Living in the subtropics, excellent performance in the cold is not the highest priority for me, but the engineering that went into achieving that performance is certainly something I appreciate.

 

It has Hollywood good looks

The aesthetics of Kalashnikov rifles feel very unique to my eyes. They combine the industrial, workmanlike architecture of the European craftsman-worker tradition with the svelte curves and lines characteristic of Russian small arms design. Mikhtim’s avtomat simply looks iconic in a way that few gun designs do, and there’s a certain conveyance of the exotic when I hold a military-style example. There are of course mentions to be made of the rifle appearing on flags and coats of arms, and being a favorite prop for Hollywood villains, but those thoughts cross my mind but rarely when considering the appearance of my avtomats. More often, I appreciate the aesthetics for reminding me of all of the above, and for coming together to compose the overall character of the rifle.

And what a character it is!

DSC008831

The author’s Arsenal SLR-104FR resting on its somewhat ersatz support after a firing session.



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • Blake

    Probably the best summary I’ve read of the reasons that the AK is the AK.

    Thanks again.

  • Hokum

    The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence 🙂

    • LilWolfy

      Barracks lawyer propaganda and media are powerful tools.

  • Nicholas Mew

    All reasons I can agree with. Now back to the bunker before the flame war ignites.

    • michael88

      Wolverines!

  • Pete Sheppard

    For a 7.62×39 shooter, it doesn’t hurt that ammo is even cheaper than M193 5.56×45.

    • wysoft

      If you shoot steel cased .223, price per round is only a couple cents more than 7.62×39. Many AR owners won’t touch the stuff, but I have both AR and AKs that eat up Wolf .223 like candy.

      I have a pretty good stockpile of 7.62×39 though, because there is always the chance it could suddenly disappear from shelves tomorrow, and the prices would skyrocket due to lack of domestic production.

      • Pete Sheppard

        Yes, I thought of the steel-cased 5.56 as I posted, and I’ve shot a good bit of it. After ruining a cleaning rod section driving out a stuck case, though, I’m a bit put off.

        • wysoft

          I also had case sticking issues, they were all with Tulammo which I specifically avoid. I had a batch where you could pick out the out of spec case necks.

          OTOH I have shot thousands of rounds of Wolf with no issue, all from Barnaul plant – same as Silver/ Brown Bear. If it’s from Barnaul I consider it GTG

          • Mark77

            Never had a stuck casing with AK, have had hundreds of stuck casings with AR’s.

          • wysoft

            the garbage lot of Tulammo in question stuck quite easily in a Saiga .223, with the extractor ripping the rim clean off.

            have never had those issues with steel case . 223 from other Russian plants in years of shooting. I believe the bad lot was from ulyanovsk.

          • Mark77

            I’ve experienced that with some piston AR’s. Ripped through the case rim completely. Might just be the narrow little extractor coupled with the mild steel casing- probably not a good combo. Which is why I prefer the wider AK style extractor with more surface area for gripping when shooting the steel cased ammo.

    • Bal256

      If only the ranges around me would allow me to shoot steel case…

      And if only the brass cased yugo hadn’t dried up…

      SKS is still my favorite rifle though.

      • Pete Sheppard

        OUCH! Sorry to hear that. Those ranges are probably losing lots of revenue because of this.
        If they are worried about cleanup, a strong magnet will be easier than sweeping or picking up brass. The same magnet would pull steel from brass to be recycled.

        • Phil Hsueh

          He’s probably in CA, SoCal specifically, where a lot of the outdoor ranges don’t let you use steel ammo. My (limited) understanding of this is that they’re worried about sparking and fires resulting from it. Starting about this time of the year SoCal gets to be very dry and the vegetation surrounding the rangers are like tinder and all it takes is one stray spark to set off a massive fire.

          • Uniform223

            Having lived in Southern California for my entire youth you are correct about dry vegetation, more specifically grass and brush. Doesn’t matter what metal it is, if its hot enough and gets to that “flash” point for dry brush/grass, a fire will start. This is the first time I’ve heard about not being allowed to use steel cased at a range.

      • Kivaari

        Had the SKS been fitted with a good detachable magazine, I doubt we would have seen the AK. What were the Soviets thinking? The SKS is usually more accurate and gave better velocities. The Soviets failed with the sights as well.
        I don’t own an AK anymore. I’ve had around 25 variants, and liked them all. As my vision grew old, I just couldn’t hit anything. When AK optics were so bad, I lost interest.

        • Scott P

          1) If you want a SKS with detachable mags then buy a Chinese SKS D that takes AK mags. If you are hung up on BHO mags they have Yugo surplus mags that have the ability to do it or you can retrofit standard AK mags with BHO followers that Primary Arms sells.

          2) You do know that there are aftermarket peep sights for the AK right? You have the choice of putting it where the old rear sight is or you can mount one where the dust cover is. Also plenty of mounting options for red dot or other optical sights too.

          • Kivaari

            The SKSs that ended up in America were fabricated for the American civilian market. The Type 68 was built for issue to militaries that bought them due to the cheap price. Many SKSs ended up in use by small nation as they were broke. Foreign aid from China and Soviets.

        • Cymond

          Just guessing, but it probably costs significantly more to machine an SKS receiver than to fold an AK receiver. That adds up across a few million rifles.

          • Kivaari

            SKS carbines with sheet metal receivers. As well as selective fire variants. Even though the SKS was made using metal pressings, it came at a time when the AKM was well established. The AKM was on scene, proven to work and it has the features the military wanted. There was little need to keep making them both. China made many more after the AKM was in place. I suspect it was for trade or foreign aid to other groups with a weapon already in the end users inventory. Even during the last days of the Soviet Union circa 1990, Soviet troops were still using the SKS. I was surprised to see them in the field. The units were support troops. Vehicle repair and engineers (mud pushers). As I pointed out, had the Soviets put more effort into the SKS in 1944-57, they would be even more common. China and Eastern European nations continued making them long after the AKM was in service. As I am sure you know the Chinese did adopt a sheet metal and select fire M68, which was mostly an SKS at heart.

          • Kivaari

            The machines existed and the cost to make them had been paid for decades ago. Russians were quite modern thinkers in allotting floor space and raw materials needed to fabricate arms. It is interesting to see the how and why they made guns in the WW2 era. Down to measuring how much was left on the floor in the form of chips. They did serious man-power/hours usage on every thing they produced.
            The great T34 tank would not have been so good had we not sent General Motors engineers to Russia to show them how to make cast turrets. We should have listened to our engineers and built a better Sherman.

  • michael88

    Lord of War

  • Great article Nathaniel! But does the AR15 know that you are cheating on it?

  • Without question the 74′ pattern Kalashnikov is my favorite MSR. Aesthetically, it’s slightly more more svelte than the hellaciously aggressive 47′ pattern. Recoil is minimal (no springy buffer noise, either!) thanks to a fantastic brake. Practical accuracy for me is better than with an AR, too. Plus, being a caliber nerd, I like shooting that evil 5.45 Russkie ammo. Now if only Magpul would make a magazine….

    • JV

      as someone who owns and shot an AK platform before an AR the springy noise is truly a let down 🙁

      • Sulaco

        The AR springy noise takes me home to my boot days in AF basic.

    • John Yossarian

      Magpul doesn’t need to make a AK-74 mag, with Bulgarians readily available. Unless you’re using magazines toward the ATF’s 922r parts requirement?

      • No, I’d just like a quality magazine that doesn’t cost $45-$50, and is available in actual retail stores.

    • Guido FL

      Amen ! I too lust for cheaper quality 5.45 mags, come on Magpul !

  • claymore

    So all the “Bad” things about the AK design and manufacturing techniques make it better?

    • michael88

      yes

      • claymore

        Strange.

    • They make it more fun, claymore!

      • claymore

        Yea trying to fix them is loads of fun.

        • A good friend of mine builds AKs, so I can empathize there. At the end of the day, these are personal reasons why I like the AK better than the AR-15 (another issue entirely than “is the AK better than the AR-15, especially as a weapon of war?” – I mention in the article that the answer is “no”).

          Cheers!

          • claymore

            So it’s like buying an Edsel you buy it because you want to fix it.

          • Not exactly. There are plenty of high quality AKs on the market that do not need fixing, though they run higher than AR-15s.

            It’s just got character, I guess. 😉

          • claymore

            Try to replicate this with an M-16 or AR-15. Direct from TFB a couple days ago LOL.

            http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2015/04/16/ak-47-accidental-discharge-possible-full-auto-safety-overtravel/

          • Guarantee you, mate, you’ll be struggling with it for a while if you try to cause that malfunction with one of my rifles. 🙂

          • Mark77

            Depends what type war. Overall I’d say the AK is a better weapon for extended, or say, never ending combat without supply lines. Most of the AK’s found throughout the ME are decades old yet they continue to run. AR’s are a more sophisticated weapon but require routine maintenance and the ability to procure replacements parts where as AK’s pretty much will run forever without parts upgrades. MAC did a good review on the AK 74 vs Colt AR15 and at the end pointed out that even though the AR is a great weapon though without supply lines- the AK is a better weapon. I personally don’t believe the AR15 is a better rifle especially with direct gas system.

          • LilWolfy

            There are Karen rebels in Burma doing the same thing with Vietnam-era M16’s and Colt Commando’s, in a much harsher climate when you look at the amount of rainfall and humidity.

            My experiences with scores of AK’s over decades is the opposite. Once you shoot a certain volume through them, they start malfunctioning more frequently, if they don’t outright break from the start.

          • Mark77

            I’ve seen those pics of the Burma rebels, however never seen their M16’s in action and not even sure all these decades later- where they are even getting ammo to feed them. Course this is one of the first thing the AR folks point out. Then again, their rifles remind of Brazilian FAL’s which were carried more than fired.

            I can honestly say that I have never seen an AK completely break or stop working over the last two decades through tens of thousands of rounds I’ve personally ran through them. I have however seen my AR’s go down either at the range or rifle course be it Colt, LMT, or whatever mil spec supposed rifle it was from including bad mags, extractor, ammo etc. They are a great rifle with a lot of support, quality ammo, and well maintained but in terms of diverse conditions, they are OK at best.

            M

          • LilWolfy

            AK’s usually break when subjected to high round count courses when I’ve shot them. Most of my experience with Kalahsnikov variants is with real select-fire guns, although I have shot quite a few imports for civilian use, those suffering from many of the same problems right out of the box.

            Stuck cases in chambers, FTFeed, FTextract, mags not working, sight tower slanted way off to the side, terrible handling characteristics (except for the AKS74), etc.

            The reliability myth of the AK is mass hype, repeated by a lot of people who have never even used the guns in the field. I went from being one of those kids, to the much older guy now who looks back and realizes, “This thing is a piece of garbage through and through.”

            They make a lot of sense for Russia.

          • There is a reason I did not list “reliability”. 😉

            I’ve seen AKs fail often enough to know the reliability isn’t what it’s hyped to be.

          • Guido FL

            My AK failures have been do to using a certain brand of ammo made in Ukraine. Those failures were, failure to eject and feed. Thankful the rebels in the Ukraine civil war have seized that ammo plant.

          • Mark77

            Arsenal Bulgaria has a 47 variant in their museum with over 300K rounds through it. Yugoslavians tested their RPK receiver M70 types to just under 90K till the prototype came apart. Poland has minimum standards of 50K through their Beryl 96 rifles. I guess I’ll change my opinion on them when proven otherwise but so far- the ones I’ve owned all have been reliable.

            I have a friend that used to go with me to the range all the time. Let him run whatever he wanted from AR’s to AK’s etc. He’s more of tech kind of guy, builds computers in his spare time and works for a software company. However when it came for his first rifle purchase- he wanted an AK which surprised me honestly. Figured he would go for a high end AR with some quality optics etc. I was hoping he’d buy one of mine. He instead told me that all the times we were at the range he noticed the AR’s would randomly crap out for various reasons and he didn’t trust them. Can’t say I disagree.

            To each his own I guess.

            M77

          • Bruno

            “LilWolfy

            Mark77

            10 days ago

            AK’s usually break when subjected to high round count courses when
            I’ve shot them. Most of my experience with Kalahsnikov variants is with
            real select-fire guns, although I have shot quite a few imports for
            civilian use, those suffering from many of the same problems right out
            of the box.

            Stuck cases in chambers, FTFeed, FTextract, mags not
            working, sight tower slanted way off to the side, terrible handling
            characteristics (except for the AKS74), etc.

            The reliability myth
            of the AK is mass hype, repeated by a lot of people who have never even
            used the guns in the field. I went from being one of those kids, to the
            much older guy now who looks back and realizes, “This thing is a piece
            of garbage through and through.”

            They make a lot of sense for Russia.”

            Hey, bro got ANYTHING to back that up? I’ve never heard of anything at all like that. I’d be very interested in finding sources for that, but you’re the first guy I’ve heard in 10+ years of interest in firearms to write those things, and I’ve never found a single data point or demonstration to assert what you’re saying.

          • LilWolfy

            22 years of actually shooting them…

          • Mark77

            That’s funny because I’ve been running AK’s for two decades also and have tens of thousands of rounds through them. Literally less than a handful of malfunctions in all those years.

          • LilWolfy

            The list of malfunctions I have seen over 22 years is pretty long, to include guns breaking. Something tells me the number of AK’s I’ve shot and supervised shooting in training just might be more than you’ll ever see in your entire life. Just a hunch.

          • Cal S.

            Pretty sure the only reason you don’t find too many decades-old, beat up M16s/M4s lying around is because they’re used by 1st-world countries that can afford to replace their arsenals whenever they start showing excessive wear and tear.

          • LilWolfy

            They continue to malfunction and break parts. They don’t have some special exemption from reality.

    • Uniform223

      Have you ever hear someone say something along the lines that it is so ridiculous they can’t help but admire it? Some times that “flaw” in its design gives it that special personality. Sorta like an F-150 Lightning or the SVT Raptor… why do you need a fast pick up truck and why are they so appealing?

      • claymore

        So you are another that thinks bad things make it better?

        • Claymore, come on. I didn’t say the AK was better. I said I liked it better. Those are two different things. I’ve sat here and defended the AR-15 with thousands of words already, am I not allowed to sit back and enjoy something else once in a while?

          Even if it is flawed?

          • claymore

            No problem people have different tastes LOL there is even an edsel club.

        • Cymond

          I think strange features make something unusual, and by extension, interesting.
          This is about “liking” something, which doesn’t necessarily make it “better”. I like first-gen semi auto pistols. It’s my hope to someday collect them, but that is NOT the same as saying that I would choose a Borchardt to defend myself.

  • MPWS

    Just shortly on tolerances vs. clearances vs. reliability.
    It is complex subject. First to be said – as a person with experience in engineering and manufacture of firearms I can tell you one thing: interchangeability is nice, BUT it costs money. Tight tolerances are mandatory to get full interchangeability. Clearances must exist, regardless of tolerances.
    IF however, full interchangeability is not your first priority, you may choose selective assembly – in classes of parts. There is nothing wrong with that and it is NOT an epitome of lower level of technology standard. It is lot more economical way, but more labour intensive. It is all matter of choice AND mainly your customer’s requirement.
    My respect goes to author for his sympathies to inevitable champion of rifles. You cannot fool yourself but to say it as it is. On the other hand, I am against creating an icon. No such a thing has value – all is matter of human endeavour and that can vary in time.

  • Cal S.

    Now if only the ergonomics didn’t suck so bad. “You should learn to deal with 1940s ergonomics if you want to operate with REAL men!!!” Yeah, grow up.

    Still look at it this way: The 5.56, for being a really ‘bad’ round, it’s put a lot of bad guys 6 feet under.

    • Esh325

      The AK-12 and MK-107 address those issues, but you won’t be able to get them if you live in the USA.

      • Cal S.

        Yeah. True that. But, they’d probably be about the price of a Sig556xi or Bushmaster ACR anyhow. So what’s the point of wishing upon a political star?

    • Dracon1201

      Ergonomics are subjective. Everyone likes different things. The AK feels better to me than the AR.

      Besides, .22 has put plenty of people under, too.

      • Esh325

        Even being a big AK fan that I am, the ergonomics seem to have been an after thought in the development of the AK. The Russians most have realized this because looking at the AK-12 it has a BHO,bolt release.thumb safety, and magazine that drops free.

        • iksnilol

          Why would you have drop free magazines? Magazines don’t grow on trees, you aren’t going to be throwing them out.

          BHO, most AKs already have it (the notch or extra material in front of the lever isn’t for show). Last shot bolt hold open is another matter, wouldn’t mind it but isn’t really needed. Thumb safety, again, decent but not necessary (most people can use their index finger on the regular safety).

          Though I will admit, the AK-12 looks tempting.

          • Esh325

            lol, I mean drop free like where you push a button and the magazines comes out like an AR15 does. The AK-12 will have a true bolt hold open. For speeding up reloads it is a nice feature.

          • cloud9

            you must be a Tier 1 Operator talking about speed-e-reloads and stuff like such

          • iksnilol

            Look at high-speed camera tests. Drop free mags are faster if you don’t intend to retain the magazine (just drop it with one hand while going for another magazine with the other). But if you are going to retain the magazine, then rock and lock is just as fast as drop free magazines.

            + I don’t see how you would do the whole drop free magazine thing on an AK, unless you switched magazines (like those conversions that allow AKs to use AR mags).

          • Esh325
      • Cal S.

        Yes, that’s true. However, after owning an AR for a few years, I bought an M77 for hunting. Let’s just say after just three months, I’ve had enough Kalash to last me a lifetime (Coupled with some eye-opening torture tests where ARs have actually outperformed AKs) and dispelled forever the thought that AKs are the better weapon. Whereas someone who has an AK as their first weapon would probably feel the same way about an AR, and understandably so.

        Please don’t tell me you’re one of those that believes the baseless “.22LR has killed more than any other cartridge!”? I’ve never seen a statistic that would back that up. Unless you mean all .22 caliber cartridges, but it would still be in very close running with a whole host of .30 caliber cartridges.

        • Esh325

          Honestly, some unscientific youtube videos shouldn’t shape your opinion on how a gun performs.

          • Cal S.

            Unscientific, yes, I agree. Most of the tests and videos involve AK-lovers beating up straw men as they splash a little water around in their rifles thinking that’s ‘torturing’ anything but their audience and hoot about how such a feat would have been impossible with an AR that they don’t own and have never tried.

            Then there’s the head-to-head tests where the two are put through the same garbage. Not surprisingly, they generally come out the same way; non-functional, unsafe weapons. Admittedly, burying both in mud and digging them up is impractical. It was immensely satisfying, though, when the AK coughed and died almost immediately while the AR chugged through another round of testing before it coughed and died too.

            Bottom line, they’re mechanical devices prone to the same failures. To deny it is folly in the extreme. Know your weapon, know what it’s capable of. YOU train with your
            preferred weapon, YOU prove its limits. Ignorance isn’t bliss, and it
            can be fatal.

          • Esh325

            While they haven’t created a weapon yet that is impervious to adverse conditions, the AK has historically done better in those conditions than the AR and a few dubious yt videos doesn’t change that.

          • Joshua

            Historically in what way? You mean anecdotal stories of Vietnam blown wildly out of proportion? Or the whole Wanat story where 3 M4’s failed and the media took it and ran , reporting it every few years to drive up views for their websites? Or maybe the whole Jessica Lynch thing where her M16 failed her, despite being knocked unconscious when their humvee crashed and never having a chance to actually even try to use her rifle.

            Have you been deployed with a M4A1? Or done extensive training with locals being issued brand new AK-47’s?

            I don’t mean to sound harsh or anything I just always see people say there’s all this vast evidence that the AK is superior, yet it is all second hand info and never matches what I saw first hand in Afghanistan.

          • Esh325

            What’s wrong with the Wanat story? I haven’t. But why does your experience mean it’s the only experience or the right one? The Israelis who were impressed with the performance of the AK in sandy conditions directly inspired them to make the Galil rifle.

          • Joshua

            The Wanat story was blown out of proportion for one. There was only 3 or 4(can’t remember) actual documented M4’s to fail, and one took a round to the receiver.

            It was reported like every M4 failed and go soldiers killed, while shortly after that you have the battle of Kamdesh at COP Keating, which was similar to Wanat and had a far different outcome.

            Wanat is trumpeted by people for a reason the AR needs to be replaced, but at the same time these people generally never served and generally have not read the AARs of Wanat.

            While my personal experience may not mimic everyone’s, it is generally far more reliable than someone else’s opinion built using internet myth garnered from internet research that is all built around second hand information in the first place.

            I however have extensive first hand experience with the M4A1 and CQBR, as well as numerous other weapon platforms, as well as time training locals on the AK-47 with brand new AK’s taken from the crate they were shipped in.

            Generally that stands the chance of being more inline with the real world of Afghanistan than someone’s experiences from behind a computer screen, in general.

            Don’t feel like I’m targeting or even meaning you in what I say. I’m just stating my feelings on the matter.

            Typos are brought to you thanks to my phone.

          • Nicks87

            Problems at Wanat were more about a lack of training and leadership than about a weapon system failing but that sounds unpatriotic so it’s easier for people to blame the rifle.

          • Esh325

            Why couldn’t somebody easily spin the argument that blaming an American made rifle is also “unpatriotic”?

          • Joshua

            Because when this comes up, the media always goes at it from the “saving soldiers lives” view point, and how if we had just dumped the “crappy, jam prone” M16FOW and instead used the much more expensive and “far superior” German gun no soldiers would have died.

            We have freedom of the press, so they have the right to spout drivel driven by ignorance or just stupidity, or because they have an agenda, or just want more views.

            Also plenty of us point out when these news websites get it wrong, but it still doesn’t change the fact that they post the drivel they post. It also brings out the “I told you so” crowd as well who speak from ignorance due to poor experiences on the square range using a POS Vulcan or Hesse gun.

          • Esh325

            But it isn’t just the media. The government itself has ran tests showing the M4 coming up last in their dust testing. There was a document disputing the results of the test, but the document was written by either Bravo Company or Daniel Defense who sells M4’s to the government.

          • Joshua

            Neither BCM or DD sells rifles to the Military outside of maybe very small and limited unit or individual purchases.

            You must be referring to the 2007 dust test. The issue with that test was that the M4’s used were 5-7 months old at the time of testing. They did not have the ECP changes that finished Army testing in late 2007(and actually entered testing in I believe 2003), and they used GI mags of unkown quality.

            The other competitors got to submit rifles to test, rifles hand built with the knowledge of a dust test, using COTS mags that have shown to be superior to aluminum mags, received extra lubrication in accordance with the manufacturer recommended amount as outlined in their manuals.

            There was a lot of variables in that test and a lot of issues wrong with it.

            The M4 did come in last during it though, but the majority of the stoppages were listed as failure to feeds, double feeds, and since the M4 used a burst cog it was counted as a failure if it did not fire 3 full rounds with a trigger pull.

            If you have ever used a M4 you know that the burst cog does not reset until 3 rounds have fired, so one stoppage that interrupts the burst mechanism will then be counted as a second failure due to not firing 3 rounds, when it is in fact a feature of the FCG. So for every stoppage that was a real stoppage you had a second related to the design and function of the burst trigger.

            That test was also pushed and sponsored by a certain outspoken congress member and critic of the M4 who has no small arms knowledge.

          • Esh325

            According to whom?

          • Joshua

            To what?

          • Esh325

            Where did you get the information about this? Assuming the rifle wasn’t used or used lightly, I don’t see how using a 5-7 month old rifle is some how unfair. According to what source did they use more lube on the M4 and use better magazines in the entries? Where did you get all this information from?

          • Joshua

            It is available to those who want to take the time and money to use the FOIA or those who have the ability to access such documents.

            know you always want documented proof of these things, but frankly given you have never served in the US Military, or any military that you have stayed some things you just cannot have.

            Though I never see you posting documented information that is unavailable for public distribution that proves all your claims either.

            End of the day, this is an anonymous forum so one has to judge how they feel on what is said. I have however stayed fairly straight in my comments and I know some others here can backup what I say.

            But sometimes you just have to decide if you want to take the information at the value. Because not everything is available for public consumption when it comes to the Military, despite all the transparency people want.

          • LilWolfy

            Wanat was an intelligence ignored and leadership failure. They targeted all the crew served weapons, which is SOP for any half-descent deliberate attack, and guys were left with SAWs and M4’s mostly to defend themselves. Imagine how many would be dead if they had M14’s, for example.

            Anyone walking away from the Wanat AAR with some type of idea that equipment can fix that kind of leadership environment doesn’t belong in uniform.

          • Uniform223

            Yes the Israelis did base the Galil off the AK but you’d find more pictures of IDF troops with AR type weapons than the Galil.

          • Nicks87

            I agree 100%. Most people blowing smoke about one rifle system or another usually have little experience with both. I prefer AR15s because that’s what I’ve been using over a 15 year military and law enforcement career. For me it’s more about proficiency and familiarity than anything else.

          • Cal S.

            Indeed? And what do you mean by ‘Dubious’? Military Arms Channel is ‘Dubious’? So what are you saying, “Who you gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?” I myself have had a merely halfway reliable AK. Did not impress me at all.

            There are three types of AK and AR torture tests, which do you lend the most credence to?
            1) Guys trying really hard to make an AR fail, and succeed through impossible means that would never be encountered logically in any real-world situation. But, they don’t put an AK through the same tests because we all “Know that an AK could take punishment like this.” Comments are full of AK fanboys licking the feet of M.K. all over again.
            2) Guys tossing their AK in a little dirt and water, falling all over themselves seeing who can throw the best sucker-punch at their AR straw man saying how their particular test proves the superiority over the AR. But, they don’t put an AR through the same tests because we all “Know an AR couldn’t take punishment like this.” Comments are full of AK fanboys licking the feet of M.K. all over again.
            3) Actual head-to-head comparisons of the two under identical circumstances where they both fail. In some cases, the AR actually outperforms the AK. Comments are full of M.K. foot lickers complaining about how the test was unfair.

            Then there’s real life:
            -AK jams and everyone blames the magazines (Friggin Crapco!!), ammo, or mystic forces of Capitalist corruption before they blame the weapon.
            -AR jams and everyone blames government being cheap, Eugene Stoner, direct impingement, overall flawed design; but under no circumstances whatsoever is it at all the fault of underpowered ammo or the magazines. Nope.

          • Esh325

            Like I said, I don’t care about garage tests dumb people on youtube perform to get views. These same people will shoot a twinky in a gun and think that’s a valid test.

          • Cal S.

            So… On what basis then do you say that the AK is better than the AR? Other than “Historical proof”, “What my granddad from ‘Nam told me”, and “Common knowledge” what do we have to go on if we don’t have any other visual evidence? When Daniel Defense drags their AR through a day-long torture test to prove its reliability to their customers, what are we supposed to think? That it’s just another dumb test?

            I guess I just don’t understand.

          • Esh325

            Unfortunately in terms of real legitimate testing on the AK versus the M4 reliability and not a garage test on yt or a marketing commercial isn’t something that is publicly available. I’m sure the American and Russian government have done numerous tests on it, but they simply aren’t available.

          • CommonSense23

            I am guessing you haven’t done much FID, or recovered many AKs from dead insurgents. The AKs reliability is nowhere near its perceived reputation.

          • Esh325

            I’m not really impressed with the military jargon.

          • JV

            dont make me bust out the ham sammich video

          • Cal S.

            So you can stuff a ham sammich into the receiver of an AK? Big deal. Stuff a hot dog into the recoil spring of an AR and it will still work, but be about 300% harder to clean out after your ‘fun’ is over.

          • Uniform223

            Personal experience should

        • Dracon1201

          Oh, heck no! Of course .22lr hasn’t killed that more than any other. It has killed plenty, though. That was my point.

  • Paul White

    I really want 2-3 of each. Why be picky?

  • Okay you convinced me. Now convince my silly Canadian government.

    • Yellow Devil

      Your government says no to AKs, because they know VZ 58s are much better!

  • Esh325

    I suspect most AK’s made today like by Arsenal,Izmash, and Zastava all make use of CNC rather than manual milling operations. Certainly I think the AR has done better job of standardizing parts than the AK like you mentioned. For example, I don’t think you can use an AK-100 bolt or bolt carrier in an original AKM, it won’t fit correctly, where I bet you could take an AR15 bolt assembly made today and use it in a AR15 made in the early 60’s with no problem.

  • kyphe

    As far as I am concerned everything that matters about the function of the AK came from the Sudayev AS44.

    • cloud9

      wait- I thought the AK was ripped off from the M1- errrr- I mean the StG44- I’m so confused!

      • kyphe

        LOL AK has nothing in common with the StG44 though it does have some influences from the much earlier MKb 42 which the Russians had many captured examples of, as well as the M1.

        • Esh325

          I wouldn’t say that’s completely true. They both use a long stroke gas piston with the piston attached to operating rod.

          • kyphe

            If you mean the StG44 yes it is ofc a log stroke gas system but the design of that system it’s bolt carrier group and rod are of a different to the AK where as you can see some similarity from the MKb42 to the AS44 which was copied to the AK. Lets face it the long rod gas system is a pre ww2 concept found in several guns like the ZB vz.26 which became the Bren and the BAR for WW1

    • Sudaev uses a tilting bolt, so not really.

  • Joshua

    Falcon Pawnch!!!!!

  • iksnilol

    Nathaniel likes the AK more than the AR? 0_0

    This will end badly, especially considering how much he has hurt fanboys (recently with the criticism of the M1 Garand).

    Personally I like the AK because it is cheap and easily available + it does all I want it to.

  • Vitor Roma

    It doesnt have a giant buffer tube sticking out. That for it has always been the oddest feature of the AR.

  • Lance

    Love theAK-74. But id still goto war with a M-16A2 over a AK.

    • Joshua

      We all know you secretly want the SCAR-L.

    • Wait, aren’t you the guy who rags on me constantly for “liking garbage euro-rifles”?

  • M

    Tbh, the AK always struck me as a scaled up SMG while the AR-15 struck me as a scaled down rifle. Don’t know why.

  • Squirreltakular

    I have an AR and a 7.62 AK. Eventually I’d like to get an AK-12 knockoff in 5.45, and probably a 5.56 AK with an AR mag adapter. After all that though, I’m pretty sure I won’t know which one my favorite is.

  • BrandonAKsALot

    Did I write this? I enjoyed this article and agree with it. There’s something about the character that AK’s have that new guns just lack. It’s like getting a nice FAL kit and building it. It has history and a unique touch. I love the modern AK’s, but I think Polish AKM’s may be the most attactive of all AK’s. They are works of art.

  • tb556

    I’ve owned 4 and sold them all. They were great 15 years ago when sar1 and sar2s were going for $350 but I don’t think they’re worth what people are paying for them now. If I were in the market now I’d just go ar15 since prices have come down and AK prices have gone up. I can’t imagine spending more than 5 bucks on a bakelite or steel mag. I bought a sig556 classic in 09, I see it as the best of both worlds in the current market. The only gun I wish I would have never sold was my yugo sks, they are tack drivers.

    • Mark77

      I can club a man to death with an AK steel mag, I also don’t need to clean and lube my weapon every time I fall down in the mud either. The AK costs more now because it is a better overall rifle and people are willing to pay more for it now more than ever with the flood of cheap AR’s on the market that allow people for the first time to see just how unreliable AR’s really are.

      • tb556

        I’ll say a prayer for all the gi’s killed in magazine clubbings in Vietnam. Also you might want to pick up a pair of Rockys to help your footing when troting through mud pits. I would recommend against not cleaning any weapon that has been dropped in water or mud but hey it’s your money.

        • Esh325

          In all honesty it’s silly because rifles are made primarily for shooting than clubbing or bayoneting. The Russians themselves even went to plastic magazines early on.

      • Never had to clean my AR after dropping it in mud. A well-built AR runs fine.

        • Mark77

          I guess. I’ve only owned LMT’s, Colt’s, and Bushmaster’s which never ran nearly as well as my Arsenal AK’s. I still own five Colt’s but I don’t consider them anything more than range toys.

          • YMMV, I guess. I currently own a Colt (which has worked well) and an Arsenal. I really like the Arsenal, of course.

    • AR15.com doesn’t seem to “get it” like you do. ;D

      • Panzercat

        Arfcom is arfcom. Only the first five responses to nearly any thread will contain actual useful information before degenerating into an orgy of couch commandos and mall ninjas debating back and forth over things they read on the interwebs.

        Good piece, btw. You were clear on what parts were personal preference and which were facts. I used to have a negative opinion of Bloc hardware myself until meeting the SKS. It’s a very approachable rifle and mine had a buttery smooth trigger (probably from 50 years of use). Opened my eyes to the fact that maybe I need to expand my horizons. I’ll get an AK soon, myself. Pistol or Rifle… Hmmm.. Those Zavastas are looking pretty good…

  • AKsbergersSyndrome

    wat?

  • Bal256

    Since we were able to beat back the ATF’s attempt to ban M855, can we get to work on unbanning 7n6? Even if Russia is sanctioned, countries like Bulgaria still make some that we can import, right?

    • Mark77

      Bulgaria no longers manufacturers 5.45×39 ammo. They surplused most of that out in the late 90’s and early 2000’s along with most of the 5.45 weapons. The Bulgarian 5.45 ammo we were seeing up till recently primarily came out of Ukraine.

  • Mark77

    Having run AR’s and AK’s for the past 20 years I will handily give the reliability over to the AK. If the AK does malfunction, which is rare, it generally only needs to have the charging handle pulled to the rear or if worse- charging handle placed against a tree then cleared. AR’s can have catastrophic failures that generally require a cleaning rod down the bore to free the casing, double feeds that require near complete dissassembly or trigger not resetting due to debris in the small area around the trigger group.

    AK’s have generous tolerances around the trigger group and carrier group while the AR has little to no room whatsoever for that debris to migrate away from the working components. The open topcover design of the AK’s allows for quick clearing should any debris enter the action much of which will be laying safely behind the trigger group itself. It takes little debris entering the action to choke an AR but would take filling the receiver to near capacity to choke an AK.

    I personally have had a hard time wanting to keep my AR’s especially now that AK’s have mounts retrofitted to use the same optics yet yield similar accuracy in a much more reliable format. The AK is the better all around rifle.

    M

    • Esh325

      With rifles like the AK-12,MK-107, and Galil ACE coming out, I think the AK versus AR argument could come to an end. Although, there are op rod rifles like the HK416 that add another layer to the argument.

      • Mark77

        I own 106FR AK’s in 5.56NATO that are on par with my factory Colt 6920’s. However if push comes to shove, I’d rather honestly have my 106FR.

        • Esh325

          I did fire a Bulgarian .223 AK and I think they were the most accurate AK I fired.

  • wetcorps

    Good post. It’s nice too see the point of view of a gun lover, rather than the one of a competitor or wanabee operator (not that they are wrong).
    There should be more posts like this. After all, most of us spend more time enjoying our guns for what they are than using them for anything serious. And most guns are bought because we like them, not because we really need all of them.

  • guest

    What a load of doo doo with the garand description.
    Garand did not invent loose tolerances. Garand did not understand how to use other than JMB’s experimental low pressure system at the muzzle. Garand did not understand how a semiauto should be designed from the ground up, instead he literally adapted a gas system for a bolt action rifle (both receiver locking, location of gas block, retarded charging lever extending from underneath and around the side).
    And althought Kalashnivov’s work is a blatant ripoff from Bulkin, what it certainly is not is some kind of “inspiration” from a completely irrelevant design.

    STG-44… AK-46 + AB-46 = AK-47

  • Adam

    After reading your hit piece on the 6.8 SPC and now you are basically praising the AK74 over the AR – I am questioning much of your logic. I love AKs – but they are not very accurate, not ergonomic, sights sucks, optic mounting is not very great, and they are hyped on the reliability debate. Also most 6.8 SPC is superior to M193 and M855, but I can see 77 gr bullets being better than 6.8 SPC past 400 meters so I will give you that. I own an AK74 because of history -5.45 sucks and I would take .223 / 5.56 over it any day. Try putting an AK74 vs M4/M16 in a 3 gun match or NRA high power match and get back to me. Also, 6.8 SPC rocks because it feeds well, performs great out of short barrels out to 400 meters with greater energy than 62 gr 5.56 or 5.45 x 39. I know the US/NATO will never move away from 5.56 because of current logistics, but I still love 6.8 SPC. My background is I’m an engineer, was a army combat heavy engineer with combat tour in OIFIII, active deer hunter where I actually kill with 6.8 SPC and I own all the rifles that you write about. Oh and if I want to go further than 500 meters I want something bigger than 5.45, 5.56 or 6.8 SPC.

    • Esh325

      That’s just silly. By saying the 5.45×39 sucks you’re saying the 5.56×45 also sucks because the performance of the two rounds is very similar. I have fired an AK-74 and .223 AK’s and I never thought there was a huge difference in how they print over standard M4’s. They are combat rifles after all and aren’t made to print pretty holes in paper in NRA matches. Besides the AK-12 solves most of the issues you’re talking about.

      • Adam

        I always group better with .223 / 5.56 than 5.45 x 39 which most people use to shoot because 7N6 was dirt cheap. I have AKMs in 7.62 x 39, .223, .308 and 5.45 Arsenals/Yugos and I prefer ARs for real use/hunting. 5.45 is smaller diameter and has less velocity than .223 – so yeah it sucks. Yes it tumbles – sometimes just like 5.56 sometimes fragments depending on bullet type and velocity, but when it does not it ice picks holes thru the target. I am not saying you can’t make hits, but AKM groups are all over the place past 300 meters – the mechanical action and flex of the AKM contributes greatly to this – get the barrel hot and it gets even worse.
        AKMs are good combat rifles because they are simple and reliable – but ergos and accuracy give ARs the lead. Mechanical accuracy of a weapon with knowing bullet drop allows for long range shooting so yes pretty little holes at 100-200 meters with knowing your sights allows you to shoot x-rings at 600 meters. Combat rifles need to shoot 1-2 MOA groups to increase the likelihood of the soldier or Marine to make hits at distance. I really don’t know if the AK12 solves any issues because I do not know anyone owning or using one – including Russian soldiers in the Ukraine. Also, the only soldiers I knew using AKs were ING and they were lucky to hit a target past 150 meters due to their techniques and state of the AKMs they were using.

        • Vitor Roma

          The diameter difference is just 0.1mm. And no army requires an combat rifle to shoot under 2MOA. Really, the requirement of the M16 must be around 5MOA or even a tad more.

  • Grindstone50k

    I like the AK, very fun to shoot, great reputation, etc. But, damn, the ergonomics are awful. It’s clearly not designed with the end-user in mind.

  • Uniform223

    Personal preference of the end user not style is always key.

  • marathag

    “Kalashnikov freely admitted that Garand’s rifle was a major influence on his work”

    only if he would have admitted to Browning’s influence via the Remington Model 8 as well

    • That’s a question for Ezell or Kalashnikov, both of whom are unfortunately dead. :

  • Dan

    I prefer the Chinese SKS “Paratrooper” version myself, though the AK-74 is great in its own right.

  • Southpaw89

    Had my bag of chips and a beer all ready for an all out AR vs AK war, and then all the comments were so civil, sigh.

  • What figures did you use? M855 as an example has an i7 FF of 1.17, while 7N6 has an i7 FF of .930, so the latter is a lot better in that respect.

  • Nattleby

    I think the M1 Carbine also lent somewhat to the design of the AK. Kalashnikov had examples of both Garand and Carbine provided to him. If anything, the short(er) stroke gas piston and handiness of a 16 inch barrel.

    BTW: I am also a gun nerd named Nathaniel…

  • iksnilol

    Correct me if I am wrong:

    To me it seems like the AK is more optimized towards factory production, While the AR is more suited for making it at home/garage due to all the machining. Stamping an AK receiver takes less time than machining an AR receiver.

    • Phil Hsueh

      I think that depends, as far as actual assembly goes the AR is definitely well suited for the garages since the AR can be built with pretty much the tools you’d find in most garage toolboxes. The most specialized tool you’d need would be castle nut wrenches for the barrel and buffer tube and maybe punches but that’s pretty much it. I don’t know much about building AKs but from what I’ve read once it’s a bit more involved than building an AR and involves a lot of rivets which I don’t think is something that is readily done in a garage. But I could be wrong since, as I said, I know very little about building AKs.

      • iksnilol

        I know the PPD smg and clones of it were made by resistance movements. It required a lot of milling and machining which made it possible for resistance members to make it. Contrary to the stamped PPSH which was easier and faster to make (in a factory) due to the industrial equipment needed to produce them.

        I think the same thing applies to AKs and ARs.

  • n0truscotsman

    Wow you weren’t kidding. Theyre having a full blown existential panic it seems like.
    What else is new though? many of those guys thrive on controversy and flame wars
    .

    • Yeah, and one guy pipes up about how I defended the AR-15 once (once!?), and is quickly drowned out by others speculating about how I collect model trains.

      I don’t, by the way, collect model trains.

    • I’m pretty thick-skinned when it comes to these kinds of people. That’s why I decided to start a Q&A in that thread!

    • Mark77

      5.45 is a better performer overall than say M855 since it is not velocity dependent on gross expansion but instead simply tumbles at any velocity- even out of a 8″ barreled AKS74U. Downside, it is corrosive and the Russians went to polymer furniture because they used to dip the entire rifles into 55 gallon drums mixed with diesel and kerosene when returning from the field. Upside, corrosive primers last forever but the amount of cleaning involved for the average shooter probably isn’t worth it.

  • I saw that video, I love the acting of the guy shooting the M16A1. He shoots, the rifle cycles fine, then he hits the forward assist all dramatically, and shoots again. then he removes the magazine for no reason while looking all disapproving, before clearing the rifle (again, for no reason). They then get a bad USGI magazine to hang up.

    I also saw ARFCOM’s thread about me (substantially, it was about speculating about me as a person, not this article’s content. I’m flattered, I guess).

  • n0truscotsman

    There’s nothing wrong with AKs. As far as the argument goes of AR vs AK, almost everybody I know that bought one, ended up buying the other. That seems to be the best answer.

  • WFA

    From the very first moment I ever handled an AK, it became immediately apparent why a person who can afford little more than a goat and dirt floor regards the AK they way they do.
    It represent the best and worst of human ingenuity.
    It is a symbol of both freedom and oppression.
    It is simply iconic.

  • Yallan

    Sonic BOOM!

  • LilWolfy

    My experience with the AK pretty much contradicts the reliability claims, especially in extreme cold weather. Of all the assault rifles I have used in high volume, the AK is one of the least reliable.

    In cold weather, we frequently see Failure to Fire malfs, and after most guns have been through 4000-5000rds, they start to malfunction more and more. Failure to Feed is very common, as is stuck case in the chamber.

    Resistance to humidity/moisture, and exposure to the earth elements in an infantry setting are very hard on the AK, due to very poor finishes on the steel, which readily rusts. If the AK is not well maintained, the condition of the steel starts to deteriorate from the gas tube to the fire control parts, and lifespan of the weapon goes downhill rapidly from that point.

    Because of the unique fitting of the guns, magazines are not always interchangeable, even within the specific former Warsaw Pact nation.

    In the end, it’s a very crude attempt at an over-sized SMG using the intermediate cartridge approach, and its success is more a testament of being able to mass-produce something that barely resembled a rifle, will fire for x number of rounds, and then quickly become unserviceable without higher level maintenance. For 3rd world peasants, it makes a lot of sense in the short term. For any professional soldier, it is a disappointment across the board when you actually start running them in high volume, deploying with them, and subjecting them to field conditions.

    • Brian M

      Wolf, where did you pull these ideas out of? I’ve looked through books, jounrals, videos, reports, gone through forty pages of various searches on Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Yandex, and even talked to the current and former soldiers I’ve met during my time studying at Moscow State University. I have found absolutely NOTHING to back up your assertions. In fact, a 30 second google search can refute your claims.

      P.S.: People need to learn the difference between crude and simple. Crude is driving nails with a rock. Simple is a wood and iron claw hammer.

      • LilWolfy

        These aren’t ideas. They are my personal experiences with Kalashnikov rifles and variants spanning decades. It’s hyped up to be much more than it is-a barely functioning weapon that can be counted on to maybe fire through several mags by a conscript. Some do better than others, spring life and fit of the parts being critical to that end. It’s not the weapon you have been led to believe it is. Ammunition quality also plays a role in reliability, and Russian steel case is one of the main ways to make an AK choke.

        Ask anyone who has run training packages for armies with AK’s for years what kinds of problems they run into, and prepare for an earful. Some of the guns come non-functional from the factory.

        I will say that the 5.45×39 guns seem to run better than the 7.62×39 rifles. No, they are definitely crude guns in both design and manufacture. Th only elegant ones are Valmet’s and Galil’s, and those are excessively front-heavy.

        • Brian M

          Wolfy, you’re making some pretty tall claims with a pretty short bibliography. Hmmmmm… Based off of timing, are you perhaps writing these posts just to try counteracting Geoff’s Spiel? I’ll ceede whatever you can actually demonstrate.

          Honestly, your writing looks like anti-AK hateboy drivvel we’ve all seen many times before.

          ” it is-a barely functioning weapon that can be counted on to maybe fire through several mags by a conscript.”

          Assessments and reportson AK’s, both about their design, testing, and longevity in the field would contradict that. Hey, on this very site, there’s an article about an original type 1 AK-47 still being used effectively in combat. Look for reports on old AK’s — still working, still shooting after their fights are forgotten and their wars are history lessons. As for AK’s which guys report being horrible, they are very old rifles which have most likely never been within the same post code as CLP or the same galaxy as an armorer.

          You gave another old line about ‘herp derp, made just for stupid conscripts to shoot a bit before they die.’ I advise reading Suvorov’s “Inside the Soviet Army” to learn about the demands placed on men and equipment. The USSR and republics also had an education system which produced a high number of literate and educated people who were not dumb as rocks. And their military leaders too were held to high standards, so the idea of the AK as a noisy club holds no water. And don’t forget that all nearly guns adopted by major powers in the back half of the 20’th century were meant to be usable by conscript armies, and were.

          Look at Jim Fuller, AK Operator’s Union, MAC, and Nick Leghorn. They shoot a lot and have a high opinion of it.

          “Russian steel case is one of the main ways to make an AK choke.”

          That’s a very bold claim. Forget not that the legend of the unbreakable AK was forged with corrosive steel-cased ammunition.

          “Ask anyone who has run training packages for armies with AK’s for years what kinds of problems they run into, and prepare for an earful.”

          Oooohh! I know a guy I can talk to. He was my professor last semester, and he said that he helped advise militarily in I think Sudan and possibly Somalia and other sectors, too. He also approved of and highly rated my paper and presentation on Soviet weapons.

          “No, they are definitely crude guns in both design and manufacture. The only elegant ones are Valmet’s and Galil’s, and those are excessively front-heavy.”

          Crude=/=Simple. Many people remark that military AK’s like M70’s, Norinco, Maadi, are made quite well. The Sten is a crude weapon. Something like a Glock is a simple weapon.

          How are they unbalanced? You’d think with a big, steel receiver, a heavy metal or wood buttstock, and only a relatively short, thin barrel and foreend, that they’d be quite well balanced, especially with loaded magazines, especiallly steel ones.

          I anticipate a good response.

          Go ahead, make my day. We’re waiting.

          • LilWolfy

            I’ve been using AK’s and variants for my entire professional career, on both active duty and in the private sector for over 2 decades now. Name a variant, and I’ve used it. Russian billet, AKM’s, AKSU’s, Romanian garbage, Arsenals, East Germans, Maadi (Russian supplies and Russian tooling under Russian engineer supervision, with Russian laminate furniture), North Korean DPRK garbage, Finnish Valmets & SAKO’s (best), Israeli Galil’s (ditched by Israel because they are way too heavy) etc.

            It’s a substandard weapon system from a Western perspective where I expect any self-loader made after 1930 to have a bolt stop, and actually function well. I believed all the hype about AK reliability until I started shooting them. They are one of the least reliable assault rifle designs of all the assault rifles I have used, and any design that attempts to mimic the AK’s operating system suffers the same types of problems.

            When you gas a gun the way the AK is gassed, it beats the trash out of the weapon over time. That is the problem with the AK in a nutshell. They just don’t work as advertised, pure and simple. The majority of people who tout the AK’s reliability record are only passing on the echo from someone else who has never worked with them over a career like me, but read all about it on the internet, read books, or heard it from the barracks outhouse lawyer.

            Every professional soldier I have shared notes with that ran training for Iraqi Police or ANA says the same thing. Guns are falling apart, components failing, frequent malfunctions, sights are almost worthless, too front heavy, etc. In every case, those armies and former Warsaw Pact satellite armies want to ditch their AK’s in favor of M4’s. I’ve personally witnessed that in numerous foreign coalition nations as well. They really don’t like the AK after they get exposed to the M4.

            Reports of an original Type 1 “being used effectively” means someone is walking around with one, not that the gun actually functions well. We had original Type 1’s in my first Recon Platoon, and they were garbage. I’ve shot more rounds through AK’s in 4 hours than most senior Russian NCO’s will see in their entire career. Step away from the propaganda for a bit and go shoot them yourself.

          • Fegelein

            *Checks responses*

            Wolfy, give it up. You’re sunk. Cheeki breeki.

    • Cheeki Breeki

      Prepare to eat humble pie, Lilly.

      __________
      SWAT Magazine April 1986

      EXTREME COLD WEATHER TESTING

      Treacherous Weather, Dangerous Killers And Lonely Roads Dictate That Alaska State Troopers Be Equipped With The Finest Cold Weather Rifles Available

      By Jeffery Hall

      Nationwide, law enforcement agencies are encountering criminals armed with sophisticated weapons. Assault rifles, shotguns, quality handguns, and automatic weapons are common. The traditional service revolver and pump shotgun are often outclassed in a firefight.

      This situation is especially hazardous to the state trooper or highway patrol officer. These officers work lonely stretches of roadway, far from back-up and support facilities. A rifle can make all the differences, as encounters often take place at ranges beyond the effective range of shotguns or revolvers. This was dramatically shown in the Norco, California, bank robbery.

      Several state police agencies have adopted a service rifle to be carried in the patrol car to augment the shotgun and revolver. Oklahoma, Kentucky, Mississippi, Kansas, Idaho and others have selected and adopted a service rifle for general issue. In some cases, this program started after a specific incident in which officers were injured or killed due to a lack of effective firepower.

      In February of 1984, I was authorized by the Alaska State Troopers to conduct an evaluation of existing rifles for consideration as a service rifle. Due to the climate of Alaska, certain specific requirements had to be met.

      We began by listing the basic requirements we felt necessary. These were:

      1. 100% reliability after prolonged cold exposure
      2. Night sights, if available
      3. Large trigger guard for use with gloved hands
      4. Folding stock
      5. .223 or .308 calibers
      6. Detachable box magazine, 20 to 30 round capacity
      7. Must have a flash suppressor and sling mounts
      8. Require minimum maintenance

      The major firearms importers and manufacturers were contacted and asked to submit a sample weapon for testing. A clear understanding was reached with each supplier that the weapons would probably be damaged during testing.

      Upon receipt, each weapon was inspected and field stripped. Each received a thorough cleaning to remove all oil and grease. The weapons were not lubricated at all following the cleaning.

      All of the test samples were taken to the range by our special weapons team marksman. He fired each for familiarity, using different firing positions and ranges. We were not concerned with match accuracy, only with a consistent shot group in the four-inch range. All were fired using the same lot of military ball ammo, and the same lots of Federal FMJ ammunition in .223 and .308, respectively.

      All of the rifles fired, showed acceptable accuracy, with none being exceptional. The HK-91 showed the tightest groups, averaging about two inches. Approximately 200 rounds were fired through each rifle, and they were not cleaned after shooting.

      We then loaded guns and gear into a four-wheel drive vehicle and drove 400 miles north of Fairbanks to Coldfoot, Alaska: The average daily high temperature was -20° F, with lows at night in the -40° F range. These were good working temperatures and would be consistent with much of the state during the winter months.

      The first test consisted of leaving the weapons outside for several hours, then bringing them into a warm room for thirty minutes. This allows moisture to condense on the weapons, which then freezes when they are put back outside. This often occurs when a firearm is brought into a warm room then put back into a cold car trunk. This warming/ cooling cycle was repeated six times with each weapon. No malfunctions resulted, with all of the rifles being capable of fire.

      Next, one pint of warm water was poured into the bolt and trigger group of each weapon. It was then allowed to stand outside in -20° F weather for three hours. After three additional hours inside we experienced a 60% failure to function in the weapons. Either the hammer would not fall at all, or the hammer fall was too weak to detonate the round. The only weapons that experienced no malfunction were the two Galils, the Valmet and the FNC.

      All of the weapons were then brought into a heated room (+70° F) and warmed for thirty minutes. After heating, all of the rifles functioned properly. Unfortunately, heated shelter may not be available when needed.

      Finally, all of the weapons were cleaned of ice and lubricated heavily with Break-free. The lubricant was sprayed into the bolts and trigger groups and the weapons were cold soaked for fourteen hours at -40° F. The test showed the true colors of the weapons involved, for all but four failed to function after this test. Again, only the Galils, the Valmet, and the FNC were able to function and fire. The other weapons showed bolts frozen shut, selectors and safeties frozen, and hammers that would not fall. All of the rifles but the Galils, Valmet, and FNC were then eliminated for consideration. These, not surprisingly, share a Kalashnikov ancestry. The weapons performed as follows:

      7.62 Galil No Malfunction

      5.56 Galil No Malfunction

      HK-91 A round was chambered and would not fire. Round was manually extracted, another was chambered which did fire. The weapon cycled and the third round would not fire. Manually operated, fourth round would not fire. Charging handle broke off.

      HK-93 Fire rounds manually cycled, none fired.

      HK-93A3 Same as above.

      Valmet No Malfunction.

      Ruger Mini-14 Five rounds manually cycled, none fired, hammer frozen, safety frozen.

      M1-A Bolt would not draw far enough to the rear to chamber a round. Unable to fire.

      Colt M-16 Forward assist had to be used to close the bolt. Selector frozen, could not be moved. Five rounds cycled manually, none fired.

      Colt AR-15 Magazine release frozen, selector frozen.

      FN-FAL Five rounds manually cycled, none fired.

      FN-FNC Five rounds fired with no malfunctions. Last casing stovepiped in ejection port. Gas regulator moved to “adverse conditions” setting and five rounds fired with no malfunctions.

      We later spoke with a factory representative of one of the companies involved, who was very disturbed at our results. He called his engineering department, who assured him that if the weapon was cleaned, then lightly lubricated with a synthetic lubricant, it would function properly. The entire purpose of the evaluation was to see if any of the weapons could stand up to the neglect and direct abuse we gave it. If all had failed, we would have felt that our test was unrealistic. The fact that four of the weapons performed 100% of the time shows that some are suited and some are unsuited to a cold climate. In addition, police officers are notorious for neglecting their equipment, even though their lives depend on it.

      There were many other features considered in deciding which weapon we preferred. Weight, balance, trigger pull, sights, ease of operation, cost, availability of options, ease of maintenance, etc. were all considered.

      The clear winner and our first choice was the Galil .223. It was 100% reliable, accurate, and easy to shoot. It has the best night sights available and an excellent folding stock. It has a reciprocating bolt handle, which can be drawn to the rear then pushed forward to lock a round in the chamber. This is a very desirable feature when the weapon is frozen or very dirty. The bolt and safety can be manipulated with either hand. It is very easy to field strip, without tools, and parts are easily replaced.

      The Galil and its accessories are expensive, but not out of reach. If you are with a police department or an individual that works in a cold climate, it is the best weapon you can get.

      For information on the Galil, contact: Douglas Evans, Magnum Research, 2825 Anthony Lane S., Minneapolis, MN 55418.

      NOTE: The Alaska State Troopers have not yet adopted a service rifle, due to budgetary limitations and other factors. This article expresses the opinions of the author. The Department of Public Safety does not endorse any product.

      The author: Jeffrey Hall is a veteran of the 173rd Airborne and 75th Infantry (Ranger). An Alaska State Trooper for seven years, he has been a member of the Department’s Special Weapons Team for four years, and is presently assistant team leader. He holds a black belt in karate and is two time state IPSC Pistol Champion.

      Troy L. Duncan, Alaska State Trooper, was the co-author of this project. A former Marine captain, Duncan had spent two years testing and evaluating cold weather equipment for the U.S.M.C. Trooper Duncan was a member of the Department’s Special Weapons Team and was killed in action while arresting a multiple homicide Suspect.
      __________

      The only guns to make it through were all AK derivatives.

      • LilWolfy

        Very well aware of the article. I remember when it came out. Since then, I have used the Valmets and Galil’s in a much more extensive capacity than silly SWAT cops have or ever will.

        The Valmet Rk62 was re-engineered to actually be reliable, especially when you look at the gas system. It isn’t a simple copy of the Kalashnikov. It and the other RK series are some of the most reliable assault rifles in the world, as long as you feed them quality brass-cased ammo and from Finnish mags.

        The Finnish Defense Forces active reservists prefer M4’s, and they have both. Almost everyone over there buys several M4 and AR10 variants, as Rk’s and AK’s are seen for what they are now that high volume shooting has become more common among professional soldiers in Europe.

        They are also extremely front-heavy, with the same terrible ergo’s. That stupid test run by the SWAT guy in Alaska was exactly not how to treat a weapon in the cold, dousing it with warm water, which is then allowed to freeze in the action after the guns were stripped of lubrication. The Finns certainly don’t do that.

        Properly maintained M4’s run better in extreme cold weather high volume training there in the Arctic. I’ve witnessed it for years and years now. AK’s malf regularly, especially Bulgarian Arsenals and Russian Saiga’s. Guys that know what they are doing have built AK’s that run well for a while, but factory guns are mostly garbage in that environment, especially when you hit 3,000-4,000 rounds.

        You read about it in magazines, while I’ve been doing this for over 20 years in a military capacity. Everything you’ve read and seen on the AK is mostly irrelevant propaganda to validate BS people read in Time Magazine, or from people who have an agenda.

        • Cheeki Breeki

          Wow, you are a grade-AAA jerk and a troll. I just proved that the AK has deep cold reliability, and you’re saying that this somehow doesn’t. Bugger off, joker.

          • LilWolfy

            You linked a SWAT magazine article from 1986 that didn’t include any AK’s in the testing, guns that I have personally used for years now, including in the Arctic with foreign armies that use them. We’re talking about the Valmet Rk62 and Israeli Galil, which the Israeli’s got rid of because they like Colt Commando carbines much better.

            There are two neighbors that use the Rk62 and Galil (copy of Rk62, chambered in 5.56 NATO) in the Baltic region, the Finns and Estonians. You’re in way over your head with this discussion.

          • Cheeki Breeki

            You ARE daft.

            RK and Galil are AK’s internally. The RK62 even takes AK-47/M mags. If I apply your logic, The C8 isn’t an M16 because it isn’t explicitly called one, even though it’s pretty much the same gun in everything but a few cosmetic details.

          • LilWolfy

            This is where actually using these guns comes into play, because you get to look at the internals when you break them down and see what was changed to fix the inherent problems with a peasant-grade design, versus a Finn design. People seem to forget that the Bolsheviks killed all the designers and engineers from the Czarist times.

            For starters, after the Finns determined that the AK would not meet Finnish Army requirements in the 1950’s, they re-designed the core operating system of the AK, starting with the op-rod and piston head in the Rk series to deal with laminar flow much better than the AK does. The Rk gas tube also mounts to the receiver trunnion differently with 2 right angles at the bottom that slide nicely into place, and reflects quality design and manufacture, vs. garbage third world scrap.

            The metallurgy of the barrel steel, tolerances for the chamber and bore, concentricity, gas port, alignment of the gas block, and basically every other aspect of the rifle is totally re-done to make them not only reliable, but extremely accurate. The bolts and carriers are made to exacting standards, with very clean lines, precise lug dimensions, and lock-up that garbashnikovs never have had, and never will. As a result, Rk’s will shoot 1.5 MOA or better, some guns even shooting sub-MOA with Finnish quality brass-cased ammunition.

            The Finns also re-engineered the magazine, spending years on perfecting a polymer design that would hold up in extreme cold, with many failures along the way.

            The receiver cover fit of not only the Rk62, but even the Rk76 is tight, precise, and solid. On every other AK variant other than Galil, it is sloppy, inconsistent, with cheap metal typical of Eurasian manufacturing, not European. The Rk76 is a sheet steel receiver Rk that you will likely never see, and have never heard of until now. The Rk92 and 95 were made in the 1990’s, and most of my friends there have the semi-auto version for Reservists. The FDF upgraded the select-fire version with FN muzzle break/rifle grenade launcher, FN para style stock, and a different billet receiver design. They are beasts of a rifle with excessive weight, difficult optics mounting challenges, and the same problem all AK’s have, but are much more reliable.

            If anyone thinks the differences between AK’s and Rk’s is cosmetic, they simply have been looking at pictures online, versus actually shooting these weapons like I have. All my knowledge gained about these rifles is from first-hand use and experience, to include years of discussions with several of the professional soldiers who were involved with the development of these and other systems. I can elaborate on aspects of the guns that simply don’t exist online, at least not in English.

            The C8 analogy doesn’t work in this case, since the C8’s are Colt Canada licensed guns made to a similar TDP as M4’s. Rk’s are actually made to Western standards, whereas AK’s have no standards. The jokes in Finland about Russian products are quite hilarious as well.

          • Mark77

            You are an idiot. The Galil and Valmet are AK’s that were used in the Alaska State Highway Patrol test. The Iraeili’s on another note have now dropped the AR and are going to a piston fed bullpup called the Tavor- maybe you have heard of it.

          • LilWolfy

            And this is why people with backgrounds like mine don’t post in debates like this very often. Instead of being able to carry on an adult conversation with someone that has way more experience with these weapons than you ever will, you resort to name-calling.

            I guarantee you wouldn’t use that approach in my presence. The Valmet is not an AK. It doesn’t even have that ridiculous receiver trunnion like the AK, where the AK’s ancient rear sight is mounted, in addition to the gas tube. They are quite different guns, especially in quality of manufacture.

            The Alaska Highway Patrol is not some unique authority on military assault rifles. The article from 1986 is an anecdotal stunt involving methodologies that look nothing like a military Arctic test protocol, like the ones where the AR15 still out-performed the M14 when the Army tried to sabotage it without Stoner present in the early 1960’s

            In valid testing regimens, you use fleet samples, not one of each.

            The proof is in the pudding though. Finns and Israelis that have a choice in what they can carry and train with choose M4’s or Cold Commando variants. The Israeli’s have not totally replaced Colt Commando’s in their inventory, and the Tavor is noticeably heavier than an M4.

          • Mark77

            You keep talking about all this experience you have yet certain things don’t add up. Telling us the AK will malfunction and croak at only a few thousand rounds when I personally have run well over a hundred thousand rounds through AK’s over the past two decades. I have two AK’s right now in my safe that have over 20K rounds through each one. Hell nearly all the AK factories have individual rifles that have an excess of a hundred thousand rounds through one rifle. I’ve owned upwards of four dozen AK’s and honestly- I’ve haven’t owned any that didn’t run better than every single AR I’ve ever owned.

            FYI- the Valmet is a Kalashnikov, they just moved the rear sight to the topcover but it still has both front and rear trunnions riveted into a stamped sheet metal receiver. Galil has a milled receiver.

            Now as far as the Alaska State Highway Patrol article goes- if you read the article about how the weapons failed, it talks about how they dowsed them in water, let them freeze, then attempted to fire them. Likely to simulate falling through ice- which is a realistic scenario in Alaska. However even though that article was written in 1986, I still think even today the AR with all it’s advances- would choke if dunked in water then frozen. Hell I think even today, an AR coming out of a warm vehicle in sub zero temps would freeze up.

            Finally I don’t doubt there are still some Israeli’s who like the M4 but the M4 wouldn’t pass the mud and sand tests that their Tavor can pass. While the M4 might be more accurate, a little lighter for patrol duty- the Tavor is a much more robust and reliable action for combat. They wouldn’t have switched to the Tavor had the M4 been as reliable as you claim it is yet the rest of us lowly minions have seen otherwise.

            M

          • LilWolfy

            The Valmet is not a Kalashnikov. It certainly is inspired by the design, but is improved in every way but weight. The Rk62 has a billet steel receiver, as do the Sako Rk92 and Rk95. The Rk76 has a double-thickness sheet steel receiver, and was never adopted by the Finnish Defense Forces. I’ve used all 3 of those rifles over the years. Again, you’re talking about stuff you’ve read about, and I’ve actually used the guns. The Galil is an Rk62 chambered in 5.56 NATO, with an FN FAL paratrooper stock. Finland even sent receiver samples to Israel for the Galil. If you have ever used the two guns, you will immediately see that they are the same in many ways, down to most of the dimensions. I’ve used the Galil AR, Galil SAR, and 7.62 NATO Galil ARM. I’ve also used the South African R4, but not as much as the others.

            Just because you claim to have hundreds of thousands of rounds through civilian AK’s fired on semi-auto in the US, does not erase my experiences with real military AK’s that have malfunctioned regularly.

            The M4 works no different in extreme cold than in warm weather, from my experiences with it in the Arctic covering many years now. The majority of Finns actually prefer M4’s over their own Rk92’s and Rk95’s. I frequently watch both types of guns used in high volume training, and the AK’s have problems to the extent that they become a training distraction.

  • Mark77

    There used to be a video a long time ago on the net with the Russians torturing the hell out of an AK 74. They basically drop it from a three story window onto a parking lot. Some guy picks it up and starts firing. Then he jumps into a vehicle dropping the rifle again- which gets ran over by two trucks and some other dude picks it up- starts firing. I think the stock was broken off if I remember right. It was a mess but it worked.

  • me ohmy

    ergonomics suck..
    noisy safety..
    loose ass tolerances makes it shoot like a shotgun..
    5.45×39 is twice as expensive
    all ammo is steel cased..
    yeah it’s a 22 caliber ak.. but nothing better then a AR maintained well

    • Mark77

      5.45×39 is still selling for 18 cents a round for military surplus. Still the cheapest rifle round on the market. As far as the safety noise- a complete non issue, there is no noise if you keep your hand on the safety while disengaging it which is actually quieter than the AR’s “click” safety. Steel cased ammo runs fine in AK’s because they have a wider extractor for more positive extraction. Finally, you don’t measure a rifle’s performance as a combat arm when it’s maintained, in fact, the measure of a combat arm is how well it performs when it is not maintained and subject to debris or dust. Basically how well does the rifle perform in actual combat. If it’s not dirt or dust tolerant, it isn’t a combat rifle and shouldn’t be fielded as such. Hence the reason why the upper echelons of the military are going to piston weapons.

  • LilWolfy

    That video is an excellent example of the types of half-retarded morons who made the AK, trying to run an AR. He fires it, then goes to hit the forward assist with a feigned look of disgust on his face. Does anyone here think for a second that they were going to let an M16A1 show better reliability than the AKS-74? If the footage had shown this, do you think it would be publicized for Russians to see? Not a snowball’s chance in hell.

    It’s not even funny anymore.

    • Mark77

      They tested the M16 with the EXACT same tests as the AK74 in that video. The M16 basically was falling apart at the end and he was just trying to get it to function to fire some rounds down range. I own several AR’s but they do not hold a candle to the AK in terms of reliability and durability.

      • Brian Mead

        Mark, I like you. If you’re ever in NoVA, I’d be honored to kill a box of ammo and perhaps a six pack with you.

      • LilWolfy

        How do you know what test parameters they used for this propaganda video? One thing you need to know about Russia is that nothing is above ground. Everything is done with some backwards, who-you-know connection with a total disregard and ambivalence to the law. There are no standards, due process, or followed protocols when doing any kind of testing unless someone from the outside comes in and supervises it.

        It’s nothing but a propaganda fluff piece to make the peasants think they have a superior rifle, which is a sad joke among professional circles.

        • Mark77

          Notice the testing facility layout itself. They have a cold chamber, a water test, a dust chamber, and a drop test. That is actually pretty standard for European arms manufacturers- Steyr has a similar set up for weapons testing. They did the same test on both the AK 74 and the M16. I don’t doubt that if you drop an M16 from five feet magazine down onto concrete- that it wouldn’t have issues. Overall durability of the M16 rifle system is not it’s strong feature, accuracy and ergonomics is.

          The AK was designed more for a winter trench warfare post nuclear age and more importantly- a weapon that didn’t need heavy support to keep it functioning. Contrary to what popular BS is spread- the AK was designed to give the fighter the utmost reliable weapon in the harshest field conditions. It was not designed as a throw away weapon for disposable troops because you will notice- it has to be hand fitted together. Unlike the M16 which was designed to be disposable with easily fitted and swapped parts, that relies heavily on a logistical supply chain.

          Finally the interesting thing is look how many times the US has changed primary infantry weapon designs since the invention of the AK47. We’ve phased out the Garand, M14, played around with the AR10 in limited amounts, adopted the M16 which changed several times due to being unreliable, and now it looks even the basic function of direct impingement is on the chopping block. However those lobbyists do a nice job of keeping the military in contract with the M16 variants. Russia is still using an AK variant. They might have modernized it but they still use it. That says something even if they are a second rate world military. Now because they are second rate with less financial resources for their military- they don’t want a basic infantry weapon that requires a logistical supply train to keep it functioning.

          Bottom line. An infantry weapon should just work. Soldiers have enough to worry about as is. I think honestly we’ll see the US military go to a piston M16 type rifle within the next decade.

          M

  • Brian M

    How the hell did you get DPRK Kalashes? Considering that the war was over before the AK had even left Russkij SSR, and NK hasn’t invaded anyone since, this seems more than highly improbable. And let me provide you some quotes from that piece you were so kind as to link:

    “I’ve taken carbine classes before, usually with AR-15s. I know my AR-15 really well, so I decided this time I would go old schooland bring a standard type AKM rifle with iron sights and no modifications. It’s a solid rifle, having proven itself to me through thousands of fired rounds. I built it myself, years ago, from a Romanian parts kit, Nodak Spud receiver, and a mix of quality USA-made parts. It has wood furniture, and a basic SKS sling. I like the SKS sling because its leather attachment points do not scratch the heck out of the gun’s metal and wood. The standard issue AK-47 sling uses metal clips that create big circle-shaped scratches as they swivel around. I used surplus-issue metal magazines painted with day-glow orange at the rear so they would be easier to spot in tall grass or mud, and they couldn’t be confused with mags from other AK shooters. I didn’t need to worry about that! Twelve shooters took the class; I was the only one not carrying an AR-15. Storms rolled through the night before, and as we surveyed the muddy shooting range, someone quipped that I was the smart guy for bringing an un-jammable AK. “Time will tell,” I said. “If your gun has never jammed, you haven’t shot it enough.””

    “These were the first live rounds of the day and I would like to say that there were no issues. The truth is some AR-15s and some shooters began having problems with fewer than 10 rounds fired. ”

    ” The mud stuck to everything like glue, weighing down our boots and smearing red dot optics.”

    “As the day wore on, I was grateful for my old gloves with the fingers cut off. The AK’s safety is a big steel lever that you have to swat from “off” to “on” using either your trigger finger or thumb. Manipulate that safety enough times and it will scrape skin off. The safety scratched my fingers a bit, but never drew blood. Others weren’t as lucky. Sharp plastic corners and picatinny rails left some shooters applying bandages to trigger fingers and knuckles.”

    “My best efforts with the AK were rewarded by good combat accuracy and speed. ”

    “The AR-15s began to experience worse malfunctions. With bolts sticking just out of battery, shooters had to choose between mashing the forward assist and doing a tap-rack-bang drill to get their guns back in action. Opening stuck actions sometimes required mortaring the rifle, whacking the stock on the ground while pulling the charging handle as hard as possible. A buttstock castle nut came loose, and that AR nearly lost a spring and detent as a result.”

    “In all, I had four jams, two with each rifle. Before the final qualification course, I cleaned the chamber of the underfolder and oiled the interior rails, resulting in flawless reliability as I qualified.”

    Even though one AK went down, many AR’s did far worse. The author could have also done way say, bringing a flathead screwdriver and removing the top cover to clear malfunctions like how the AK was designed to be cleared instead of yanking on the handle. He did no seem a very knowledgeable AK user, as he never opened the cover to clear problematic stoppages, he carried mags AR-style… The author admits to building the rifle himself using a Romanian parts kit, so it was not build up to spec quality, and yet it ran very well in harsh conditions apart from a couple hiccups. Had he given the gun a proper clean and lube prior to the course, it likely would have been 100% perfect. And no parts were ruined or messed up, unlike reported on the AR’s.

    Still waiting on quals and data, since you insist on bragging every time you get within arm’s reach of a keyboard.

    • LilWolfy

      I never asked the guys from Division G-2 where they specifically got the DPRK Type 56 copies from, but I figured it was pretty self-explanatory. You do realize that the war never ended, and that North Koreans frequently infiltrate into the South, even as part of their SOF unit training and reconnaissance activities.

      There were at least 6 different incidents of infiltration during my year on the DMZ, to include a sub infil (that failed because of the garbage sub they used), scout swimmers in the Imjin River getting blasted, SOF R&S teams conducting a point target recce of our camp, NORKs and ROK Army patrols duking it out in the DMZ along the MDL…things happen there all the time.

      What’s interesting is how the AK fan boys have to take this to a personal level, rather than simply and calmly explaining the facts. The AK is a joke among professional soldiers for reasons other than reliability as well. Sights, ergo’s, magazines, no bolt hold open, front heavy, optics mounting, etc. etc. etc.

      It’s one of the last assault rifle designs I personally would reach for of all the rifles I have used, down with the Mini-14. Utter trash really, but what would one expect from Russia?

      • Mark77

        I am friends with several professional soldiers, front line troops and even special operations. All of them own AK’s in the civilian world. All of them procured AK’s as back up weapons in the field during deployment. All of them completely would disagree with your findings. So I don’t care what you did, where you did it, how many rounds you fired when everything you write contradicts my personal experience across easily over a hundred thousand rounds down range through AK’s. Nearly half that much or more out of AR’s as well and I do not trust AR’s- at all.

        • Craig Johnson

          I agree with Mark77 110%! I wrote a term paper about this stuff, and i set out to prove that Russian weapons only conquered the globe for being cheaper and easier than breathing. What I found was performance rivaling or exceeding Western arms, superior human engineering in terms of simplicity ease of use, excellent ruggedness and reliability, and all of that was stacked on top of being insanely easy to manufacture in large quantities while not only being highly affordable, but also coming with the backing of the USSR. Honestly, the best military deal in history.

        • LilWolfy

          Ok. So my real-world experiences with a vast array of AK variants does not count, but your civilian range sessions with the AK do, to the tune of over 100k rounds of ammo. We’ve literally burned through more than a tenth of that in mere hours in an afternoon.

          When you are in a position to watch scores of guns across a line of soldiers, or within an infantry unit while on patrol for a month straight, it’s a much wider and deeper picture of reality than a civilian sitting home collecting guns, even for those that have an avid shooting schedule.

          Are your friends perhaps Russians? Because the AK only serves in a familiarity or collector’s role when it comes to a place within Western SF. Keep in mind that many of the Western SOF units could literally carry any assault rifle in the world, yet the ones that have the choice, have been selecting Colt Commando-based carbines since the early 1960’s. Units like the British SAS, SBS, NZ SAS, Aussie SAS, Danes, Norwegians, and every component of US SOF have preferred some version of the Colt Commando.

          I get that you like the AK, but your emotional attachment to it reminds me of the Russians and their inability to accept reality, that their cobbled sheet metal carbine is just that, and no amount of facts or experiences otherwise will ever change their minds. AK’s malfunction regularly in all the high volume shooting I have done with them, some right off the bat (Maadi for example). Others with experience like mine have seen the same thing. You sound like someone who immigrated from Russia or Belarus, was fed this type of propaganda for decades, moved to the West, and then sought out to validate the AK reliability myth with your personal collection.

          Consider that in your stated handful of malf’s, it just might be possible that other people might have had a different experience. Your anecdotal experience does not rule out the collective.

          • Mark77

            I cut my teeth on AK’s over two decades ago and didn’t get into the M16A2 until joining the army for a brief stint. My one buddy was a medic for a spec ops team in Afghanistan for a half dozen tours. He’s still in the service. He kept various AK’s as a back up weapons while on patrol and actually used them in combat- one time in particular he credits the rifle for saving his ass. Another friend was Marine Recon in Iraq until he got injured and sent home but he did four tours. Same type scenario- just kept an AK in the vehicle while on patrol just in case and actually hassled over it on more than one occasion. Both guys are now in their late 30’s, served years in combat, and trust the AK, both own them now as civilians in addition to AR rifles etc. Though it probably didn’t help to have me as a friend to dispel the myriad of bullshit about AK’s especially for longer range accuracy past 300 meters using optics.

            I’ve personally had no problems with them overall- just wish they had better ergonomics out of the box but much of that can be corrected with aftermarket parts anyway. I’ve spent some time behind AK’s, sub zero temps, dirty as hell- they ran like a top. However the key like any rifle is maintenance. Personally I’ve owned Yugoslavians, Romanians, Maadi’s, Norinco’s, Polytech’s, Russian, Bulgarian milled and stamped. Some are nicer than others for sure and some have initial teething issues before being broken in but some I have tens of thousands of rounds through- no problems.

            I’ve have experienced a mere fraction of malfunctions with AK’s as I have had on AR’s so while I own AR’s- they aren’t my go to rifles. They are nice for range toys and outfitting with new accessories- but inside, they have no room for debris, which once compromised, causes issues. The AK is fairly forgiving with much more room for debris. Use whatever you feel comfortable with, to each his own.

            M

          • LilWolfy

            Context is everything in this case. When working from vehicles, enterprising soldiers who have acquired supplementary weapon systems allocate them as truck guns. Anyone riding the turret will have the belt-fed system on the mount, his M4 to his side, and often another weapon on the other side of the turret.

            Guys riding inside of vehicles with side doors, namely soft-skin vehicles, will often have truck guns. In Central Asia and the Middle East, you see a lot of AK’s that have had the stocks cut off or removed by locals for concealability and practicality for their needs. The few AK’s that don’t get blown in a cache demo will often be used as truck guns.

            With an M4 in your lap or in the weapon rack if it will fit can be hard to maneuver inside a vehicle, especially with all the gear loaded in the trucks. A stockless AK or underfolder serves as a last-ditch weapon when riding in the truck, so we’re talking about a very limited role in worst-case scenarios on motorized patrols.

            As far as being used as a primary individual shoulder weapon when dismounted, not going to happen in all but the most rare of cases. Contractors who didn’t have good sources for weapons in the early days of OIF sourced a lot of AK’s locally and from the region, before going to M4’s, but most would still keep truck guns as described, stockless AK or underfolder.

            I had a 1SG who was in Mogadishu before and after 10/3/1993 with 5th Group. He had accumulated all kinds of weapons for this same purpose-truck guns, to include a Thompson .45 ACP SMG, M2 carbine, AK’s, etc. His primary was what he was issued of course, an M16A2. You won’t ever hear me make a case for the Thompson as a more reliable system because it saved his life on one occasion. Anecdotes need to be understood in context.

            When a professional soldier dismounts, he’s going to have an M4A1 SOPMOD Block II or Mk.18 suppressed with as many mags appropriate for the area and situation. He will not be wasting his time trying to lug an AK around. It just isn’t going to happen.

          • Mark77

            I understand. Like my one friend said, while he liked his issued M4, he always had an AK within an arms reach.

            Makes sense, the M4 is unreliable so probably best to have a back up weapon that works.

          • LilWolfy

            If that were the case, we would leave the M4’s in the trucks, and carry the AK’s when dismounting, but nobody does that. It’s the opposite. The stockless AK is basically a throw-away, disposable truck gun in that case. M4 goes out on foot.

            The M4 is an extremely reliable carbine, and has been since introduction, like all the other Colt Commando variants. The units that choose to use it wouldn’t mess with it at all if this were not true. They would source AK mag pouches for their kit, configure AK’s for OTN, and drive on, but nobody does that. The Poles (GROM) tried for a while, then ditched their AK’s for M4’s and haven’t looked back.

          • Mark77

            I think it’s frowned upon to use the AK in combat by US troops but it happens. Like it happened with my friend when is M4 went down- he grabbed the AK and kept on fighting.

          • Gerard

            Lilly, you seem to have a surging hate-on for Russians which you take out on their weapons. Remember, while our American first spaceflight attempts had literally gotten 4 feet off the ground before crashing and burning, Russian scientists of the Soviet Union had already placed Sputnik into orbit. You sound like a 12 year old trying to sound big. Go home.

          • LilWolfy

            The US had two separate programs on West and East Coasts that were far ahead of where Sputnik was, but were prevented from launching for political reasons. The socialists in the media giggled with glee as their Marxist ideology seemed to be confirmed in the space race. The ramifications were that the Soviet system came out looking superior to the West, when this was of course the opposite of reality, much to the chagrin of the German engineers in the US who had their programs muzzled. Within a decade, it was clear which system was far ahead.

            It isn’t hate for Russians. I actually love the Russian people, but they aren’t known for making quality products. To compensate for this, they spend a lot of time on propaganda, which is where the AK’s reputation comes from, not its performance. It’s the best they can do, given the constraints of their resources.

  • Mark77

    You are full of it. AK’s designs were the only rifles to pass the Alaska State Highway Patrol tests in conditions of negative 30 degrees. The weapon was designed for winter war conditions. Finally, as far as long term durability- tell the Yugoslavians that when their rifle failed at 89,000 rounds that wasn’t enough or the Bulgarians when they had one crap out after only 300,000 rounds. And you idiots are proud of some range fed babied Filthy 14 with only what 50K rounds? After they changed out how many parts? Whatever man.

    • LilWolfy

      The Yugos fail all the time with the foreign armies I have seen them in, shooting just low round counts in the hundreds over 2 or 3 days. FTFire and FTfeed are the common malfs I see, and continue to see with both full-sized guns and the AKSUs.

      The only ones I have not seen malf yet are Rk62’s, Rk92’s, and Galil’s, but all of those were being fed Western, Quality brass-cased ammunition.

  • LilWolfy

    Notice them lubricating the AKMS at 0:33?

    Steel rusts. The coatings on most AK’s is sub-standard and does not do well in the elements. Oxidization of parts is not helpful for weapon longevity, no matter how many videos you link in the absence of real world patrolling experience with weapons day and night, week after week, month after month. I have spent a lot of time with AKs in the field from the swamps of JRTC to the Arctic, and the gun needs to be maintained despite what anyone says.

    From a professional soldier standpoint, the AK is not anywhere near ideal. If you want to equip some primitive tribal people who have no concept of technology, then the AK makes a lot of sense from a Warsaw Pact perspective.

    • Mark77

      That AK was buried underground for 18 years, it’s made of steel so yah-it rusted. However, it also ran after dumping oil on it- truthfully, I don’t think the oil was necessary.

      • LilWolfy

        You don’t think it was necessary because you’ve never lived in, worked in, or fought in a field environment. Weapons maintenance is a priority task that almost always comes before eating in a professional army.

        The truth is, we didn’t see what they did to the AKMS before they fired it, but if South African’s were involved, I’m going to bet they cleaned it very well before just firing away with it. The fact that smoking oil is seen coming off the gas tube would support that, as well as the fact that the gun no longer looks ashen.

        • Mark77

          If you watch the video, they dump a quart of oil on it- that’s it. No cleaning, just dumped a quart of oil over the top of it and into the action.

  • LilWolfy

    That’s probably the dumbest, most backwards explanation of the AR15 I have ever seen, even worse than General Scales.

    6 lugs? It has 7
    Poorly balanced? It’s one of the best, if not the best balanced assault rifle in the world
    Forward assist clears jams?
    Basically every paragraph is filled with the opposite of the truth.

    • Geoff

      Care to counter with a writeup of your own? No, you can’t. Of course, for it is easier to shout than it is to explain, and easier to hate than to contribute.

      • LilWolfy

        In a nutshell, the M4 is the carbine to beat when it comes to reliability. I’ve watched literal tons of various assault rifles from around the world get run through high volume training regimens, field and combat conditions, and long-term service lives that aren’t something you can just pick up in one enlistment. It takes a career of watching and observing the performance of different firearms designs to settle into some conclusions.

        One thing for certain is that there are very few rifles that can go through the round count that an M4 can without major problems. Designs with fixed ejectors will often break the ejector off or loose. Springs wear very fast on most foreign-made designs. Inter-operability and compatibility of critical components like magazines is just not there, to include AK’s.

        Being able to take a platoon or company-sized element of soldiers, and get them through even a rudimentary close quarters marksmanship package can be a nightmare for an instructor cadre with most of the rifles in the Middle East and Central Asia, even with superb armorer support from well-seasoned 18B’s. The stuff is literally garbage.

        The biggest reasons are these, in my assessment:

        * Poor designs
        * Poor materials selection
        * Poor machining and craftsmanship
        * No stringent quality control standards
        * Limited maintenance or lubrication of weapons in armies of the region
        * Tolerance stacking
        * The same issues as above WRT ammunition

        With the M4, you have the opposite of each and every bullet point listed above:

        * Excellent design
        * Cradle to grave certs on materials selection
        * Insanely tight controls by .gov on vendors for machining and all operations performed during fabrication
        * Extremely detailed quality control procedures and standards as part of the M4 TDP and PIP
        * Regular maintenance and lubrication
        * No tolerance stacking issues
        * Excellent consistency and function of Lake City ammunition in the guns

        These are just very brutal, hard realities of the world when it comes to small arms.

        • Geoff

          __

          The biggest reasons [for AK problems] are these, in my assessment:

          * Poor designs
          * Poor materials selection
          * Poor machining and craftsmanship
          * No stringent quality control standards
          * Limited maintenance or lubrication of weapons in armies of the region
          * Tolerance stacking
          * The same issues as above WRT ammunition

          With the M4, you have the opposite of each and every bullet point listed above:

          * Excellent design
          * Cradle to grave certs on materials selection
          * Insanely tight controls by .gov on vendors for machining and all operations performed during fabrication
          * Extremely detailed quality control procedures and standards as part of the M4 TDP and PIP
          * Regular maintenance and lubrication
          * No tolerance stacking issues
          * Excellent consistency and function of Lake City ammunition in the guns

          These are just very brutal, hard realities of the world when it comes to small arms.
          __

          Okay, now this I can work with.

          I fail to see how the AK is a poor design. Big, beefy parts with large clearances between them, a massive bolt with an excellent carrier weight ratio, a minimum of superfluous parts, long stroke piston, tight tolerances saved for where they are most needed, a large receiver with plenty of room for debris to get shunted aside, a very simple feed path, extremely positive and intuitive controls, very robust magazines. Concentrating much of the weight of the rifle in between the handguards and the stock in a large, steel receiver gives excellent balance and handling. The only real flaw I can think of is the retaining pin or whatever it is that holds in the various pieces.

          I’m not sure about the material selection as I’m not a metallurgist. The only thing I could see an issue with potentially is the usage of flammable wood on some models. I know that pretty much everyone but the Yugoslavians used chrome on the bore and bolt to ensure resistance to corrosion where it mattered. Nothing that protective coatings and poly furniture, like the ones applied to newer rifles, don’t fix. Wish the dust covers were more convenient, though.

          I can’t be 100% about machining and craftsmanship. Just because something isn’t crafted like a fine Rolex does no make it junk. I’ve held and shot some AK’s which felt more clunky and gritty than the worst of Mosin-Nagants. Some botched WASR’s… ugh! Then I’ve shot some which were genuinely beautiful pieces of functional art. Most have leaned towards the beautiful side of the spectrum. Some particular favorites of mine are: Maadi, Zastava M70A N-Pap (Yugoslavia, why must you insist on not chroming or providing a second sling attachment point?), Polytech Legend, Tantal, and AMD-65. Military factory rifles tend to be universally pretty well built, if not always the prettiest. The butchery that is needed to get around US import laws, however, means that finding a nice AK can be a real pain. I’ve played around with parts interchangeability, passing around bolts, magazines, and recoil springs without any problems. Of course, I’m doing my best to only play around with military surplus, so perhaps aftermarket and commercial parts don’t work so well. Regardless, it seems like provided you keep military, there is no issue, unless you try to put a full-length piston, carrier, or barrel on a carbine or vice versa.

          I’m not privy to quality control details, but from what I know, in order to get the kind of parts interchangeability needed for an army, everything better be made to some pretty particular tolerances. The only quality control issues I’ve found have come from drunk morons butchering rifles to meet import laws. These are the sort of people who actually forgot to put a FRONT SIGHT on a Zastava handgun I ordered.

          The issue with lubrication and maintenance isn’t an issue with the platform, but rather an issue with the users.

          I haven’t been able to find much on tolerance stacking, but given the very generous clearances afforded everywhere possible, it doesn’t look like much of a problem. Now, when I look for AR tolerance stacking problems, I find a lot more. Some of this is the result of factory screwups, but far more seems to come from people trying to play gunsmith and botching all kinds of things, from receiver fit to feed geometry to trigger assemblies to fire control to parts clearances.

          I have no idea what WRT ammunition is and I can’t find anything about it. Just remember that the legend of the unbreakable AK was forged with corrosive steel ammo.

          I think that several parts of AR design are quite frankly moronic. Let’s see, first is just using Direct Impingement. Second is requiring that a buffer tube hang off the back of the weapon. Third is having a lot of fiddly, haphazardly placed controls designed by someone who didn’t care how bamboozled the user might be (I’m looking at you, charging handle and bolt release). Fourth is not building the bolt and its carrier as one assembly. Fifth is making the shooter’s end be made all of plastic and aluminum while the front end gets all the heavy steel, resulting in terrible balance. Sixth is making it so that if one ever must use an unorthodox firing position, then the user is very liable to be pelted in the face with hot metal. Seventh is designing a rifle which couldn’t deal with Failure To Feed malfunctions, had to be taken down to unjam, and today still requires that the user run a multistep diagnostic whenever something goes wrong. I’m not certain how I feel about the BHO. Given how the charging handle doesn’t reciprocate and is on the back of the receiver and the AR was designed to be shot with your eyes in the wrong position to check the port from the firing position, you’re far more likely to notice you’re out of rounds when your gun fails to go bang than anything else, especially in hectic situations. It locks the bolt wide open and positively invites in all kinds of gunk into the very sensitive action.

          You can’t be sure where AR materials come from across the board. The only reason why we even started getting told these things is because it made marketing feel all fuzzy inside.

          As it turns out, AR and AK parts are made to pretty similar tolerances. The difference lies in clearances.

          Quality control is stuff I can’t speak about, From what I remember about milspec for M4’s, it’s respectable (5MoA accuracy requirement), but it’s not exactly top shelf stuff.

          Maintenance and lubrication is all about troop training and discipline and isn’t a relevant point in qualitative platform discussions.

          AR’s, thanks to being built so darn tight, have to worry a lot more about tolerance stacking. A quick look at google confirms this. It shows up absolutely everywhere, especially in build guns.

          I don’t see what Lake City ammo has to do with this. The legend of the jammomatic AR was forged with noncorrosive brass ammo. Though I have heard quite a lot about some AR’s being very picky with their ammunition and magazines. Sounds like stacking tolerances to me.

          I would like to know what your idea of long term use and high volume training are, though, considering how much you throw those words around.

          • LilWolfy

            The AK is a poor design because it attacks itself with every stroke of recoil, and has a fail to fire on every magazine as an indicator that you’re done with that mag. Sights are atrocious, with no mechanical increments for zeroing. That’s bad. Controls are a result of what the shortest route to manufacturing is, with no regard for human interface other than crude protrusions.

            The open design of not only the receiver, but gas system, invites debris early on in a high dust/mud/sand environment. The sooner debris is introduced into any mechanism, the higher the likelihood of malfunction is. It’s an interesting approach to dealing with debris, inviting it in. Doesn’t work in my experience.

            The balance and handling is the worst of all the assault rifles in the world. I can think of no rifle that has so much forward weight, and bang around reciprocating parts as the AK.

            Materials selection is subject to what the various 3rd-world economies and industries can crank out that day/week. There are very lax standards in Russia and Eastern Europe. The Middle East and Central Asia are worse. This is the industrial belt of AK production. People will tell you about all these advanced processes and quality that they implement, but those are just empty words from a largely drunken populace, who make about $200/day in the good economic times.

            A Rolex isn’t the model to use for a combat weapon. A Suunto is if we’re talking watches. The Finns had to re-engineer the AK to make it reliable, hence the Rk62 and variants, but even they are moving away from it.

            The thing is, I don’t mess around with botched imports, as you call them. Almost all of my experience with AK’s is on foreign soil. The few that I have shot in the US were either real military weapons within the arms rooms of certain units in the Army, or pre-89 Maadi’s (failure to feed regularly), and some Romanian garbage that seized a round in the chamber on the first mag I fired (Russian steel case garbage ammo).

            I get to see both military and commercial export AK’s in Europe, and they fail regularly. This has been the common occurrence for me with AK’s, after I was told from childhood what a superb weapon they are. They have proven to be nothing of the sort.

            The legend of the unbreakable AK is exactly that, a legend. I’ve broken several guns within hundreds of rounds, real select-fire AKM’s.

            The generous tolerances (read no real standards) certainly do rear their head when you go to run different magazines through the weapons. I have seen this on more than one occasion.

            Military M4’s and M16’s have been one of the most tightly-controlled and manufactured military rifles in history. The only ones I can think of that have comparable manufacturing standards are certain Swiss and German rifles.

            Civilian build guns don’t “absolutely show tolerance stacking everywhere”. That’s a ridiculous claim. BCG’s from the early 1960’s drop right into an upper made today, which mates with a lower made from 1959 to today. Same with barrels, bolts, FCG parts, etc. And that’s on guns that aren’t even put through the wringer of the Mil-spec TDP, that look like M4’s and AR15’s, but aren’t anything of the sort when you look at the metallurgy of the bolts, barrels, carriers, springs, receivers, etc.

            What I see is that look-alike garbage “AR”-ish rifles malfunction about as regularly as AK’s, especially if you shoot Russian garbage ammo through them. Duplicate the TDP guns, and they just run and run. I’ve literally been watching this happen with M4’s and AK’s side-by-side for decades now.

          • Brian M

            I know you’re trolling now. Next post, give your certifications and a hefty dose of evidence in your favor or I just won’t reply to you anymore. For such a great man it shouldn’t be a problem, right? You have nothing to hide, no?

          • LilWolfy

            This is why guys with my type of background don’t normally post in these fanboy discussions, because emotionally-driven people who have read all the books, seen the movies, and played the games can’t accept a reality they have never experienced.

            If I had remained as a child, watching all the movies, I’d be agreeing with you, talking about how the AK is the gun to choose if you’re going to the moon, never fails, 100% reliable, pure Russian genius, not like Western crap.

            The difference is that I started shooting AK’s a lot, supervising scores of soldiers shooting AK’s, over 2 decades, and continue to do so. The AK is one of the worst performing rifles in my experience. I don’t know what else to tell you. It’s like dealing with newly-converted religious extremists when I point out the faults in their religion. The gun just doesn’t perform well, end of story.

          • Brian M

            Still waiting on something substantial from you to prove anything you’re saying…

          • Geoff

            “The AK is a poor design because it attacks itself with every stroke of recoil, and has a fail to fire on every magazine as an indicator that you’re done with that mag.”

            Do you not understand recoil? Every smallarm has recoil and therefore attacks itself every times it fires. From personal shooting experience as well as referencing instruction and videos of shooting, you’re pretty much always going to get the loudest click as the indication that you need to reload. Why? Because most shooters shoot right eye and right handed; except on open top actions like on the M1 Garand and its derivatives, you won’t be able to see the bolt anyway, whether it’s open or closed. And when presented with an unexpected Failure To Fire, most shooters at first will reflexively pull the trigger again just to be sure that they actually did it. Then if still no bang happens, they check and cycle the action manually. This would be the part where they’d discover that the gun is empty and needs reloading. Of course, if they’re either paying attention to their ammunition usage or they’re using a reliable platform, then it should be small surprise that a click can be counted on to mean time to reload. BHO’s have their uses, but a click instead of a bang is far more noticeable than a slightly different pulse and an open part of the gun you can’t even see.

            “The open design of not only the receiver, but gas system, invites debris early on in a high dust/mud/sand environment.”

            Never seen any “open gas system”. The receiver is hardly what one could all open, but could do with a small fix to deal with the gap left behind after the safety.

            “The generous tolerances (read no real standards) certainly do rear their head when you go to run different magazines through the weapons. I have seen this on more than one occasion.”
            That’s funny, AK parts are made to pretty exacting standards. I don’t think you understand the difference between tolerances and clearances. A tolerance is an acceptable variation is the characteristics of a part. A clearance is a space between parts. AK parts are interchangeable because they are built to a strict set of tolerances. AK clearances, however, are quite generous, as can be heard by the nearly trademark slock-klak when letting the bolt handle fly home, and seeing sand fall out the rifle.

            “The balance and handling is the worst of all the assault rifles in the world. I can think of no rifle that has so much forward weight, and bang around reciprocating parts as the AK.”
            You perchance wouldn’t happen to know about the HK33 or the FNC or the M14 now, would you?

            “A Rolex isn’t the model to use for a combat weapon. A Suunto is if we’re talking watches. The Finns had to re-engineer the AK to make it reliable, hence the Rk62 and variants, but even they are moving away from it.”
            Look up the design of the Rk62 and tell me with a straight face that it isn’t an AK. And you fail to show an understanding of simile. The Finns didn’t do much to reengineer the AK; all they did was bought the rights, made the furniture less flammable by putting on a metal stock and plastic handguards instead of the usual wood. Now, they did also put on a flash suppressor, fully hooded the front sight, and made the rear sight an aperture. As far as I can gather, that’s all they did. They seem to be perfectly happy with fielding their homebrew AK. You’re probably talking about that attempt at Beretta wooing them with the ARX-180 a couple years ago, but that’s dead in the water with no updates since then, and it’s unlikely that it would have passed the adoption trials. The Finns also use a few G36’s for one special border guard unit, and given how the G36 has finally been confirmed a piece of junk, who knows if it’s there to stay, given the brutally high standards the Finns have for their weapons. Their special forces uses a few hundred SCAR rifles, most likely to play along with other SF forces in Afghanistan by having a STANAG gun. However, Finland fields no AR. Finland is rich enough to buy close to any weapon it wants, but it has consistently chosen Russian-in-origin arms for its primary weapons.

            “Almost all of my experience with AK’s is on foreign soil. The few that I have shot in the US were either real military weapons within the arms rooms of certain units in the Army, or pre-89 Maadi’s (failure to feed regularly), and some Romanian garbage that seized a round in the chamber on the first mag I fired (Russian steel case garbage ammo).”

            Okay, from looking up the Maadi, I can say that FTF issues seem to occur in that line at a somewhat higher rate than other Kalashes. I don’t have much more that that. Romanian AK’s were for a while junk due to terrible reassembly, but since 2010 or so, the people at WASR and Century really seem to have done their best to turn that around to great success. I wouldn’t call the Russian ammuntion garbage. While I wouldn’t call it the acme of ammo, both the experiences of myself and many other people strongly refute that steel-cased imported ammunition is garbage.

            “Materials selection is subject to what the various 3rd-world economies and industries can crank out that day/week. There are very lax standards in Russia and Eastern Europe. The Middle East and Central Asia are worse. This is the industrial belt of AK production.”

            Many middle-eastern states import AK’s from Eastern Europe. Not sure what Central Asia is like, although the stans were all members of the USSR proper and they got pretty good shares of the arms industry, so most likely not too bad. While consumer goods in Eastern Europe may not be the best, military industry is a priority, so much of the best available goes to the arms factories. Standards aren’t lax, given how seriously Russians and such seem to take getting their arms designs right. They even changed the manufacturing process of the original AK-47 because a small proportion of them were not as durable as hoped for; they take care of military issues and take care to make sure the product is exactly right.

            “I’ve broken several guns within hundreds of rounds, real select-fire AKM’s.”

            Only hundreds and only several? My guess is that, A: given your claimed alleged decades crossing the world and shooting its AK’s while always having M4’s to compare them with (before they were even invented no less), it is not improbable for you to have come across some duds. B: You were loading up the biggest mags and drums you could find and were going cyclic until they blow up, although that doesn’t sound like something any professional gunman would do, or even could easily do. C: The AK’s that croak are old, abused, ill-maintained, shot out, and in dire need of maintenance.

            “Civilian build guns don’t “absolutely show tolerance stacking everywhere”. That’s a ridiculous claim. BCG’s from the early 1960’s drop right into an upper made today, which mates with a lower made from 1959 to today. Same with barrels, bolts, FCG parts, etc. And that’s on guns that aren’t even put through the wringer of the Mil-spec TDP, that look like M4’s and AR15’s, but aren’t anything of the sort when you look at the metallurgy of the bolts, barrels, carriers, springs, receivers, etc.”
            That’s funny; my research says that parts from different manufacturers don’t mix well.

            “What I see is that look-alike garbage “AR”-ish rifles malfunction about as regularly asAK’s, especially if you shoot Russian garbage ammo through them. Duplicate the TDP guns, and they just run and run. I’ve literally been watching this happen with M4’s and AK’s side-by-side for decades now.”
            What does any of the above paragraph even mean?

            We’re all still curious for three things, though.
            #1: What was your job that let you go around the world and get so much firsthand experience with AK’s?
            #2: What do you mean by high round count or high volume or intensive training?
            #3: Do you have any evidence at all to back yourself up?

            Enough cryptic anecdotes and outlandish claims. You’re getting dogpiled and losing spectacularly. Look, you’ve been getting chance after chance to vindicate yourself pretty easily, and yet you keep turning it down, and now that you’re staring down the barrel of facts and having to put your money where your mouth is, you’ve gone to ranting about kids and fanboys. C’mon, 2 out of 3, surely you can do that just in case of you not being able to disclose your work or whatever.

            Come on, we’re all waiting.

          • LilWolfy

            Pull an AK’s low-grade steel, substandard, slav-asian rubbish gas block off. Take a look at the massive gaping hole in the barrel. That’s the gas “port”. They’re all over the map in dimensions, and were cut at an angle on 7.62×39 guns. That’s why the guns are gassed so hard. Guns that are gassed that hard don’t normally last long, if we’re talking longevity of the system and critical parts. When you see a gas port that big, you know someone was trying to overcome fundamental flaws to the system.

            Disassembling an AK in detail is like analyzing the peasant mind trying to make a self-loading weapon, after all the real engineers were executed out back….because that’s what literally happened in Soviet Russia. As the proletariat inherited this awful state in the wake of a brain drain, they needed symbols to show for all their efforts. That symbol became the AK.

            From a shooter’s perspective, the idea that it is difficult to know when a weapon with a bolt hold open device runs dry is somehow difficult just doesn’t reflect my experience. It’s easy to see the ejection port of the AR15 with a very slight tilt of the weapon.
            Loudest click? Instructional videos? I’m starting to see your experience base. It doesn’t reflect reality. You get a click with the AK and other designs that never escaped the 1920’s, but not any US self-loading rifles. Dealing with mag changes on the M4/AR15 is much quicker and intuitive than garbahsnikovs.

            You’ve never seen an open gas system? Put an AK in your hands. Look at how much room there is inside the gas tube between the piston and the gas tube. Now you see why they went with a meteor-sized crater for the gas port. Bad design.

            AK parts are not made to exacting standards. Nothing in Russia or Central Asia or the Middle East is made to exacting standards. They simply aren’t capable of it. Ever see a Lada automobile?

            HK33 is well-balanced compared to an AK. Not as good as an M4, but actually one of the few HK’s that I like. The rate of fire is also such that you can do controlled pairs on auto. It’s a much better rifle than the G3, in that it is of manageable size and recoil, and the 40rd mag actually works. Still doesn’t have bolt hold open, but a better rifle than the AK in leaps and bounds.

            The FNC has an operating system based off of the AK, which was a mistake. It isn’t well balanced, but it better balanced than an AK. No bolt hold open, so really a disappointing backwards design. After the Swedes got their hands on it, and several years of fixes, it became a functioning weapon.

            Rk 62 is a complete re-design. See my other post. It’s obviously AK-inspired, but a totally different gun when looking at the manufacturing standards and attention to detail. There are significant internal differences in the gas system. Tolerances are very tight. Finland chose to use rifles that would take Russian mags and ammo (at the time), because they want logistics compatibility with the nation whose weapons they will retrieve from their dead soldiers, like last time. It’s that simple.

            Russians don’t get their arms designs right, they fail regularly and try to fix inherent design flaws with really stupid approaches that don’t work out well. The one small arm that seems to have escaped this is the PKM. It looks like a monkey humping a football bat under the feed tray cover, but the gun does work well somehow. It’s one of the few designs they have that is truly admirable, aside from non-disintegrating links and no forearm.

            The Maadi was built with Russian supplies, Russian engineers looking over the shoulders of the Egyptians, with Russian TDP, and Russian tooling. What else is there to expect but garbage?

            Yes, I have broken AK’s within a few hundred rounds of fire, not even going cyclic with them. They don’t hold together well when you have cases of ammo and time to train with them the way professional soldiers do. Plinking with them for Russian qualification, occasional blank fire, and a few bursts into a Chechen’s home don’t count compared to a decent range session. The Russians spend more time doing martial arts than shooting. They are harder on AK’s with circus tricks than they are with shooting.

            M4A1 and M4 have been around since the early 1990’s. E 51st LRS got them in 1994-1995. 75th got them in 1994. We had M16A1’s, M16A2’s, and Colt Commando carbines before that. I was first issued an M4 in late 1997 at Fort Lewis. I didn’t notice any change in reliability, even though there have been dozens of PIP upgrades to the program along the way. The guns just always worked for me, and continue to work.

            What was my job? I spent a career on active duty, to include deployments all over the world with CJSOTF’s, Ranger Task Forces, and Joint Rapid Deployment units that included the unusual encounters with a lot of AK’s. My first Recon Platoon had the option to use any of the dozens of captured AK’s (from Gulf War 1990-1991 I was told) when performing duties as opposing forces for units at the Joint Readiness Training Center in Fort Polk, LA. We mostly chose to use M16A1’s instead because AK’s were heavier, couldn’t carry anywhere near as much 7.62×39 as we could 5.56 (yes, they had blanks & adaptors for them), and they didn’t handle well.

            In Korea, I had direct exposure to the DPRK Type 56 copies (Chinese helped them as best they could to produce a Type 56-they were absolute garbage). Even the NORK SOF units used Chinese copy M16’s on a lot of their infils into the South. I’ve seen them after one was killed and his kit bag recovered when they pulled him out of the Imjin River. One other pair had AKSU’s or something similar to them when conducting point target recce of our camp on the DMZ.

            I’ve done range sessions with multiple AKM’s and AKS-74’s where we shot thousands upon thousands of rounds just to be able to get the same allocation of COMBLOC ammo for the next fiscal year. We broke all the Romanian AKM’s in 4 hours, and the guns were almost new, well-maintained by actual professionals, in a unit within SOCOM that normally keeps a lot of foreign weapons in inventory.

            You’ll start to see that I know things that you can’t know from playing video games and doing internet “research”. I definitely have come across some duds (every AK). Keep in mind that I went into this believing as you do, that AK’s were some kind of reliability gold standard. Each range session dropped the bar some, until there was no longer a bottom, unless we throw in the Mini-14 I guess.

            “AR-ish” rifles are the ones on the civilian market that are made from garbage parts. Not as bad as AK’s, but often bad enough to see them start malfunctioning within 200rds or less. We see this in the training side with open enrollment courses. The people that haven’t gotten the memo about TDP guns still show up with sub-par guns that will choke, especially since they are paired with Russian steel-cased ammo much of the time.

            I don’t need to vindicate myself. I know what I’m talking about, and it isn’t based on things I haven’t done, only things I have done spanning decades now. Pull the AK kool-aid cup away and maybe just consider that it isn’t all it’s hyped up to be.

  • Mark77

    I would say the person who understands AK’s more than anyone on Earth is Ted Marshall. The man is a military veteran. Served for years as a US Marshal in the State of Arizona and later became the best AK builder in the United States. He even shook Kalashnikov’s hand and pretty much was the head figure that drove the entire interest in the hardcore collector community for three decades. In addition, he is one of two Americans to have helped co-create the only US born AK variant that was produced by an actual former com block manufacturer- the Arsenal 106 series and subsequent 107 series. Today he heads up Radom Arsenal’s venture into the US market, something he has been working on for over a decade.

    Now if a man who has served in military roles, civilian law enforcement roles, has garnered such an interest in Kalashnikov weapons not just as collectible pieces but also as fighting weapons for modern forces- then I am not one to disagree.

    Having only seen first hand the ultimate reliability across well over a hundred AK’s and tens upon tens of thousands of rounds down range- I agree with Ted. I’m an AK guy, I could care less about the AR and only own them just to count the failures at standard range sessions so I can shake my head and further deepen my beliefs in the superior yet simple, Kalashnikov rifle.

    M

  • Mark77

    Hey Lilywolfy I’ll be more than happy to trade my mil spec AR’s for your mil spec AK’s. Consider it a prisoner exchange.

  • Cheeki Breeki

    Mark, I found that Alaskan Highway Patrol report you were talking about.

    __________
    SWAT Magazine April 1986

    EXTREME COLD WEATHER TESTING

    Treacherous Weather, Dangerous Killers And Lonely Roads Dictate That Alaska State Troopers Be Equipped With The Finest Cold Weather Rifles Available

    By Jeffery Hall

    Nationwide, law enforcement agencies are encountering criminals armed with sophisticated weapons. Assault rifles, shotguns, quality handguns, and automatic weapons are common. The traditional service revolver and pump shotgun are often outclassed in a firefight.

    This situation is especially hazardous to the state trooper or highway patrol officer. These officers work lonely stretches of roadway, far from back-up and support facilities. A rifle can make all the differences, as encounters often take place at ranges beyond the effective range of shotguns or revolvers. This was dramatically shown in the Norco, California, bank robbery.

    Several state police agencies have adopted a service rifle to be carried in the patrol car to augment the shotgun and revolver. Oklahoma, Kentucky, Mississippi, Kansas, Idaho and others have selected and adopted a service rifle for general issue. In some cases, this program started after a specific incident in which officers were injured or killed due to a lack of effective firepower.

    In February of 1984, I was authorized by the Alaska State Troopers to conduct an evaluation of existing rifles for consideration as a service rifle. Due to the climate of Alaska, certain specific requirements had to be met.

    We began by listing the basic requirements we felt necessary. These were:

    1. 100% reliability after prolonged cold exposure
    2. Night sights, if available
    3. Large trigger guard for use with gloved hands
    4. Folding stock
    5. .223 or .308 calibers
    6. Detachable box magazine, 20 to 30 round capacity
    7. Must have a flash suppressor and sling mounts
    8. Require minimum maintenance

    The major firearms importers and manufacturers were contacted and asked to submit a sample weapon for testing. A clear understanding was reached with each supplier that the weapons would probably be damaged during testing.

    Upon receipt, each weapon was inspected and field stripped. Each received a thorough cleaning to remove all oil and grease. The weapons were not lubricated at all following the cleaning.

    All of the test samples were taken to the range by our special weapons team marksman. He fired each for familiarity, using different firing positions and ranges. We were not concerned with match accuracy, only with a consistent shot group in the four-inch range. All were fired using the same lot of military ball ammo, and the same lots of Federal FMJ ammunition in .223 and .308, respectively.

    All of the rifles fired, showed acceptable accuracy, with none being exceptional. The HK-91 showed the tightest groups, averaging about two inches. Approximately 200 rounds were fired through each rifle, and they were not cleaned after shooting.

    We then loaded guns and gear into a four-wheel drive vehicle and drove 400 miles north of Fairbanks to Coldfoot, Alaska: The average daily high temperature was -20° F, with lows at night in the -40° F range. These were good working temperatures and would be consistent with much of the state during the winter months.

    The first test consisted of leaving the weapons outside for several hours, then bringing them into a warm room for thirty minutes. This allows moisture to condense on the weapons, which then freezes when they are put back outside. This often occurs when a firearm is brought into a warm room then put back into a cold car trunk. This warming/ cooling cycle was repeated six times with each weapon. No malfunctions resulted, with all of the rifles being capable of fire.

    Next, one pint of warm water was poured into the bolt and trigger group of each weapon. It was then allowed to stand outside in -20° F weather for three hours. After three additional hours inside we experienced a 60% failure to function in the weapons. Either the hammer would not fall at all, or the hammer fall was too weak to detonate the round. The only weapons that experienced no malfunction were the two Galils, the Valmet and the FNC.

    All of the weapons were then brought into a heated room (+70° F) and warmed for thirty minutes. After heating, all of the rifles functioned properly. Unfortunately, heated shelter may not be available when needed.

    Finally, all of the weapons were cleaned of ice and lubricated heavily with Break-free. The lubricant was sprayed into the bolts and trigger groups and the weapons were cold soaked for fourteen hours at -40° F. The test showed the true colors of the weapons involved, for all but four failed to function after this test. Again, only the Galils, the Valmet, and the FNC were able to function and fire. The other weapons showed bolts frozen shut, selectors and safeties frozen, and hammers that would not fall. All of the rifles but the Galils, Valmet, and FNC were then eliminated for consideration. These, not surprisingly, share a Kalashnikov ancestry. The weapons performed as follows:

    7.62 Galil No Malfunction

    5.56 Galil No Malfunction

    HK-91 A round was chambered and would not fire. Round was manually extracted, another was chambered which did fire. The weapon cycled and the third round would not fire. Manually operated, fourth round would not fire. Charging handle broke off.

    HK-93 Fire rounds manually cycled, none fired.

    HK-93A3 Same as above.

    Valmet No Malfunction.

    Ruger Mini-14 Five rounds manually cycled, none fired, hammer frozen, safety frozen.

    M1-A Bolt would not draw far enough to the rear to chamber a round. Unable to fire.

    Colt M-16 Forward assist had to be used to close the bolt. Selector frozen, could not be moved. Five rounds cycled manually, none fired.

    Colt AR-15 Magazine release frozen, selector frozen.

    FN-FAL Five rounds manually cycled, none fired.

    FN-FNC Five rounds fired with no malfunctions. Last casing stovepiped in ejection port. Gas regulator moved to “adverse conditions” setting and five rounds fired with no malfunctions.

    We later spoke with a factory representative of one of the companies involved, who was very disturbed at our results. He called his engineering department, who assured him that if the weapon was cleaned, then lightly lubricated with a synthetic lubricant, it would function properly. The entire purpose of the evaluation was to see if any of the weapons could stand up to the neglect and direct abuse we gave it. If all had failed, we would have felt that our test was unrealistic. The fact that four of the weapons performed 100% of the time shows that some are suited and some are unsuited to a cold climate. In addition, police officers are notorious for neglecting their equipment, even though their lives depend on it.

    There were many other features considered in deciding which weapon we preferred. Weight, balance, trigger pull, sights, ease of operation, cost, availability of options, ease of maintenance, etc. were all considered.

    The clear winner and our first choice was the Galil .223. It was 100% reliable, accurate, and easy to shoot. It has the best night sights available and an excellent folding stock. It has a reciprocating bolt handle, which can be drawn to the rear then pushed forward to lock a round in the chamber. This is a very desirable feature when the weapon is frozen or very dirty. The bolt and safety can be manipulated with either hand. It is very easy to field strip, without tools, and parts are easily replaced.

    The Galil and its accessories are expensive, but not out of reach. If you are with a police department or an individual that works in a cold climate, it is the best weapon you can get.

    For information on the Galil, contact: Douglas Evans, Magnum Research, 2825 Anthony Lane S., Minneapolis, MN 55418.

    NOTE: The Alaska State Troopers have not yet adopted a service rifle, due to budgetary limitations and other factors. This article expresses the opinions of the author. The Department of Public Safety does not endorse any product.

    The author: Jeffrey Hall is a veteran of the 173rd Airborne and 75th Infantry (Ranger). An Alaska State Trooper for seven years, he has been a member of the Department’s Special Weapons Team for four years, and is presently assistant team leader. He holds a black belt in karate and is two time state IPSC Pistol Champion.

    Troy L. Duncan, Alaska State Trooper, was the co-author of this project. A former Marine captain, Duncan had spent two years testing and evaluating cold weather equipment for the U.S.M.C. Trooper Duncan was a member of the Department’s Special Weapons Team and was killed in action while arresting a multiple homicide Suspect.
    __________

    The only guns to make it through were all AK derivatives.

    • Mark77

      Someone needs to redo this entire test in 2015 using a modern M4, a piston M4, an AUG, a Tavor, an Arsenal 106FR, an AR10 type, and a SCAR.

      I’m thinking the results will be the same for the DI AR’s as they were back then.

      M

  • Guido FL

    Since I have a selection of both rifle types this experience has be a eye opener. The AR is a very dirty operating rifle that is time consuming to clean, ammo is more expensive. The AK is a breeze to clean and shoot the safety, mag release are large and easier to use. AK ammo is cheaper and the AK47.30 cal. round is deadly out to 200 yds.. The AK74 is my fav for going out shooting, less recoil like the AR. All my rifles are equipped with red dots which helps the AK’s over come their basic sighting issue thus improving accuracy.

  • Mark77

    This isn’t even really a discussion. The AK is the clear winner.

  • Mark77

    All the ergnomics and fast handling capabilities mean nothing when the rifle doesn’t run.

  • Cheeki Breeki

    Well put, Mark. Lilly, best come clean now; you’re in too deep. The last thing you want is for military fake hunters to come looking for you. That would be ugly.

  • Cheeki Breeki

    Thread link, please?