Mythbusting: Is the AK *REALLY* inaccurate compared to an AR15?

After seeing another blog claim that the AK47 shot 10 MOA (or 10″ groups at 100 yards), James became fed up with the BS and decided to test the prevalent belief that the AK is an inaccurate combat rifle. In this episode of TFBTV, James compares an American made AR15 to a Russian and Serbian/Yugoslavian AK to answer this question (and perhaps bust this myth?) once and for all.

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Transcript …

– So, you got cat people, you got dog people.

You got Chevy guys, you got Ford guys, and you have AK guys and you have AR guys.

And I just don’t get it.

Can’t we just all get along? It’s James again for TFB TV and I’m here to say that I love the AR platform and I love the AK platform.

I’ve got several of both.

I think they’re both great guns in their own right and I guess, what I’m trying to tell you is, I’m not biased.

I’m not biased.

I don’t prefer one over the other.

I think they’re both fantastic, and I’ve got one of my favorites.

This is a Saiga SGL-21, a Russian AK.

I’ve also got a Serbian or Yugoslavian OPAP.

And the reason I’ve got both of these guns actually here today is I wanted to do a little myth busting.

I, at least, wanted to see if there’s any truth to the widely, widely held belief that an AK is an inaccurate gun.

So, check it out.

You look at Google, AK-47 accuracy.

First result, the AK’s not the most accurate weapon when compared to other assault rifles such as the M4.

AKs are not accurate.

AK’s accuracy is considered good enough.

Accuracy at 100 meters, six inches, six MOA.

I even saw a really slick-looking infograph on another gun blog last week, where it said, I think, the AK was 10 MOA.

Now, that may or may not be the case, but I just refuse to believe it.

So, I wanted to bring these two AKs out here today.

I wanted to bring some nice quality brass 7.62×39 ammo, but all I had was some shitty Wolf steel garbage.

So, I’m gonna run that through it but because I’m using garbage ammo, what I also did, is I brought out a 16-inch, PSA, Palmetto State Armory, AR with a stainless steel barrel.

16-inch stainless steel barrel and one-in-eight twist, and I also brought shitty steel Wolf ammunition to shoot through it.

So, we can kinda compare apples to apples, at least to the extent you can do that with the AR and the AK.

So, in any case, I’ve got a 3-9x optic.

I’m gonna use the same optic on all the guns.

I’m gonna use roughly the same brand of ammunition.

I’m gonna use that on all the guns today.

Let’s see what kind of accuracy we get.

Alright guys, we’re gonna kick it off with what many people consider to be the gold standard for combat rifle accuracy, and that is the AR-15.

It’s just standard DI AR-15.

It’s got a stainless steel 1/8 inch twist barrel and I’m shooting 62 grain Wolf.

Let’s see how it does with this shitty Wolf ammo as compared to what the AKs will do.

(gun shot) (gun shot) (gun shot) (gun shot) (gun shot) Alright, let’s have a look at this target.

Alright guys, now we got the Yugo M70 on deck.

Let’s see how it does, shooting Wolf steel, a 100 meters.

(gun shot) (groans) God, bugs’ are (bleep) biting me and I cannot get enough eye relief on this optic.

(groans) (gun shot) (gun shot) (gun shot) (gun shot) God.

Alright.

That was awful.

Let’s see how this Yugo did.

Alright, now we’re gonna switch it up to the Saiga SGL-21, the Russian AK.

And let’s see how it stacks up, not only against the AR, but against its Serbian slash Yugoslavian cousin.

(gun shot) (gun shot) (gun shot) (gun shot) (gun shot) So, I think many of you are going to be as surprised by the results as I was.

I shot a series for the past hour, hour and a half.

I shot a series of five-round groups of Wolf, of 124 grain out of the AKs, and 62 grain out of the AR, and I gotta tell you, the AR was consistently more accurate in that it was easier to shoot two-inch, sub two-inch groups repetitively.

I think my worst group with the AR and Wolf ammo was two and three quarters of an inch.

Now, on the other hand, the AKs, they kept up with AR at a 100 meters, shooting five-round groups.

The best group that I shot with the AR was one and three quarters of an inch.

The best five-round group I shot with the AK was one and three quarters on an inch with the SGL-21, that’s the Russian gun, that I’m holding here.

But the Yugoslavian was no slouch either because I think the worst group was three or three and a half inches.

But I also managed to put down a few two, two and a half inch groups with the Yugo.

So, I mean, I guess to conclude this episode, what I would say is that these informal results today, I mean, five-round group shooting Wolf from a 100 meters, I don’t want to draw too broad of a conclusion, but what I will say is, I think that’s pretty much proof-positive that these guns are not as inaccurate as widely believed.

I think that’s now a myth.

The point is I’m not sure where the AK got its reputation for poor accuracy.

I’m sure you commenters are gonna have just as many theories as I do about the origin of that reputation for inaccuracy.

But I think that this result today matches my experience with modern AK-47s and that’s that they’re not really that much less accurate than an AR.

Now, speaking pragmatically, the sights on the AK aren’t as good as the AR.

You’re more likely to get a bad AK, I would think, than a bad modern AR.

The AR’s much more forgiving, much less recoil.

So, maybe when it’s in somebody’s hands, when it’s in a shooters hands, yeah, they’re probably going to do better with the AR versus the AK.

Anyways, I’m surprised by the results.

I’m sure you guys are too.

But when you step back and really think about it, is it that surprising, with modern production AK-47s from reputable companies? That, I’m gonna conclude that this myth is busted, you know, if I can put five shots, within two inches with a gun with crap ammo.

I’m not gonna say it’s inaccurate.

I may not say it’s accurate.

But I’m not gonna say it’s inaccurate, and certainly, the modern production AK-47s like this Saiga SGL-21, or even that Century, that Yugo I was shooting, that M70, even it shot very well.

And, well, never say that an AK is going to be inherently more accurate than an AR.

Certainly, these modern production AKs are keeping up with the ARs.

If you’re interested in the gear that I’m using, like I said earlier, this is a Saiga SGL-21.

This is an Arsenal SM-13 side rail mount and I’m using a cheap Bushnell banner, I think it was a $90, 3-9x optic.

This one’s got the Magpul Zhukov stock, US palm pistol grip, Bulgarian circle tin magazines.

This one’s also got the Automag gas tube cover but that wasn’t really used today.

This AK is the Yugoslavian, it’s a Century arms OPAP.

It’s got nothing on it, other than Magpul MOE grip and the Magpul Zhukov stock.

Other than that, it’s stock out of the box.

It does have a tap code G2 trigger which, to me, is one of the best upgrades I think you can get for an AK.

It’s inexpensive and it really enhances the performance.

It’s a great trigger by any measure.

Finally, the AR I used today is a Palmetto State Armory upper using a 16-inch, 1/8 twist stainless steel barrel.

It’s got a Rock River lower, with the Rock River, the two-stage tournament trigger in here.

So, it had a really nice trigger.

It’s got the Magpul MOE pistol grip, and then the Rogers Ultralight Super-Stoc.

Anyways guys, thanks for watching.

I’m gonna put my flame suit on for the comments.

I’m telling you, I am not biased in any way.

I love ARs, I love AKs.

I do think the AK gets a bad rep, but I wasn’t out to prove anything today.

I really just wanted to see for myself and to show you guys too.

So, anyways, I hope you liked it.

Thanks for watching and I’ll see you guys next week.



James Reeves

James Reeves is a licensed and practicing concealed weapons instructor, the winner of Maxim Magazine’s MAXIMum Warrior, a graduate of Front Sight, the Shooter Performance Institute, and Tier 1 Group, and is an Appleseed-qualified Rifleman. James previously owned and operated a gun shop in Tallahassee, FL and worked as a regional sales representative for distributor/importer, Interstate Arms Company. He is a coverage litigation attorney by day. James likes traveling with his wife, boating, America, photography, guns, gear he doesn’t really need, cold beer, and a little exercise here and there (James is also GORUCK Tough). Above all, James enjoys creating content for TFBTV. Follow James on Twitter @jjreeves.


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  • SirOliverHumperdink

    this video is private

    • Scott Tuttle

      I suspect the ar-15 lobby has hushed this news up.

      • KestrelBike

        there already was a silencer on it though

  • Ty Judd

    Well thanks for showing the truth with a side by side of the 2 rifles. The AK got its rap as a inaccurate weapon because the North Korean Military when the Korean War started didn’t train nor did the Vietanemise on Marksmanship. That and Colt used those Conflicts as a bias to support the continued sell of the M-16/M-4 Platforms and to regain Government contracts. Purposely skewing results to favor their weapon. I’ve had both and frankly I’ve got the same results you have in your video, same or close to same grouping with each rifle. Accuracy isn’t the issue in the end it is comfort and dependability.

    • micmac80

      Yes 50.000+ rounds per KIA by US soldier Viernam is marksmanship

      • Pistolero

        That number includes training ammo.

        • Bill

          Ok, thats what, 500 rounds, maybe a thousand?

          Frankly, marksmanship as a individual martial art died somewhere in the trenches of WW1, with the advent of suppressive fire and area denial from machine guns.

    • 68Whiskey

      Oh, right; I completely forgot about the extensive utilization of the AK platform during the Korean War.

      /derp

      Prior to the M16 (which was adopted after Korea, I guess I have to point out), the last large scale rifle contract Colt had with the US Government was during the Civil War IIRC.

    • HB

      AKs were simply not used during Korean war.

    • Don Ward

      AK-47s in the Korean War? LOL WAT?

    • Kivaari

      Well, not much of what you wrote has any link to reality.

  • iksnilol

    Is something wrong James? I mean, your shirt isn’t tight.

    What happened??

    EDIT: nevermind, only the white shirt was loose. Phew.

    • ostiariusalpha

      Thank God that somebody is paying attention to what really matters in these videos.

      • James R.

        ^Came here to say this. AR versus AK is old news, wake me up when Hickok45 does a video in a smedium American Apparel deep V.

        • Billy Jack

          I got 1 MOA nipple placement with the American Apparel v-neck in xtramedium. I was impressed. It doubles as a chest tourniquet.

          • James R.

            lolol chest tourniquet

          • Cmex

            XD! I win; I’m wearing a telnyashka.

        • BrandonAKsALot

          This conversation is my favorite conversation. This is coming from someone wearing from the Mossimo athletic fit V neck though. I’m not sure if I’m asking for trouble with that.

          • Billy Jack

            It’s ok. We wouldn’t want you to bleed out or anything.

  • ClintTorres

    Cool, 2-3MOA from cheapest/crappiest ammo available is quite good for either platform through rack-grade rifles (although the AR has a SS barrel which is probably better than GI spec).

    Prior to the widespread use of CNC, only bolt actions with match ammo could be expected to hold anything around 1 MOA.

    Would love to see a Part II of this article done with match ammo. Just to take remove poor ammo quality out of the equation. Is there such a thing as factory match 7.62×39?

    • ClintTorres

      I can remember back in the 80’s when the reputation of the AR wasn’t so hot. It was referred to as a “Tyco Toy” or “Poodle Shooter”…mainly propagated by .30 cal riflemen. At this point, the AR was nothing more than GI-spec.

      Then some folks started shooting ARs in National Match competitions against the M-14/M1As and started winning. I believe they started out with free-floating match-grade barrels, upgrading the triggers and using 69gr. Sierras. They were the first to realize the accuracy potential of the platform. Their efforts spawned a cottage industry in match-grade AR parts that just exploded into what we have today. We have researched the crap out of the AR platform to wring every last bit of accuracy available out of every part. The ARs you see today look nothing like the 20” A2 HBAR I bought in ’91.

      The AK has never enjoyed this type of competition-inspired R&D. People bought AKs because they were cheap to buy and feed. Only until recently have we started to see a lot of after-market AK parts and they still are not focused on AK accuracy/precision.

    • Dracon1201

      Factory Lapua 7.62×39 is very accurate.

      • Kivaari

        30 years ago, in Finn issue, the 1000 rounds I had did not shoot as well as reloads using those cases. I had to use 5.5mm Norma Berdan primers, but the .308 dia. 125 gr. SP Sierra bullets were better. The Lapua military bullets had a heavy crimp that was less desirable than a lightly crimped Sierra bullet.

        • Dracon1201

          I suspect they’ve fixed that since 30 years. New production is lauded as some of the best in the world.

    • Cmex

      2-3 MoA is also about as accurately as you’ll get most people to be able to shoot unless you give them a scope. Wolf ammo is frankly not too bad; it makes a bang just about every time, flies fast, and doesn’t stick in the chamber.

  • JSmath

    I think the take away is that the myths come from exaggerating the generalizations. You’re more likely to get an AK that’s not as accurate as most ARs. Simple as that. No nevers/always statements to be made for anything.

    I personally also dislike the extra $50-100 buy-in for the side mount to get into dots/optics with the AK.

    • ClintTorres

      Seriously. How many people do not want some sort of optic on their rifle these days?

    • SirOliverHumperdink

      I just got a really nice aluminum side mount from fleabay for a whopping $14.75.
      item # 141700827664

    • Kivaari

      I must be nuts, I buy $200 mounts and $100 rings. Don’t skimp on optics mounts.

      • JSmath

        That’s not what I said, though. Didn’t say skimp on mounts, nor do I.

        With an AR, you’d be done. For the AK, you need to add $50-100 on top of that. It’s just an extra, stupid expenditure that really doesn’t need to exist, besides KC playing the “Stay the course, we’re not wrong, guys, I swear.” drum.

        • BabyWookie

          What does KC have to do with anything? All their latest models have integrated Picatinny rails. However, receiver side rail is what made perfect sense at the time they were introduced.

          • iksnilol

            It still makes sense. Provides repeatable zero and QD.

            People pay extra for QD optics mounts.

  • Steve Truffer

    US soldiers run across abused AK’s, vs new-er M16’s, at least halfway trained professional soldiers familiar with their rifle vs guerrilla (lack of) training/ soldiers shooting an unfamiliar rifle. Who wins?
    On the civil side, I cannot count the number of rags that “compared” a $1000/+ match AR vs a then $350 AK. The AR recieved glass and match/handloads/decent brass. The AK got cheap surplus or wolf, no optic, or a crap dustcover mount. Who wins?
    The gun more often produced domestically, and a symbol of American might? Or the “weapon of the enemy”?
    No bias in any scenario there. None at all.

    • M

      I would also request to get both guns hot. Cold bore tests are not representative of it’s intended use.

    • Nicks87

      That being said, why not test a beat up, cheap AR15 vs. a high-end AK (Rifle dynamics, Arsenal, etc.) and see how the accuracy compares. I wouldn’t be surprised if the AR still shot slightly better groups.

  • John Yossarian

    Both are rotating-bolt designs, which are known for accuracy. As long as the bolt fits well and the chamber and barrel are correctly cut, I can’t see how one would be more inherently accurate than the other.

    • Kivaari

      AKMs of Soviet pattern have flexing receivers. ARs are stiffer. MOST American self-loaders use rotating bolts. The FAL, SKS and CZ cold war era rifles used tilting bolts.

  • kyphe

    Some of the things I have heard over time, the inline action of the AR is often said to give better accuracy but I feel it is more useful on faster follow up shots or controlling full auto or burst fire. A poorly built stamped gun will flex like hell under firing where as milled receivers tend to be stronger even when not done to the best tolerances, But a properly built stamped receiver is just as good as milled. One thing that has nothing to do with the gun is the ammo, I believe the better ballistic coefficient of the 5.56 gives less bullet drop and greater accuracy at extended ranges, 100m is no where far enough to demonstrate this.

  • micmac80

    SS AR15 barrel is most likely better than chromelined hamer forged

  • I’d like to see the same test also done with the premium Hornady V-MAX load for the 7.62×39 vs its equivalent in 5.56.

  • 1911Junkie

    I think much better comparison would be a decent National Match-quality AR build (e.g. Criterion, Rock River, Fulton Armory, etc), match quality ammo vs the best AK build one can ever imagine (sorry, I’m not an expert in AK variants, so I’m not sure what can match the NM rifle accuracy). Throw in the M1A and accurized Garand, just for kicks, those that routinely shoot <1MOA at 600 yards at Camp Perry.
    I'm sure an average AK can shoot as good as an average AR, or maybe even better, but the ultimate test would be to max out all the potential from each design.

    • ClintTorres

      There’s the rub. One can only imagine a match-quality AK because you NEVER see them for sale because nobody makes them. It’s got nothing to do with the AK. It’s just the market…nobody shoots AKs in competitions where rifle accuracy/precision is paramount.

      • JSmath

        Oh, many people do try. And then they fail, and then they get an AR.

    • m-cameron

      why?….the AR…and the AK were designed as fighting rifles…..not tack drivers…..they need to hit a man 300 yds away…….not shoot a match head at 1000 yds.

      thats like saying, “which is faster, my ford E series van, or my Chevy Express cargo van?”

      and then when they both go the same speed, coming back and saying “oh, well you need to go ahead and do a motor swap, and put on some sticky tires, and put in a roll cage,and then race them again!”

      • 1911Junkie

        I see your point, but the question was about inherent *accuracy* of AR vs AK design. That is, how much accuracy potential is in each design, up to the point where it cannot be improved any further by swapping and fitting parts parts and using hand loaded ammo.
        Back to your example, there is such thing as production/stock car racing. These cars are not exactly toyotas and audis sold at your local dealership, but there is a certain list of modifications that are allowed. Similarly, there are Service Rifle and Service Pistol National Matches, certain modifications are allowed, which make them much more accurate than an average GI M-4.
        Now, I’m wondering, if there’s any way to get the same level of accuracy out of an AK design, with either 7.62×39 or 5.45×39 (or maybe even any other caliber available).

    • Kivaari

      Except where do you find NM grade AKs? Comparable off the shelf rifles would be a better comparison. Which shoots better, a National Match AR or a regular AR? Where is there a fair comparison in that race?

      • JSmath

        VEPR is probably as close to match grade as it gets here.

        Saigas are often known and touted as the best general medium-grade AK. Comparing them to a generic parts AR isn’t a direct comparison. And I think that’s the real trick to the current situation – There’s a lot of really good ARs on the market for $500-700 dollars such as probably the one used in the comparo, but a lot of the AKs at that price range will tend to bite the hand that feeds.

  • TexianPatriot

    I own a PAP 92 pistol. I added a shockwave brace, muzzle brake l, and some furniture. It’s a 10.5″ barrel. I can nail 500 ml normal size water bottles at 200 yard all day with what ever the cheapest steel cased ammo is I happened to pull out of one of the many full ammo cans of 7.62×39 that I have. The ak is not inaccurate, some may be, more likely though that it is the shooter.

    • Cmex

      Um,. vids please? I’m an AK lover, but I’d be surprised is anyone could pull THAT off without a scoped rifle.

      • TexianPatriot

        I will have to go through all my video files, may actually have it. My cousin was filming.
        But it’s not that hard of a shot, people have made longer shots with un scoped handguns. Which is even harder considering it is a pistol round and not a rifle round.

  • Will

    Take out he human error and put both rifles in a Ransom Rest type vise. Then shoot the same brand ammo in each one.
    Remove any wobble factor with the vise and then publish the results.
    IMHO I would still opt for the AK over the AR if I had to chose one for personal and resource protection.
    I just think it’s easier to maintain and much more reliable.

    • UnrepentantLib

      My thinking as well. If you want to determine the inherent accuracy of the weapon you need to remove the human element as much as possible.

      • politicsbyothermeans

        I think this is actually where the myth started. Due primarily to the intended user, their associated tactics and generally low level of basic rifle marksmanship skills the rifle itself developed a reputation for inaccuracy when, in fact, it’s tough to hit much of anything when you mag dump over a wall or around a corner without actually aiming.

        • raz-0

          I think people turn this into some stupid conceptual battle. It’s pretty simple really. The mil-spec for the AR and the AR ammo means you get a gun that should shoot between 1.5 MOA and 3 MOA. That’s the spec, and it’s complicated enough that you don’t make them unless you have machinery that can make them, and that alone insures that the worst sample is only so bad.

          The AK, if I’m to believe the people I discussed it with, is supposed to be a 2-4MOA package. However, by design, you can throw a much wider variety of manufacturing facilities at the damn thing, and lots of places did with varying success. So what you wind up seeing generally is something that is 1.5-6 MOA.

          • politicsbyothermeans

            Agreed, StrongBad.

            Basically I am saying that the accuracy of a given firearm is a secondary issue if a bunch of conscripts with hardly any training are the operators and then you add some genuinely stupid tactics and whatever firearms they are using is going to get a bad reputation. If Comrad Yegeni Stonerovsky and Michael Timothy Kalish were born on opposite sides I am willing to bet the rifles for which they generally receive invention credit would trade places in terms of anecdotal accuracy. We’d have modern day videos of Daesh squirting 30 rounds out of an M4 over the top of a berm.

          • Bwahaha

            “Comrad Yegeni Stonerovsky and Michael Timothy Kalish…”
            I shat mi pantalones. gracias senor. Loooll

          • Nicks87

            1.5 MOA out of a mass produced AK? I’ll believe it when I see it.

          • Trey

            Given the sights issued on the 2 rifles the AK even if it is as inherently accurate i.e. from a fixed mechanical rest would be less accurate in USE due to sight radius alone the the fact that most people can shoot a lot better with Aperture over Iron and that the Aperture is fully adjustable while the AK is only half so..

          • Cmex

            The AK sight radius is the same as the AR sight radius. In a way, it’s arguable longer, because your eye forms the third part of the aiming device.

    • Bill

      The nut behind the butt is always the unknown variable in accuracy comparisons.

      • BrandonAKsALot

        Its the unknown variable in the, “who’s the father”, too.

      • Cmex

        “Nut behind the butt” Nice — I’m gonna use that. 🙂

    • marine6680

      I was thinking this… with some changes and added details.

      The rest is important, eliminate human factors.

      If possible, two or three of each rifle to help eliminate the odd better than average rifle.

      The rifles need to be as close to military issue as you can make it. So a basic Colt for the AR. And yes FN makes military m4s now, but I have found their CHF barrels to be well above average, so that may bias the test. I’m not sure what a good military like AK would be, as I am less familiar with the different ones.

      Next, I would not the same ammo for all the rifles. The rifles will be fed milspec ammo typical for the type.

      So 193 or 855 for the AR, and whatever the milspec ammo is for the AK.

      Each rifle needs to fire at least one 20rd group, maybe two.

      The groups for each rifle will be looked at as a composite of more than one 20rd group is fired per rifle, and the groups from each type of rifle combined into a composite group.

      This data should offer an excellent example of an individual rifle’s capabilities, and a good average for the rifle type, as fielded by respective militaries, in respect to mechanical accuracy. If desired, you could do the test again with quality ammo, and see how that turns out.

      Next I would want the rifles to be fired at 100yds and possibly 200yds by 5-10 average to hood shooters, using the issued ammo types, and without the aid of optics.

      Composites of this data will give a good indication of the rifle’s practical accuracy in the hands of a user.

      That should put the subject to rest… but probably not.

      • Kivaari

        Use a fixed action (single shot test action) with standard issue barrels screwed in. Chinese issue AK ammo was the finest military ammo I ever shot over a chronograph. Most consistent than US GI issue in ’06. 7.62 or 5.56..

        • marine6680

          I think that removes too many variables and violates the spirit of the idea.

          Good test of barrel capability though.

    • AYIDAYI

      Why? In a battle who will use those rifles? Ransom rest vises?

      • buzzman1

        Vises will remove the human error factor in how accurate the gun can be.

        • UnrepentantLib

          The accuracy of these weapons is really a multiple part question. The first is determining how inherently accurate the weapon, minus human factors, is. Then there’s determining the practical accuracy (I guess that’s what you’d call it). Whether the design features of the weapon aid or hinder a user in shooting accurately.

          • buzzman1

            I agree with all of your points. The old production AK47s didnt have chromed barrels and they shot out fast. AKs sold in the US have chromed barrels improving their long term accuracy. Lots of other issues of the guns deign affect inherent accuracy of the weapon.

            Practical accuracy is a good enough term to use. You noticed he didnt use factory AK furniture. The ergonomics of the original design are very basic and that will effect how well you can shoot it. People mostly tend to shoot better with ARs because it doesnt kick the crap out of you every time you fire it. People tend to start flinching as they pull the trigger.

            The XM-25 is a prime example. The original research design 23 yrs ago did not have a recoil buffering system on it and the army did testing to see how much recoil a soldier could take before he started to flinch. They took some nice over and under shotguns and removed the bottom barrel, the wooden fore grip, trigger guard and stock recoil pad. They also milled out the receiver housing to reduce the weight of the shotgun as much as safely possible. They added a small camera on the end of the barrel to video flinching. The shotgun was loaded with duplex 3 in magnum turkey loads and we had to fire a minimum of 5 rounds. I lasted 6 and only one guy fired 10. It was one of only 3 firearms I’ve ever fired that truly hurt me. The results were so bad they almost canceled the project.

      • ARCNA442

        How often do you see 3-9x scopes on AR’s or AK’s on the battlefield? Or either firing the same brand of ammunition? The test in the article already introduces a bunch of artificialities in order to compare the rifles fairly.

    • James R.

      That’d be a cool test, but it’s beyond the scope of this particular topic. What I was basically driving at was “can an AK be as accurate as an AR”, and the answer was ‘yes’. In other words, a vise isn’t going to make the AK *less* accurate than it was in this test (and it was pretty damned accurate). And even if I shot the AK exceptionally on this particular day but did a terrible job with the AR, which is unlikely, at best the AR might be able to put up one inch groups, but considering this was Wolf ammo, I think that’s impossible. Even so, if I managed to squeeze out 1 MOA with the AR *with a vise* and 1.75 MOA with the AK *without a vise*, it certainly busts the myth that the AK is an inaccurate POS and/or is a 10MOA gun and/or is substantially less accurate than an AR.

      • Trey

        was the 10 moa test useing Issue Iron sights or an advanced optic ?

        As a ISSUE weapon accuracy should be tested as ISSUED true ?

        Range toys are fun, but not representative of the firearm in the field by and large.

        • James R.

          That’s the point – who knows? Because there has been so much misinformation, there is a widely held belief that the AK can’t shoot, period. That’s the point of this video, to show that it can shoot. And where does the “battlefield” data come from? Is someone out there counting holes on chests for grouping? The whole premise is ridiculous.

  • guest

    The entire argument is stupid and flawed.

    1) Both AR and AK were designed to be ASSAULT RIFLES. By the very definition these guns were NOT designed to be bench-rest rifles. They were designed to hit a man-sized target at close to medium range. Who the hell asks for precision from that specific, base-variant model of the gun is probably same person who asks for personal service at McDolands or some s*** like that.
    2) You want a super-accurate gun? Great. Don’t pick the AK, or at least a completely stock AK. Though even so, chances are not every civilian needs a super-accurate gun to begin with, and even if there is some real sporting, hunting, self-defence need the gun has to be FIT FOR PURPOSE. Not liking a gun because you buy one based of your confused feelings instead of an actual pragmatic view and goal in mind that the gun has to be so light, so accurate, have such features etc is stupid.
    3) The notion that a gun should win/fail any test must be based on desired expectations. Accuracy alone is pointless, unless the gun is actually designed for accuracy first and foremost, and unless accuracy is the single most important factor… which 9 times out of 10 fails, and is instead replaced by shooters incompetency which is hard to admit for most but which is in some way even more important than the gun.

    • Bill

      And there’s mechanical accuracy and practical accuracy – I don’t WANT a match grade fighting weapon – as long as it will shoot into minute-of-moron, that’s all I need, besides 99.99999999% reliability.

    • Kivaari

      Neither rifle nor round were designed to a lesser standard. Do real ammunition testing and you will see the rounds perform quite well. A test fixture, bolted down action and barrel, would show you that at 100m, these rounds will deliver half-minute-of-angle. An AR is easier to shoot well due to better sights. Put good sights on an AK and a good triggers in both and they will deliver similar results. Almost now modern rifles use open sights, like the AK family. Sights have always been a weakness in Soviet pattern rifles. Almost every AK I owned (25 of them) or shot was not zeroed. Only the Yugo AKs imported by Mitchell Arms 30 years ago, were close to being zeroed.

  • Dracon1201

    Well, when you fight shoeless men who can’t aim with rifles hammered together in caves and ammo of dubious quality for a number of years, people make assumptions. Properly built AKs are every bit as good as any modern AR. Shoot whatever you like.

  • Ed

    Easy to say AKs have crappy sights and two 7.62mm is lass accurate of a round than 5.56mm. 5.45mm AKs are just as accurate and less recoil than a AR.

    • andrey kireev

      One modern round caliber isn’t inherently inaccurate to another modern round caliber (depending on purpose of the round). It’s all of the variations between different manufacturers and components used in ammunition and the firearm they are fired from (variety of factors there too).

    • Kivaari

      No.

  • ClintTorres

    …learn something new every day

  • marine6680

    I posted the below as a reply to another comment, but it may get seen more as a stand alone comment.

    A more definitive test would be…

    A mechanical rest is important, to eliminate human factors.

    If possible, two or three of each rifle to help eliminate the odd better than average rifle.

    The rifles need to be as close to military issue as you can make it. So a basic Colt for the AR. And yes FN makes military m4s now, but I have found their CHF barrels to be well above average, so that may bias the test. I’m not sure what a good military like AK would be, as I am less familiar with the different ones.

    Next, I would not use the same ammo for all the rifles. The rifles will be fed milspec ammo typical for the type.

    So 193 or 855 for the AR, and whatever the milspec ammo is for the AK.

    Each rifle needs to fire at least one 20rd group, maybe two.

    The groups for each rifle will be looked at as a composite if more than one 20rd group is fired per rifle, and the groups from each type of rifle combined into a composite group.

    This data should offer an excellent example of an individual rifle’s capabilities, and a good average for the rifle type, as fielded by respective militaries, in respect to mechanical accuracy. If desired, you could do the test again with high quality ammo, and see how that turns out.

    Next I would want the rifles to be fired at 100yds and possibly 200yds by 5-10 average to good shooters, using the issued ammo types, and without the aid of optics.

    Composites of this data will give a good indication of the rifle’s practical accuracy in the hands of a user.

    That should put the subject to rest… but probably not.

    • ClintTorres

      Yeah, saying AKs are less accurate than ARs is like saying Fords are slower than Chevys. Way too general to have any meaning.

      • marine6680

        Yeah, it needs to quantified in a set manner and tested accordingly.

        I would define the statement as meaning, in use as issued.

        That at least gives you a baseline to start with, than theoretical accuracy possible with each platform, or the capability of high end examples.

      • Cmex

        Da. And some of the comparisons — a cruddy old WASR with a shot out, rusted bore that’s never been cleaned after corrosive ammo and using some off-brand factory seconds ammo versus someone’s hand-built Daniel Defense with Lapua match ammo is like claiming, that Chevy builds faster cars than Ford, because the Camaro is quicker than an F150.

  • Kivaari

    It has always been the sights, and that most people never knew how to adjust them.

    • iksnilol

      I remember reading about a sniper who killed several US troops. They thought it was a pro with a Dragunov or something. In the end when they got him it was one ex-military Chechen who… *gasp… knew how to zero an AKM.

  • Treyh007

    Apples and oranges here…… This debate may never be resolved but I still like hearing what people think about it!

  • Matt Wilder

    I say no optics should be allowed in the test, period. Neither carbine (and they are carbines, even in their full barrel lengthened versions, though we like to classify 16″ and under barrels for the AR as the only true carbine variants now) was originally designed for the purpose of mounting an optic in regular use. This is only something seen courtesy of the ops community in the last couple decades, which then trickled down to regular troops, hobbyist shooters, and then mall ninjas respectively. Shoot open sight, and THEN you can get a good idea of shooter accuracy between platforms. It wouldn’t change a bench rest test though, and in that case, a well sighted in scope should be used to insure accuracy when bench mounting and setting it up. However, let’s face it; nobody ever sets up and hard mounts their rifle to their bench to shoot normally, be it for fun, or profession. That’s fine for testing accuracy of rounds versus one another, however, much more comes into play concerning accuracy when using a rifle, including ergonomics, shooting position those ergonomics influence, weight, how the shape and design of the rifle affects steady hold, etc etc etc.

    Now, concerning the AR vs. AK.. I like them both, and would take either over a pointy stick any day of the week. But if I want dead on accuracy, I’d grab my 1917 Remington 30-06 over either one of them, or even an older Remington 700 in .308 or .243. See my point? ARs and AKs just aren’t meant as accuracy prioritized weapons, and if you can hit a man at 300 meters and under with them, it’s simply good enough. Right tool, for the right job, and that’s what these tools were designed for.

    • Tritro29

      Machine testing both rifles takes away pretty much all your undesirable variables. Laser aiming and test clamps like they do in most Big name firearm manufacturers. In Herstal they got a very goofy looking machine for tests. But I’m not sure what for. Results that would be pretty much useless for the actual purpose of the military variants of these rifles. And then you have the difference in ammunition design and capability ‘accuracy wise’.

      • iksnilol

        I think it is to check mechanical accuracy.

        IE to prove that if errors are experienced it is due to the user. I like knowing the mechanical accuracy of rifle+ammo, that way I know if I shoot worse than the gun is capable I know it is on me.

        • Tritro29

          Which will relate very loosely to combat situations. I understand very well the purpose of those benchmarks, however that’s pure marketing. Case in point with the recent X95 mishaps.

  • clampdown

    AKOU 47/74 got 1.5 moa out of a newish WASR with a 4x Primary Arms optic. I’d like to get an assault-pattern carbine soon, and honestly, it’s hard for me to decide between an M&P Sport II or a new WASR, which seem by all accounts to be great AKs. I’ll probably go AK just to share a caliber with my SKS.

    I love the USGI sight picture myself and have Tech Sights on my SKS, but I am thinking of going back to stock. The short radius and notch/post arrangement work very well for quick sight n fire, IMO. Not so good if you are 200 yards out and need a precise hit, bt I have a feeling thats the job for the squad guy with an SVD anyway. Of course, if zeroed well (which takes all of 10 minutes to do), the AK/SKS sight picture is designed to completely cover a man sized target at 300 meters and deliver a hit. If you’ve got more than one target coming from that distance, it’s a lot easier to lay down effective fire quickly than lining up the peep/post for the precise center mass shot, IMO. Not saying the sights are “better”, but they more than serve the function of the rifle.

  • The_Champ

    Good video. It shows something I think we all sort of knew instinctively(stupid internet myths aside); the AK has perfectly acceptable practical accuracy, and maybe even better than that.

    As an aside I couldn’t help but notice on some of your AK shooting in the video that the barrel seemed to be resting on the sand bag. I’m no accuracy expert, but isn’t that a big no no? Might account for some of your bigger groups.

  • ClintTorres

    Way too informal to draw any conclusion other than “these particular rifles shot about the same with the cheapest ammo I could find or had on hand”.

  • forrest1985

    Whilst we have “fan boys” no manner of test will ever resolve these disputes. Personally i prefer the design/feel and looks of AK platforms, but agree the ergonomics of an AR are generally much better (never been a fan of the AK selector). That said imo AK/AR> all other similar designs/platforms. However, i’d take anything over a bullpup!

  • GhostTrain81

    At this point, they’re both more accurate than the civie X-95 running off the shelf ammo… oh snap! zing!

  • vwVwwVwv

    just take away your optics and you will know asap.

  • William Nelson

    Funny thing is that I noticed you using engineering units of measurement more than anything else!

    My opinion: user experience & familiarization with the platform plays much more in putting rounds on target at the end of the day.

    Thanks for the vids as always.

  • nick

    well, I guess for me, I liked the comparison, and really, any of those groups, for either rifle,are more than fine for what the rifles are intended for. General issue combat use.
    if you can move a 2 inch group around a fig. 11 target, at 100m, then they work fine.
    if you want a precision target rifle, I’d build something else….but then again, I wouldn’t take my precision stuff into a combat environment .
    I’m always for using the right tool for the job. Jobs are specific at times…..

  • Pete Sheppard

    Mil-spec is 3MOA, for M16/ARs as well. The AR pattern is easier to tinker and tune.

  • Tritro29

    Anyone still beating this dead horse? No the AK isn’t a magazine fed mortar (we do have one of those, just not the AK), and yes it’s plenty accurate given both calibre and industrial process.

  • buzzman1

    Nice to see he is using new AK47s built for the civilian market with, I believe, US made barrels. A better comparison would be if he used a production AK made for the Eastern Block militaries. I shot quite a few AK many years ago while serving in the US Army and while I hade no problems with reliability accuracy was not so good. But like the guy said if you like AK that’s ok and if you like ARs that’s OK too.

  • ClintTorres

    If someone were to force you to go all William Tell on your own flesh and blood, which rack-grade rifle would you choose?

    I’m going AR for the sights alone (assuming irons only).

  • FarmerB

    Of course, we only saw a sample of the shooting, but I think you’d see the AK do better if you had something proper to rest it on besides the (very long) magazine. James never looked comfortable behind those AK’s so a bad result from the AK wouldn’t have surprised me (no, I’m not a fan of either).

  • iksnilol

    I began googling about ARs after reading your post.

    I found somebody that built an AR that weighs less than 1.5 kg… and it cost only like 1000 USD. I know “stout recoil” and all that, but you could add an adjustable gas block for 100-200 grams more and enjoy something really handy.

    • ClintTorres

      One of my favorite ARs is my 7.5″ AR pistol. I used to think that the buffer tube on a pistol made it a no-go for me but, allegedly, one can use it like a mini stock as I’m sure you’re aware. It’s not perfect but it works.

      Gun is LOUD but has no problem hitting 10in. ringers at 100yds. Just fun. Definitely not a tack driver but a hoot none the less.

      • iksnilol

        Oh no, the AR I found isn’t a pistol. It’s a legit rifle that weighs 1.5 kg.

  • MonoChango

    As a nerd engineer, if you are going to compare accuracy then you should really use them thar maths to compare the commie vs the toy gun. It looks like you took some good data: Find the approximate center of the group and measure each bullets radial distance from that center. Then you can simply compare the two guns standard deviation {just put all the measurements into excel and use the std() command} If you want to do it better, you measure each bullet placement with a grid and find the exact placement of each shot and calculate the geometric center. This can be done if you print a grid on a transparency. (if you can find something like that any more) Quickly just lay the transparency down on the target and take a picture of it with your phone. You can do the measurements later.

  • BrandonAKsALot

    Is it really any surprise that the AK and AR are comparable in most respects still? The AK-74 can easily keep up with an AR-15. You have more rugged controls and mags with the AK vs faster controls and reloads with the AR.

  • Sam Luckey

    Why didn’t you test against 5.45 WP 5.56 to get a true accuracy test out of the both? Or why not all 3 calibers in both platforms?

  • Jim

    The AK-47 wasn’t designed to be accurate. It was designed to be effective. It is not a target rifle, it is a battle rifle. Since the Vietnam War, several thousand dead and wounded American troops can attest to it’s effectiveness.