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Friday, August 20, 2010

Urban Survival Firearms - Reader Question on SKS received the following reader question: …… "Anonymous said…..…What’s your opinion on an SKS rifle for a survival weapon? Two of my friends in our loose knit survival group are pushing me to buy an AR type rifle, but I feel comfortable with my SKS."

UrbanMan replies: The SKS (Samozaryadniy Karabin Simonova) is a great little carbine, firing the Russian M43 round, more commonly known as the 7.62x39mm. It was put into service in the Russian Army on or about 1945 then quickly phased out of front line service with the fielding of the AK-47 (Automat Kalashnikov Model of 1947) which fired the same cartridge, although out of a 30 round magazine rather than a 10 round semi fixed box magazine like the SKS. But, of course you already know this. As well as know how durable and reliable this rifle is.

The 7.62x39mm is a much better stopper than the 5.56x45mm (.223 Remington) given the small bullet type. The M-4 is more accurate than the SKS (or the AK series rifles), but there is not reason you shouldn't be able to hit static man sized targets routinely at 300 yards with the SKS.

The standard military load for the 7.62x39mm is a 122 grain FMJ bullet with a muzzle velocity about 2,400 fps. Ammunition is easily available and fairly cheap too. I routinely see 1,000 round cases of Wolf brand, non-corrosive ammunition for around $200.

The SKS is kinda slow to load, compared to removable box magazines like the AK-47 or the M-4/M-16, but there are modification kits and detachable magazines available. They are kind of unwieldy due to the floor plate type extension on the front lip of the magazine, but none the less are quicker to reload and give the shooter 300 rounds between reloads. I wish I never let my SKS go, of those gun trades you wish you had back, but I have commercial versions of the AKM now.

Being part of a Urban Survival Group equipped basically the same is a great goal but needs to be carefully thought out. I would not advise any of the people in my Survival Group to “upgrade” to an M-4 for sake of uniformity and ammunition compatibility if they haven’t squared themselves away with other necessary Survival Equipment, Gear and Material, such as food as basic gear. I would think that some people are missing the boat to exclude otherwise excellent assets from joining their Survival Group because of the single reason of not having the same gun. Hopefully your group is not this way. If they were, they it may be fortunate that if you can’t join them, as their decision making skills are probably a little bent. What's next? Wanting everyone to wear a yellow ascot?

The bottom line is that everyone needs a rifle.....magazine fed even better and in a decent caliber. I prefer the M-4. That is main Survival Gun and most, if not all, people in my Urban Survival Group own at least one, but I would not feel in-adequately equipped with an SKS and the skill to use it.


  1. Today I have many rifles. When I first started out prepping I had only my Marlin 1894C and my Ruger security six, (2) magnum weapons one round. I was in Alaska and never felt under armed. I still grab that rifle when I'm just out riding the back roads in my truck. If anyone see's it, they Don't get alarmed. I say carry what ya got and upgrade if and when you want to.

  2. I have four sks's ,four 22's rifles, four 12 gages, three 308's plus a 38 hand gun for each for family to have when they come if the shtf. I love the sks because it is cheap and accurate. Youngest son has all the new stuff.