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Showing posts with label magazine fed rifles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label magazine fed rifles. Show all posts

Thursday, June 27, 2013

AK-47 versus the AR-15 as a SHTF Gun

The Blaze posted an article from Tactical Gear which was a comparison on the AK-47 and the AR-15, with the tag line "Which is the better rifle?"

The article gave statistics concerning recognizability, numbers in production, countries (military forces) in use, and share of the global firearms market which of course are all immaterial to the survival prepper.

This article did compare such fairly important topics such as: Maximum Effective Range; Caliber; Muzzle Energy; Standard Length; Rounds per Minute (rate of fire); and, Accuracy. What are these factors and how important are they?

Maximum Effective Range

The maximum effective range (MER) is supposedly the range in which a a trained shooter can effectively engage a man sized target, and for testing is usually the full size Army "E" type shiloutte. The AK-47's MER is 400 yards versus the AR-15's (or M-4) MER of 600 yards. MER is, in this case, largely an affect of accuracy and in this case the sights on the rifle, from which the AR series rifles have greatly superior sights.

Caliber, Muzzle Energy and Stopping Power

The AK-47 fires the 7.62x39mm cartridge also called the M43 Russian, while the AR-15 fires the 5.56x45mm or the .223 Remington cartridge. Or basically, the AK-47 with a bullet of 122 grains at 2,400 feet per second versus the AR-15 shooting a 55 to 62 grain bullet (among other weights) at 2,900 feet per second.

Which would you rather shoot a bad guy with if your life depended upon it? The AK-47, handsdown, as more stopping power as it produces more muzzle energy and is more likely to leave all it's energy in the target than over penetrate the target and taking some of that energy with it.

Standard Length

The standard length measurement is basically nonsense since both platforms can be configured with folding or collapsible stocks to reduce the length. However, argueably, a fixed stock allows for a better stock/cheek weld for longer range accurate shots. It the rifle has a collapsaible or fixed stock, then it has moving parts and generally a higher failure rate than non-moving parts. No sweat on either. Select the configuration for your requirements. If you travel extnsively and figure that you may be shooting from vehicle then a shorter overall length may be a good idea. Rounds per Minute (rate of fire)

The Tactical Gear comparison listsa the AK-47 at 600 rounds per minute versus 700-950 for the AR-15. This is based on selective fire and really a non-starter as far as consideration for a SHTF gun as most people own semi-automatic only versions and would have to be facing the chinese-mongol hoards to burn a barrel out.


The Tactical Gear article listed the AK-47 as having 10 Minute of Angle (MOA) accuracy.  That equates to 10 inch groups at 100 yards - this gun is more capable than that.  They list the AR-15 as 7 MOA which is 7 inches at 100 yards - again this gun is more capable than that, both cases, if the shooter is. 

Sights and training greatly affect accuracy of any given rifle.  As well as different bullet weights, bullet designs and loads which are available for most rifle calibers.  The AK-47 does not have a long list of different bullet weights and loads like the .223 Remington, however individual long guns will "like" certain brands and loads better than others.  Given these facts, most rifles possess sufficient accuracy for the average prepper.  I have no problem whatsoever with the accuracy of AK-47's out to 400 yards.  Past 400 yards, one would wonder if you really need to take that shot.  Certainly when faced with the giant horde of vicious mobs hell bent on your destruction and taking what you own, the earlier you begin reducing those numbers the better off you will be in most cases.  The trick is to start fights only when you absolutely need to and have a good chance of winning.

So the bottom line,......while the AR-15 is inherantly more accurate than the AK-47, the AK-47 has sufficient accuracy to serve as a primary SHTF long gun.        

Ease of Controls and Trainability

I think the ease of use and training someone to be proficient should be considered in the selection of a SHTF long gun.  The AR-15, hands down, is easier to change magazines and manipulate the selector lever, safe to semi.  The AK-47 selector is a thumb buster and requires right handed shooters to take their strong hand grip off the pistol grip to push the selector up to safe or down for semi-automatic.   

Other Neglected Comparisons

Weight of ammunition and magazines.  While there is at least one company, Palm, making polymer, P mag type lightweight magazines  for the AK-47, the greatest amount of AK-47 on the market are steel and therefore heavy. Adding the greater weight of 30 rounds of 7.62x39mm versus .223 Remington, a basic load for the AK-47 will be heavier for the Prepper armed with an AK-47.

The AR-15 and all the vendors making after market accesories offers a wide range of products to customize the AR-15 or variant to the needs of the prepper.  And certainly shooters have a propensity to modify the AR-15 to an extreme degree.  What is telling if one ever gets the chance to attend a tactical carbine course, is that the gun and it's configuration, modifications and bells and whistles on day one after much different than the last day of training.  In the tactical carbine courses that I have taught, I have never failed to see shooters stripping their guns of the weight of accessories as the training went on, ending up with probably what they ought to carry on the gun in the first place. 

The bottom line is that any serious prepper, should have a magazine fed rifle be it the AK series, AR variant, M1A, HK-91 or 53, Galil, etc.  I thinks the coming times will demand it.