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A reader writes:

[Should I b]uy an[..] AR or an AK? If an AK, any suggestions?

Man, you just opened a can of worms. And I’ve got a crowbar to open it even further. Let’s get this thing rolling.

There’s a popular table out there from that I’d like to use to start the conversation. There’s another column about the Mosin Nagant, but that’s another story for another day.

Stuff you know if you have an AK Stuff you know if you have an AR
It works though you have never cleaned it. Ever. You have $9 per ounce special non-detergent synthetic Teflon infused oil for cleaning.
You are able to hit the broad side of a barn from inside. You are able to hit the broad side of a barn from 600 meters.
You can put a .30″ hole through 12″ of oak, if you can hit it. You can put one hole in a paper target at 100 meters with 30 rounds.
You can intimidate your foe with the bayonet mounted. You foes laugh when you mount your bayonet.
Your rifle can be used by any two bit nation’s most illiterate conscripts to fight elite forces worldwide. Your rifle is used by elite forces worldwide to fight two bit nations’ most illiterate conscripts.

The AR-15 and the AK-47 (I know there are variants, we’re using the generic name here) were born out of two very different societies with very different cultures, and had two very different design goals. They fill a similar role, but these differences mean that each weapon has its own strengths and weaknesses and may be better or worse suited to the task in mind. C. J. Chiver’s book The Gun does a fantastic job of going into those differences in great detail, but I’ll give a quick synopsis.

The AK-47 was designed by a post-WWII Soviet Union. They had just suffered through over a half a decade of warfare where the use of poorly trained conscripts in large numbers proved to be a winning tactic. Guns like the Mosin Nagant and PPS-43, which were simple to use and maintain and could be readily mass produced on basic equipment, provided that capability. Even the most uneducated Ukrainian peasant could be taught how to operate them quickly and efficiently. The AK-47 was a continuation of that design principle, creating a weapon that was easy to produce in large numbers, virtually maintenance-free and easy to operate.

The Soviet experience from WWII taught them that close quarters street to street fighting was going to be the focus of the next great war. Events like Stalingrad and the Battle for Berlin taught them that the long and accurate Mosin Nagant was too big to maneuver effectively (hence the shortened M38 and M44) and overpowered for typical combat distances. By the end of the war it was not uncommon for entire units of soldiers to be armed with only PPS-43 submachine guns due to their effectiveness at close range. The close distance relieved some of the need for accurate fire, meaning that tolerances could be looser and production made easier.

The ammunition chosen for this new firearm was the 7.62×39 round. The 7.62 caliber bullet provided adequate penetration and meant that the same machinery used to manufacture other weaponry (such as basically everything produced since 1891) could be used to manufacture barrels and bullets for the new gun. The shorter case, 39mm instead of 54mm, meant that less powder and brass would be needed for each round and the recoil would be more manageable in fully automatic fire.

Americans have always had an infatuation with accuracy at distance. Marine Corps — I rest my case. The U.S. Army had come to some of the same conclusions as the Soviets about WWII, specifically that engagements took place at short range and that fully automatic weapons were the way forward, but were unwilling to relinquish the idea of the American Rifleman. The ideal rifle and cartridge, they dictated, needed to reliably penetrate the helmet of an enemy soldier at 500 yards. Eugene Stoner and ArmaLite developed such a weapon, using the same machined aluminum that they used (until then) for airplane parts. The result was an accurate and lightweight weapon that was adopted by the U.S. Air Force as the XM16E1 and later the M16.

The ammunition chosen for this new firearm was the 5.56x45mm cartridge. U.S. Army testing indicated that, at high velocity, a .22 caliber bullet would have the same equivalent power as a 7.62 round but drastically reduce the weight of the ammunition required to be carried by soldiers. The smaller cartridge drastically reduced recoil and the materials needed to produce each round while maintaining a penetration capability to the satisfaction of the U.S. Army.

Initially, the M16 (AR-15) had issues with reliability. This was due to a mixture of bad ammunition, shoddy production on Colt’s part, and poor maintenance in the field. It wasn’t the soldier’s fault — early XM16E1s were issued without cleaning kits and touted as never needing to be cleaned. The failures took a toll on soldier’s lives and led to a congressional investigation. Modern AR-15s fixed these issues with chrome lining and proper finishing but still remain sensitive to wear and tear.

Yes, they do (preemptive rebuttal). Have you ever seen an AK complain that its gas piston is 1/100th of an inch too short? No. But I’ve seen an AR do that with its gas rings. So there.

OK, that’s interesting, but which is better?

Heh, nice try. I’m not falling for that trap.

The different environments in which the guns were designed mean that the two rifles fill two very different roles. Let’s compare and contrast some of these differences, perhaps in a chart-like manner.

AK-47 AR-15
Ammunition Heavy Light
Bullet Penetration Deep Shallow
Accuracy Low High
Weight Heavy Light
Recoil Heavy Light
Ergonomics Poor Good
Reliability High Low
Cleaning Easy Hard
Maintenance Hard Easy
Cost Cheap Expensive

It’s a simplification of the facts, but it gets the point across. All values are relative to the other weapon and are binary, there is no “middle ground.” Cost, by the way, includes ammunition and cleaning costs.

I just want to take a second and explain the one thing I know people are going to get pissed off at: the maintenance and cleaning rows. “Cleaning” I determined based on how fast and how easy it is to field strip the weapon, which the AK takes the cake. Maintenance, on the other hand, is decidedly difficult with an AK where the main components are riveted or welded together. On the AR platform the entire thing can be taken apart and put back together with a screwdriver, a large hammer and a wrench.

The idea of one being “best,” though, depends on what you want it for. To give you an example, here are a couple case studies.

Case study 1: Alice

Alice is a college student. She has a little bit of money (enough to buy a new gun) but income is slow, so cheap is good. She wants a semi-automatic magazine fed rifle for home defense as well as “zombie preparedness,” but mainly imagines using it at the local 50-yard range. She doesn’t have the cash for fancy upgrades or expensive parts, all she needs is a gun that can run cheaply

Alice’s best option is the AK-47 or one of its variants. The short ranges at which it will be used, plus the added mass of the bullets make it ideal for home defense, zombie eradication or use at the relatively short range he has at his disposal. Also, because she’s a lazy college kid she’s not as likely to clean her gun so the AK’s dirt tolerant action is perfect for her.

Case Study 2: Bob

Bob is a young man with a steady job. Not a very well paying one, but steady, so a big investment isn’t an issue. He wants a semi-automatic magazine fed rifle for use in 3-gun competitions and varmint hunting at longer distances. He expects to be able to buy some fancy gadgets for his gat down the line.

For Bob, the AR-15 is the ideal weapon. His targets are a little further away than Alice’s, and require much less force to penetrate. Plus, lighter ammunition and recoil will help Bob in his 3-gun competitions.

OK, so really now. Which is better?

There you go again trying to make me choose one.

Which one is best for you really depends on your planned use. Close-in fighting for cheap bastards really belongs to the AK-47, while long range engagement for those who want accessories really is the domain of the AR-15.

In the end, shooter’s preference rules the day. But I’ve owned both, and I like both. Just for different reasons. Here are my personal opinions on the matter:

  • AK-47: Mechanically fascinating, satisfying to work the action, recoil is fun, no need for improvement and runs like a Swiss clock forever.
  • AR-15: Precision instrument, low recoil, low weight, tons of accessories, easy to swap out parts, ergonomic.

Fine. Both are great guns. But which do you recommend?

Finally, a good question and one that I’m happy to answer. Neither rifle is necessarily “better,” but I do have a personal preference.

In my personal opinion the fact that an AR-15 is lightweight, low recoil and highly accurate makes it the superior choice. The platform also allows the shooter to change calibers either with a new upper or a conversion kit, and can be made to fire the extremely cheap .22lr round. The high customizability of the gun also makes it very appealing, as it can be molded to fit your exact need. A little extra investment up front can make all the difference.

TL;DR: If you can only buy one magazine fed semi-automatic rifle and are on the fence, get an AR-15. But if you’re leaning towards one or the other go with your heart and you won’t be disappointed.

And now we brace for the incoming storm of trolls.

If you have a topic you want to see covered in a future “Ask Foghorn” segment, email [email protected].

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        • Not so dudes. Check out I.O. inc. AK47C. I bought mine 2 yrs. ago for $435 brand new w/ mossberg manufactured 6-groove match grade barrel,Tapco G2 trigger group,Tapco pistol grip,5 inch piece of picatinny rail on the fore-end,a buttstock desinged by I don’t know who,but I really like it anyway,scope mount on the lefet side of the receiver and ships with a a “Thermold” polymer magazine. ALL FACTORY. They have other models now including a “economy” version without the scope mount and picatinny rail. And a “souped up” version with a quad-rail fore-end and other bells and whistles. It’s American made and the best deal on the market in my opinion.

        • I tried to get this on my post above but ran out of time to edit. Here is the website to go to for the retailer for I.O. inc. black polymer version I bought 2 yrs. ago is now $556. Glad I bought mine when I did. Hell,even the ‘sporter economy’ version is more than what I paid for mine. And check out that “Hellhound” model. If you want a basic ‘econo’ model BAM!! $494. Got Nick Leghorn by $100. Upgrade to ‘sporter’ model BAM!! $556. Still got Nick L. by $43. I like that they also come in Dark Earth or Pink for the ladies.

  1. We switched calibers for our infantry rifle the M-14, which was just the ultimate M-1, because it was not optimized for fully automatic fire. Our NATO allies chose different and better designs and their 7.62 x 51 caliber rifles could be fire effectively on the fully automatic setting. 7.62 x 51 has superior ballistic performance to either the 7.62 x 39 or the NATO 5.56 round. It turns out that we aren’t always fighting in urban areas like Afghanistan and the open spaces in Iraq where long range fire is quite common. Even in urban combat the 5.56 has shown its limitations and the M-14 has had a little renaissance to fill the firepower gap.

  2. I’m just looking for some clarification, since I’ve never taken an AK-47 apart: Why is “cleaning” separated from “maintenance”? Do you mean replacing a part if something breaks for “maintenance?” I’m just a bit confused, because I normally include cleaning as part of the a given system’s maintenance.

    • I separated “maintenance” because there’s a difference between field stripping a gun and spraying her down after a shooting trip and replacing a major component.

      Let’s say you want to replace the trigger group in an AR and an AK. With the AR, push out a couple pins and swap that puppy out no problem. With the AK you need to grind off the old rivets, install the new trigger group and re-rivet the new parts in place. Basically power tools are required to do anything major with the AK, which is part of what makes it so tough.

      Semantics, my friend. I guess I should better define my terms next time…

      • BS. To replace the trigger group in an AK you just take out the retainer and axis pins. Then pull out the old trigger and put in the new. Zero riveting or welding. I’d even argue that its easier than an AR, because it can be done without tools.

        • Depends on what model AK and who did the assembly. Could be pins, could be rivets. Mine is riveted from the factory.

          Even if they were pins the AR trigger group, in my opinion, is still easier to replace.

      • The trigger group was probably not the best example, as on many AKs it is easy to replace.

        I think the best example would probably be something as simple as the stock. For just about every AK I have ever seen, the stock it is born with is the stock it will die with.

        With an AR changing out the stock because say you want a telescoping stock instead of a plastic one, or maybe you want a nicer stock, all doeable and fairly easy.

        On an AK there is no such thing as changing the stock to a different kind of stock. If it is a folding stock, it is always going to be a folding stock. And it goes deeper, if it is a fold under/over stock it is always going to be a fold under/over stock, can’t be turned into a side folder. And vice versa. You might be able to replace the stock if it breaks with an identical stock and some work, but even this is not always true.

        The thing is, at like $300 to $400 for an AK, or maybe $500 if it is a good one, if you break something on the AK just get a new AK.

  3. here is a smith and wesson for $599.00

    I like the SKS as a very cheap compromise. I know , stripper clips but cheap reliable 30 round add ons can be had. The price is starting to climb a little bit, but they are more accurate than a ak and just as dependable .

    • The great advantage to stripper clips is weight. One cuts the carried load with strippers and they are much faster to use than normally thought. The AK/SKS magazine release/catch/remove/replace drill is absurd when compared to simply setting a stripper in place and pushing down. No fumbling, looking, shaking, pulling. Set it, push it, release the bolt, shoot it. Having both an AK and AR; the single biggest fightability factor, and one that can mean you live to die another day is the AR is reloadable, quickly and easily, requiring the same level of skill and motor functions as your 1911… hit mag release, insert new mag, hit bolt release, shoot. Try that with an AK…

  4. I don’t think this is really an either or issue. Both are cool rifles but I don’t really consider either a “good” rifle.

    In 5.56 I’d say go with a sig 550 series, HK G36, or if you are married to the look of the M4, the HK 416.

    I am a fan of 7.62×51. M14 in a modern stock system like a Sage would be my choice. I have a Springfield loaded, and SOCOM. Both awesome rifles. Sage stock would be killer on either.

    Get them all!


  5. I just want to add, I bought an AK expecting it to be my 1 and only black rifle…it can not meet that role. I should have bought a fn fal or other longer range rifle if I only wanted one rifle.

    Also my only real complaint, I should have gotten one chambered in 5.45×39 as the surplus ammo is cheaper and more plentiful ( but sadly saiga’s were not available in 5.45 until about 18 months after my project gun was purchased)

  6. Oh, also. I believe some to many of the early reliability problems with the M-16 resulted from an incorrect use of propellant. Stoner specified ‘x’ and the Army went with ‘y’. Bad outcomes in the book ‘The Hill Fights, the First Battle of Khe Sahn’.

  7. Cut back on eating out for a year, and buy BOTH!

    Get downright perverse about it, too.

    Get an AR in 7.62X39 and an AK in .223.

  8. I take exception to the reliability of the AR being listed as ‘Low’ and the lube listed as $9 bottle. Get some Mobil 1 5w30 syn and you’re good to go both internally and externally. Reliability is more about ammo and magazines.

    Btw, the intended use and cost per round really should be included for a complete discussion. I would also suggest that the AK-74 is an excellent compromise.

  9. I have to agree, both rifles are great choices and you can have alot of fun with either of them.

    Personally, I’m a fan of the 7.62 NATO round. Back in 2005 I purchased a JLD PTR-91 and I’ve never been happier. Magazines are dirt cheap and the .308 is a common round.

    I do admit, I’d had to have to walk out of a natural or man-made disaster with that rifle and a full load.

  10. Interesting article. Alice, being a college student, may live with roommates (like most students) in an apartment building or at least most likely in an area with other houses/apartments nearby. I do not believe an AK47 or an AR would be suitable for a student or others in similar living situations. I never want to be responsible for accidentally hurting an innocent person. When living with others and/or with neighbors close-by, I think there are better choices.

  11. My safe holds both but I shoot the “AK-47” more due to cheaper ammo. For conventional hunting I use a 7mm-08 Savage.

    The AK-74 with its 5.45x39mm ammo may be even less expensive to shoot if one is willing to deal with corrosive mil surplus ammo. That ammo is cheaper than one could reload, sometimes even cheaper per round than low cost 9mm.

  12. Now that the cold weather is coming, should I buy a hat or gloves?

    My question is just a valid as the reader’s. The AR and AK have nothing in common except they both fling lead down range. Talk about apples and oranges!

  13. I hope Alice is living in a farmhouse and commuting to school. Failing that, I hope that whoever is in the apartment next to her sleeps in kevlar pajamas.

  14. I have an AR (5.56), AK-47, and AK-74. I thought I would get one or the other but after owning just the AK-47 I thought man I want something a little more optimized, so I bought the AR and put an adjustable stock on it as well as a AimPoint. It was great and treated me well until prices started jumping more and more. So I bought the AK-74 and love it. Its like an AK chambered in 5.56. Less recoil so even my wife finds it fun to shoot yet cheap cheap ammo.
    Its easy to say choose one or the other, that is, until you shoot each one and determine what you really need. The AR is still my favorite because its an American icon, however, at the same time if the SHTF and there was no more cleaning oil it would be in trouble after a while. The AK-74 lets you have the light feel of the AR with the performance of the AK family. The 74 round is just amazing to me as well.
    I would really like an SBR PS90 though if I did not have to hit something past 100 yards. But that is another argument.

  15. I agree Nick Leghorn depend what gone do with each rifle. If gone do local rang matchs shoot brand new clean factor ammo out fit Ar with with what out there than good for you. If want affordable rifle can drop in mud that can shoot cheap nasty ammo through in back hills where you live do want break down after shoot alot Ak-47 way go. One reasons have keep Ar so clean throating in Ar so tight make fire 233 suppler ammo relaods nightmare if get bad case stuck in throat part Ar barrle special if been shooting alot dirty suppler or cheap reload ammo through Ar become very costly issue if can not get case unstuck out barrle . You can ask Nick Leghorn how many f-bombs he heard when that happen. Th Ak-47 ugley as hell cheap like Glock of assault rifle world gone work becuase simple made do so all time just not pretty or facny some other gun out there. If your welling put time in keep Ar clean need be working than not bad gun .

  16. I negated the .30 cal advantage by getting a 7.62 x.51 AR and by buying a quality unit from DPMS I solved a lot of the reliability issues. I’m a distance shooter so the choice was easy. I would not characterize the .223 as unable to do any damage, it’s been effective at eliminating threats for some time. I’ve always thought shotguns were a better tool for urban combat situations along with a good pistol.

    There are a lot of military style semi rifles out today which combine features and benefits of these two icons for better or worse. I happen to like the flexibility of the AR platform to adopt different calibers easily and offer a range of performance above and beyond what a standard AR is capable of.

  17. Re: Ammo cost, you can now get Russian 5.56/.223 just as cheap, or cheaper, than 7.62×39 and 5.45 x 39. So while ammo cost may have been a factor 5 years ago, it should not be one now.

    I haven’t owned an AK in years but will keep my trusty SKS forever. The ARs are a bit more refined, though.

    Also, one factor you didn’t mention is that AFAIK most US-market “AK’s” are actually amalgamations of imported and domestic parts (to get around ATF rules.) For example, I believe most of them use US-made receivers and have a certain minimum number of other US-made parts in order to stay on the good side of 18 USC Section 922(r), so I would be a little bit leery of trusting my life to a “frankenstein” gun like that.

    Sure, most of them are probably well made but you never know which one was assembled at 5pm on a Friday by scrounging parts from the bottom of the bin. I know I’ve heard horror stories about “parts kit” FN-FALs and CETME/HK-91 type rifles and wouldn’t want to end up in the same situation.

  18. People spend far too much time and effort on cleaning ARs. I shot half a class with an AR from Pat Rogers, which had last been cleaned (at ALL) 16,000 rounds earlier. Maybe 16,000 rounds is a bit excessive, as I had a few issues of a slow trigger reset, but it did go bang every time. The main thing ARs need is lubrication, not cleaning.

  19. @Martin Albright
    > For example, I believe most of them use US-made receivers …

    You would be wrong, unless you have citations for this belief.

    Also the FUD regarding AK accuracy is a little overblown. They are perfectly fine from 100-200 yards for hitting man sized targets. If getting precision shots with a small grouping is more important, get the AR. But the AK is perfectly capable of hitting targets beyond 100 yards.

    However the assertion that the AK design results in a wildly inaccurate rifle is patently false. It is relatively less accurate than an AR, but for self-defense purposes the AK is just fine. The fact that it’s mechanically simpler and more reliable are strong advantages for anyone who wants a practical rifle for self-defense and casual plinking.

  20. This is fall down easy. .30 versus .22? .30 always wins.

    As for accuracy, I have been running a Romanian RPK for several years, longer heavier barrel= reach out and touch someone. I shoot head to head with several friends who all have AR variants and routinely hand them their a$$es, whilst they hand me their money.

    In the spirit of full disclosure, I am and have always been a .30 man. My tacbag and gear is set up for my Garand, chambered in 7.62 NATO. And no, no one laughs when the bayonet is on. Have not been able to find decent webgear/mag pouches for the AK so I converted a shoulder bag for it.

  21. -I’ve used both; I’ve owned both and I’ve instructed novices on both. My opinion: if the person wants one gun for defense, get the AK. If he/she wants to spend more money & time on it later, the AK can be improved considerably but it will never be a 600 meter piece.
    -On the other hand, the average store bought AR isn’t a 600 meter piece without mucho investment of time and money. We’re still trying to correct faults that should have been corrected before the AR-15 became the M-16.
    -Teaching the AK is also a lot easier. Dirtier, but easier.
    -For close range, work every time, I’ll take the AK. For the 600 meter stuff I won’t be using either an AR or 5.56mm.

  22. You said things that I already personally believed on both platforms. It’s nice to know I wasn’t far off. My chief reason for the .308 AR was the fact that I was ill informed about how easy the 7.62×39 round was to get hold of. I thought that availability of the round in the States was limited. What a silly notion that was…

  23. AK-74


    Accurate for an AK
    Low recoil
    Cheap ammunition
    Bullets exit the target sideways


    Magazines can be difficult to come by in unfriendly states.

    • re: AK-74

      HUGE CON: finding 5.45mm ammo in a “the end of the world as we know it” scenario, good luck with that. 7.62X39 ammo will still be everywhere around the world.

      That’s the main reason I stuck with my 47. But, I am using a Tapco AK-74 style muzzle brake.

  24. I do like the AK design made by Valmet which was nice.
    I never did understand why the military never got the AR stuff with a gas piston or tappet such as the Mini-14 or SR556. Sig or Benelli? I always sort of liked the HK93 or CETME actions as well.
    I always thought .243 Winchester would make a better Sturmgewehr cartridge.
    I guess my ideal battle rifle would be some sort of improved Mini-14 with maybe a 6mm something or other cartridge.

    • Interestingly Ruger developed both a .308 Win. and .243 Win. version of the Mini-14. It was advertised in ’84 and ’85 but was never sold. I never knew about them until I got a stack of old Shooter’s Bibles from a friend and saw them listed then researched it. I would go bonkers for a .243 Win. Mini-14!

  25. Buy th AR,
    If things get bad, Shoot the guy with the AK from 600yards with the AR, then pick up his rifle and then you have both.

  26. An AK can be repaired with a steel toed boot and a hammer, lubed with dirty truck oil, and the bore cleaned with urine and a bootlace, shoot dug up Yugo milsurp from a former Commie bloc pasture and go bang.

    An AR can be sent back to a gunsmith, or have your spare parts kit and tools handy, use all the best whiz bang super lube, and shoot decent ammo.

    Forgot one,…

    You can use your AK as a club. You can use your AR as a wiffle bat…(don’t
    wanna damage those “high end” accessories.)

    Or get both like I did….

  27. The AK is a lot more accurate than people give it credit for. Of course your dirt cheap, canted front sight model from Century probably isn’t going to be very accurate, but if you buy a good one from Arsenal, you’d not going to have any accuracy issues out the maximum range of the cartridge (7.62×39).

    The AR is a lot more reliable than people give it credit for. As long as it’s lubed it will run. Fouling and heat are in no way the problems people seem to think that they are.

  28. Excellent article Mr. Nick Leghorn.
    Q = [Should I b]uy an[..] AR or an AK? If an AK, any suggestions?
    A = Only if you can’t get someone to give you one. Of either or one or more of each.

    Q = Does anyone have experience with 7.62x 39 uppers for the AR?
    Recommendations and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    [ As an aside, and not that it matters, but…for anyone who may have Umarex/Colt AR 15 – 22 and doesn’t yet know how to place the bolt in the held-open position without using a magazine, and may not have seen the fyi, I posted a ‘how to’ @
    Oh. For anyone interested in learning about American History and how to properly handle and shoot whatever it is you own, I highly recommend attending a Project Appleseed shoot. Info available at

    • What about them? There are only two companies making them that any serious shooter should consider, that would be HK and LWRCi. Everything else is a step or five below rifles from those two companies.

      A piston rifle will have added reliability under a few circumstances, but these circumstances aren’t going to be encountered by the average shooter. Really high round counts suppressed, extreme dust environments, OTB operations, ect.

      If you’re buying a piston gun: LWRCi and HK are the standards, everything else is inferior. Some piston guns are quite bad, Ruger’s comes to mind. It has some pretty extreme carrier tilt. I’m also not sold on piston conversion kits, at least not for anything more serious than weekend plinking.

      If you’re buying a direct gas impingement gun: There are a lot more high quality players here. Daniel Defense, Knight’s Armament, Bravo Company, Noveske, Lewis Machine and Tool, Larue and Colt.

      Screw it, I’ll keep it dead simple. If you want to buy a piston gun, get the LWRC M6A3 or M6A2 SPR. If you want a DGI gun, get a Knight’s Armament SR-15 E3. This is for 5.56x45mm.

      If you want 6.8 SPC. Buy either an LWRC M6A3 (piston) or Noveske 16″ Recon (DGI).

      If you want an 7.62x51mm AR. Get an LWRC REPR (piston) or a LaRue PredatAR (DGI). There is also the KAC SR-25 EMC, but it’s horrendously expensive. The Larue PredatAR and KAC EMC are the only two .308 ARs that I’d really consider. Better yet, don’t buy a .308 AR, get the SCAR-17S instead.

      Do not buy an AR in 7.62×39 or 6.5 Grendel, you’ll just end up with a rifle that doesn’t work that well and only has low quality (if any) magazines available.

  29. The MYTH that AR’s need to be sparkling clean in order to function needs to be stopped. It’s just pure BS. I have AR’s that I’ve never cleaned (not even a little bit) with over 10K rounds on them (shot semi and full with and without suppressors) and they still run. They just need lube….ANY lube. I’ve used dirty motor oil before and it worked just fine. My standard AR oil is any motor oil that’s on sale at PepBoys or Autozone. And I’ve seen PLENTY of AK’s take a dump in various training courses….they’re not flawlessly reliable.

    • Yeah, it’s absolute crap. Everyone parrots myths like the AR needs to be clean to run properly or that fouling caused by the DGI system induces malfunctions.

  30. From personal experience if you knOw how to shoot(or use sights with long radius or low power optics) a quality ak ought to be a 2-3 moa rifle polishing the internals to make it smoother should bring it down to 1-2 moa. Accurizing an ak isnt that hard you need a thick sturdy receiver,smooth internals and longer sght radius.

  31. AR = Barbie for men.
    AK = Survival.

    SHTF? grab the AK. If it should fail at close range beat em to death with it….. Try that with flimsy toy AR. Here’s a simple test, Put a paddle lock on you garden shed. Now using your AR knock it off. Then use the AK. Did you just trash your AR?
    I have both and the AK is the hands down winner for real world long term problems. Targets beyond 100m are not a threat targets @100 feet are.(unless your AR has a “threat detection” scope)
    Carry the “decked out” AR at port arms (at the ready) for several miles thru bad terrain, then carry the boring stock AK and see. Would you submerge your AR in water or mud/crap shake and shoot?

    7.62 vs 5.56? who cares holes are holes.

    Now if you just want a cool range toy or something to show off your $500 eotec sight while wearing the latest 511 gear and never really plan on having to use a weapon for it’s intended purpose go with the AR. You’ll look really sassy on facebook.

    It’s really a simple choice when you use reality as your purchase guide, not Hollywood. If you JUST have to have a scope one of the POSP models will work great. (and still see the irons) I have the 4x model. FYI you can zero one then take it off, then by magic when you put it back on it’s still zeroed. Damm those sneaky commies! Building stuff you can drop,bang and beat on that works!

    Ammo……. do I even need to go into this?

    K.I.S.S. has never been truer. Just my observations from real world use and carry.

  32. The AK is a good “first” rifle to get for a novice. In an end of the world/zombie apocalypse type of situation, the 7.62×39 round will put much more meat on the table more easily than the .223 will. Even in the classic war zone, starvation is usually a far greater threat then bad guys (or even worse–bad girls) will ever be!!

    While all guns need to be maintained, the AK is more tolerant of using a wider variety of lubes and less specialized techniques than an AR is. If one has a wire brush, bore snake and a container of motor oil from the dollar store that’s 25 years old; an AK will happily run forever.

    Both guns can be had that are 100% new and domestically build in the USA. That factor shouldn’t really matter.

    Even if one is in love with the .223, its worth noting that AKs running .223s are generally more reliable then ARs running 7.62×39 or 5.45×39. Both the AR and AK platform rifles can be had in .308 caliber. If that’s your favorite round, just go with whatever’s cheaper. If you are in love with 30 caliber and will not accept any substitutes, you can run the 300 AAC blackout in ARs. It’s a great round, but quite expensive when compared to the 7.62×39.


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