AK vs AR shooting - thoughts from limited experience
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Old 03-24-2014, 01:50 PM   #1
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Default AK vs AR shooting - thoughts from limited experience

Let me start by stating that I know that there is a lot I don't know about semi automatic rifles and the full auto versions they are derived from. I did not serve and have no hands on military weapons experience. Up until purchasing an M-4 clone last year (S&W MP15 OR), the only semi auto rifle I have ever owned is a Remington 742 Woodsmaster in 30-06. And a Ruger 10/22 if you want to count plinkers. I recently purchased a new Yugo AK47 (M-70) and have put several hundred rounds down the range so here are my thoughts when comparing these two designs, both of recent manufacture

Better trigger - tie. The NPAP had a new Tapco trigger put in by Century Arms, it's actually pretty decent and counts as one of the non-import parts required by our (clears throat) 'gun laws'. The S&W has the factory trigger, a little stiff but zero slap.

Weight / Balance: AR. The AK is a tad fore-heavy for me. I like the balance and lighter weight of my AR - plus easier to carry one-handed

Magazine release/installation: AR. No contest IMO. No time to fool around? go with the AR on this one. A lot simpler and intuitive (at least for me) to 'stick it in until it clicks'

Take-down/cleaning: AK. Talk about simple. Very impressive to me how the design of this gun takes into account where it is to be used - in the field - and by whom - uneducated peasants in many cases. I don't think the AR15 platform is all that complicated, it's just not as simple and straight-forward.....

Bolt operation: AK. My number one complaint about the AR platform is the charging handle concept. I hate the way the charging handle just hangs there when not cocked. It seems like a weak link to me. The bolt on the AK is simple, strong and forgiving. A lot easier to get ahold of and work than the charging handle on an AR especially if you have an optic mounted towards the rear of the top rail

Accuracy: AR (not even close). no surprises here. I think the round itself has something to do with this as well. That extra 1000-1200 fps the 5.56 round has over the 7.62 leaving the muzzle is kind of important. I shoot both these rifles with open sights

Sights: AR (Troy Battle sights). My front sight is basically the same for both rifles. The original M16 sights were a different story. All I can do is compare what I have.

Volume of fire: AK. the rate at which this rifle can spit out 30 caliber rounds in semi auto mode amazes me. If you need cover fire from your rifle, get an AK

Recoil: AR. again this is also not a direct comparison due to the round differences. But that buffer on my AR sure comes in handy........the AK (especially a Yugo like mine) can slap you in the face a bit....either way, when you shoot 30 rounds through an AK, you know you have shot 30 rounds!

Follow-up Shots: AR. A function of recoil but also the ARs I have shot don't jerk or pull like AKs do. Even with the compensator, the double-tap shooting you can do with an AR is superior in every way

Ammo cost: AK. Right now I can purchase non-corrosive 7.62 x 39 for $6.00/20. Best I can find for 5.56/.223 is $8.50-9.00 for 20. (I know I know - re-load!)

Best SHTF choice: TIE. I guess it all depends on what S hits what F. What kind of ammo will be available? If it's about volume of fire, go with the AK47....if it's about accuracy for sure go with the AR platform.

Better for shooting at vehicles?** AK. I like the 123 grain bullet versus 55 to 65 grains my AR shoots. If I had to take out a car, I'd grab the AK

If I had to pick one, which one would I choose? AR15. Why? Because it is more versatile. You can pop off quite a lot of rounds with it (covering type fire) and also hit 6" targets at 200 meters consistently. It is lighter weight. I'll just have to stay out of mud puddles is all.......

Both of these rifle designs are effective, in some ways elegant and when you pull the trigger, awe-inspiring. My preference is to never get shot at by either of them.


** no I did not shoot at any cars. I promise

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Old 03-24-2014, 03:08 PM   #2
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Tapco triggers have massive creep and arent really predictable terrible rifle triggers.

I prefer the ar charging handle to the ak because in conjunction with the bolt release you dont have to perform gymnastic routines to charge the rifle after running dry.

I find the ar15 light years easier than the ak to clean and strip. Push one pin remove bcg andhandle wipe with oily rag put it all back. I hear the untrained troop thing about ak being easier but its rubbish. No one is less trained than my wife. She picked up field stripping the ar15 after one try and hours of work with her ak47 and she takes up to twenty minutes to get it back together. Its not as easy as an ar15. Ak47 the bolt pops off the carrier and is troublesome to get back together for new folks. Then getting it all lined up and pressed into the rails in the right spot isnt an easy concept for newbies.

The ar15 is vastly easier to maintain for those with little experience

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Old 03-24-2014, 03:14 PM   #3
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I think the AR is easier to strip down and put back together but the AK is simpler to do that. I excluded the term cleaning because, cleaning is optional on an AK . I find that the AR parts all have their place and they either fit or they do not, you would have to try to put it together incorrectly where as the AK has fewer parts and looser tolerances and some parts almost feel questionable as to if they are installed correctly or not. The AR just has a more solid feel in my opinion.

I'm with chloeshooter on the charging handle, I find it to be in an awkward spot and would prefer a different design, the AK just feels solid since its all one piece.

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Old 03-24-2014, 03:16 PM   #4
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didnt shoot cars?? maybe you should.. in my test on 1/4, and 1/2 inch steel plates the .223 went through, and left far more damage than the 7.62x39 round.

for me the AR is easier to strip. ak is easier to clean..and they make superb triggers for the ar. and a tiny little fun idea.. charging handle extensions. makes life lots easier to work the charging handle when optics are installed..
glad you made your first comparison.. now change some parts and try again..

AR always gets my vote

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Old 03-24-2014, 03:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonM View Post
Tapco triggers have massive creep and arent really predictable terrible rifle triggers.

I prefer the ar charging handle to the ak because in conjunction with the bolt release you dont have to perform gymnastic routines to charge the rifle after running dry.

I find the ar15 light years easier than the ak to clean and strip. Push one pin remove bcg andhandle wipe with oily rag put it all back. I hear the untrained troop thing about ak being easier but its rubbish. No one is less trained than my wife. She picked up field stripping the ar15 after one try and hours of work with her ak47 and she takes up to twenty minutes to get it back together. Its not as easy as an ar15. Ak47 the bolt pops off the carrier and is troublesome to get back together for new folks. Then getting it all lined up and pressed into the rails in the right spot isnt an easy concept for newbies.

The ar15 is vastly easier to maintain for those with little experience
My wife must be of Russian descent - it was easier for her to break down and re-assemble the AK 47

As far as AK bolt vs bolt carrier group/ charging handle, for me the AK is much easier to operate, no gymnastics involved

Overall AR is a better built rifle, no question. But probably not for every role.
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Old 03-24-2014, 05:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chloeshooter View Post

charging handle, for me the AK is much easier to operate, no gymnastics involved
try this and see if you gain any insight.
shoulder both rifles(indivudially ofcourse). aim at a target. without moving your firing hand off the pistol grip, and keeping your muzzle somwhat close to aiming for your target drop out an empty/dummy round mag, load an empty/dummy round mag and work the bolt. see which requires more agility..
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Old 03-24-2014, 05:22 PM   #7
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If you are a hunter, IMO, accuracy is the central issue.

My AR makes it on the bus, my AK stays home in the safe.

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Old 03-24-2014, 05:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chloeshooter View Post
My wife must be of Russian descent - it was easier for her to break down and re-assemble the AK 47

As far as AK bolt vs bolt carrier group/ charging handle, for me the AK is much easier to operate, no gymnastics involved

Overall AR is a better built rifle, no question. But probably not for every role.
Your shooting hand doesnt have to leave the grip and you dont have to tilt the gun or reach over/under like a ak. Thats what i was getting at. Much better ergonomics on the ar15.

We each have an ar15 and ak47.

The wife is getting there with the ak but she doesnt like the clumsy magazine attachment system of the ak. What she says about rocking the mag in vs slappjng one into the ar isnt fit to print. Heh
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Old 03-24-2014, 06:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjfuller1 View Post
try this and see if you gain any insight.
shoulder both rifles(indivudially ofcourse). aim at a target. without moving your firing hand off the pistol grip, and keeping your muzzle somwhat close to aiming for your target drop out an empty/dummy round mag, load an empty/dummy round mag and work the bolt. see which requires more agility..
bolt and magazine swap were addressed individually in OP; I like the AK bolt better and the AR mags a LOT better
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Old 03-24-2014, 06:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Your shooting hand doesnt have to leave the grip and you dont have to tilt the gun or reach over/under like a ak. Thats what i was getting at. Much better ergonomics on the ar15.

We each have an ar15 and ak47.

The wife is getting there with the ak but she doesnt like the clumsy magazine attachment system of the ak. What she says about rocking the mag in vs slappjng one into the ar isnt fit to print. Heh
The magazine attachment system is something they could have improved for function, weight reduction and the aesthetics of the rifle. I think the latch mechanism is something that could have been seen used by the gorillas on "Planet of the Apes'. The weapon itself seems to have evolved little over time, unlike the M16/ M4 / AR15 platforms. Other than Mosins, my only other Soviet design is a Romanian SKS, which is superbly built compared to the stamped-receiver AKs.

I went the NPAP M70 route knowing the receiver and barrel are more robust and I am glad I at least did that. You can really feel the difference side by side with the WASR 10 s....I would love to compare to a good milled version.......
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