AK vs AR shooting - thoughts from limited experience

Discussion in 'Auto & Semi-Auto Discussion' started by chloeshooter, Mar 24, 2014.

  1. chloeshooter

    chloeshooter Active Member

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    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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    Last edited: Mar 24, 2014
  2. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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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
     

  3. Yunus

    Yunus New Member

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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.
     
  4. jjfuller1

    jjfuller1 New Member

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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 ;)
     
  5. chloeshooter

    chloeshooter Active Member

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    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.
     
  6. jjfuller1

    jjfuller1 New Member

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    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..
     
  7. therewolf

    therewolf New Member

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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.
     
  8. JonM

    JonM Moderator

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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
     
  9. chloeshooter

    chloeshooter Active Member

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    bolt and magazine swap were addressed individually in OP; I like the AK bolt better and the AR mags a LOT better
     
  10. chloeshooter

    chloeshooter Active Member

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    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.......
     
  11. Mercator

    Mercator Active Member

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    As a matter of fact, moving the charger handle to the left (for a right handed shooter) would nicely eliminate the gymnastics. I'd love to have it there. But there is a reason the mainstream AR stays ambidextrous. The non-reciprocating handle was brilliant engineering, and it got rid of the metalic racket.

    Reloading an AK requires manual cycling every time, because it has no bolt stop. Advantage: AR. But in trained hands the AK can be operated very quickly. The magazine latch actually comes handy. You strike it with a spare mag, thereby releasing and dropping the empty, then seat the spare, like a one-two punch.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2014
  12. kbd512

    kbd512 Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

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    Your AR shoots some screamin fast bullets.
     
  13. chloeshooter

    chloeshooter Active Member

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    interesting test you must have conducted............it came out differently than this here scientific penetration test......
     

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  14. Quentin

    Quentin New Member

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    Pretty fair comparison but I'd give the nod to the AR in Take-down/cleaning and Bolt operation.

    I've had a cheap WASR-10 and a few good AR builds for years now and like them all. The WASR works well as do most AKs but there's really no comparison when you pick up an AR. But the 7.62x39 is a great round and well worth having so an AK to shoot it makes a lot of sense!

    You probably could add a comparison of crap quality AK vs. crap quality AR, there's where the AK wins out.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2014
  15. therewolf

    therewolf New Member

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    There's apples and oranges, but for hunting, once again, IMHO,

    the .223/5.56 has a distinct advantage over the M43.
     
  16. Mercator

    Mercator Active Member

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    Forget the 7.62x39. As far as AR vs AK, the true comparison is 5.54 vs 5.45.
     
  17. DP03

    DP03 New Member

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    All the comments above make sense. I don't have an AR15, but I do have an AR10 caliber. For serious, longer range shooting, of course the AR. For fun at the range, nothing beats the AK pistol.

    And for HD (if i had to use one or the other), give me the AK pistol over any AR15, any day. Of course, my mindset here is in or close to the house, not trying to pick someone off at the edge of the property.
     
  18. kbd512

    kbd512 Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

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    His test may not have involved M193 and M43 cartridges. M855 and M67 don't behave the same way. M855 does tend to penetrate a little better while M67 was designed to tumble.
     
  19. purehavoc

    purehavoc New Member

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    I have a hard time believing anyone even a newbie would take 20 minutes to field strip and reassemble a AK .

    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dee5VCf7TE&feature=share&list=UULFFuq4bGsL78NULIq7pYng&index=1[/ame]
     
  20. chloeshooter

    chloeshooter Active Member

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    perhaps it's an individual intuitive thing Quentin, but I was much quicker taking down an AK at first attempt than I was an AR. Of course, I am kind of a stubborn s.o.b. so perhaps I am that ignorant peasant so many people talk about when referring to this rifle lol