April 27, 2010

AR Beats AK Almost 2:1 in GunReports Survey

A recent tabulation of 467 respondents to a GunReports.com survey question, “Which is the better platform: The AR or the AK?” showed a strong preference for the designed-in-America ArmaLite Rifle model. However, the intensity of comments slightly favored the AK.

(GunReports.com) -- A recent tabulation of 467 respondents to a GunReports.com survey question, “Which is the better platform: The AR or the AK?” showed a strong preference for the designed-in-America ArmaLite Rifle model. However, the intensity of comments slightly favored the AK, said GR’s sales manager Gene Taylor.

“We counted 282 votes for the AR platform and 185 votes for the AK,” said Taylor. “That’s a decisive win for the AR, of course, with 60 percent of GunReports.com’s users voting for it. But, it seemed to me, that the AK loyalists were more vociferous in their choice of the Russian design.”

More than 100 voters left comments, and those comments broke down into wide areas of agreement about each design’s positives.

Among the most-cited AR positives were its wide cartridge availability, accessorization, and familiarity to military and law-enforcement users.

Dennis wrote, “Our military has chosen this rifle as the shoulder weapon of choice to defend our nation. The Taliban has chosen the AK. Need more be said?”

The AK’s adherents noted its 7.62x39mm cartridge power, run-anywhere-anytime durability, and worldwide availability.

On the AR side, Bill L of Vandalia, MI (respondents’ names have been redacted in most cases to protect their privacy) said, “AR's are inherently more accurate, especially at longer ranges. AR's can be accessorized with dozens of enhancements. AR's are prettier. AK's suck, and are accurate at 25 to 50 yards and are only adequate for Spray And Pray shooting. AR's are made in AMERICA!”

AK voters largely echoed the sentiments of Robin O: “AK !! Defiantly, ever since my friend was killed in Vietnam holding a jammed AR. I have a new Vepr AK and I love it.”

But AK owners had more practical reasons for their choice as well, perhaps summed up best by Ray K of Minden, NV. He wrote, “In my opinion, the AK is better. Reasons; 1: AK is about 1 third the cost of a AR. 2: AK is more reliable, almost indestructible. 3: AK is much more easy to work on. 4: Parts for a AK are more affordable. 5: Ammo for a AK is more affordable, and more easily obtained.”

Not so fast, said Gaviota: “Conclusion: If you want to equip a large number of barely educated, semi-literate soldiers with automatic rifles, knowing that they will be operating in harsh climates with little in the way of logistics, the AK is the way to go. Primitive soldiers who have difficulty cleaning themselves, much less their weapons, definitely benefit from the simplicity of operation, reliability, and durability of the AK system. They couldn't understand the ballistics necessary to take advantage of the AK's indifferent accuracy anyway, so equipping them with more accurate AR's would be futile, and see them out of action fairly quickly. This is primarily the reason that the AK is by far the most numerous and popular battle rifle in the world. For educated, intelligent troops capable of utilizing the design accuracy of the AR, with the supply lines available to provide cleaning gear, repair parts, and new weapons, the AR does well. Well enough, anyway. Most frontline troops would love to get their hands on an M-14.”

And this from Chas, someone who has been there, done that: “As the former Weapons Officer for COMNAVSPECWARCOM, I had a piece of ceramic armor from one of our Vietnam era river boats on my desk with several armor piercing AK rounds either all the way through or most of the way through the armor. Try to duplicate THAT with your AR!”

More GunReports.com user views follow below.

AR VOTERS’ COMMENTS

AR

Which one you think is better depends upon whether you want accuracy potential or the ability to make them in caves and mud huts. --Winodennis

AR but with gas piston action. --2good2be4got10

The AR is better because nothing beats American ingenuity! -- Brian

While I chose the AR, it's probably due to the love affair I've had since reading about the "new gun" back in the 60s in something like Popular Science. In truth, the AK is probably a better field gun.... more powerful cartridge (than the .223/5.56), less expensive to make, and proven to function under the harshest conditions. But I still love the AR! -- Robert

Better accuracy, short & long distance. Easier handling, less recoil, more ergonomic, easier to accessorize, weighs less, more ammo for same weight. --Tom D, Marlton, NJ

The AR, due to being able to switch uppers to any caliber in both the AR15 and AR10/25. --gringle84

I have shot both--and can make good groups at 100+ yards with both--but the AR feels solid. Dave S, Broadway VA.

I believe the AR platform is the best due to its familiarity with US Military and Law Enforcement personnel. I have taken armorer courses on both, and feel the AR is much easier to learn and teach. AK for its simple maintenance and reliability under extreme conditions. --johnjunkman

Mid-range accuracy makes the difference. --Frank S, Pecos, TX

Like the AR platform better than the AK. AR is more flexible, lighter weight, and easier to accessorize. Steve P,

Milwaukee, WI

AR for versatility. This platform has been adapted to accommodate more different calibers than the AK, ie., .22LR, .222, .223/5.56, 6mm, 6.5, 6.8, .204, .308, 9mm, 40 S&W, et al. --bd

Simplicity and reliability make the AK platform the better battle/self defense rifle. I won't argue accuracy with those AR devotees who can dredge up reams of data on national match scores, three gun event winners etc. but I would trust an AK to outlast an AR in the hands of the average 18 year old from anywhere on the planet. My AR never failed me in my two tours in Iraq, but I had the benefit of ample cleaning supplies, high tech lubes and superb training on maintenance to keep it running. Joseph S

I don’t own either, but I would prefer the AR over the AK for long term service, parts, etc. Plus, Made in America is still very important to me! --Joe

My vote is for the AR. Why? To put it simply, as Townsend Whelen said, ‘Only accurate rifles are interesting.’

There is also significant advantage to the AR platform in modularity, tactical suitability/ergonomics, adaptability and versatility. It is more easily customized than the AK. Even in its most basic form, it is more accurate. Its operation is more tactically sound, with a bolt hold-open, quiet safety selector, and superior iron sights. It is a more solid platform for mounting both reflex and telescopic optics. It is simple to change in roles from CQB to long range precision. It can be easily converted to handle multiple calibers from .17’s all the way up to .50 BMG. These alone are points that beat the AK. The old point of reliability being a downside is addressed readily by the many readily available gas piston conversions for those who desire it. Routine maintenance solves these issues for the rest.

To me, it’s a no brainer. The only advantage the AK has in the end is the lower cost of its ammunition! --Joseph B

AR wins for practical accuracy to keep things at rifle distances. AK wins if full auto for squad use or employment in extreme environments. Since I can do the full-auto thing and live in a non-extreme environment, the AR wins. --David C.

Arsenal AK

Courtesy, Gun Tests

Arsenal AK, a recent GunReports Gun of the Week.

The AR platform has a larger option of accessories. The AR platforms are lighter, shorter, and more maneuverable. The AR platform has less recoil which allows quicker follow-up shots with better accuracy. --Don S

With the new offerings of higher-caliber Uppers, the versatility of the AR platform outshines the AK’s fundamentally better functionality. Tom W, Newcastle ME.

I feel the AR is the better weapon. It has more options for platform and caliber. --Jim Mc

AK for general use. AR for longer range / precision work. --JP

The AR is the better platform because it's more extensible. I'm including the models which range up to the .308/7.62 calibers, since a fighting gun should be bigger than a .22. The AR in 5.56mm is better than the AK due to accuracy beyond 100 yards. The AK is reliable, but accuracy at 200 yards is questionable. The AR in 6.8mm SPC is even better, with the same takedown as the AK, but better range than the 5.56mm. But you have got to keep the AR clean and well-lubed (which increases the cleaning needed). --Marcus A

As I praise accuracy....and the reliability of the AR design is good.....I consider it to be a better choice on this side of the Atlantic than I do the AK design...which is also good. --UJ2744e

I love the low recoil and fun customizability. --Rae C

Love the platform. So many options. While I love the old AK platform, AR's are must more flexible and reliable when built and maintained properly. For sport, defense or LE/MIL purposes, there is nothing in the world, easier, lighter and more flexible. --Eric K

The AK platform is robust and dependable. The reason for the dependability is because of such loose tolerances. This also makes for a sloppy feel and fit. I have both and much prefer my AR Bushy. So the AR gets my vote. --Rob H

I have to side w/the AR. The AK is O.K. at what it does, but the tolerances are TOO loose in my opinion. To zero mine, I had to push the front sight almost all the way over to the right. The stamped sheet metal receiver seems a little flimsy and forget about finding all your brass for reloading because the brass gets flung everywhich direction (I've even found cases

10ft DOWN RANGE). My AR feels tighter and better made. It can be easily accessorized to be as loaded (or clean) as I want and I can even change calibers fairly easily, depending on my needs. Both are good, but I think the AR is better. --Tom G

Let's break the subject down and debate the merits and demerits of each design by category. The categories are: Accuracy, caliber, reliablility, durability, and ergonomics.

Accuracy: The AR wins, hands down. The AR design and the NATO 5.56x45mm round are almost always accurate within 2 minutes of angle out to 400 yards, and some marksmen (usually Marines!) can hit human targets in the head at 800 yds all day long. The AK, depending upon which country made the particular gun under consideration, and when it was made, is usually able to keep within 6 minutes of angle out to 600 yards, Some are a little better, some much worse. Some Russian variations have been known to serve as sniper weapons capable of 2 moa or better at 800 yds, but most Chinese exports and some third world copies are barely able to hit a trash can lid at 200 yds. Bullet drop is much greater at 400 yds for the AK round, between 41 to 48", than the AR at 22-30".

Caliber: The AK wins. According to most reports, Mikhail Kalashnikov originally considered chambering his design in the standard Russian 7.62x54R caliber, until the Soviet Army got a chance to examine captured German Sturmgewehr 44's and their 7.92x33mm Kurz intermediate cartridges. Although the Soviets have always denied any derivation of their AK from the Sturmgewehr, they quickly saw the practicality of the intermediate cartridge, and the Russian 7.62x39mm is remarkably similar to the German original. The standard 7.62x39mm loads fire .311 diameter, 123 to 125 grain, FMJ bullets at muzzle velocities between 2300 and 2400 fps, with muzzle energies between 1400 and 1600 ft-lbs. At 400 yds, velocities drop to 1200-1400 fps, and energies drop to 400-500 ft-lbs. In contrast, current 5.56 NATO M855 loads drive a .224 dia. 62 grain FMJ bullet at 3,000-3100 fps at the muzzle. Muzzle energy is 1200-1300 ft. lbs. At 400 yds, velocity drops to 1500-1700 fps, and energy drops to 300-400 ft-lbs. The Russian cartridge has higher muzzle and terminal energies than the NATO round. How significant this is has long been a matter of debate, but anecdotally, American troops have been begging for a battle cartridge with better ballistics and penetration since the Vietnam war, and the complaints have gotten louder since the current desert unpleasantness began. One of their major points is the fact that, in most states, it's illegal to use the .223 for hunting deer or larger game, because it's considered a varmint cartridge, inadequate in both energy and penetration. The military counters that hunters are trying to kill the deer with a single shot, while soldiers are trying to disable the enemy with multiple shots.

Don't get me started on that. You know how I get.

Reliability: AK is tops. The AK design is a gas-operated, piston-driven design, which is constructed with generous dimensional tolerances, and heavily over-engineered parts. In grunt parlance, the AK is a "mudder." The net is full of reports and videos of AKs being dropped into dirt, sand, dust, water, and mud, and coming up shooting a full magazine with no malfunctions. Soldiers from the Vietnam era to the present have lauded the legendary ability of the AK to shrug off all manner of abuse and still keep on ticking, including being run over by vehicles, dropped from aircraft, and running for months without being cleaned. The magazines are steel, and also noted for toughness. Although many stories are undoubtedly apocryphal, the underlying truth is that there is no military automatic rifle that is as environment-and-soldier-proof as the AK. The AR design, on the other hand, has a long history of problems and improvements, shortcomings and tweaks, of both the weapon and the ammo. The operating system, which uses the infamous gas impingement principle, is sensitive to evironmental dirt as well as fouling generated by firing, not as forgiving of rough handling as the AK, and prone to magazine problems caused by easily deformed aluminum magazines. The dust storms of the Middle East raised a lot of dust as well as controversy over the inability of US soldiers to keep their AR weapons operational with the existing CLP lubricant. The enemy AKs had no such deficiencies.

Durability: AK wins again. Related to reliability, but taking a longer view, the AK, due mostly to the strength of it's over-engineered parts, lasts long after the AR is consigned to the scrap heap. The gas piston is huge, over 1/2" in diameter, the bolt carrier and bolt are both simpler and more massive than the AR, and the locking system is stronger and heavier. The system is nearly impervious to dirt and fouling, unless someone is untrained enough to attempt to fire lead bullets through it. Don't ask how I know. The AR must be meticulously maintained, kept free of carbon fouling of the bolt/carrier assy, and free of accumulated grime in the fire control assy, bolt locking lugs, and chamber. Failure to do so will quickly result in accelerated wear and persistent malfunction.

Armalite AR-10

Courtesy, Gun Tests

The Armalite AR-10 featured a Picatinny-rail gas block (arrow). This gave the operator several options regarding choice of front sight or mounting accessories, such as lights or lasers.

Ergonomics: The AR is much easier to operate. The trigger pull on the AR is generally much better from the factory than the AK. Some AK triggers are so bad that gunsmith's spring trigger scales are inadequate to measure them. Using weights, I've measured some AK trigger weights of 18 to 26 lbs, which by American standards is virtually unusable. The AR safety, mag release, and bolt stop are all in ergonomically advantageous positions, and the AK doesn't even have a bolt stop, which Americans find disconcerting. The AK safety is a huge, ugly, noisy lever on the right side of the receiver, and is credited with saving the lives of American troops who escaped ambush when the enemy operated their safeties with the characteristic loud "clack." The AK magazine requires both hands to remove: Firing hand on the weapon, support hand on the mag. The AR allows the shooter to drop the mag with the trigger finger while inserting a new mag with the support hand. The only ergonomic disadvantage the AR suffers is a minor one: The rear-center-positioned bolt handle on the AR requires the shooter to dismount the weapon to retract the bolt, while the AK bolt handle is on the bolt carrier, projecting from the right side of the receiver. In rapid fire situations, that slight advantage goes to the AK. --Gaviota

ARs have endless possibilities to personalize, to make it your own. It's the American Way. --Hawki

I like the AR better, especially with the new piston improvements. --Robert J

I vote AR. Long distance shooting with a close quarters capability. Try that with the AK. I don't plan on throwing my AR in the mud. That's for the AK because it can take all kinds of abuse. --Patrick G

Shot many AK'S and just never did like the "feel" of them.

My Stag AR is a piece of art! --geometric1

Carried an M-16A1 for 18 months in Vietnam and I never had any problems with it and it never failed to do fulfill its intended purpose. All I had to do was minor upkeep on it and it was good to go. So my vote goes to the AR. I also like the AK series of weapons and currently own both AR's and AK's. --Betty R

A wonderful platform, so many different calibers and uses, .22 rimfire to .50 Beowolf. Made in America by Americans! --Bruce B

I think the AR is a far better, more versatile platform than the AK. The AK was designed/built as a quick & dirty, stamp out as many as possible, inexpensive russian military weapon with very few changes and/or upgrades/updates since it's introduction. Whereas Stoners AR was designed and made in the USA, and has has seen several updates/improvements since it's introduction. It can be had in a plethora of different calibers/configurations allowing it to fill the needs of anyone and everyone. From saving lives/liberty to putting dinner on the table. From soldiers on the battlefield to precision/competition shooters to varmint hunters to big game hunters and even plinkers with a rimfire conversion. The AR is pure all American from start to finish like baseball and apple pie! --Jonnyonwheels

On the AR platform the sights are superior and inserting the magazine is much easier. I have both. --WitnessACP

The AR design is far more flexible design. Although the AK is about the pinnacle in cheap to produce, the AR can be turned into a tack driver. I suspect it will be a while before any AK will be at the 1000 yard target range. --JJ

I own both. There are pros and cons for each, as you well know. Every home should have at least one of each but if I had to pick-up and run, I'd take the ARs. --quikdrawspop

I have to go with the AR type rifles. I agree the AK will jam less. However, the AR is more accurate, easier to hit with, and handles better. You just have to keep it clean. --Doug P

I am a fan of the AR. I like the looks and the feel better than the AK platform. --Rod W

The AR is better--because I have one in my arsenal. The AK doesn't do me any good in your closet. --sniper223

Buy American, I say! --tankjas

Having used the AR platform in the military several years ago, it remains my preference to this day. --Richard M

I bought the Stag AR and like it great. I am left handed and Stag is the only one, to my knowledge, that puts out a "Lefty". Further, it is American made and parts and maintenance will probably be cheaper. --Reddog

Which is ‘better?’ My vote is the AR-15. Now, if you want to quantify what ‘better’ means, do we mean more reliable with minimal maintenance? Then it’s the AK family, hands down. Better knock down within 150 yards? Again, the AK. Ease and economy of production? AK wins again. Now let’s talk about the AR family. Accuracy? AR, User friendly controls? AR. Ability to modify with accessories/scopes/Holo or dot sights? AR. I have several of each (AR and AK) and would be hard pressed to feel less than well protected with any of them. But I love the fit, finish and ergonomics of the AR. I don’t even keep mine all that clean, and have never ever had a function problem. Make mine an AR. --Spike

I own and love both. My AK is more accurate than any other AK that I have shot, but it's no AR. As far as reliability, never had a failure with either. I have shot 1000+ rounds in both without cleaning, just for testing purposes. But in harsh conditions, I would still give the edge in reliability to the AK. For me, the main advantage of the AR is ergonomics: mag release=index finger; safety=thumb; bolt release or manual BHO=support hand thumb. That along with a bolt-hold-open-on-last-round for the AR without resorting to special mag followers. Hearing a click when I expect to hear a BANG is not how I prefer to know when it's time to change mags. Now if I lived in the desert, I might choose the AK. Both are excellent, neither is perfect. --Joe S

This is a trick question. Which is "better" is WAY too general. Despite that, I think that the AR wins for better tactical abilities and having more and options for customization to fit specific tactical needs. This comes with the caveat that those advantages really must come with a higher level of training and maintenance to make this a true advantage. The AK is absolutely no slouch, and has wins in a number of other areas (e.g. cost, simplicity and reliability), but in the long run I feel the AR platform is simply the better of the two. --Matt W.

The AR is a much more versatile platform. Its base configuration is adequate for practically every situation. At the same time it can be reconfigured as a specialty weapon to meet specific task requirements. Hands down-AR. buckskinner

I cast my vote for the AR. With all the available options for different calibers using different uppers, it's an all in one gun. As for reliability and easy of use versus the AK, I believe what POF USA has done with their piston uppers and an operating system that requires almost no lube, how could you go wrong? The AK is, was and always will be an incredible rifle, but there's no denying the versatility of the AR. --daffiedk

The AR is the better platform. The inline design of the stock and barrel makes for more manageable recoil and therefore a faster second shot. --Douglas P

AR always has been a better made, more accurate weapon. Both serve well in their roles, but the AR extends the range of its role by a couple hundred yards over the AK. --John T

Bushmaster XM15-E2S

Courtesy, Gun Tests

Gun Tests Tech Editor Ray Ordorica had to hunch his shoulder forward to get comfortable with the Bushmaster XM15-E2S Shorty AK .223. He said recoil was nil, and handling was fast.

AR's are sweeter and more refined, BUT if you have to drag your gun through the mud and wet sand, then the AK wins. --Kurt J

Both are very good weapons. However the AR has numerous calibers to choose from along with ability to apply numerous high tech accessories. Down range performance is better on the AR than that of the AK. Both are used in hunting, target and military. Both have very good rates of fire. In the long run I would choose the AR over the AK platform for avalibility of different calibers, rate of fire, accuracy. --Gunslinger/Texas

In most locations I would stick with the AR‚ BUT, if I were to find myself anywhere near the Middle East I would have to go with the AK (easier to pick up additional free ammo for the price of a clean shot). --Vast_Right_Wing_Conspirist

Found more AKs on the battle field than 16/4, so that is the decider. --John O

The AR is a fantastic platform, I wouldn’t want anything else backing me up in the middle of the night. --Shaun C

I believe the AR is better because it is 100% all American. When I think of an AK, I think of Chinese or Russian commies. Or even Viet Cong. --Mark W

The AR. Much more accurate -- and shot placement is what matters! --Malox

AR due to moderation, add ons, choice of calibers & bullet wt. and actions (gas impingement or piston) plus far better accuracy. --Byron J

The AK's real advantage is reliability. That's about it.

The AR's real advantages are 1) Modularity you can change the gun and/or it's accessories with relative ease 2) accuracy, in general is more accurate and can be accurized, 3) great reliability with the DGI system (on a quality made gun like Colt or Stag), 4) adaptable to a wide variety of sighting systems to gain the ultimate accuracy, 5) a wide selection of .223/5.56 ammunition is available for differing missions, 6) it's available in a number of different versions from carbine to sniper/counter-sniper versions,

7) AR's can be had in different calibers. The market for accessories is through the roof. The AR's variety is hard to beat. --Matthew

In factory models the AK may have the edge because of reliability and being a 30 caliber, but because of accuracy & the availability of aftermarket conversions to real rifle cartridges, the AR wins out. --Jon

In terms of reliability and durability, the AK wins. It also shoots a round more likely to inflict more damage. The sights are poor. The AR has more accuracy at a greater range and has better sights. It also is easier for women and smaller people to shoot. Most people will tend to shoot an AR better than an AK with minimal training, in my experience. --Jim Berry, JB Training LLC, www.jb-training.com

Better? That depends on what you want it to do, but I'll vote for the AR platform, because of accuracy. --Jeremy B

As a Viet Nam Vet I give the nod to the AR, even though I’m not a fan of the 5.56 round. Overall it is a better gun if it is maintained properly. The AK will fire even when filthy, but is not nearly as accurate unless it has been worked over. --David F

AK VOTERS’ COMMENTS

Presupposition: The AK and the AR are both designed to be combat field weapons. Though they may be utilized for hunting, sport, target shooting, etc., these are not the activities that were in mind when these weapons were designed and developed.

Therefore: Each platform can only appropriately be evaluated as to how it performs under combat conditions. To do otherwise would be akin to considering the construction site utilization of sports cars when asking which one is better.

Analysis:

1) The AR platform is lighter and more accurate.

2) The AK platform has more punch and is more rugged.

3) In real combat, the "one shot, one kill" ethos is a myth. The vast majority of rounds fired are for the purposes of forcing the enemy to keep his head down while simultaneously hindering his movement. This is to enable friendly maneuvering which in turn presents a situation in which the enemy either surrenders or is decimated by a volley of close arms fire or by called in air/artillery/mortar/missile/etc. strikes.

4) Keeping the above in mind, one must ask what is more important. Accuracy or reliability. The manifest answer is reliability. At fifty plus meters I am less concerned about putting a round center mass, than I am with having a reliable feed of ammunition that will force the enemy to keep his head down while I or other friendly forces maneuver. The AK platform provides this guarantee while the AR platform simply does not. In terms of weight, the question must be asked, what is more important, tired arms or an extremely reliable weapon?

Conclusion: Tell me that you are going to drop me in an extremely hostile territory without telling me about the nature of the threat, the geography, or the climate. Then tell me that I may select to take an AR or an AK weapon with me. I will take the AK without a second thought. Lt. William J. L

The AK is better because of robust magazines, no small pins and detents to go flying off, tapered ammo for good extraction, its gas piston and all steel construction.--OmegaMbr

While I love and would not trade my AR platforms, I feel that the AK is a better battle rifle and great for situations where you may need to put a rifle in a novice's hands.

For standoff/distances over 250-300 yds, I'll take an AR. for <250, AK any day.

The AR is a rifleman's rifle. It is accurate and most of the time--reliable. Compared to the AK it is finicky. The AK will usually run where conditions and a lack of an opportunity to perform maintenance & lubrication will leave the AR as a substandard performer. Not that the AR is complex, but the AK is easier to operate and requires fewer fine motor skills.

The AR is classier, can be dressed up, and can be a great performer. The AK isn't as pretty (although it is gorgeous in its simplicity) and is a great performer.

It's the difference between an escort and a regular working girl. They both get the job done well. One just costs more and is a bit more high maintenance. --DC Smith

Based on the past, I knew lots of folks that traded their AR's for AK's when they had ammo available. --eldublyu

I would have to find in favor of the "AK" using the following criteria: price, availability, simplicity, reliability. --Shooter Sully

AK, when it absolutely has to work and accuracy is less critical. AR, when accuracy is more important than absolute reliability. I would give the edge to a "good" AK over a "good" AR, but it all depends on the situation. --jerryh

It ALWAYS goes bang! --cpaschall

The AK is the winner. As much as I really like the AR platform, the AK has the durability and looseness to preform in almost any conditions and as filthy as it can get. The 30 cal. bullet is also a winner for stopping power over the 223. I own both and have great respect for both platforms. --Sierra Skier

I struggled with recommending the AK over the AR as it is really dependent on what the use is, however, here are the things that lead to the AK taking the top spot. Simplicity. The parts on the AK are robust and large in size, less precise and easy to clean when compare to an AR. Reliability. I have never seen an AK get dirty enough to jam, no matter how much it has been neglected. Affordability. Even those produced domestically from 100% US content typically are notably cheaper than their AR counterparts. Ammunition. The standard 7.62x39 has higher muzzle energy than the 5.56. 7.62x39 ammo is typically less expensive to purchase than 5.56. Conversely the AR platform is the clear winner in ergonomics, adaptability and accuracy. Thank you for running this contest! --Todd D

PolyTech AK-47S

Courtesy, Gun Tests

The PolyTech AK-47S Legend is stout, reliable, and well made. If you can find one at an affordable price, buy it. It'll go bang every time.

The AK is more rugged. It's not prettier with as many add-ons, but it's there when you need it with more ballistic firepower coming out the working end. --Michael A

Cheaper to produce and non trained persons can use it. AR is a better rifle, but it requires training so you are limiting yourself to military (generally). --Dr. Dwight

The gun system is practically indestructable. It can get dirt, sand etc. in the bolt and keep running. The heavier bullet is more effective and all applicable ranges. --reyne

I believe the AK in 7.62x39 configuration is the best weapon available today, and the AR is the most versatile. --Vic

7.62 round has better first-round knock-down than 5.56 and is less apt to be deflected by a small branch or twig. --Gene M

AK is much better than AR for following reasons:

1) Reliability; it works no matter what, with nil maintenance.

2) Cheaper ammo for 7.62x39 versions and the cheapest of any centerfire rifle ammo.

3) More stopping power. --Matt Maggio, Internet Gun Show

The AK is a superior platform, I have both AK and AR. The AK has less maintenance amd operates more trouble free.

The AK round is a much better man stopper. --Paul

AK for general use. AR for longer range / precision work. --JP

A very hard decision, I own both and enjoy shooting them. I went with the AK because it is the one that you can bury in the sand, dig it up, shake the sand out of and still fire with no jams. Both are great weapons! --Jmswhlr

I've owned both, and it’s a hard choice for me. The AR was a tack driver, the AK couldn't shoot straight. The AR was a pain to maintain, the AK was easy as pie to keep shooting. Guess the price is deciding factor. The AK cost half the price of the AR. I'm voting for the AK. --Chris T

I would choose the AK platform. I own multiple AK and AR rifles, however, my "go gun" is my Saiga 12 shotgun, which is patterned off the basic AK design. With an AK you get reliability and greater knockdown power, both excellent qualities should you need to deploy the weapon. The standard sights on the AK rifle leave a lot to be desired but it's easily remedied with the addition of a RDS, which most people add to their rifles anyway. Another huge plus to the AK rifle is cost. The lower cost makes it easier for people to make their first rifle purchase instead of having to drop 1K on a rifle and then start adding lights/lasers/ optics etc. --Dave Bulthuis

Having carried and used both in Iraq, my pick is the AK. The AR platform in 5.56 is more accurate, and minus all the add-ons, a little lighter and handier, but that AK just keeps going "BANG!" every time under all conditions. Properly zeroed, at most practical engagement ranges it just gives more punch to the target. If I had that one rifle to pick, it'd be an AK. --Stephen A

Being "raised" in the Army I initially thought and still do, that the AR is an awesome platform. Capable of really good precision and availability of parts it is great for our troops. Becoming an OPFOR guy, I spent a lot of time with the AK. Unlike the AR it NEVER failed to fire. Decent groups and relentless dependability. Now before AR fans go nuts, listen. The AR has made great strides with better maintenence procedures and the new short piston uppers that may come close to actually levelling the playing field between the two. What bodes really well for the enthusiast is that American ingenuity is producing some really great parts to increase the accuracy. And just think, we can own BOTH!! Unless we sit on our butts and let them take them away. Enjoy your freedom in both flavors and happy shooting. --Dragonscout

Caveman simple and more accurate than myth suggests. --Toolman

I prefer the AK platform because:

Much less expensive

Not as adversely effected by dirt

Higher powered cartridges

Easy to field strip and clean in field

Parts readily available in nearly any part of the world.

--Glockslinger

While the AK is almost bomb proof and mass produced all over the world, the AR has many advantages such as interchangeability of the upper receiver for any task at hand. I personally use my AR's for utility with the 16 inch barrel as well as a 24 incher for prairie dogs. Both options work well for each task. Just KEEP it CLEAN and it will not let you down! --Larry K

AK has better reliability, the most important thing needed in a combat weapon. --Buck

AK-47. More rugged design, more punch. While my wife has an AR, we both gravitate to the AK, my full stock AKM and the wife's WASR-10 underfolder. Both "take a liking and keep on ticking". Ten million ignorant peasants can't be all wrong. --John O'

What good does it do to have a more accurate rifle if it's not PERFECTLY RELIABLE? Stoner had it right with the greatly improved design of the AR18, but politics overrules

sanity, and as a result, lots of people died in Nam and elsewhere unnecessarily. --Sid Nap

The AK because of its ability to withstand the dirt of a battlefield and lack of cleaning. --jlutton1

I never had any failures with my AK. Cleaning is much easier and quicker. A piston AR may change that. The AR is more accurate at longer distance. Due to cost of rounds, I shoot more 7.62X39. --Teufdog79

The AK gas operating system is without equal when it comes to reliability and efficiency! I have to baby my ARs, but no coddling required for AKs! --Charles H

AK hands down. Those new piston ARs might change my mind though, time will tell. --brigade101

Better battle rifle caliber, better in the muck, cheaper and easier to manufacture. We should have learned our lesson in Vietnam and scrapped the AR. But as usual we build and issue three thousand dollar rifles shooting pipsqueak prairie dog cartridges when better three hundred dollar rifles that shoot real bullets already exist. --Shotgunnut

I was in the Army from Oct68 to Apr94. Each time I went in harm’s way I would turn in my M-16 as soon as I could find an AK-47 in good condition. I carried one in the first Gas War in 1990. When I out processed I turned the AK and six 30-round mag’s in to the MPs inspecting baggage prior to leaving the country. Dust storms and plain old sand did little to slow the AK. --Jim B

As a gunsmith, I believe the AR is more popular, BUT look at the AK history of reliability through how many wars! --LodgePole

The AK always goes bang! No cleaning, ridiculous "forward assist" or finicky internal mechanisms necessary! AK all the way. --Sarge