Friday, September 16, 2011

SHTF: The AR or AK Pattern Rifle

By Reginald Kaigler (DEMCAD)

There's been a lot of debate on Youtube, gun blogs and survivalist forums about which semi-auto rifle is superior for a SHTF (shit hits the fan) situation: the AR-15 or AK-47? Well, I'm here to tell you that both guns are very good rifles and there's no need to compare them. They were built for with two very different philosophies and the gun you should pick should compliment your strengths.

For example, I valued durability and reliability above all, so the reputation of the AK-47 attracted me to the GP WASR-10/63. The AR-15 and AR-10 are both reliable, but they require more maintenance. Since I had very limited experience with rifles, I chose the simple design of the AKM (AK-47 style rifle). I also assumed that unlike the guys in the U.S. military, in a SHTF situation, I would not have soldiers covering me when I cleaned and lubed my rifle. Therefore, selecting a rifle that required less maintenance and no lubricant would be a better fit for me.

And that's the key, which rifle is a good fix for you!

The AR-15 fires a smaller round that shots straighter than the 7.62x39mm that the AK-47 style rifles shoots. The AR-15 has superior accuracy and if you're in a rural area, this may help you in helps that the AK-47 can't. The AK-47's 7.62x39mm round will have more knockdown power and deeper penetration. The AK-74 shots a smaller 5.45x39mm round that shots straighter and has more range than the AK-47 style rifle. Moreover, the AR-10 shots the 308 win which is a bigger, more powerful round than both the 7.62x39 and 5.56x45mm (AR-15's round).

Both AR-15 and AR-10 offer greater accuracy and more range than the AK-47. I didn't care care as long as the AK-47 style rifle could hit man size targets at 100 meters. I live in an urban area, so I didn't think that I would need to hit targets at 400 yards away. But if you are in a rural area, you may prefer the AR. Both options are excellent, period.

What they are important?

The AR and AK rifles offer you superior firepower (20 and 30 round magazines) in a semi-auto platform. If you live in an urban area with a lot of crime, you may find yourself dealing with hostile gangs who want to bully and steal from you and neighbors. Shotguns are great for home defense, but have a limited range. Pistols are wonderful for personal carry defense, but have limited power and range. Simply put, some of these gangs are heavily armed with AR and AK. So they may not be neccessary for everyone, but I've living in the most dangerous city in America (Flint, Michigan).

Here are some rules to keep in mind when selecting a semi-auto rifle.

1) Stick with Your Crowd
Why would you buy an AR when most of your friends shoot an AK? Buy the rifle and caliber that your friends have, so that if things go south, you can share ammo and magazines. Then you should buy the additional AR rifle. It's okay to have an HK rifle, but you don't want to be the only guy in your group without an AR-15.

2. Stick with your Budget
The GP WASR-10/63 was well within my budget. It would have been stupid to spend 1,000 bucks on the AR-15 and not have any money for the ammo to actually practice shooting the gun.

My Rifle $400
Mako Group Pistol Grip $25
K-Var Hand guards and Nato length Stock $118

3. Research the Rifles
Some people hate the ergonomics on the AKM. The pistol grip feels like a small paint brush and the buttstock is too small for a 6'2" guy like myself. Sometimes I wonder if the AK-47 was designed for 11 year old girls. Kidding! It's a great rifle. I bought a new pistol grip and a longer stock.

The AK has a lot of accessories, but the AR is easier to modify. I didn't care to but a scope on the rifle, so it didn't matter.

By the way, if you buy a Century Arms rifle, make sure that you can physically inspect it before you buy for it. I bought my rifle at Dunham's Sports store.

4. Research the Ammo
There are corrosive (surplus) and non-corrosive ammunition for the AKM. The corrosive is cheap and stores longer, but you need to clean the gun after you shoot it. If you're rifle has a non-corrosive barrel, that will help as well. But seriously, aren't you suppose to clean your gun after you use it, anyway!

My guns are always cleaner than my room.

Wolf ammo is cheap can be used for both the AR and AK. Frankly, my knowledge on the AR is limited. I will saw this, 308 and 556 should be easier to find than the 7.62x39, because the U.S. military uses the AR-15. However, the 7.62x39mm is still very easy to find. The 5.45x39mm is very cheap (as of September 2011), but you usually have to look on the Internet to find it. Availability will vary from region to region.

5. Test the Rifles
Shoot your buddy's rifle and see if the AK-47 is too heavy. Remember, the AR is lighter so it will be easier to carry around. Since the AK-47 style rifle will require bigger rounds, you will be carrying more weight than you would if you bought an AR. I'm a 6'2" 300 pound animal, the extra weight of the AKM doesn't bother me. You may not feel the same after walking for miles with the rifle.

In closing, you may learn that you are more comfortable for the AR, but your friends all have an AK. If you can't afford both then it may be wiser to stick with the AK since it is a cheaper gun and you don't have much money. Later, you can get the AR. But that's what I would do. Whatever you do, make sure it is a gun that you are comfortable with.


  1. AR-15s are quite useful because all of their parts are interchangeable. The AR-15 now has a chrome lined bore which reduces the amount of cleaning that needs to happen. You can potentially put 600 rounds through an AR-15 before you have to actually clean it, and quite possibly more. The reason why I say 600 rounds is because that's the most I've ever put through my AR-15 before I actually cleaned it.

  2. AR-15? AK-47? Both superior weapons. The AK is probably more durable, and powerful. The AR-15, while less powerful, I believe fires a tumbling round. Have you ever seen what a tumbling 5.56mm round does to a man? It literally ricochets off of interior bones, and some more solid human tissue. Destroying everything in its path. So, it really just comes down to personal preference. Which are you most efficient with.


  4. A gun is worthless if it doesn't fire. Aks are more likely to fire when you need it. Simple as that. If you want WiFi get an ar, if you want to put rounds and kill your target go with ak. The abuse these guns can shrug off is amazing.