Flaws in the AK design: By an AK lover.


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Hoplophile
October 27, 2008, 02:27 AM
Before we get started, let me make a note of something: I'm currently holding a WASR-10/63 on my lap (was cleaning it). I love the AK and in my humble opinion, it is THE finest weapon ever designed.

That said, here are flaws I've found in the AK design.

1) The selector lever. You can't operate it without removing your hand from the grip. This can be fixed by an aftermarket part.

2) No bolt-hold open. Perhaps this is for the better, as it adds complexity, but reduces reload time. I don't know. This can also be fixed by an aftermarket part.

3) Charging handle is on the wrong side. I'd love to see an AK with the charging handle on the left, so I could charge it without taking my hand off the grip a la the FAL. Is this possible?

4) Dust cover is hard to put back on sometimes.

Other than that, I think it's the ultimate rifle :-)

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wyocarp
October 27, 2008, 02:31 AM
3) Charging handle is on the wrong side. I'd love to see an AK with the charging handle on the left, so I could charge it without taking my hand off the grip a la the FAL. Is this possible?

I wouldn't want that. It would be less stable and cause AD's.


1) The selector lever. You can't operate it without removing your hand from the grip. This can be fixed by an aftermarket part.

I never use mine. It isn't a problem.

Rubber_Duck
October 27, 2008, 02:35 AM
1) Agreed. The selector is teh suck.

2)Nothing says rock n' roll like charging an AK.
But seriously, I think this is one lacking feature that would be nice to have.

3)I agree on this one too, the handle could easily be put on the other side and a slot cut into the topcover to accomodate it. But this doesn't bother me really.

4)Not really a problem, keep practicing.


I love the AK, they're virtually indestructible. But the way I see it, nothing is perfect, so every gun will have it's flaws (whether real or perceived).

Candiru
October 27, 2008, 02:43 AM
I agree that the AK is a great design, but that it's not perfect. That being said, some of the flaws you pointed out are debatable.


1) The selector lever. You can't operate it without removing your hand from the grip. This can be fixed by an aftermarket part.


I've never had a problem working the selecter lever with my index finger while keeping a hand on the grip, but it does require a slight position shift.



2) No bolt-hold open. Perhaps this is for the better, as it adds complexity, but reduces reload time. I don't know. This can also be fixed by an aftermarket part.


There's a really good argument that this simplifies the AK manual of arms so that reloads and malfunction drills are performed exactly the same. Any time the rifle goes click, remove the magazine, put a new one in, and work the charging handle.



3) Charging handle is on the wrong side. I'd love to see an AK with the charging handle on the left, so I could charge it without taking my hand off the grip a la the FAL. Is this possible?


No argument there. It's awkward to work the handle with the firing hand on the grip: You either have to reach over the top or under the bottom.

You can get a bolt carrier with the charging handle relocated to the left side. It's called the Lightning Bolt (http://www.coloradoshootingsports.com/6.html).



4) Dust cover is hard to put back on sometimes.


Now you're just nitpicking. ;)

Kenpo
October 27, 2008, 02:47 AM
3) Charging handle is on the wrong side. I'd love to see an AK with the charging handle on the left, so I could charge it without taking my hand off the grip a la the FAL. Is this possible?

You take you're hand of the grip to run the charging handle? I found it to be pretty quick to use my left hand and reach under.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7hi20TI_jA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fz5LPaMhlOc&feature=related

sharkhunter2018
October 27, 2008, 02:52 AM
1) The selector lever. You can't operate it without removing your hand from the grip. Yea, you can get an aftermarket part, but some of the selectors are really stiff, mine included. Even if it were extended, I doubt I would be able to use only a finger. Besides, I don't use the safety. If it's loaded, I'm shooting.

2) No bolt-hold open. Perhaps this is for the better, as it adds complexity, but reduces reload time. I don't know. This can also be fixed by an aftermarket part. Practice some and it won't be much of an issue. Even replacing the empty with a fresh mag can be sped up some. Simply hit the mag catch lever with the fresh mag and insert fresh mag.

3) Charging handle is on the wrong side. I'd love to see an AK with the charging handle on the left, so I could charge it without taking my hand off the grip a la the FAL. Is this possible? Not really an issue for me. Even though I do use my right hand to charge it, it's not very difficult to tilt it to the left a bit to reach over and grab the handle with your left.

4) Dust cover is hard to put back on sometimes. It was an issue for me as well when I got my AK. But, once you take it apart enough for cleaning. This will cease to exist as a problem.

Rifleman 173
October 27, 2008, 02:52 AM
One of the things that I'm doing is experimenting with an M-4 variant that shoots 7.62 X 39 ammo. I have a Bushmaster lower and a Model 1 upper slapped together for this test. So far my biggest headache has been finding magazines that feed and hold 7.62 X 39 ammo and fit the mag well of the M-4 carbine. I have 5 of the 10 round mags which seem to work but I would like to get about 7 mags that hold about 25 rounds in each one for tactical work and testing. The ergonomics of the M-4 make it a user friendly carbine and much more user friendly than the AK type of rifles. The .223/5.56 bullet is just too wimpy for my liking so I opted for the 7.62 X 39 to use. The 6.8 SPC is too expensive at a buck a pop and the 6.5 Grendel is a nice rifle but it is tied up too much with patent controls and such to be practical to me. On top of everything the 3 most popular bullets are the 7.62 NATO, the 5.56 NATO and the 7.62 X 39. So why not go with what's easily available? So in the next few days I'll be test firing the 7.62 X 39 variant of the civilian M-4. Now, if you guys are really well behaved, I'll let you know how things come out in the testing...

Hoplophile
October 27, 2008, 02:53 AM
2)Nothing says rock n' roll like charging an AK.
But seriously, I think this is one lacking feature that would be nice to have.

Agreed, I absolutely love that sound. Clack, CLACK! They say bad guys crap themselves at the sound of a racked shotgun, I wonder if their intestines would simply fly out of their butts at the stentorian bark of the AK's abrupt tone...

lonegunman
October 27, 2008, 02:57 AM
With 75,000,000 copies in use in nearly every conflict on earth since 1947 I'm thinking they are not "flaws" worth mentioning.

You could really call them, "Things you would prefer the AK had to make you like it better."

The AK pretty much does exactly what it was designed to do for the right price and with the right amount of realibility. Sadly, the US military never seems to buy a weapon that does as well.

Evil Monkey
October 27, 2008, 03:25 AM
The AK is an obsolete design, ergonomically speaking. However, you can't blame the big Soviet Communist machine for wanting to mass produce a cheap commodity firearm. Remember folks, the AK was never meant for the professional.

There are serious flaws in its design, certainly.

The selector is trash today. After market parts don't help when it's so stiff in manipulation. An ambidextrous thumb switch is just as simple to manufacture and much easier to manipulate, since you are using your thumbs.

The AK doesn't have a bolt catch and external release. These days, you can't take a rifle like this as seriously as those rifles that have the improvement.

I don't like the rock and lock magazine system that the AK uses. A straight locking system like the AR15 is desirable because it's easier to work with. If a polymer mag is to be developed for an AK, it should have steel reinforcement for the locking tabs or the mag can be broken right out of the rifle's shallow mag well if there's enough force (such as dropping the rifle on the magazine. This applies to any rifle that uses rock and lock mags). A straight lock mag like the AR15 that's made of polymer doesn't need steel reinforcement because the mag is designed to go up and down into the mag well only, not an additional sideways movement as required by the AK's rock and lock design. As a result, straight lock mags can be made cheaper. Further more, if a rock and lock system is to be used in a bullpup rifle, the magazine can interfere with the pistol grip when manipulating the magazine during insertion into the mag well. This could also be problematic in a conventional rifle with a forward grip or grenade launcher attached, although straighter mags like the 5.45mm have less problems than pronouncedly curved ones like the 7.62mm AK magazine.

The identity of the AK, the long stroke gas operated mechanism, can be considered a "flaw". With its long steel piston, attached to the massive carrier, and the huge 3 lug bolt, you have some great mechanical recoil. If it wasn't somewhat of a problem, the Russians wouldn't have messed with the AEK-971\972\973 and AK-107\108\109 rifles, which utilized a synchronized counter weight that moved forward as the carrier assembly reciprocated.

The fix is simple. Machine a smaller carrier, possible a lighter weight alloy. The piston should be a lightweight tube with a chromed piston head screwed on at the receiving end. Finally, the bolt can stay the same. Another route would be using an AR18 operating system which features a very light weight carrier/bolt assembley, and a light weight piston in a short stroke gas operated system which separates the piston rod from the carrier, thus, not allowing the mechanical recoil to be received in one large pulse.

I'll be back to crap on the AK some more later. :D

nalioth
October 27, 2008, 03:27 AM
You guys forget for what this weapon was designed to do 60 years ago.

It was NOT designed to be a 'go fast' (operationally) gun.

It was designed to be used alongside hundreds (if not thousands) of your peers.

(1) the commie soldier would be instructed to take the safety off and fire until they were told to safe it.
(2)(3)"super fast combat reloads" weren't designed into it.

These arguments are like complaining that a 1953 Corvette won't perform like a 1970 one [1](they're both Corvettes, right?).

For it's time, the AK worked just fine.

[1]Length of time between AK-47 and M-16 adoption by their respective militaries.

Note: Attempted to post this at 0114 CST Monday 27 Oct 2008 - forum kept rejecting the post with 1. This forum requires that you wait 60 seconds between posts. Please try again in XX seconds.

HorseSoldier
October 27, 2008, 03:35 AM
I've read arguments that the AK's ergonomics are deliberate and that the intent was that you had to break your grip and take your hand off the pistol grip to work the controls as a means of reducing ADs and such. Not sure if that's really what Kalashnikov (or some obscure Soviet bureaucrat who wrote the specs Kalashnikov built to) had in mind, but in practice it's pretty true. You can work around AK ergos to an extent with little tricks like going over/under to work the charging handle or finger sweeping or staging the safety downward, but ultimately it's usually as quick and more positive to just run it right handed for shooters who aren't going to drill a lot with the AK.

2) No bolt-hold open. Perhaps this is for the better, as it adds complexity, but reduces reload time. I don't know. This can also be fixed by an aftermarket part.

Lack of bolt hold open makes for a lot of clicks instead of bangs if you're shooting extended strings of rounds with an AK. A bolt hold open tends to produce a discernible change in recoil and cycle of weapon to cue reloading. Not a huge liability if you're topping off with a fresh mag after each engagement/bit of suppressive fire/whatever, so there are technique work arounds as well as mechanical ones.

3) Charging handle is on the wrong side. I'd love to see an AK with the charging handle on the left, so I could charge it without taking my hand off the grip a la the FAL. Is this possible?

There's the AK Lightning Bolt (http://www.coloradoshootingsports.com/10.html) from Colorado Shooting Sports, though it's not cheap ($225), and AK enthusiasts seem to be kind of divided on its value. Based on the one I've seen someone running in a class, it seems durable enough.

I agree with the issue some people have pointed out -- if you're trying to learn the AK to run any old AK, the Lightning Bolt builds bad muscle memory. (On the other hand, if you're trying to make an AK competitive with the AR in terms of speed and fightability, it looks like an improvement.)

Deus Machina
October 27, 2008, 03:56 AM
For the time the AK was designed, it more than supplied the needs.

I, for one, love it overall. And I do think having all the big, clunky controls on the right side is exactly what you need. It was, after all, made to be thrown to untrained grunts in the middle of Russia.

How about you try manipulating an AR's mag release with either numb hands or ski gloves. Your left hand (for most of us) would be suitable only to hold the weapon while the right manipulates.

That said, these days and in warmer climates, I would like to see a model compatible with AR mags and with a left-side or rear cocking handle.

For those tinker-minded, there's even a spot you could mount one that would stay forward after cocking. Easy thing, but I'd need a second bolt carrier and cover to attempt it. I think one on the left that moves how it does now would whack my arm now and then.

RP88
October 27, 2008, 12:10 PM
the REAL flaws of the AK design:

-iron sights (fixed by putting on a red dot)
-lack of modularity (doesn't really matter, since all you'll really need is a grenade launcher, which the AK can be equipped with)

that's about it. Everything else is a simple matter of individual preference (grip, ergos, etc.)

that's just my opinion, though.

briansmithwins
October 27, 2008, 12:13 PM
Hmmm, this guy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONXeqTHHCfA doesn't seem to have any problems manipulating his AK74.

1) The selector works. When you are not in combat you leave it closed which protects the weapon from getting garbage in it and prevents the bolt from being fully opened. If you weapon is on safe, carry it like the guy in the video shows you.

2) No bolt hold open. This means you are missing out on extra parts that would be needed to make this work & a way for exterior garbage to get into the gun when the bolt was open. You're also missing an extra control: where would you put it? As it stands all the AKs controls can be easily manipulated with the right hand.

3) The charging handle is on the correct side if you accept that the rifle is meant to be manipulated with the right hand. It's not a AR or FAL, don't try to manipulate it like one. Moving the charging handle would complicate the design.

4) Dust cover hard to replace. Ok, sometimes. I generally line it up and whack it with the palm of my hand.

the massive carrier, and the huge 3 lug bolt Uh, the AK bolt and bolt carrier mass almost exactly what bolt, bolt carrier, and buffer do in a AR. Also, I've never seen a 3 lugged AK bolt...

If a polymer mag is to be developed for an AK, it should have steel reinforcement for the locking tabs or the mag can be broken right out of the rifle's shallow mag well if there's enough force You mean like the Bulgarian waffle mags? Like these: http://www.k-var.com/shop/downloads.php

I've been shooting my stock Arsenal SLR107FR at our local rifle matches for the past 8 months or so. When I first started using it (as opposed to an AR) I wasn't that good. Then I started practicing mag changes, selector manipulation, and the rest of the manual of arms of the AK. It's been interesting.

Comparing the AR which I'd been shooting for about 2 years and the AK I'd sy either rifle, with practice, is capable of engaging man sized targets out to 300 yards. Either rifle can be fast, handy and effective. The AR gets points for having a flatter shooting cartridge that makes range estimation much less critical. The AK gets points for it's robustness. I have had (and have seen) AR parts break and rifles that quit working. I've never seen a functioning AK that stopped. BSW

Weights (in grams) of AR and AK reciprocating parts. Chunky stuff on the AR buffer is fresh grease.

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y3/briansmithwins/ARrecipparts.jpg

http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y3/briansmithwins/AKrecipparts.jpg

3sixbits
October 27, 2008, 12:25 PM
The stock design under recoil makes target rea-acquiring is next to impossible due to muzzle flip.

The audible clank form the selector lever. Makes for great attention getter when trying for stealth.

The sights are so poor that they become unusable in full auto. Of course due to the poor stock design the muzzle flip is so bad the sights are unimportant.

How the world became so in love with a copy of someone Else's work as the AK plainly is (copy of the German)M-43/44 has always made me wonder? The ctg is a copy of the 7.92 Kurtz. Yep AK was a genius in what? His ability to copy and adapt the work of others.

SlamFire1
October 27, 2008, 12:50 PM
1) The selector lever. You can't operate it without removing your hand from the grip. This can be fixed by an aftermarket part.

As stated before, probably made this way so you have to take your hands off the grips.

The system is simple and positive. You have to delibrately operate the mechanism, and you can do it with shaking hands.

I have no doubt the Soviets had plenty of accidental discharges with their barely educated peasants. Even with training, our troops (and Cops!) have accidental discharges. You get 15,000 nervous people together, give them weapons, if the weapon is easy to set off, someone will do it. I read about accidental discharges with Garands in WWII. Happens in all Armies.

2) No bolt-hold open. Perhaps this is for the better, as it adds complexity, but reduces reload time. I don't know. This can also be fixed by an aftermarket part.

I don't know why the HK91 or the AK does not have a hold open device. Such a device was found to be necessary with bolt rifles. I do not know how you can overcome this even with training. In combat, is anyone keeping track of the number of rounds you fire, like 12, 13, 14,....? What do guys do, shoot off a burst and drop a partially filled mag?

22lr
October 27, 2008, 01:32 PM
My biggest thing against the AK is that the safety is a pain to take off in a hurry, and since the charging handle is on the wrong side it dosnt work to carry it cocked but unloaded. A tactical rifle needs to be able to be brought into action in a split second and frankly that's why I don't like the AK as much of other platforms.

briansmithwins
October 27, 2008, 01:37 PM
The way I treat the lack of a BOH: If I haven't fired that many rounds I assume it's a misfire and run the bolt. If I have shot off 'some' number of rounds I assume the mag is empty and change mags (and run the bolt).

I tend to reload AKs with my right hand so the left hand just has to stabilize the rifle while the right hand reloads and manipulates the charging handle. If I'm shooting off my left side I just reverse everything.

I also usually store AK mags feed lips up as that lets me do a smoother reload.

It's pretty much backwards from how I do the AR manual of arms. BSW

cvb
October 27, 2008, 04:07 PM
I see no flaw in the the design -except for the steep asking price.

HorseSoldier
October 27, 2008, 04:18 PM
Hmmm, this guy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONXeqTHHCfA doesn't seem to have any problems manipulating his AK74.

He'd have huge problems beating most any competent AR shooter on a clock to getting two rounds into a target at pretty much any range.

The video reminds me of a general observation I read at some point about Soviet/Warsaw Pact kit versus its Western equivalents -- simpler, rugged designs that are harder for the operator to employ effectively (or as effectively as their NATO equivalents). Seems very much to be the case with the handling techniques displayed.

I've never seen a functioning AK that stopped.

Spend more time around them. It's a tough design, but it can and does fail. My experience has been that it's less likely to have stoppages than an AR, but when it does it's more likely to be a fight ender that turns your rifle into a paperweight (stage 3 sort of failure).


How the world became so in love with a copy of someone Else's work as the AK plainly is (copy of the German)M-43/44 has always made me wonder? The ctg is a copy of the 7.92 Kurtz. Yep AK was a genius in what? His ability to copy and adapt the work of others.

The AK and the StG-44 have pretty much nothing in common internally. The AK is an expression of the same concept as the StG-44 -- full bore, reduced velocity sort of intermediate round -- but it is not at all a copy of StG-44. The difference is really apparent if you get a chance to handle the StG-44 and see how the ergos compare, or disassemble one and see how radically different they are internally. About the only thing they have in common is a well curved mag, due to similar round geometries, and having the gas tube over the barrel.

H2O MAN
October 27, 2008, 04:21 PM
3) Charging handle is on the wrong side.

No. The charging handle is on the right side were it's supposed to be.

The charging handle on the Garand and M14 are also on the right side.

Right = Correct.

HorseSoldier
October 27, 2008, 04:31 PM
No, it's really not, except for left handed shooters.

Evil Monkey
October 27, 2008, 04:39 PM
Ambidextrous = correct

Having it only on one side gives either right or left handers a speed disadvantage.

BUT.......when you have a bolt catch on the rifle, who cares about where the charging handle is?

elmerfudd
October 27, 2008, 04:44 PM
I tend to agree with H20 MAN about the charging handle. It's not as easy to work, but you can still easily manipulate a charging handle on the right side with your left hand. When you get down into a prone, sitting or kneeling position however working a left side charging handle is a PITA. At that point the left hand is supporting the weight of the rifle and removing it to work the charging handle throws off everything. It's even worse if you're using a sling.

elmerfudd
October 27, 2008, 04:49 PM
Ambidextrous = correct

Not for a charging handle. Ambidextrous charging handles interfere with optics mounting, (the AR15 charging handle doesn't count as it's just plain non-bidextrous and doesn't work well for righties or lefties).

RP88
October 27, 2008, 04:59 PM
I really don't see the ergo problems on an AK, but that is probably because I'm left-handed. I really don't understand why a lefty would want a 'left-handed' gun for centerfires (bolt actions make sense though), because it seems much easier to me (and for me) to operate a 'right-handed gun' and not have to unshoulder or release the gun from my trigger-hand side.

With my normal AK, I drop the mag and insert a new one with my weak hand, then charge the gun with my weak hand without having to even take the gun off my shoulder or use my left hand at all. Maybe someone should really switch the layouts some.

and i agree with the comment about the AR handle being non-bidextrious. It is just as easy (and awkward) on any side. I guess that is a good strength, though; you won't see a difference in speed between any capable shooter in the loading process.

Girodin
October 27, 2008, 05:24 PM
I found it to be pretty quick to use my left hand and reach under.

This is what I do. The AK doesn't have the greatest ergos but practicing reloads and various manipulations can allow one to be very quick with an AK.

Girodin
October 27, 2008, 05:26 PM
Ambidextrous charging handles interfere with optics mounting

The PS90 has an ambidextrous charging that in no way interferes with optics. I suppose it depends on the design.

JR47
October 27, 2008, 05:40 PM
The AK47 was designed for a shorter person than the American average. It was also designed to be used differently then American soldiers.

The philosophy that requires everything to be regarded in American terms is faulty.

AKs that are sufficiently worn, and dirty, will fail. Then again, the American M16, even when new will fail when dirty, much less when worn. The AK will shoot much longer before failure with a minimum of maintenance.

Aimed fire at distance was relegated to the DMR position in Soviet squads, and he had a different rifle, or a selected AK. The Soviets weren't big on single combat. They believed in massed artillery, then armored strikes through the lines. The armor to be supported by dismounted infantry. They were to go around heavily defended areas, and continue deep into the rear echelon, allowing the defended position to "wither on the vine". The infantry kept anti-armor weapons away from the armor, which would then use their weapons to keep their infantry safe.

Nowhere was there any concept of lone soldiers operating by themselves. The AK was developed for those actions, and proved itself more capable of doing that than the M16 in the hands of our proxy troops.

Say what you want about it being obsolete, but there are an awful lot of armies, including the Finns, still using the AKM, in 7.62x39.

RyanM
October 27, 2008, 05:52 PM
I don't like the rock and lock magazine system that the AK uses. A straight locking system like the AR15 is desirable because it's easier to work with.

For an illiterate conscript, or someone who otherwise doesn't have time to drill a lot, the AK's mag system is great. Yes, it may be slower and clumsier until you get used to it. But mag tensioning problems are basically nonexistant. With the AR-15, if it jams, you slap the magazine first, because most jams are caused by improper mag tension. That's also the real reason why you should download your mags by 1 or 2. With the AK, why bother hitting the mag? The magazine would flop out after your first shot, if it wasn't all the way in.

The rock-and-lock gives a huge amount of leverage, as well. I can easily seat a fully loaded magazine into an AK using just my pinkie finger. Totally impossible to do that with an AR. Once again, eliminates many mag insertion problems.

HorseSoldier
October 27, 2008, 06:37 PM
It's even worse if you're using a sling.

If you're using a sling, we're no longer talking about combat marksmanship, so optimal design considerations are different. In terms of the current thread, it's definitely not relevant to how the AK is employed (or 99% of service rifle use in the last 100 years since people stopped advancing in line-abreast open order in 1914 or so)

The rock-and-lock gives a huge amount of leverage, as well. I can easily seat a fully loaded magazine into an AK using just my pinkie finger. Totally impossible to do that with an AR. Once again, eliminates many mag insertion problems.

It creates its own problems. I've watched a good number of competent shooters under self- or clock-induced stress simply keep missing the proper placement and motion to lock in an AK mag, resulting in slower mag changes due to fumbling. While I've seen some botched AR loads, it seems to be a bigger (and more protracted when it happens) issue with the AK pattern.

I will say this can speak to training -- more time on the AK meaning less fumbling, etc. -- but would also say the proper technique seems harder to master than the AR. This goes back to what I said earlier about "simple designs being more complicated for the operator."

Evil Monkey
October 27, 2008, 06:56 PM
I notice that every time the AK is being criticized or glorified, it's often being compared to the AR15.

Do you guys forget that the world is filled with designs that put both the AK and AR15 in the metal scrap bin?

Since we're talking about the AK in this thread, try comparing it to some other modern rifle and see if the AK still stands tall.

H2O MAN
October 27, 2008, 07:08 PM
Keep in mind that the AKM can be modernized and enhanced to increase functionality.
I have a better pistol grip and a Kreb's enhanced selector lever that need to be installed.
http://www.athenswater.com/images/T56SHTF-PKG.jpg

Justin
October 27, 2008, 07:32 PM
Do you guys forget that the world is filled with designs that put both the AK and AR15 in the metal scrap bin?

By what criteria are there auto-loading rifles that are better than the AR?

Cost? Accuracy? Functionality? Ease of use?

I have to say, I'm hard pressed to think of a form of rifle competition that would be open to AR-pattern rifles which it doesn't utterly dominate.

camslam
October 27, 2008, 08:39 PM
By what criteria are there auto-loading rifles that are better than the AR?

Cost? Accuracy? Functionality? Ease of use?

I have to say, I'm hard pressed to think of a form of rifle competition that would be open to AR-pattern rifles which it doesn't utterly dominate.

Me thinks our friend Justin might be drinking a bit too much AR Kool Aid on his birthday. The AR is great, and is enhanced by a choice of a stronger caliber than the .223, but let's not go overboard in regards to how great it is.

There are a number of people that would argue there are plenty of other rifles that are either equal to or better than the AR when it comes to Cost, Accuracy, Functionality, and Ease of use.

AK103K
October 27, 2008, 09:11 PM
The biggest flaw with the AK, or any of them for that matter, is most always the user.

With familiarization and practice, most all of the AK's supposed deficiencies go away. Same goes for most other platforms that are different than the M16/AR platforms that seem to be the guns everything else is judged by (hmmm, funny, I always hear nothing but bad things about them on the internet, except when it comes to the AK :) ). They all have their good and not so good points, but in every case, its still the user thats the weakest link. If you cant make the gun work or shoot it reasonably well, its not the guns fault.

RP88
October 27, 2008, 09:42 PM
...there are plenty of other rifles that are either equal to or better than the AR when it comes to Cost, Accuracy, Functionality, and Ease of use...

name them.

RockyMtnTactical
October 27, 2008, 09:47 PM
It easily has the worst ergonomics of any rifle I can think of. Still a decent rifle though.

HorseSoldier
October 27, 2008, 10:16 PM
Me thinks our friend Justin might be drinking a bit too much AR Kool Aid on his birthday. The AR is great, and is enhanced by a choice of a stronger caliber than the .223, but let's not go overboard in regards to how great it is.

His statement wasn't speculative, if I'm not mistaken. The AR dominates in shooting sports where intermediate cartridges and service rifles compete.

There are a number of people that would argue there are plenty of other rifles that are either equal to or better than the AR when it comes to Cost, Accuracy, Functionality, and Ease of use.

There are very few that can rival it in terms of ease of use for the operator. It beats most for accuracy. Those designs which do give it a run for its money in these categories tend to be fairly recent ones which draw (sometimes very heavily) on its ergonomics.

Cost -- yeah, there are cheaper guns out there. Some that are more expensive also. Functionality, the AR gets the job done, despite internet ink spilled to the contrary, though there are weapons that deserve the nod they get for being more rugged and such (AK among them, of course).

AK103K
October 27, 2008, 10:26 PM
It easily has the worst ergonomics of any rifle I can think of.
I think a lot of the problem with comments like this is, a lot of this depends on what you have experience with to judge everything else by. Even then, whats your experience level with anything you do know and is it a realistic comparison? Have you actually taken the time and effort to learn to properly use "any" of them, or are you just partial or familiar with one type or family and everything else is lacking?

If your comparing the M16/AR to the AK's, do you really have enough time on both to declare one truly better than the other?

Personally, I dont see them to be all that far apart, especially if both are equipped with a good red dot.

anymanusa
October 27, 2008, 11:27 PM
You take you're hand of the grip to run the charging handle? I found it to be pretty quick to use my left hand and reach under.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7hi20TI_jA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fz5LP...eature=related

A++ to you for including a nice video,.. . but you must admit that you are COMPENSATING for a factory deficiency. If you can reach ACCROSS the rifle that quickly, imagine how quickly you could charge it if the handle were on the right (left) side.

coondawg47
October 27, 2008, 11:40 PM
Both the M-16 and Ak-47 are both great rifles, both for different reasons. If you like accuracy over reliability then you will probably like the AR better. I like the safety ergonomics of the AR-15 better but like the charging handle of the Ak better. Target accuracy of the AR is better but combat accuracy is the same with irons. I actually prefer the AK sights over the AR as I shot those types of sights long before peeps (I know the peeps are more accurate). But I also learned how to drive with a stick shift and still prefer a stick over automatics. So as usual it all boils down to what you prefer. I carried every version of the M-16 through the M-4 (over 25 years) and never felt under armed while carrying one. I did observe lots of malfunctions over the years, usually due to bad magazines or the mag not seated fully.

jerkface11
October 27, 2008, 11:57 PM
I'm interested in which rifle is cheaper than, more accurate than, easier to use than, and more fuctional than an AR15. I'll be buying when when I find it.

elmerfudd
October 28, 2008, 12:11 AM
If you're using a sling, we're no longer talking about combat marksmanship, so optimal design considerations are different.

I can't see any reason why you wouldn't use a sling in combat for a long shot that requires stability. It takes maybe half a second longer to do it and greatly improves accuracy. Sure, they're not ideal for CQB, but for a shot over 200 yards most people need all the help they can get.

Glock Glockler
October 28, 2008, 12:23 AM
1) The selector lever. You can't operate it without removing your hand from the grip. This can be fixed by an aftermarket part

Some might say that if you're in Indian country your safety shouldn't be on in the first place, just keep your finger off the trigger.

2) No bolt-hold open. Perhaps this is for the better, as it adds complexity, but reduces reload time. I don't know. This can also be fixed by an aftermarket part.

Having it that way also keeps dirt and crud from entering the action, the more time it's open the greater your chances of that happening.

3) Charging handle is on the wrong side. I'd love to see an AK with the charging handle on the left, so I could charge it without taking my hand off the grip a la the FAL. Is this possible?

If you lie prone you can turn the gun on it's side to get extra low and the charging handle becomes a crude sighting tool, not great but better than nothing. Also, keep in mind that the AK was born from the experience on the Eastern front, where there was not always enough ammo to go around, the guns were used like lances and spears. The AK is great for that, it's a magnificent club to maul people with, but the way the Russkies are trained to do so involves balancing the side of the receiver on the left hand as the right one thrusts with the buttstock. If the charging handle was on the left side it'll destroy your left hand while doing that.

All that being said, working it with your left hand underneath the gun isn't such a big deal. Those things you mentioned aren't necessarily flaws, just differences that reflect the design philosophies of Soviets.

Coronach
October 28, 2008, 01:31 AM
Practice some and it won't be much of an issue. Even replacing the empty with a fresh mag can be sped up some. Simply hit the mag catch lever with the fresh mag and insert fresh mag.I am still waiting for someone to show me a fast reload-with-retention drill for the AK. As in, I just ripped off 10-12 rounds, I want to replace the on-board mag with a fresh one, but I do not want to smack my depleted mag in the butt with my fresh one and send it skittering across the deck, I'd rather place it in a pocket or dump pouch in case I need the rounds later.

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Face it. In the year 2008, the mag changes could be better, ergonomically speaking. That's a design flaw (despite the very valid excuses that it is not that huge of a deal, that the rifle is 61 years old, and the clunky system has some real advantages in the durability/reliability department).

Mike

elmerfudd
October 28, 2008, 02:11 AM
I am still waiting for someone to show me a fast reload-with-retention drill for the AK.

Here's one way to do it. Grab your fresh mag. Hold it upside down near the bottom of the mag. Using the same hand, grab the empty mag that's still in the rifle, holding the two mags together, (just like they were taped together "jungle style" by an idiot). Using your thumb, release the empty mag, then rotate both the hand holding the mags and the rifle until things line up and insert the new mag. Then reach under the rifle and rack the charging handle.

It's not lightning fast, but it can be reasonably quick and you do retain the mag.

AK103K
October 28, 2008, 08:41 AM
I am still waiting for someone to show me a fast reload-with-retention drill for the AK. As in, I just ripped off 10-12 rounds, I want to replace the on-board mag with a fresh one, but I do not want to smack my depleted mag in the butt with my fresh one and send it skittering across the deck, I'd rather place it in a pocket or dump pouch in case I need the rounds later.
I have to assume because your asking, that you have never really tried to do it yourself? It can easily be done if you take the time to figure it out. I can do it just about as fast as I can my AR's, and I never take my hand off the grip when I do it.

Again, it seems that most of the complaints are from people who havent bothered to actually take the time to try and learn the gun they are bitching about. If you dont spend some quality time with what your trying to learn, then you really dont have a true knowledge base to draw from when you try to compare it to something else. Ten or fifteen minutes at the range shooting your buddys gun and a couple of mags of ammo doesnt really qualify you to make the comparison either. Just because you struggle working the gun, doesnt mean you will after a short learning curve. It really helps though if you have someone who knows how to work it to help you along.

JR47
October 28, 2008, 11:02 AM
Philosophy differs. Just like the comparison to American rifles over the years. The WWI comparison was that the Springfield was a great target rifle, but the Enfield was a great battle rifle. America has always tended towards accuracy in it's small-arms. That was fine when we actually expected soldiers to be marksmen.

Today, that's not so much the case. Look at the addition of the DMR to the platoons and squads. This was a prominently Soviet position, adopted after the AK. The use of the sling to steady shooting is also not a universal component of basic marksmanship training today.

More and more, the American Infantryman is moving away from individual marksmanship, and towards combined arms, al la the Soviet model.

As to the question of "better" rifles than the AR/M system. The HK 416, the Sig 556, and the Israeli Tavor designs are as accurate, and more reliable. Cheaper? Taking away the business side, and looking at the actual costs in materials and machining, they are easily the same, if not cheaper.

jerkface11
October 28, 2008, 12:47 PM
An HK416 IS an AR15!!!!! However it the SIG and the Tavor are more expensive. The controls on the SIG are basically the same as the AR. I've seen no evidence than any of them are noticeably more reliable than the AR either. So no none of these rifles meet the criteria set earlier.

benEzra
October 28, 2008, 12:56 PM
I am still waiting for someone to show me a fast reload-with-retention drill for the AK. As in, I just ripped off 10-12 rounds, I want to replace the on-board mag with a fresh one, but I do not want to smack my depleted mag in the butt with my fresh one and send it skittering across the deck, I'd rather place it in a pocket or dump pouch in case I need the rounds later.
Grab the magazine in the gun with your left hand, thumb on the release, fingers wrapping around the front of the mag. Press the release with your thumb, remove the mag, place in pouch, grab fresh mag, insert.

How is that any slower than an AR? You still have to grab the mag and put it away, and pressing the release with your trigger finger (AR) is no faster than pressing it with the thumb of the mag-changing hand (AK).

And if you are reloading an empty AK with retention, it is same as above except after you insert the mag, you reach under the rifle (behind the magazine) and slap the charging handle with your left hand. Not all that much slower than slapping the bolt release on an AR, and if the AR's bolt is closed, probably faster than running the AR's charging handle.

As Gabe Suarez and others have noted, most of the AR's reloading speed advantage is in reloading an EMPTY gun WITHOUT retention of the spent mag, which is probably not all that common in combat (but can be important in IPSC, 3-gun, etc.). When reloading a non-empty gun with retention, an AK isn't significantly slower.

If you can reach ACCROSS the rifle that quickly, imagine how quickly you could charge it if the handle were on the right (left) side.
Maybe half a second faster. And having the charging handle on the right side is necessary to allow mounting optics on the left side of the receiver, and allows the safety lever to seal the bolt handle slot against dirt and mud when the safety is on.

And if the bolt is down and you need to cycle the action, it's still easier to slap the charging handle of an AK with your left hand than it is to cycle the charging handle of an AR with either hand, IMO.

You can put the charging handle on the left side with a Lightning Bolt or somesuch, but the drawback is an open gaping slot in the left side of your gun for dirt, sand, and gravel to get in. I personally like it like it is.

AK103K
October 28, 2008, 01:10 PM
With the AK, you ALWAYS stroke the bolt after any reload. That way there is no doubt the rifle is loaded.

I've had the bolts on AR's go forward on an empty mag before more than once, so they arent exempt from an empty chamber after a reload either.

Justin
October 28, 2008, 01:32 PM
Me thinks our friend Justin might be drinking a bit too much AR Kool Aid on his birthday. The AR is great, and is enhanced by a choice of a stronger caliber than the .223, but let's not go overboard in regards to how great it is.

The AR15 is predominantly the choice of competitive shooters in both High Power Service Rifle matches as well as for National Match guns. These are iron-sighted or peep-sighted rifles that are shot out to 600 yards.

The AR15 is the overwhelming choice among Multigun/3 Gun competitors.

For close in hosing, the AK can generally keep pace with the AR, but once you move to distance shooting the stuff that most people consider to be minor nits become a major hindrance to getting rounds on target.

Regarding the reliability issue, I think it's generally overblown. If AR's were not reliable competitive shooters simply wouldn't use them. It's arguable that they require more maintenance than an AK, but even then, it's not that hard to clean a rifle, and the likelihood that any of us will ever find ourselves in circumstances where we're depending on a rifle that we haven't been able to clean on a regular basis is practically nil.

JR47
October 28, 2008, 01:32 PM
An HK416 IS an AR15!!!!! However it the SIG and the Tavor are more expensive. The controls on the SIG are basically the same as the AR. I've seen no evidence than any of them are noticeably more reliable than the AR either. So no none of these rifles meet the criteria set earlier.

Really? Than suppose you list the interchangeable parts?

Try reading what was written. Exchange rates, and private, small numbers, purchases are no way to actually compare prices.

I've seen no evidence that the common M4, or M16A4, is capable of this outstanding competitive accuracy mentioned. Purpose-built guns are just that, and not at representative of more production-line guns. Most of the award-winning ARs have to be single loaded to gain that last, award winning, accuracy.

That the modular system is capable of being built into a stellar performer is obvious. However, the average gun is no where near that capability.

What I have seen by shooting the Sig, and the Tavor, is that both of them are more accurate than all but the most expensive ARs, out of the box. This isn't read a book, or watch You Tube statistics, but hands-on experience.

briansmithwins
October 28, 2008, 02:03 PM
The AKs 'unergonomic' controls are all right in the same area, easily accessed by the right hand: Bolt handle, safety, mag release are all a short move away from the trigger/pistol grip.

On the AR, the controls are spread out on both sides of the rifle and require both hands: Trigger, mag release, forward assist (not that you should be using it) and safety are all run right handed. Bolt release and charging handle with the left hand. The rifle can be operated quickly, but it does take training.


For close in hosing, the AK can generally keep pace with the AR

True, if you consider close in hosing to be hitting man sized targets out to 300 yards.

Realistically, men wearing drab clothing tend to be damn hard to see at 300 yards, much less past that. BSW

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
October 28, 2008, 02:05 PM
Other than that, I think it's the ultimate rifle

I agree. All 4 of your problems are fixed by the Robinson XCR which uses the Kalashnikov system (in essence). That makes the XCR the ultimate in both your book and mine, I guess. :)

Plus it fixed the rock-in mag problem too, in addition to those 4, by creating a "push & lock" simple AR style mag insertion. For those that say "this is not a problem; look here at this ol' boy who does lightning fast mag changes with an AK", my answer is - Let's see him do that with massive adrenaline dump, tunnel vision, loss of fine motor skills, cottonmouth, etc., when people are shooting back.

The XCR ALSO makes the charging handle non-reciprocating, but enables instant 2-way bolt control with a simple push-in of the charging handle to engage the bolt carrier.

The XCR ALSO has an adjustable gas system, for good measure, as if the kalashnikov operating system is not good enough. But just in case, for that 0.0000001% situation where you're not able to clean more often than every 5,000 rounds. :)

The XCR ALSO allows a much better sighting system, with many more/better options.

The XCR is ALSO highly modular, AND better made, AND lighter, AND so on. The XCR ends the AR vs. AK debate. It takes the best of both and combines them; there is no more debate. Sorry, I've been sippin the XCR koolaid a bit.:p

RockyMtnTactical
October 28, 2008, 02:11 PM
I think a lot of the problem with comments like this is, a lot of this depends on what you have experience with to judge everything else by. Even then, whats your experience level with anything you do know and is it a realistic comparison? Have you actually taken the time and effort to learn to properly use "any" of them, or are you just partial or familiar with one type or family and everything else is lacking?


It doesn't matter. The AK does have the worst ergos. You don't have to defend it. You like the AK? That's fine. The AK has plenty of good features and is a venerable firearm. However, it's not perfect. The ergos simply suck, compared to anything.

Evil Monkey
October 28, 2008, 02:46 PM
You can't engage in a logical conversation, speaking negatively on what the second party is emotionally attached to.

You can tell, in this example, a person who loves AK's that his favorite rifle has serious and quite obvious issues and that person will come back with a really lame excuse or rebuttal.

You can't take an emotionally attached person seriously anymore. This thread can't be taken seriously anymore.

benEzra
October 28, 2008, 03:08 PM
The AKs 'unergonomic' controls are all right in the same area, easily accessed by the right hand: Bolt handle, safety, mag release are all a short move away from the trigger/pistol grip.

On the AR, the controls are spread out on both sides of the rifle and require both hands: Trigger, mag release, forward assist (not that you should be using it) and safety are all run right handed. Bolt release and charging handle with the left hand. The rifle can be operated quickly, but it does take training.
To run an AK most efficiently, the mag release and bolt will be run with the left hand, assuming you are right handed, and the right hand will run the safety and trigger. Some people may be able to run an AK quickly while doing everything with only the right hand, but most people do best with the right hand staying in firing position.

elmerfudd
October 28, 2008, 03:16 PM
I agree. All 4 of your problems are fixed by the Robinson XCR which uses the Kalashnikov system (in essence). That makes the XCR the ultimate in both your book and mine, I guess.

Plus it fixed the rock-in mag problem too, in addition to those 4, by creating a "push & lock" simple AR style mag insertion. For those that say "this is not a problem; look here at this ol' boy who does lightning fast mag changes with an AK", my answer is - Let's see him do that with massive adrenaline dump, tunnel vision, loss of fine motor skills, cottonmouth, etc., when people are shooting back.

The XCR ALSO makes the charging handle non-reciprocating, but enables instant 2-way bolt control with a simple push-in of the charging handle to engage the bolt carrier.

The XCR ALSO has an adjustable gas system, for good measure, as if the kalashnikov operating system is not good enough. But just in case, for that 0.0000001% situation where you're not able to clean more often than every 5,000 rounds.

The XCR ALSO allows a much better sighting system, with many more/better options.

The XCR is ALSO highly modular, AND better made, AND lighter, AND so on. The XCR ends the AR vs. AK debate. It takes the best of both and combines them; there is no more debate. Sorry, I've been sippin the XCR koolaid a bit.

+1 If I had a spare $1400 lying around, it would be my number one gun to acquire. I was at the range a few weeks ago and one of the guys there had an XCR and he was getting honest MOA groups out of it. That impressed me greatly. Lots of people talk about shooting MOA like it's the norm, but usually the only folks you see actually doing it are the ones with rests, bolt actions and neat little boxes of handloads and the occasional scoped and free floated AR.

AK103K
October 28, 2008, 04:11 PM
It doesn't matter. The AK does have the worst ergos. You don't have to defend it. You like the AK? That's fine. The AK has plenty of good features and is a venerable firearm. However, it's not perfect. The ergos simply suck, compared to anything.
Whether or not the ergos suck or not, is all simply a matter of opinion, hopefully based on experience, but very often, on the lack of it. Just because you think they suck, doesnt mean everyone else does or has your troubles working them.

I like AK's, then again, I know how to work one. I took some time and effort to learn, and I stay up on it, and a few others. I like M16's/AR's OK, lots of experience with them too, been shooting them since the 60's, just like the AK's. Dont have any trouble working either of them. I really dont see all that much of a difference between them either, but thats me. I'd be perfectly happy to have one or the other, but the AK just shoulders and shoots slightly better for me. Did you know that the standard AK stock has the EXACT same LOP as the M16/M16A1's? Thats why I like the A1 stocks on my AR's. Funny how the AK's stock is "too short", and now everyone loves the M4's slider. Oh sorry, but I digress.

Ya know, come to think of it, theres nothing wrong with HK's(I'm really surprised no one has bitched about their charging handles and manual of arms), or M14's (in case anyone missed it, the AK's mag and charging handle work just like an M14's, and you know how everyone just loves the M1A), Valmets are nice, Galil's aint bad, I dont find FAL's to be particularly accurate, but they work. M1's are OK. Etc, Etc,.

My point still is, if you cant make the gun work, its really not the guns fault. Just a lack of effort to learn on your part.

This thread can't be taken seriously anymore.
Can any of them? :)

Lots of people talk about shooting MOA like it's the norm, but usually the only folks you see actually doing it are the ones with rests, bolt actions and neat little boxes of handloads and the occasional scoped and free floated AR.
Another well stated point.

Its always interesting when you talk to someone about shooting, how well they always do, until you go out to the range with them, and they bring out all of their "stuff", and sit down on the bench. What counts more? Tight little "groups" on a bullseye target fired from a bench, or good "hits" on a target that has no aiming point that you can hardly see at 2-300 yards, fired from a realistic field position?

My AR's will shoot those nice tight little groups from a bench, my AK's, not quite so nice, but not near as bad as your usually told. The funny thing is, when I shoot at those other kinds of targets from those other types of positions(which is how I usually shoot anyway), my groups from both rifles are very similar at the same ranges. Usually good hits for the most part, just not ragged little holes. Kinda makes you go hmmmm.

Like I said, really not all that far apart.

RockyMtnTactical
October 28, 2008, 05:16 PM
Whether or not the ergos suck or not, is all simply a matter of opinion, hopefully based on experience, but very often, on the lack of it. Just because you think they suck, doesnt mean everyone else does or has your troubles working them.

I like AK's, then again, I know how to work one. I took some time and effort to learn, and I stay up on it, and a few others. I like M16's/AR's OK, lots of experience with them too, been shooting them since the 60's, just like the AK's. Dont have any trouble working either of them. I really dont see all that much of a difference between them either, but thats me. I'd be perfectly happy to have one or the other, but the AK just shoulders and shoots slightly better for me. Did you know that the standard AK stock has the EXACT same LOP as the M16/M16A1's? Thats why I like the A1 stocks on my AR's. Funny how the AK's stock is "too short", and now everyone loves the M4's slider. Oh sorry, but I digress.

Ya know, come to think of it, theres nothing wrong with HK's(I'm really surprised no one has bitched about their charging handles and manual of arms), or M14's (in case anyone missed it, the AK's mag and charging handle work just like an M14's, and you know how everyone just loves the M1A), Valmets are nice, Galil's aint bad, I dont find FAL's to be particularly accurate, but they work. M1's are OK. Etc, Etc,.

My point still is, if you cant make the gun work, its really not the guns fault. Just a lack of effort to learn on your part.

I don't know if this is all directed at me personally or if you are speaking generally, but I have plenty of time behind an AK. I own AK's, I like AK's. However, I am not so blinded that I refuse to see any downsides with them.

However, you seem to be using arguments in your post that simply do not apply to me. The stock length on the AK doesn't bug me (however, the A2 stock on an AR15 does). I don't care for the M1A much.

The AK is an excellent weapon. They wouldn't be in circulation quite like they are if they weren't. However, it is a fact that certain things about the AK are not perfect. The ergos is it's most glaring weakness. Maybe it doesn't bug you. We all select our firearms of choice based on our preferences and desires.

I can guarantee you that an expert with an AR15 can reload twice as fast as any expert with an AK though. It's a simple fact. No matter of training can fix that unless you were born with 3 arms.

Bottom line is, a man with an AR15 is at no real advantage over a man with an AK when all is said and done, and vise-versa. Just saying, the AK has lousy ergos.

RP88
October 28, 2008, 05:28 PM
well, a person with an AR and a person with an AK and a dot sight within 300 yards of each other are pretty even :p

sorry, but if there is one thing that I'll agree on, it's that the AK's iron sights do not have nearly as good of anything going for them as the peep sights do.

also, I can reload both fairly fast. The AR reloads a bit faster, but only a bit. That three times comment needs some youtube evidence of said experienced AR shooter and AK shooter reloading.

AK103K
October 28, 2008, 05:33 PM
I don't know if this is all directed at me personally or if you are speaking generally
Nope, not at you specifically, just things in general. Yours was the closest pointing it out.

No matter of training can fix that unless you were born with 3 arms.
I dont get this part. I use both hands to do the AK's mag change, just like I do with the AR's. My hand never leaves the grip and I release the mag with the middle finger of the hand on the grip. I agree, the AR's are a tad faster, but I wouldnt say the AR is twice as fast.

well, a person with an AR and a person with an AK and a dot sight within 300 yards of each other are pretty even
exactly

JR47
October 28, 2008, 05:39 PM
Then why haven't the Finns adopted the AR, instead of the Valmet, and, now the Chinese AKM? Or the British, or the Germans, or the French, or the many other states, large and small? Many of the smaller ones use the AK variants, even when the M16 is readily available to them.

There are constraints placed on smaller countries that prevent them from buying, and maintaining, the M16 that just aren't in the AK. The M16 requires more training, and a higher level of personal maintenance than the AK. It also requires a more technical logistics tail. There are any numjber of armies that just cannot provide that. Some lack money, others are dealing with conscripts who have a much more relaxed attitude about what constitutes maintenance.

The M16 is really almost as old a technology as the AK. It was first conceived in the early 1950's. Unlike the American military, the Soviets were loathe to modify a successful weapons system. Only in the past decade have we really seen updates in AK technology. Compare the AR to the latest Soviet iteration of Assault Rifle.

This is like talking about how unergonomic the 1903 Springfield is compared to the M40A3. What we do with the AK of 1947, which is what you're talking about, as they are all that's available, is talk about the features of a 1947 model, as compared to a 2008 model.

The poster who mentioned that the thread was no longer relevant was correct.

RP88
October 28, 2008, 06:23 PM
if you look it up, you'll find that the AKM has changed very little. The biggest leap was the AK74's muzzle brake and the new 5.45 round, which are found in today's newer AK models. Other than that, I'd wager that the AKM, the AK74, and the AK-10(1, 2, 3) all feel very similar in terms of ergos. The don't get much different until you go into the second AK-10x series, where the internals, gas tube, etc. are heavily modified

taliv
October 28, 2008, 06:36 PM
i'm not going to get into this argument, since one side clearly lacks the benefit of experience...


but i am very curious what hits the ground about 4:58 or so into that video the bsw posted on page 1 of the chubby guy in camo showing some AK manipulation.

from the look on his face, it doesn't appear he was expecting it. was that a live round? :what: a piece of the gun? what?

nalioth
October 28, 2008, 06:47 PM
Other than that, I'd wager that the AKM, the AK74, and the AK-10(1, 2, 3) all feel very similar in terms of ergos. The don't get much different until you go into the second AK-10x series, where the internals, gas tube, etc. are heavily modified The only major difference in the traditional AK design and the AK-108 is the gas tube. It is longer to accommodate the "Balanced Automatic Recoil System".
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9b/AK-107_with_grenade_launcher.jpg

You may be thinking of the AEK-971 (http://world.guns.ru/assault/as34-e.htm) or the AN-94 (http://world.guns.ru/assault/as08-e.htm) when you refer to the 'different ergos'.

RP88
October 28, 2008, 07:25 PM
it wasn't just the gas tube, I thought. I do remember there being a new barrel design and a radically different muzzle brake, as well as the 'auto balanced recoil system', unless I either saw a different pic or something.

and as for the AEK and AN...yeesh. They just look...well, look at it. I truly don't see what either of those guns offer.

Wolfgang2000
October 28, 2008, 07:42 PM
First I agree the ergonomics of the AK are bad. But you must remember that in the middle to late 40's ergonomics wasn't even a word. It was designed be a combat soldier. When your life is on the line you want your gun to work, first time, every time.

Another thing to remember is that the European think differently about some things. Like the drop free magazine. The U.S. didn't have drop free magazines, in a rifle, till the the M16 family came on the scene. Then the magazines were suppose to be semi disposable.

The Europeans don't want magazines lost in the snow. So weapons are designed so that the shooter has to manually remove the magazines. If you think back a little you will remember that the original Glock mags were not to "drop free" unless they were less than haft full.

AK's can be improved. Just look at the Valmet and the Galil. That said the AK and several innovations that have been copied in one form or another by many arms designers. Remember the design is over 60 years old.

Can a combat rifle be designed that is as reliable as the AK with better ergonomics? Sure. But they haven't yet, and I doubt they can do so for what you pay for the present day AK clones.

You like you AR poodle shooters, :eek::neener::neener:, great, I'm glad you do. Me I'll stick with guns that I KNOW WILL WORK, first time every time.

FMJMIKE
October 28, 2008, 07:57 PM
I do not understand why people say the AK ergonomics are so bad. I prefer an AK over an AR-15 any day of the week!!! The AK is perfect as is....IMHO....:D

Evil Monkey
October 28, 2008, 09:17 PM
The Europeans don't want magazines lost in the snow. So weapons are designed so that the shooter has to manually remove the magazines.

What?

Glock Glockler
October 28, 2008, 09:35 PM
Evil Monkey,

It makes the logistics of supplying your army a lot easier when you don't need to ship them as many magazines. Dropping mags might be fine when competing in gun games in AZ but in deep snow and mud it's an issue.

Evil Monkey
October 28, 2008, 10:11 PM
It makes the logistics of supplying your army a lot easier when you don't need to ship them as many magazines. Dropping mags might be fine when competing in gun games in AZ but in deep snow and mud it's an issue.

Mags will be lost no matter how the mag lock into place. Or you can say mags can be accounted for no matter how they lock into place.

Point is, how a magazine is made and how it locks into the rifle has nothing to do with how well a soldier accounts for them.

JR47
October 28, 2008, 10:28 PM
The Austrian Army has/had a requirement for pistols that the magazine NOT be free-dropping. Guess why? The Finns also have that requirement in their rifles. Several European Armies require that their rifles work at extreme low temps, without special lubricants.

So, the idea that mags would be kept if they didn't fall free is quite alive.

Evil Monkey
October 28, 2008, 10:47 PM
The Austrian Army has/had a requirement for pistols that the magazine NOT be free-dropping.

I wasn't arguing for or against "free-dropping".

What the hell is happening to this thread? ":confused:

H2O MAN
October 28, 2008, 11:11 PM
I like the AK for its practical simplicity and I'm not worried about it's so called short comings.
The platform can be enhanced and modernized a little and that's not a bad thing.

Evil Monkey
October 28, 2008, 11:24 PM
I like the AK for its practical simplicity and I'm not worried about it's so called short comings.

That's a great answer, and no sarcasm intended. You like it the way it is and will not go forth and bring up silly little irrelevant defensive arguments.

I wonder what would happen if the title of this thread read out "Flaws in the M14 design" :evil:

.303
October 29, 2008, 02:48 AM
the simplicity, reliability, power, and total inability to be destroyed outweighs any shortcomings by far.

RockyMtnTactical
October 29, 2008, 03:51 AM
total inability to be destroyed

:scrutiny:

elmerfudd
October 29, 2008, 04:06 AM
That's a great answer, and no sarcasm intended. You like it the way it is and will not go forth and bring up silly little irrelevant defensive arguments.

It's not that us AK fans don't think it has flaws, we just disagree on what they are.

IMO, the flaws are.

1) Sights/dust cover/stock design. I include this all as one flaw because they are closely tied together. This is one area where the AR was truly visionary and got everything right. To see what's wrong with the AK, first let me explain why the AR setup is so good. You have high mounted sights and the stock irons are very good. With the flat top, the iron sights cowitness perfectly with a scope or red dot and this means that you don't need any extra cheek pieces in order to get a proper cheek weld.
Now the AK doesn't have any of that. The stock sights aren't as bad as some say, (with practice they can be used effectively), but they aren't very good either. The dust cover makes it difficult to improve things. You can't mount a solid rail to it. You have to be able to remove it to clean the rifle and any optics will sit up higher than the iron sights so you need some sort of cheek piece to get a proper cheek weld if you use optics.
All in all, it's a serious flaw in the design with no easy or good solution.

2) The safety. It's awkward and noisy. A safety should be easy and quick to disengage and when you do so it shouldn't be audible.
This should be fixable. Adding a secondary safety to the side of the rifle that rotates in the correct direction, (unlike the Galil), shouldn't be rocket science.

Everything else I view as just part of the AK design. Some parts of it might be somewhat slower or more awkward than other designs, but you can learn to live with them and they have strengths that make up for their weaknesses. No LRBHO for example makes the gun simpler and cheaper and helps keep dirt out of it. The charging handle on the right side is easier to work from the prone. The rock and lock mags are built like tanks and lock up very positively.

AK103K
October 29, 2008, 06:58 AM
I wonder what would happen if the title of this thread read out "Flaws in the M14 design"
The charging handle location and rock in mag would be OK then. :)

BIGRETIC
October 29, 2008, 06:59 AM
I have an Arsenal AK and a Bushie M4gery.On the AK,I mounted a Krebs forend on it.Both have Eotech's on it.The AK will eat anything however the Bush will not feed steel cased ammo.For me the Bush is more accurate @ 100 yds(no surprise)My only complaint with the AK is the stock is too short.

Ash
October 29, 2008, 07:03 AM
I frankly don't consider the dust cover a flaw, or the sights. A flaw indicates a defect in design. The dust cover is just fine because nobody was issuing optics on any rifle other than a sniper's rifle in 1949. The design was not intended to be used with optics.

The sights are fundamentally no different than the Mosin-Nagant or M98 Mauser. They may not be as good, say, as the Garand, but they are not really any different than what is mounted on the majority of combat rifles at the time (rifles, I might add, which were bolt-action and really needed to have good round placement). For a relatively short-range weapon, they were fine for their time.

The safety is noisy and seems clumsy, but remember it is also designed to reduce the amount of debris getting into the action when not in combat. And, given that the concept was a Red Wave crossing the battlefield supporting tremendous armor, noise was of little consequence.

The AK does not compare favorably with newer designs in many ways. But it is, as has been said by others, a design that does exactly what it was intended to do.

Folks may have come up with new concepts and pigeon holes which the AK does not fit nicely into, but calling its failure to fit into those holes flaws doesn't fit.

I can point out poor ground clearance, bad tire arrangement, and completely improper gear ratio on a Corvette and that it cannot compare in any way to my Cherokee. But those are not flaws. The Corvette was never intended to go off road. Ditto for the Cherokee.

If I want to try to make the Cherokee into a street racer I can try, but it would be silly to say it is flawed. Just not designed for that purpose.

And that is from a guy who no longer owns any AK (save for a PSL).

Ash

Beagle-zebub
October 29, 2008, 07:18 AM
One bona fide flaw is the vulnerability of the gas/cylinder-tube to obstruction by denting. The Yugo model addressed this with those bigger handguards they have.

Boats
October 29, 2008, 04:41 PM
The AK is my favorite mil-pattern rifle. Then again, I'm a southpaw. I like the M1A, Garand, and Mini-14 better than the standard AR, FAL, CETME/HK rifles too.

The arguments against the AK's "bad ergonomics" sound like my complaint list against the strongly right-handed FAL, or having to buy ambi selectors or mag catches for ARs.

It always amuses me that one person's perfect ergonomics just require "workarounds" or extra cash spent by those who disagree.

The "perfect" mil-pattern rifle would be completely operable by either hand with equal facility. It seems that it as things stand, not too much thought was ever given to taking damage or loss of use to the "dominant hand" during battle.

Most of us are born with two hands. Well designed firearms should reflect this symmetry. Thankfully, design concern has been trending that way with designs newer than the current crop of favorites.

R127
October 29, 2008, 06:21 PM
I find it strange that people say the AK's charging handle is badly placed and then hold up the AR as a masterpiece of ergonomic design. Left or right side doesn't bother me one bit. Up against my nose while I shoulder my rifle doesn't make any sense at all. So then they'll tell you that there's no need to worry about the AR's goofy charging handle because you can just hit the bolt release when you change a mag. Fine, but you wouldn't have needed a bolt release in the first place if the charging handle wasn't in a goofy location. Then they'll tell you that you have to have a bolt hold open so you know when you're out of ammo. Nonsense, go to any firing line anywhere in the world and see if that's how it really works out in actual practice. But everybody's a ninja, of course. So then I point out that the AR's charging handle is useless as a forward assist and they show me the one built into the side of their reciever. So now we're up to two unnecessary components because of the goofy location of the charging handle.

People complaining about the safety is only slightly more bizarre. How are you going to fight anybody with your safety on, with the bayonet??? If you're fighting take it off and leave it off, if you're not then put it on. It's not rocket science, the Russians understood this ages ago as is evidenced by the design of the old Mosin Nagant rifles and TT-33 pistols. The Makarov doesn't even have a safety, neither did the Nagant revolver. But Gaston Glock was a real revolutionary when he designed a gun without a safety. :confused: Along those lines the AK's safety is too noisy but racking the slide on a shotgun makes badguys soil themselves. And here I thought the best course of action was just to shoot the enemy and not worry about his state of emotional being?

The sights, well, what's wrong with those? It's the same exact sight picture I have on my pistol and I don't have a problem hitting quickly or accurately with either. If anything it makes transitioning easier. Heck, if anything it's a plus that that the AK's rear sight is a breeze to adjust for drop at various ranges and the designer was even so thoughtful as to include a battle sight zero that effectively covers all ranges up to 300 meters. Peep sights are ok too though some obscure more of your field of view than others.

I can't figure out why anybody tries to mount optics to the dust cover when there are two military AK rail systems to choose from, either the Beryl style or the ubiquitous side rail. The side rail has the advantage of holding zero when you remove and reinstall the optic. The flat top on some AR's is a nice feature, it's also a relatively recent modification. You could achieve the same thing on the AK by simply making a railed rear sight block.

As for the dented gas tube "design flaw," well, spare gas tubes are cheap. Buy one and see what it really takes to dent it enough to kill the gun. I have. Good luck.

Two other weird ideas are related. Some folks try to say the AK was designed for untrained peasants which is why it works reliably without complain while the AR may require more maintenance from the user it gives advantages to a trained professional. I say horse hockey to that. The AR doesn't do anything special the AK doesn't do too. It's not like the AR shoots around corners or anything. As for who designed it or why, it was designed by an educated soldier with combat experience to defend his country.

Some people want to talk about accuracy, ok, I'll go there. There is nothing inherently inaccurate about the Kalashnikov action. I've seen Veprs in .308 and .223 that shoot teeny tiny groups with quality ammo. There are only three variables in AK accuracy and they are, in order of importance,

1 Shooter Ability
2 Quality Of Ammo
3 Quality Of Rifle Build

My SA M7 A1R will hold three inches or under at 100 yards with Russian commercial 7.62x39, the least consistent ammo available in that caliber. If I can see it I can hit it.

Other people object that the AK is some kind of "commie" or "enemy" weapon. I don't understand that either. Mine was made in Las Vegas after a pattern developed by Bulgaria, an allied nation. Many other people own AK's made in another ally nation, Romania, which forcefully overthrew its communist rulers. As far as I'm concerned AK's are natural born freedom fighting defensive rifles that have been known to take quite a bit of game and be a lot of fun on the range too.

I've given a lot of thought to what I would like to change on the AK, especially at the beginning of my involvement with them. I was trained on the M-16, the AK is very different from that rifle. At first I tried to make the AK more like an AR but that resulted in bolting on a lot of stuff that just didn't need to be there. Then I had a Matrix moment. I realized there was no spoon so it wasn't the spoon that needed to bend, but me. Or something like that. Right around then the AK started making sense. I thought it was hilarious when I found what Gabe Suarez was teaching because I came to just about all the same conclusions independently though in much the same way. When all is said and done I feel the rifle is fine the way it is set up right now and if there's some special feature like an optic or folding stock I want to add there's already a good, solid AK solution for it. The one major modification I'd like to see is a rear sight block with rails instead of a sight, the AK's version of a flat top. It would also be nice if the mag release was a bit more rounded off on the edges from the factory. Voila! 21st century AK-47!

SaMx
October 29, 2008, 06:37 PM
I like my saiga but I agree the AK system has some flaws. IMO they are:

1) The Sights/Dustcover Design
I would prefer an aperture type rear sight, but it's not possible, or at least very difficult because of the way the dustcover is set up. Optics mounting is slightly more complex too. The side mount works, but it's usually either too high, or offset to the side slightly. Over all I would say it's not that big of a deal.
2) The Safety.
To operate the safety you pretty much have to take your hand off the grip. It's also impossible to charge the rifle with the safety on. An upside to this is that it's very easy to check the chamber without ejecting a round when the safety is on. Of course you could do the same thing with the safety off, just don't pull the charging handle back all the way.
3) The Charging Handle
You have to reach over or under the rifle with your left hand or take your right hand off the grip. Yeah it's doable, but it's not as easy as a lot of other rifles.
4) The Magwell
Changing magazines can be a bit slow because you need to guide the magazine into the magwell, then rock it in. The learning curve is a bit steeper, and even after you've learned it's a bit slower. I'd prefer a magwell that helped guide the magazine in (I understand the saiga-12 has something similar to this) and straight magazine insertion and removal, even if the mags weren't drop free.

Honestly I really like the simplicity of the design overall, and it has a lot of other strengths. I just think there are just a few improvements that wouldn't compromise the simplicity and reliability of the rifle. And for 99.9% of us the weaknesses don't really matter, because we aren't using our rifles in combat.

HB
October 29, 2008, 06:42 PM
The AR15 is predominantly the choice of competitive shooters in both High Power Service Rifle matches as well as for National Match guns. These are iron-sighted or peep-sighted rifles that are shot out to 600 yards.

True, but that is because you HAVE to use them for service rifle... that's what makes it a SERVICE rifle match..... If you use an AR in a match rifle match, it's because you don't have the money for a match gun or confident that staying consistent is better. Tube Guns rule because they feel like AR's but aren't even close to being one. .223 isn't the best when you can use something else.

The AK is great for what it is intended to do, fight in urban environments out to 300 yards. The M-16 is good for the well practiced American soldier with ample support behind him.

P.S. Mag change times are vastly over blown, When was the last time you've seen a SOLDIER hammer off 30 rounds and quickly put in a new mag? A lot of combat shooting is pop your head up/gun up and shoot a few rounds without staying up for too long. Change your mag behind your cover and take as long as you need.

The AR is the better gun for competition but in most scenarios, the AK wins in war.

taliv
October 29, 2008, 06:55 PM
True, but that is because you HAVE to use them for service rifle... that's what makes it a SERVICE rifle match.....

not true. Garands, M14s and others also qualify as service rifles.

even if the AK was permitted, no one would use them. you know why? of course you do. find me some 7.62x39 Match ammo. heh.

here's some http://www.the-armory.com/shopsite_sc/store/html/762x39_ammo.html

check the accuracy expectations on it too... "Most of our customers report high group to group consistency often sub-3", which is outstanding for most AK's"

Billy Shears
October 29, 2008, 10:29 PM
All those here who are criticizing the AK for having a big, clunky, noisy safety that you have to take your firing hand off the grip to manipulate are not realizing something, and I'm surprised no one here seems to have mentioned it yet. It's big and noisy for a reason. This rifle was meant to be used by troops who would commonly have to operate in extreme winter conditions -- remember, this is the Russian army whose weapon we're talking about. It's hard to manipulate a small, AR-type thumb safety with heavy gloves or mittens on. Moreover, when you have those heavy gloves on, and your hands are numb with cold, you'll have very little sensation in your hands, so relying tactile feedback to tell you you've moved the lever to the correct position for full or semi-auto, depending on which you want, is not going to work. That very audible click will serve as a signal to you that the safety lever has moved like you want it to, without you having to look at it in order to verify this.

mp510
October 29, 2008, 11:07 PM
The only gun I ever found uncomfortable to shoot was a full auto AK (it's also the only AK I've ever shot). It was a converted (I believe) Norinco with an AKM stock. The stock was too short and it felt awkward.

nalioth
October 30, 2008, 12:40 AM
The only gun I ever found uncomfortable to shoot was a full auto AK (it's also the only AK I've ever shot). It was a converted (I believe) Norinco with an AKM stock. The stock was too short and it felt awkward. That's because you've not been trained in how to use it.

They are quite comfortable when used as designed.

RP88
October 30, 2008, 01:17 AM
The AR is the better gun for competition but in most scenarios, the AK wins in war.

ummm...no?

both guns work in different mindsets. The M16/AR15 was made to excel at being an accurate and precise platform, that then evolved into a modular platform that could be made to do anything. The AK was simply made to work in what was perceived by the Russians to be the realistic and expected conditions, range, etc. one would meet in combat.

Apples and oranges. Both taste good.

NC-Mike
October 30, 2008, 01:26 AM
I love AK's

I have a WASR 10, A Romack 1 and another Romanian RPK.

I also have a highly refined AK. The Sig 556. :D

R127
October 30, 2008, 01:45 AM
1) The Sights/Dustcover Design
I would prefer an aperture type rear sight, but it's not possible, or at least very difficult because of the way the dustcover is set up. Optics mounting is slightly more complex too. The side mount works, but it's usually either too high, or offset to the side slightly. Over all I would say it's not that big of a deal.

I can help you with that. The side mount you want is the BP-02. It is centered, very low and compatible with anything that will go on weaver rails.

Even then high or offset sights aren't a design flaw, they're an ergonomic feature. These mounts and optics were made for military customers. Most people wouldn't have any reason to even know but if you're familiar with modern Russian combat helmets you know they're designed to offer considerably more coverage than ours. This makes sense, you can't shoot badguys unless you can see them and you can't see them unless you stick your head up to look and you really can't live without your brains intact. The down side is increased coverage results in interference with a traditional cheek weld. By moving the optic higher or over to the side you can compensate. This can also give you access to the iron sights without dismounting the optic.

nalioth
October 30, 2008, 01:53 AM
I also have a highly refined AK. The Sig 556. :D I think you're stretching a bit far there. The Sig-556 uses features found in a lot of different weapons.

An example of a "highly refined" AK would be the Valmet Rk95 (http://forums.insmod.net/index.php?showtopic=17307)

http://img518.imageshack.us/img518/617/sakork95clonebar2.jpg

Evil Monkey
October 30, 2008, 03:29 AM
Look at what red stick firearms are producing in 5.56, 7.62x39, and I beleive also 6.5mm grendel.

I got the pic from the saiga forums.

It seems that the rock and lock mag system has been.....retired. :evil:

http://i124.photobucket.com/albums/p9/white_rabbitz_animosity/Work%20pics/ARAKgunroom15.jpg

nalioth
October 30, 2008, 03:34 AM
It seems that the rock and lock mag system has been.....retired. $300 extra for the 'privilege' of using delicate AR mags in a Kalashnikov?

Think again.

Evil Monkey
October 30, 2008, 03:43 AM
$300 extra for the 'privilege' of using delicate AR mags in a Kalashnikov?

Think again.

I know I know.

I think another company is producing adapters again to fit Saigas. I was reading about it on that forum. Might be a better option if it's less than $100.

HorseSoldier
October 30, 2008, 06:38 PM
The use of the sling to steady shooting is also not a universal component of basic marksmanship training today.

Nor should it be, since it's irrelevant for the ranges where 99% of shooting take place, but will slow engagement times dramatically on a three dimensional battlefield where threats can appear at random ranges, rather than walking in open order across manicured lawns.

More and more, the American Infantryman is moving away from individual marksmanship, and towards combined arms, al la the Soviet model.

Neither current training nor equipment support this claim much at all. Today we focus on training people to make hits on bad guys at real world ranges, rather than training guys to compete in NRA service rifle competitions.

I've seen no evidence that the common M4, or M16A4, is capable of this outstanding competitive accuracy mentioned.

Actual research, rather than speculation and hyperbole, has found an ACOG equipped M4 to be capable of almost completely matching the capabilities of an accurized SPR pretty much out to the limits of both the effective range of the 5.56mm round and the effective range an ACOG can PID a guy at.

True, if you consider close in hosing to be hitting man sized targets out to 300 yards.

Realistically, men wearing drab clothing tend to be damn hard to see at 300 yards, much less past that. BSW

An AK is absolutely a 0-200 or 0-300 kind of weapon (though as you note, 300 meters with iron sights is optimistic in the real world, with an AK or most anything else), but from the low ready, weapons on safe, an AR will tend to beat an AK on time assuming equal operator skill (and equal optics) when the range starts getting pushed.

Part of that is the less user friendly AK safety, and, in theory the AK shooter can save some time by simply running his weapon hot all the time, with the safety off. This is a generally unsatisfying solution to most, however, especially anyone who might have to be stacking up in front of a guy on the same side with a hot AK, etc.

I think a lot of the problem with comments like this is, a lot of this depends on what you have experience with to judge everything else by. Even then, whats your experience level with anything you do know and is it a realistic comparison? Have you actually taken the time and effort to learn to properly use "any" of them, or are you just partial or familiar with one type or family and everything else is lacking?

Personally, I've had a good deal of training on the AK and Galil from the .mil, and also spent some of my own money taking AK-specific classes from Larry Vickers and Gabe Suarez. While I don't pretend to be the best and fastest guy with an AK out there, I do feel quite comfortable and confident with running an AK pattern weapon . . . but also feel that the design has real and significant issues in terms of ergonomics. I would not feel poorly armed in a gun fight with an AK, but it would not be my first choice.

Then why haven't the Finns adopted the AR, instead of the Valmet, and, now the Chinese AKM?

Cold War politics peculiar to Finland's status as a neutral living next door to the Soviets account for the initial adoption of the AK.


Or the British, or the Germans, or the French, or the many other states, large and small? Many of the smaller ones use the AK variants, even when the M16 is readily available to them.

Generally speaking, with western nations we tend to see large scale service rifle decisions made with a healthy dose of politics and occasionally nationalism thrown in. That applies in the US as much as anywhere else, of course. Of course the smaller nations you reference also tend to use whatever was given to them by the East or West for free, but that's politics as well.

We also tend to see that when western nations' special operations units identify shortcomings in their nation's service rifles (sometimes they don't see any issues, obviously) and equip themselves with an alternate weapon, it tends to be the M4 more often than anything else. Since this discussion is about ergonomics and not the issue of direct gas versus piston, etc., we can count the HK416 on that list as well.

At the end of the day, the AR has proven to be a superb gunfighters' gun, and has become the industry standard for a fightable service carbine. Even those weapons that seek to challenge its status at the top of that particular pile generally try to copy its ergonomics and control layout to a varying degree.

the simplicity, reliability, power, and total inability to be destroyed outweighs any shortcomings by far.

To modify my usual sentiment about the AK never jamming, if you've never seen an AK rendered inoperable you've not spent enough time around an AK. It's a rugged design, but with neglect and abuse, it can and will fail.

Secondly, all the pluses you mention for the AK ultimately do not outweigh the minuses if those minuses get the operator killed. This is a generically true observation for any weapon, of course, but in the case of the AK, where its minuses can and do translate directly into how fast you can engage a target, they are particularly salient.

Then they'll tell you that you have to have a bolt hold open so you know when you're out of ammo. Nonsense, go to any firing line anywhere in the world and see if that's how it really works out in actual practice.

Actually, as soon as you put the shooters under any kind of stress -- be it on the clock or whatever -- that's pretty much exactly how it works out -- hammers falling on empty AK chambers is pretty common when training new operators with any kind of stress involved.

People complaining about the safety is only slightly more bizarre. How are you going to fight anybody with your safety on, with the bayonet??? If you're fighting take it off and leave it off, if you're not then put it on.

On most any weapon designed since the AK, you disengage the safety as you are bringing the weapon up to engage the target. No muss, no fuss, and less risk of AD'ing.

It bears noting as well that the Russians teach safety on for movement, etc., and then off only when engaging . . . pretty much like what we teach with the M4. The only problem is the AK selector is not as handy for that, so in reality a lot of their troops (and other AK users) just run the gun hot all the time, and have more accidental discharges as a result.

The Makarov doesn't even have a safety, neither did the Nagant revolver.

Can't speak for the Nagant, but the Makarov has a combination decocker/safety on the left rear of the slide.

I can't figure out why anybody tries to mount optics to the dust cover when there are two military AK rail systems to choose from, either the Beryl style or the ubiquitous side rail. The side rail has the advantage of holding zero when you remove and reinstall the optic.

If you have a major stoppage with an AK involving brass getting back into the receiver rather than be ejected (can and does happen -- I've seen it on a number of occasions) either optics mount means even more time to clear the malfunction.

On an AR, you can go digging into its guts to clear any kind of malfunction while leaving your optic mounted, and having something on the flat top doesn't slow down getting inside the weapon if you need to.

The AK is great for what it is intended to do, fight in urban environments out to 300 yards. The M-16 is good for the well practiced American soldier with ample support behind him.

The "ARs only work when you have mortars and air support and tanks, etc." argument kind of falls flat when you look at the fact that the AR is internationally popular with special operations units whose mission requirements include going places and doing things where none of that is readily available . . .

Apparently, the SAS, for instance, thinks that the AR is also ideal for a well trained guy with zero support in the mountains of Afghanistan (or on some wind scoured hillside in the Falklands for that matter . . .).

P.S. Mag change times are vastly over blown, When was the last time you've seen a SOLDIER hammer off 30 rounds and quickly put in a new mag? A lot of combat shooting is pop your head up/gun up and shoot a few rounds without staying up for too long. Change your mag behind your cover and take as long as you need.

Mag changes only matter when they matter . . . but at that point the guy who never really bothered with learning to do them because he'll always be behind cover with buddies laying down suppressive fire is probably killed while fumbling with his weapon.

The AR is the better gun for competition but in most scenarios, the AK wins in war.

Pretty much nobody who gets to select the weapons they carry into harm way seems to agree with that conclusion.

R127
October 30, 2008, 08:25 PM
Nor should it be, since it's irrelevant for the ranges where 99% of shooting take place, but will slow engagement times dramatically on a three dimensional battlefield where threats can appear at random ranges, rather than walking in open order across manicured lawns.

I developed a sling technique that works well for me, it helps stabilize the rifle and takes some of the weight off. Depending on how you like to use your sling it may or may not interfere with other techniques. I use a basic 2 point sling and instead of wrapping it around my arm I adjust the length of the sling till it will be reasonably taught against my tricep from my standard stance with the sling merely over my arm, not wrapped around it. The sling is still long enough to go over my shoulder, not long enough to comfortably sling the rifle across my body.

Cold War politics peculiar to Finland's status as a neutral living next door to the Soviets account for the initial adoption of the AK.

The Kalashnikov action simply works better than the AR action in extreme cold. Finland has a very similar environment to Russia, Russia had already developed a weapon that works well in that environment and the Finns had already learned it's good to be able to work with captured Russian equipment. They essentially did the same thing with the AK that they did with the Mosin Nagant, take the Russian rifle and refine it a bit. Lots of Finnish gear is a unique blend of Russian and German, two countries they have had a lot of military experience with.

Actually, as soon as you put the shooters under any kind of stress -- be it on the clock or whatever -- that's pretty much exactly how it works out -- hammers falling on empty AK chambers is pretty common when training new operators with any kind of stress involved.

I don't think you understood what I was saying. Hammers falling on empty chambers are extremely common everywhere, even for skilled operators. Bolt hold opens and slides locking back do not change this. I'm sure somebody will tell me I'm horribly wrong and the ninjas have it all worked out. My own eyes have shown me otherwise.

On most any weapon designed since the AK, you disengage the safety as you are bringing the weapon up to engage the target. No muss, no fuss, and less risk of AD'ing.

That's a particular tactic, not a design issue. I'm sure there have been guns designed for that particular tactic, just as sure as I am there were guns with safeties capable of being manipulated in that way before people decided it was a good idea to monkeyfinger safeties.


It bears noting as well that the Russians teach safety on for movement, etc., and then off only when engaging . . . pretty much like what we teach with the M4. The only problem is the AK selector is not as handy for that, so in reality a lot of their troops (and other AK users) just run the gun hot all the time, and have more accidental discharges as a result.


Kinda sorta. I have the Soviet manual on the AK-47 sitting right in front of me. They do recommend putting the rifle on safe before movement. They also teach firing on the move. Now how in the world do you fire your weapon while it's on safe? You don't, because you can't. If you're moving but not needing to fire is it a good idea to put the safety on? Probably, but you often won't know when you need to fire and pretty much nobody fights like that. I realize there are no statistics at all on the "more accidental discharges" and even if there were you'd then have to relate them to the particular differences between the average American and Russian soldier but I'm going to have to call shenanigans on your statement anyway. If it were such a problem nobody would use Glocks and we would never have survived the double action revolver era. Heck, I've carried a double action revolver or autoloader nearly every day for years and years and years now... no fuss, no muss, no negligent discharges.

Can't speak for the Nagant, but the Makarov has a combination decocker/safety on the left rear of the slide.

You got me there. The decocker is also a safety. I carry my Makarov in condition 2 and manually decock just like on my CZ-75. I do find it disturbing that I had not noticed that before regardless. I always expected it would operate like the decocker on a P-01.

If you have a major stoppage with an AK involving brass getting back into the receiver rather than be ejected (can and does happen -- I've seen it on a number of occasions) either optics mount means even more time to clear the malfunction.

On an AR, you can go digging into its guts to clear any kind of malfunction while leaving your optic mounted, and having something on the flat top doesn't slow down getting inside the weapon if you need to.

Let's be honest up front though, it's not exactly a common occurence. I've sent a ridiculous number of 7.62x39 rounds through quite a few AK's and never have had that happen to me. It's never happened on any range I've ever been on and it's never happened to anyone I know in real life and I should qualify that by stating my friends and family all standardized on the AK long ago. I'll also qualify that by saying I've shot exactly one WASR in my life and it didn't belong to me. For whatever it's worth WASR's do appear to have more various problems than other AK's so maybe it is something that is happening with more regularity now in classes or on ranges than my experience would lead me to believe. Otherwise it just seems a bit like saying a rock could get jammed in your chamber and that would be bad. Yeah, I guess it would.

That's not the heart of your point though, it seems you're talking about clearing a difficult stoppage that requires accessing the weapon's innards. That's a valid point of concern and the answer to it is entirely dependent on what rail and mount you're talking about. A Beryl style rail will have to be flipped up to access the dust cover. The optic should be unaffected. With a side rail it all depends on the mount. If it is a particularly low profile mount that would be a valid concern even if it only applies to an exceedingly rare problem. On the other hand some mounts don't interfere at all. For instance I use a PK-AS on my AK. It does not slow down or interfere in any way with removing the dust cover. One could then take the discussion in the direction of what those guts are like when encountered. The AK's internals are few, large, accessible and easily removed without tools.

The "ARs only work when you have mortars and air support and tanks, etc." argument kind of falls flat when you look at the fact that the AR is internationally popular with special operations units whose mission requirements include going places and doing things where none of that is readily available . . .

I agree with the general sentiment. It's kind of a myth, like that Russians don't teach tactics or marksmanship, just marching forward with the selector set to full auto.


Apparently, the SAS, for instance, thinks that the AR is also ideal for a well trained guy with zero support in the mountains of Afghanistan (or on some wind scoured hillside in the Falklands for that matter . . .).

I have no hands on experience with the SA80 family of weapons but if what I hear from those who do is true I'd want something different also. The other thing here is that Americans are emulated by people in foreign lands because we have a gun culture and they don't. Oh how I wish I had an exact reference but I remember reading an article from an American instructor who was sent to train with some European elite unit, I think it may have even been GROM. Long story short they were firing their handguns "gangster grip" because they thought that's what Americans did and Americans know a lot about guns.

To be perfectly fair I will say it is possible to keep an AR-15 type weapon running and I even know how. For me personally it's just that it takes more effort than I think is reasonable and I don't feel it offers me any compelling bonus in some other area to make up for it. For instance you used the example of a race between an AK and an AR from the low ready with the safety on. That's a scenario that will never apply to me unless someday I happen to do it for fun against a friend on a range. If I lived in more open country than I do I probably would appreciate the accuracy and flatter trajectory a good AR with common 5.56 ammo has to offer.

Mag changes only matter when they matter . . . but at that point the guy who never really bothered with learning to do them because he'll always be behind cover with buddies laying down suppressive fire is probably killed while fumbling with his weapon.

I do agree with the notion that the value of a speed change is overstated. I also agree that changing magazines fast is a good thing. The AR platform can probably do a mag change with mag retention a little faster than the AK platform can do a mag change with mag retention. I sincerely doubt there is any difference at all in speed on a change without mag retention. I sincerely doubt anybody will try to retain the mag in some weird scenario where a quick mag change is important. Everybody who is any good with their AK knows how to do the quick change at this point in time, it isn't hard. Even then, as Suarez has pointed out, you probably should be doing a transition anyway if you happen to have a side arm. I understand that isn't an option for everybody.

Pretty much nobody who gets to select the weapons they carry into harm way seems to agree with that conclusion.

I would add that pretty much everybody who has actually survived any form of violent encounter tends to trust what worked for them and distrust that which is unproven to them. I'm very particular about a lot of things. It just makes sense. I will also note that nonetheless weapons are also often selected for reasons other than real world performance and experience even by people who should know better. For better or worse fashion has always had a significant impact on any sort of fighting man from any age. Black berets and short barrels, anyone? If we're just talking about armies in general then as you mentioned before politics is often a large factor as well. Political factors do go a long way toward explaining why AK's ended up so widely distributed. Political factors also go a long way toward explaining why many armies are switching over to 5.56 and even AR-derived weapons.

Evil Monkey
October 30, 2008, 09:05 PM
Political factors also go a long way toward explaining why many armies are switching over to 5.56 and even AR-derived weapons.

Ha...as a side note, that's the reason some gun owners, including my self, have decided to only collect NATO caliber rifles. I go as far as to consider 5.56mm rifles that use AR15 mags only. It seems that even in a restricted market like the US market, 5.56mm stanag4179 compatible rifles are just ridiculously commonplace, because of politics. I actually wanted to standardize on 7.62x39mm and AK mags instead, but there was a lack of diversity in rifles for this cartridge and magazine. Either the rifle used AK mags but was FAR too expensive (ex: 7.62x39 galil), or.......the rifle used proprietary mags(ex: vz58).

R127
October 30, 2008, 09:22 PM
The only non-AK, non-AK derived gun that uses AK mags that I can think of is one of those 7.62x39 new manufactured Lee-Enfield rifles but I've never seen one in person. I think Rob Arms used to make something too, but I forgot what it was and they probably don't support it anymore anyway. I would say there is a lot of variety within the AK platform itself from pistols to krinks, various folders, all kinds of variants. I can think of a number of very different guns that use AR mags like the M17 or SU-16. It's a shame the standard 30 round mag is one of the weaker areas of the AR platform but I guess the good news is the new high reliability steel mags if you can afford them. The mag issue didn't affect me much since I loaded up during the Assault Weapon Ban, when high capacity magazines were CHEAPER! :banghead::cuss: I still can't figure that out. Chinese with no ribs for $6 each, Bulgarian waffles under $10, 75 round drums for $65! I also got in on a killer Sportsman's Guide deal. I got a whole mess of used AK mags in fine working condition for under $3 each, delivered! I'm still shooting 7.62x39 purchased at under ten cents a round... a healthy diet for a $650 milled Arsenal. Ah, the good old days... when all the things I love were banned, more widely available and cheaper. :confused:

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