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SKS or AR-15? Which is better for defense?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Ferrari308, Jul 27, 2006.

?

Which rifle is better?

  1. SKS

    29.5%
  2. AR-15

    70.5%
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  1. Ferrari308

    Ferrari308 member

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    Why is the SKS so cheap? They can be purchased for $200, while the AR-15 goes for closer to $1000. Everything I've read says the SKS is more reliable.

    Consider a SHTF scenario where WWIII hits and there is anarchy. You're alone on your 10 acres in the middle of nowhere with a small cabin and no neighbors for miles. You have family to protect. Which gun would you rather have to defend your property?

    You can only have one rifle, and it must be the AR-15 or any version of the SKS. Which one do you chose?
     
  2. Technosavant

    Technosavant Member

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    The SKS is cheap because it is, essentially, a used gun. They also are lower quality (the tolerances aren't anywhere near those needed for an AR), made in an Eastern European nation (lower wages), and much simpler.

    I love my SKS- it's an absolute hoot, and would be quite good in a SHTF scenario. If you decide to build up a SKS into something with better sights, larger capacity, etc., you're better off going straight to an AK- less compliance hassles. It's a good gun as-is, and for short to medium (preferably <100 yards, but can go farther) ranges, it is plenty decent.

    However, I think the AR would be better. Longer range, more accurate, higher capacity, and lighter (easier to haul around). You can abuse the SKS more, but I'd try to take better care of any gun I was depending upon to save my life.

    Keep in mind that the SKS was designed to be built for almost nothing in communist factories and be used by illiterate peasants. The M16 (and the AR civilian variant) was designed to be used by a trained and equipped soldier and made using good quality factories and tooling. The paradigms of the designers were wildly different, and it shows.
     
  3. STAGE 2

    STAGE 2 Member

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    Different rifles for different purposes. The sks was intended to be a simple, mass produced, eventually disposable, peasant weapon that could be operated by the village idiot and work under some of the worst conditions. The round is adequate and the rifle is sufficient for minute of man at 100 yds. Of course the sks holds 10 which is less than the AR's 30, and reloading is slightly slower. However when one gets good with stripper clips the actual speed of reloading becomes negligible depending on the user.

    I'm not a real expert on the AR but its a far more complex design, which is much more accurate. Probably easier to clean as far as breakdown goes simply because of how it disassembles. There is virtually no recoil and you can probably carry more ammo on your person.

    If the situation was WWIII as you described, the rifle I would select would be based on which ammo was the most plentiful. Both would be adequate for what I would need it for. Should ammo be equally available the I would give the nod to the AR simply because I find the pistol grip to be more manageable in the field and its a tad bit lighter.

    Just my 02
     
  4. 50 Freak

    50 Freak Member

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    I voted the SKS is better, cause for the price of one AR, I can buy 4 SKSs.

    That makes it my four people armed with SKSs to your one guy with an AR.

    hehehehe
     
  5. 1911JMB

    1911JMB Member

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    I would take the SKS simply because every stoner varient I ever shot jammed on me. Granted I've only shot a few, but a clean and properly oiled bushmaster not jam, but they have each time I've shot one. I see lots of guys at the range with them that never have any jams, but I haven't had such good luck so its a clear choice for me.

    Then again, I'd be a lot more worried about weapons of mass destruction than a paranoid shtf scenerio. Who in the world would be stupid enough to invade the US? A foreign country could nuke the US or use bio weapons, but theres no way US citizens will be fighting off a foreign invader on US soil any time soon.
     
  6. Ferrari308

    Ferrari308 member

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    100 meters, or 300 feet, is a short distance. I thought both these guns could do much better. Is there any option to make them good for 1000 feet? Will a scope increase the range, or is 300 feet as far as these rifles can push the bullet?
     
  7. Minator

    Minator Member

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    :uhoh: lol was this even a contest?
     
  8. carterbeauford

    carterbeauford member

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    You can get 7 or 8 SKS rifles for the price of one AR if you shop around and lower your quality standards enough. I paid $150 for one that was practially new, lower grades can be found for as little as $89. It is a big, heavy, fairly accurate rifle that is quite reliable with the factory 10 round magazine.

    SKS is more resistant to dirt that might be encountered in an outdoor survival situation. For home defense, I think it is too long and heavy and is a last resort weapon. If you choose a rifle for home defense the AR is lighter and more maneuverable.
     
  9. Technosavant

    Technosavant Member

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    A good quality SKS with decent ammo will put shots into a paper plate at 100 yards. That's plenty good enough for most uses- if you go taking shots at longer ranges, even in SHTF, expect to see legal repercussions when order is restored (I kinda doubt TEOTWAWKI will ever happen, short of a plague as in Stephen King's The Stand, expect to have to answer for your deeds).

    An AR of decent quality with good ammo should be usefully accurate out to 300 yards, if not more.

    For more range, you need a full power rifle round like the .308; intermediate cartridges won't cut it.

    Unless you plan to go hunting on the plains where multi-hundred yard shots are the norm, 500 yard accuracy is just "because you can." If you are worried about invading barbarians, IMO, 100 yards is plenty. Few people are an imminent danger to life and limb out past that. Prepare for it if you want, but don't be thinking you will have bodies piled up 500 yards away from your shooting position and nobody is going to care.
     
  10. goon

    goon Member

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    AR.
    Remember six months ago when you couldn't find 7.62x39?
    You could still find .223 and 5.56 ammo. It is more expensive but still available and made by a whole lot of US manufacturers. Even with FMJ economy style bullets it will often fragment out to 150 yards or so, making a really nasty wound.
    I never did the comparison with 7.62x39 but I know that you can get 38 rounds of 55 grain 5.56 ammo in a pound of weight.
    The AR is a US weapon. You can get all kinds of parts and accessories to make it into whatever you want. They are basically pinned and screwed together. I have made customizations on mine already with only the knowledge of how to strip it for cleaning. In the event that you wound up being a US supported guerilla fighting against someone in WWIII you may be able to get help from an armorer if you had a broken part or needed a few magazines or ammo. That wouldn't happen with an SKS.
    They are dirty but I just ran my Olympic carbine for about a thousand rounds with no lube to start with and no cleaning whatsoever. There were no failures to feed, fire, or extract. It was so dirty tonight that I had trouble getting it apart to finally clean it. That could be considered abuse but I do know that the damn thing will work when it is dirty.
    If you can't find time to clean your rifle between every thousand rounds you are doing something wrong.
    I wouldn't feel helpless with an SKS but I would choose a good AR over it.
     
  11. beerslurpy

    beerslurpy member

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    AR wins because the SKS is plain missing features. Lack of detachable, high capacity magazines is a major hindrance in a self defense rifle. Still, an SKS wouldnt be that bad if your adversaries were few in number or were mostly unaware of your position.

    I would still pick an AK over AR because I feel reliability is more important than a few MOA of accuracy at combat ranges. As for ammo scarcity, I still have a few thousand rounds left.
     
  12. Ferrari308

    Ferrari308 member

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    Even against anti-snipers? How far away do most snipers set up camp for shots? Are there any snipers that try to take out targets from more than 100 yards away? How do you defend against them?
     
  13. possum

    possum Member

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    I own both and they both have there places, but cheap or not no matter what i would take the ar-15. I will sacrifice the extra money, and the smaller caliber round plus, engaging targets out to 300 meters is easy, to 500 if your good with ironsights not to mention if you have some form of high speed optics, then you can reach out even farther. The accuracy is gonna be alot better, especially for the scenario you described.wide open spaces. I love the sks for several reasons, but for a shtf situation, i would reach for the ar-15 everytime.The hi capicity if the ar-15 is sweet i have had problems with sks's that had hi-cap mags,being reliable. it is quicker to reload the ar-15 as well. not to mention the avalabilty of ammo it is alot easier to find .223/5.56 around here than it is to find 7.62x39. If you run out.
     
  14. Technosavant

    Technosavant Member

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    Do you honestly think you are going to have snipers after your family? If you are planning for that eventuality, neither the SKS or the AR is going to do it. Try something in .338 Lapua or .416 Barrett, or even .50BMG. You'll need the reach. Be sure to train up your 8 year old to be a spotter.

    People with real training and practice can hit reliably at out past 100 yards, but they, in all likelihood, will not be going after innocent people minding their own business. It's the usual thugs who can't hit squat at 20 yards who will be pulling that garbage.

    Prepare all you want for whatever you want, but enemy snipers are seriously getting into tinfoil hat territory.
     
  15. BoySetsTheFire

    BoySetsTheFire Member

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    My 2¢: I voted for the SKS.

    First off, the 223 round has been in question with regard to adequate stopping power. Many LE agencies have gone with the 223, but they have been questioned/criticised for it. Plain and simple, the SKS has more snot.

    The SKS is a field tested weapon, as reliable as they come.

    Obviously, there are weapons out there that are superior to both. If you want a high powered tack driver, for $400 you can get an M1 Garand in 30.06. That's got better accuracy at longer distances and a hell of a lot more power than either the SKS or AR. But you should pick the rifle that you are comfortable with and that you can shoot well with.

    So I pick the SKS. (But I'm in the process of buying an M1, simply because it is a historical weapon).
     
  16. Ferrari308

    Ferrari308 member

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    Think of the situation from the other guys point of view. Something horrible just happened, maybe a terrorist set off a nuke, maybe they poisoned the water supply, maybe a hurricane worse than Katrina hit. You saw how people acted after hurricane Katrina, there was anarchy. At any rate, this guy is not prepared, so he gets his family in his car and he gets his deer hunting rifle. He finds your cabin. He asks for help, you offer him a gallon of water and tell him to keep going north. But he drives a mile off, then decides to double back to get your cabin on foot. He wants everything you've stockpiled like water and food. You prepared, he didn't, and now he wants to take it the easiest way by snipering you.

    How many people would be willing to kill an innocent person if it means saving his family? Would you kill an innocent man if it means feeding your children in a time of disaster with no law enforcement anywhere and no help anywhere? I would not, but I am sure there are people out there who would. I want to be prepared.
     
  17. mrmeval

    mrmeval Member

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    For what an AR cost me, about 900. I can get 10 SKS's. And I can still get ammo cheap for the SKS. 10 rounds means the person has to shoot a bit more careful.
     
  18. 10-Ring

    10-Ring Member

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    I've never really been a fan of the SKS...I voted AR ;)
     
  19. SomeKid

    SomeKid Member

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    Ferarri,

    In that situation, you would be dead before knowing you had an enemy. He would wait for you to come outside and nail you from his spot. At least, assuming he didn't Rambo into your front door.
     
  20. lesjones

    lesjones Member

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    I voted AR

    The AR is a better gun overall. More accurate, higher magazine capacity, better ergonomics, more accessories.

    Now if you factor in cost I'm not so sure. :)

    I have an SKS. I have not been able to justify the cost of an AR. For home defense I've got a 12 gauge pump and plenty of handguns. For me an AR will mostly be a toy to take to the range. Right now I'd rather spend my money on WWII milsurps and old S&W revolvers.
     
  21. MechAg94

    MechAg94 Member

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    I was thinking about shorter ranges myself. My SKS has a built in bayonet and solid stock that would be useful if ranges were really short. I can live with 10 shots. Better to not get used to spraying several rounds when one or two will do. 10 round strippers load quickly anyway.

    To be honest, if you are worried about snipers hanging around, you will be holed up somewhere for months on end. If someone comes buy your house, you better make sure they leave the area anyway. I guess that is why friends and dogs can be helpful.
     
  22. Limeyfellow

    Limeyfellow Member

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    I would probrobly pick the AR15 in the US since I am more likely to pick up extra ammo and parts since they are so common in the US but if its a struggle for cleaning equipment and such the SKS makes a fairly desirable pick.

    What really lets down some of the SKS' is some of the quality control, though the good thing is its all quite easy to solve. Stick on a tech-sight, give it a good bedding and sort out the trigger by reassembling it properly and your SKS can usually be brought down to at least 2 moa. The design of the rifle is fairly well done. It doesn't have the 30 round clip usually, though there is the SKS-M and SKS-D and some versions were even adopted then to selective fire, which with a fairly competent amataur is not too difficult to do. Its the poor man's do most things fairly well carbine.
     
  23. GILROY

    GILROY Member

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    I would add and choose an obvious missing option. The venerable AK47. Rock solid dependable, accurate enough for legitimate social unrest ranges, hi capacity, small package with folding stock. Keep 1000 rounds in the closet put away nice and dry. If you need more than that, you probably did not survive to place the order. (BTW, I do own an AR and a SKS for backup).
     
  24. Ferrari308

    Ferrari308 member

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    What is moa?
     
  25. Grunt

    Grunt Member

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    I'd go with the AR over the SKS. Now I do own 4 ARs and 2 SKS rifles, all of different designs and I still think the AR is the better weapon. True, the SKS does have a good reputation for reliability however, I have never had a propperly maintained (you didn't think I was some sort of slob did you?) AR or M-16/M-4 using decent ammunition malfunction either. I did have one M-4 blow up on me when I went through CATM school but that was due to an ammunition with the frangible ammo being overloaded. Just on a note, a fellow CATM instructor I know at Pope AFB had one round of frangible that blew apart a rifle up there they estimated to be generating 80,000 PSI rather than the standard 52,000 PSI the M-4 is designed to take. Anyways, no, I'm not overly thrilled about the smaller 5.56mm round but I'm even less thrilled with the 10 round magazines loaded with stripper clips, lack of a flash suppressor and other ergonomic issues the SKS has. It's a good deer rifle for brush country and today I'd rate it about on par with a good .30-30 lever action. However, as far as a rifle for fighting, I'll stick with the AR design out of the two choices given here.
     
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