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What exactly is the draw of the AR platform?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by The Exile, Jun 3, 2015.

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  1. benEzra

    benEzra Moderator Emeritus

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    There's part of the answer...

    Is that the video where they were shooting with iron sights or an unmagnified dot? An AR is capable of outshooting its factory iron sights; to really see what the respective platforms can do, fit them with good magnified optics to reduce aiming error, and then compare groups at 200+ yards.

    One of the draws of the AR is that it offers bolt-action accuracy in a semiauto platform. An AR with a quality barrel and a free-float tube will outshoot almost any other semiauto on the market, as well as a whole lot of bolt-actions.

    A decent AR, set up properly, is extremly reliable. You can get them to fail by tuning them for very hot loads only (H2, H3 buffer, heavier springs) and then shooting light loads, or by underlubricating the gun and then running it without lube or cleaning for thousands of rounds, or by using crappy magazines, or by overgassing/undergassing them via mismatching components. But a good AR will run well even if barely maintained (e.g., squirting oil into the gas vent holes every once in a while and calling it good).

    http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2010/06/09/a-clean-wouldnt-hurt/

    .223/5.56mm isn't ballistically inferior to 5.45x39mm in general. A very good 5.45 load will outperform a mediocre 5.56mm load, but the best 5.56mm loads will outperform the best 5.45mm loads at long range. Compare the 77 grain Sierra MatchKing loads in .223/5.56mm to any 5.45mm load at 500+ yards, for example. The very best loads for long range shooting are pricey, though.

    Ergonomics, ease of customization, accuracy, reliability, value, and versatility. It is not the only good choice by any means (I do like AK's, and the AUG, and others), but there are very, very few centerfire semiautos for $600-$1000 that will match an AR in all those categories, and it is also a very reasonable choice for HD (given appropriate ammo selection).
     
  2. LeonCarr

    LeonCarr Member

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    1. As mentioned, the fact that politicians who hate freedom don't want you to own one.

    2. You can build one in your garage or even living room with a minimum of tools and training.

    3. Relatively inexpensive to own/build, relatively inexpensive to shoot, and has minimal recoil that, coupled with a collapsible stock, allows just about every member of your household to be able to shoot it. With the stock fully collapsed my 7 year old can shoulder mount and shoot an AR.

    Just my .02,
    LeonCarr
     
  3. Nature Boy

    Nature Boy Member

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    I bought mine several years ago for 2 primary reasons

    1) nostalgia - it's what the Army issued me
    2) because I could, and was afraid there would come a time in the future when I couldn't
     
  4. Captains1911

    Captains1911 Member

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    Semi-automatic AR-15s and AK-47s are not "assault rifles."
     
  5. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    IMHO it's the ability to do about anything you please with one with ease.
    Anywhere from a reliable SHTF spray and pray M4gery to a precision match rifle from lowly 22lr to rounds that'll handle any big game in the world.
    All from the same user friendly platform
     
  6. 68wj

    68wj Member

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    If your employer is issuing ammo, you are stuck shooting what they provide (for whatever reason makes them choose).

    Otherwise, an AR in 6.8 SPC is less of a compromise for me and is my ideal rifle.
     
  7. HoosierQ

    HoosierQ Member

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    Frankly, despite its space age looks and materials, the thing that strikes me is the simplicity of the thing! Two halves that you can take apart with two pins (or just pull one and fold it). The gas system is brilliant regardless of what its detractors say. Lightweight almost like a .22 lr if one goes with a vanilla one.

    It's not pretty but I do think the design, especially of the gas system is quite elegant from an engineering perspective.
     
  8. Bexar

    Bexar Member

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    Let's not forget the erector set factor. With all of the aftermarket "bolt on" stuff available for the platform the system is like a Lego puzzle for gun nuts like us. Remember how major gunsmithing and even some manufacturers grew out of people just wanting to jack with their 1911s. The potential for personalizing or Frankenstiening the AR platform is only limited by the owners imagination and their ability to lift the dang thing afterwards. :D
     
  9. 4thPointOfContact

    4thPointOfContact Member

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    For those of us old enough to remember .....

    The same attraction that VHS had over Betamax. Betamax was a technically superior postion but VHS achieved market saturation more quickly.

    AR's are 'good enough' although not the best platform, and they're available practically everywhere at low cost which some better systems are not.


    Personally, I'd rather have a product-improved Daewoo K2 (with the same development the M4 has had) than an AR but it's just not a marketable option.
     
  10. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Member

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    If you get an AK-74 (5.45x39) you are condemning yourself to shoot mostly import mil. surp. ammo (which may dry up). While you will have a plethora of choices for 5.56x45 (.223 Rem) ammo.

    If you take up reloading, you will not find boxer primed 5.45x39 brass cases free for the taking in the brass bucket at the range. While there is always 5.56x45 (.223 Rem) cases free for the taking.

    Good sights for an AR are cheap and plentiful. Good sights for an AK are not cheap and scarce. The difference is the sight radius and the fact that the standard issue aperture sights on an AR are darn good.

    I have both... a converted x39 Saiga, and a kit built 16" middy AR. I shoot the AR a lot, while the AK sits at home.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2015
  11. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Member

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    Oh.. and there's the whole "who's side are you on?" thing...

    True AR blue?

    or

    Cursed Commie AK red?

    :neener:
     
  12. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Member

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    and the carry handle of course :p
     
  13. Schwing

    Schwing Member

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    I personally don't enjoy shooting ARs and don't own one. Just as my taste in music never left the 70s, my taste in guns seems to be stuck in the early 1900s:)

    Even so, the appeal is easy to understand. Limitless accessory options, light weight, extreme accuracy and relatively inexpensive ammo.
     
  14. hatt

    hatt member

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    You're sure in a heck of a firefight if you can't squirt some lube on the BCG every 500-1000 rounds. It's been proven that AR don't need to be babied just lubed every once in a while.
     
  15. LiquidTension

    LiquidTension Member

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    The AR is more ergonomic, has less recoil, better sighting options, and a much better trigger. Reliability is a wash if you have a quality gun. ARs will run dirty all day long, they just won't run dry. I haven't cleaned an AR in several years including my class gun. It just gets lubed and nothing else. It's also a BCM and not a Shrubmaster/DPMS/etc. Part of the ergonomic advantage of the AR is being able to run them faster than AKs. There's a reason why drills like the MNQ have different par times for ARs and AKs - AKs take longer to reload.

    One thing the AK does have going for it is that it's easier to put a folding stock on it if you have concerns about storage space. I was also VERY impressed with the new Geissele trigger for the AK, so if you're willing to part with the $$ the trigger issue is now a wash. Of course, dropping that trigger into an AK puts it above the cost of a decent AR like a S&W, but hey - it's nice to have options.
     
  16. krimmie

    krimmie Member

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    I mainly have "Fudd guns", and usually can be found chasing ducks, geese, and clay targets than at the range. I became interested in owning an AR last year when prices dropped. To me, it's a light recoiling, cheap round to shoot, that is fun to shoot now, and later in life when my heavier recoiling rifles and shotguns start giving me problem.s. I plan on introducing my future grand kids to them too.
     
  17. MistWolf

    MistWolf Member

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    This subject was hashed out not too long ago http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=773091=appeal+of+AR

    As far as accuracy and reliability of AR rifles compared to AK rifles (rifles, handguns and shotguns are not "platforms"- the shooter is the platform), do more research. For another opinion of AR accuracy, check the posts Molon has made on m4carbine.net. Don't rely on just one source for the facts
     
  18. The Exile

    The Exile Member

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    When I asked my question I wasn't thinking of the civilian market. Specifically it seems that AR15's are the choice for America's army of professorial soldiers in addition to police officers. If the AK is so reliable, and shoots the larger round, or shoots the ballistically superior round, than what's so impressive of the AR15 which I want to like but I want to know why something like the state is so impressed.
     
  19. readyeddy

    readyeddy Member

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    Oh, you're talking about government contracts and politics. Sorry, not my department.
     
  20. Panzerschwein

    Panzerschwein member

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    5.45x39mm is ballistically INFERIOR to 5.56 NATO, especially with 77 grain OTM bullets.
     
  21. USAF_Vet

    USAF_Vet Member

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    It is, but so what? The AR is also very reliable. Reports that claim the AR is unreliable date from the early 60s, in a jungle environment, with poor training and a claim it doesn't need to be cleaned. So in those VERY limited circumstances, with an outdated weapon that has since been altered and upgraded the AK is probably more reliable. Thankfully, for most of us, that set of circumstances today would be exceedingly rare.

    Size matters, but are we talking about the 5.45x39 or the 7.62x39? Are we talking the AK-47 or the AK-74? 5.45x39 is actually the smaller round, with similar ballistic performance to the 5.56x45. The 7.62x39 is larger, but is far less accurate.

    As I mentioned before, a 100 yard test is nothing. Bump out those distances and compare the accuracy of each round. With the same shooter, I'd bet the AR and the 5.56 outperforms both AKs with their respective rounds. Also, if size matters, why are we even bothering to discuss intermediate cartridges? Why not compare the 7.62x51, the 7.62x54r and the .30-06? Or the .338 Lapua? Or the .50 BMG v. the 12.7x102? We can always go back and debate 9mm v. .45ACP. Caliber wars are fun.

    It doesn't. The 5.56x45 and the 5.45x39 are similar in performance. Neither one edges out the other in any real significance. But the 5.56 is easier to obtain via commercial channels while the 5.45 is limited to foreign military surplus. The 5.56 has easily reloadable brass. The 5.56 has a wider selection of bullets, either factory made or for the reloader. So when ballistic performance is near equal, simple economics should dictate which round to use.

    The state might be more impressed with the rifle that was designed, developed and produced within said state. They might also be impressed with the leaps and bounds the rifle has taken since it's original design and inception. Today's AR isn't the rifle used back in Nam. Today's AK, well, it's pretty much still the same. There hasn't been much advancement in the AK world.

    What impressed me about the AR-15, aside from my training and use of the M-16/ M-4, was the ability to buy parts over a longer span of time, and build a quality AR on a limited budget. The superior ergonomics of the rifle. The ability to swap multiple calibers with the same lower. There's even a crossbow upper, and I think I've heard of an inline muzzle loading upper. The AK can be made more ergonomic, by adding an AR style stock. The AR, especially the A3 flat top is very optics friendly. The AK, not so much. The AR is much more user friendly, and in the few instances where it's not, can be made such. The AK is always going to be the same AK, more or less. The design just isn't as malleable and readily modified to the user as the AR.

    And while wood and steel look great, the alloys and polymers of the AR make for a much lighter rifle. For the average civilian who isn't carrying their rifle all day, it's a moot point. Even for cops, whose rifle will probably never see much deployment, the weight issue makes little difference. Which is why the other features need to be the deciding factor.

    The downside to the AR is that is can not be made more compact than it already is. The AK can be fitted with a folding stock, and still fire with the stock folded.


    Anyway, if we're talking military/ police contracts, for the US market, there simply isn't a large enough US based manufacturer of AKs to replace all the ARs in service. Not to mention the stigma of the AK being the bad guys rifle. Ordering, issuing, training, etc would be a massive overhaul of the supply infrastructure that has been in place for decades.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2015
  22. MechAg94

    MechAg94 Member

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    The biggest advantage to me is the ease of installing some truly awesome aftermarket triggers in the AR. Installation is easy also.

    If there are easy AK trigger upgrades, I haven't seen them. I would be highly interested.
     
  23. The Exile

    The Exile Member

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    Allow me to refine my question, if a decent model of AR runs... let's say 1200, and an AK can be had for 700 than is the ergonomics and accuracy worth that? The AR has been in service for over 50 years and shows no sign of going away any time soon, is that 500 dollars worth of difference of ergonomics and 300+ yard accuracy all you need to justify the price tag or are there more factors?
     
  24. MistWolf

    MistWolf Member

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    No need to pay $1200 for a good AR. You can get Colt 6920 for $1000 or less.

    When AKs were only $300, I still paid $1000 for a Colt AR instead
     
  25. fanchisimo

    fanchisimo Member

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    You can get a decent AR for far less than 1200. You can build your own PSA for between $500 and $600 or even get a Colt 6920 (overrated IMO, but some say the best) for $750-$800 on sale. In AK's you can get a WASR for ~$600. They used to be considered junk but they have increased in quality the last few years. My 2014 manufacture WASR has been good so far. Arsenals can be had from $900+ but I think they're in the same boat as Colts. There are many types in between that price range just do an internet search to find out their quality.
     
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