Same Old Question, Different Time — Assault Rifles

(For part 1 of this series, go here; for part 2, here.)

3.) Assault Rifles:
There was a time when owning an assault rifle was regarded with amusement. Only the “preppers”or “blue helicopter” crowd owned them, mostly out of paranoia. Those times are gone. The way the political situation has become not only polarized but more antagonistic, and with the possibility of random ISIS attacks and /or riot-provoking organizations like the Antifa and Black Lives Matter thugs, every home should hold at least one assault rifle.

I know, we hide this rationale under cutesy names like “Zombie Apocalypse” and the like. Let’s not mince words, here: there’s no such thing as zombies, and mob violence is going to come from living, breathing human beings who want to loot your home at best, or else do you harm because of the color of your skin, the size of your investment portfolio, because Trump! or even just because it’s Friday. What we need, therefore, is to be able to deliver sustained, rapid fire into a series of human targets, and an ability to reload quickly to address their larger numbers. Reliability is absolutely critical, here — this is no time to call on a gunsmith, or have to start tinkering with components which have somehow failed since the last time we went to the range.

I know that the AR-15 and its many derivations are the black rifle of choice for many. I disagree with that choice. While the AR has been improved to where its reliability is somewhat better than average (and much better than it used to be), I still think that the rifle itself is a little too finicky, and its 5.56mm (.223 Rem) cartridge is an inadequate stopper. The low recoil of the smaller cartridge does not compensate for its lack of knockdown power.

In one of the Tales Of The Gun shows once aired on TV, one of the guys interviewed said something like, “When civilization has failed and collapsed completely, the gun I want in my hands is an AK-47.”

I agree. The AK’s larger 7.62x39mm cartridge is leagues better than the 5.56mm, the AK rifle’s reliability and ruggedness are legendary, and its perceived lack of accuracy at longer ranges (more than 200 yards) doesn’t matter at typical mob violence distances, which can be measured in feet rather than yards. Note too, that I’m not suggesting its use as an anti-burglar tool — you have a shotgun and a couple handguns for that already, right? — because the 7.62x39mm cartridge will go through internal walls like they don’t exist. But as a “crowd control” device, there are few better choices than the AK-47.

Of course, AKs are no longer the bargain buy they used to be. (Have I already thanked that socialist anti-gun prick Barack Obama for causing gun sales to explode and thereby have prices go through the roof? Allow me, then…) On the other hand, while their price has risen, they’re still a bargain compared to the stratospheric prices charged for even the most basic AR-15s.

AKs do not allow for much tacticooling, other than perhaps with the very-much-recommended addition of an Ultimak rail and Aimpoint red-dot sight, like my old one:

And the other fine thing about the AK-47 is that unlike the AR-15, which apparently requires quarter-hourly cleanings to prevent stoppages, the AK can, if necessary, be cleaned only in months (or years) divisible by seven and still be counted upon to shoot. Yes, I know that we should all clean our guns assiduously. Just remember that when civilization fails, you may not be able to find any Hoppes No.9 lying around.

One last point (which I’ve made before): the first pic of the AK shows it with the popular 30-round magazine loaded. I have no problem with that mag, but I myself prefer the 20-rounders (as seen in the second pic), simply because you can’t shoot the 30-round mag from prone without assuming some strange yoga pose. You should have an absolute minimum of two spare magazines, and four would be much better (100 or 150 rounds at hand). Metal ones, because you can drive a Prius over one and it will probably still work in the AK.

As for ammo, use whatever is cheapest. Also unlike the AR-15, the AK is not fussy about ammo and will shoot anything. I like the Brown Bear brand the best, but I’ll shoot pretty much whatever’s on sale. Buy your 7.62x39mm accordingly — a thousand or so rounds will do for starters, not because you’ll need a thousand rounds to fight off a crowd of assholes, but because you can practice with it and not be caught short during an ammo shortage when everyone starts panic buying (such as occurred during the Obama Dark Times).

Final thought: I may be pissing some people off with my preference of the AK-47 over the AR-15. Here’s my take on it: if you’re a veteran of the Armed Forces and thanks to your experience with the M4 you’re as familiar with the operation of the AR-15 as driving a car, by all means get whatever flavor of AR you wish — preferably in larger calibers like the 6.5mm Grendel, .300 Blackout, whatever — or even the AR-10 in 7.62x51mm NATO. Of course the AR platform is a perfectly viable option, and one should always go with the gun one understands, can operate, fix and all that good stuff. (That’s why I prefer the Colt 1911 pistol over all other handguns, despite its couple flaws.)

I just think that the AK-47 is a better solution to an End Times scenario. As with everything I write here, your opinions may vary, and in this case, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Next: defensive handguns.

49 comments

  1. I will jump in first here, I have shot both the AR & AK during the past few months and with the newer guns I don’t see much problem with reliability and because of the current overstock that some dealers have there are some great deals out there.

    The newer AR’s made in the past 15 years that I have shot work very well with decent cleaning and if you like using a scope or any other gadgets there are lots of ways to modify gun and rails to really mess things up. I like the 6.8 SPC which is about .270 diameter in the AR and it makes for a deadly over 200 yard killer that is accurate as hell.

    As for the AK, 100 to 150 yards the iron sights are good enough to place killing shots with a .30 cal bullet that packs a lot of punch. There are some really well made AR’s with folding stocks and decent prices that would make good truck guns and I agree with the 20 round mag over the 30 when shooting prone in either AK or AR.

    Modern hollow points for your serious ammo which are not allowed for military but recommended by me for killing hogs and critters might not be a bad idea if things get turned upside down and really, really bad people are creating a situation that requires serious defense. And as a last idea, for close in the home rapid fire rifle defense I prefer the old M-1 carbine with hollow points, a nice handy little rifle.

  2. I don’t have much argument to your main points. I do happen to own an AR even though I don’t like it much, so I’m probably the last person to defend it, but …

    Everyone and their dog is making AR’s these days and I’m forever seeing them on sale. Yeah, there are some high dollar rifles out there with all bells and whistles, but also many bargain basement versions too. So saying the AK is a bargain compared to the AR isn’t necessarily valid anymore. Also, having just purchased an AK as a X-mas present for my son, those prices are going up fast. Not as many people making them and, yeah, Obama (spit). So financially, there’s an AR for every budget but you’ve already missed the boat for a cheap AK.

    Of course, I’ll be standing in front of the horde with my Winchester 30-30 and a Stetson, so my opinion is probably a bit moot.

  3. Someday when I move to America….

    I like the idea of an AR chambered in one of the sledgehammer rounds like 450 Thumper, 458 SOCOM or 50 Beowulf. IIRC Jeff Cooper (PBUH) popularized the idea of a “thumper”, a short-to-medium range, very powerful rifle with a big bullet (I think he recommended .45 Win Mag).

  4. I have one AR carbine in .223. It’s very accurate with the right ammo, varmint rifle accurate. BUT, it does seem fussy and at times it has kicked my butt with malfunctions. I think I’ll get an AK. Or two. And a couple thousand rounds.

    I just remembered the Ruger Mini 30. Those are hell for strong and reliable as can be. Plus they’re made here in the USA. A little pricey perhaps but a great alternative to an AK.

    1. I’ve got a Mini 30 that I bought back in the early 90’s. At the time I was looking for a deer rifle that was light and handy and wouldn’t beat me to death when I shot it. My issue with the Mini has always been accuracy – with good commercial ammo and a scope the best I can do is about 3-4″ at 100 yards. I don’t have 7.62 x 39 dies so I haven’t tried reloads but I suspect that I’m not going to get any better accuracy with the rifle. On the positive side it does feed and shoot everything from cheap steel case Chinese and Russian junk to good Winchester, Federal etc rounds. There aren’t a lot of accessories available for the rifle. I bought four “no name” 20 round magazines at a gun show some years back and three out of four feed just fine. The other one is questionable and I guess that I shouldn’t gripe over the $10 each I paid. If I had to do it again I’d probably buy a Mini 14 and go for an AK if I wanted something that shot 7.62×39

      1. > I’ve got a Mini 30 that I bought back in the early 90’s. …with good commercial ammo and
        > a scope the best I can do is about 3-4″ at 100 yards.

        First off 3 to 4 inches at 100 yards is *adequate* for defensive purposes in urban or suburban environments.

        Second, IIRC there is a difference between what Bill Ruger and company thought the diameter of a 7.62×39 was, and what the Russians thought it should be.

        Purportedly by the early 2000s (when mine was made) this was resolved. I have not tested this extensively.

        Also, now that Bill Ruger is dead you can get Ruger official 20 round magazines. I hope that has Bill Ruger spinning in his grave.

  5. I have and AK and AR and if I’m bugging out by car then both are going along for the ride. I lean toward the AR (in .223) as my bug-out-on-foot rifle because of the weight of the rifle and the ammo. If I’m on foot I’m going to be avoiding encounters if possible and will only be expending ammo in a dire emergency or to kill a varmint for food. In other words I won’t be shooting it enough to get it dirty. Nor do I live in the desert where I have to worry about dust in the action. I have different plans for the end-of-the-world scenario and if that happens I’ll take whichever rifle I still have ammo for.

  6. You can now buy a basic AR for a good bit less than an AK, which blows my mind. Kim touched on a good alternative, the venerable lever action. My cheapo Rossi/Puma M92 in .357 runs like a clock, is quite accurate, and takes 10 rounds of .357 or 11 of .38. I certainly wouldn’t feel undergunned with it in a home defense situation, or SHTF, for that matter.

    One thing in the AR vs AK debate–the AK might be seen as a “bad guy” gun in certain situations.

    1. “One thing in the AR vs AK debate–the AK might be seen as a “bad guy” gun in certain situations.”

      I’ve had that conversation with an LE Friend. He stated that if he saw an AR in an active shooter situation he “probably” would challenge before pulling the trigger, as that’s what all LE in the area carry for patrol rifles. An AK? He wouldn’t hesitate since no LE around here carry them. (Another conversation as to why he assumes anyone with a long gun when the SHTF is a cop or a goblin, still working on that).

      I got my first introduction to the Stoner platform in 1981 and have trained and shot several types of competition with one variant or another over the years, so I’m one of the ones that is used to it and don’t have to think about it if I need to do an immediate action drill and is my go to rifle for general purpose use.

      Never cared for the AK series. If I need a weapon with more umph I’ll go to my SKS or M-1 Garand.

  7. Yeah… “Winchester 1894… the original assault rifle.”

    Abso-freaking-lutely. The only thing better than an 1894 in .44 Magnum is two 1894s in .44 Magnum. New York Reload and all that. My preference runs to Marlins or Henrys rather than Winchesters, but that’s just my bias showing. Jim West at Wild West Guns in Anchorage makes some superb ghost ring sights for lever rifles. Consider: A rifle capable of aimed shots every 1.5-2 seconds that fires 260 grain hard cast projectiles at 1700 FPS. That’s how one owns a 160-180 yard radius around one’s position; one shot and done.

    RE: the AR-15 – I recently saw something on the .400AR cartridge, a new wildcat for the AR. I’ve long wished for a .40 caliber round that achieves 2000 FPS with a 200 grain bullet; the 400AR does that easily (actually, it’ll do 2350-2400 with a 200 grainer). Due to case diameter, it’ll probably be most useful in an AR-10 platform, but still…in SBR format I see a near-perfect house carbine if the cartridge pans out.

    Part of the AR’s popularity is based on plentiful, cheap ammunition; 5.56/.223 stuff has been, and is, available everywhere, from everyone, at good prices because of military demand for it. Had the AR used a different native cartridge we’d be better off, but it is what it is, and, within reason, the AR platform is flexible enough to use something that works at distance (my choice would have been something in 6.5 that has a case maybe 15-20MM longer, but a 6.5 Blackout might work).

  8. I’m going to disagree with the conventional wisdom here (again.) IMO for “home defense” or personal use, the SKS is actually a better choice than the AK.

    A few reasons:

    1. Where the AK has a cheap, stamped sheet metal receiver, the receiver on the SKS is milled and much more solid.

    2. The rear sight on the AK is too close to the front sight, shorter sight radius = less accurate.

    3. The longer barrel on the SKS similarly offers better range and sight radius

    4. The SKS has a thick, integral 10rd magazine that is not likely to be bent or damaged, vs. the AK’s magazines which can be very robust but can also be cheap – there are wide variations in mags and failures-to-feed are almost always magazine related.

    5. The low profile 10 rd mag on the SKS makes it easier to shoot from the prone position

    6. The SKS can be loaded with cheap and easy to find 10 round stripper/charger clips (and unlike magazine fed rifles, there is no adapter needed as the stripper clip guide is built in to the bolt carrier of the SKS.)

    7. The SKS has an easily removable trigger group. Want a better trigger? Just buy a new group and drop it right in.

    8. Unlike the AK, the SKS will hold the bolt open after the last round is fired, making it quicker to reload.

    9. Generally speaking, quality SKS’s can be found cheaper than quality AKs. They are also available in some GFW locales that ban “assault weapons” because of the permanently attached magazine.

    BTW I’m not saying the AK is not a good weapon, what I am saying, though, is that the things that make the AK superior for an ARMY or a nation – i.e. selective fire option, cheap to manufacture due to more stamped parts, smaller overall, easier to mass produce – don’t neccessarily apply to the individual armed citizen.

    Oh, and before someone says it (because I know they will), yes, there are crap SKS’s on the market. A ton of them were dumped into the US market in the 1990’s and some of them are still floating around. But there are also a lot of good quality ones and yes, that includes Chinese SKSs. My ChiCom SKS is one of my favorite rifles to shoot and has a pretty amazing trigger pull for a military rifle. Also stone-axe reliable.

    1. No argument from me on the SKS. It’s the Commie equivalent of the M14 battle rifle, with included bayonet goodness but with fewer cartridges in the mag.

        1. There is also the highly prized “d-model.” This was a variant of the ChiCom SKS that was modified (from the factory) to accept 30 round AK mags.

          Back in the 90’s when they were cheap D models went for around $250 (while run-of-the mill ChiComs went for half that.) Now they’re hard to find and expensive when you can.

          Only drawback to the detachable mags for non-D model SKS’s is that because of the bolt design you can’t change mags on a closed bolt – the bolt has to be open in order to pull the mag (unless you modify the bolt, that is.)

  9. Also, WRT the venerable .30-30 Winchester, while I love the look of the classic lever action gun, .30-30 is not a great cartridge anymore. Ballistically the 7.62 x 39 is its equal in every way and the tubular magazine on the Winchester and Marlin rifles requires the use of a non-pointed bullet which reduces range. Also with cheap imported ammo, 7.62 x 39 is about 1/4 the price of even “cheap” .30-30.

    Since I love me some 7.62 x 39 but only had one gun to shoot it (the aforementioned SKS), last year I bought a gorgeous CZ-527 bolt action in 7.62 x 39. Shoots like a dream and is very lightweight. And the barrel is designed for the .311 caliber bullets that come in MilSurp ammo (as opposed to civilian loads which typically use .308 bullets.)

  10. As per my earlier comment on another thread here, the popularity of the AK ammo should make it more widely available during the SHTF. (I look forward to taking it off the unfortunate dead.)

    I’m glad to see someone commenting on the likely actual use during the SHTF: crowd control, Also, I figure if I can hit them at the end of my driveway ( a long one) that is far enough. I am not now, nor will ever be, a sniper.

    I recommend Classic Firearms for a wide selection of AKs across broad price points.

    1. If you compare the numbers of AKs in the US v.s. the number of ARs and derivatives you’re much more likely to find .223/5.56.

      1. …and even with that, I doubt very much whether you’ll need more than a thousand rounds of anything. Somebody once did a tally of the total number of rounds expended by the men of the 101st PIR — from Normandy through Market Garden, Bastogne and VE Day, and the aggregate came to about 750 rounds per trooper. That’s in just under a year of near-constant, intense combat. (Don’t ask me where I read it; it was during the No-Blog Years and I never saved the source data. Take it for what it’s worth.)

        1. “I doubt very much whether you’ll need more than a thousand rounds of anything.”

          Hm. Maybe I’m overstocked…

          1. No, ammo is like fuel. The only time you have too much is when you’re on fire. 😉

          2. Or swimming.

            But, you’re right, StaffMartin. So I just ordered 5,000 rounds of CCI Standard Velocity .22. I figure .22’s are like Pez dispensers – most amusing.

            I’ll consider other calibers tomorrow.

  11. Two very minor quibbles regarding your well-reasoned post:

    – I’ve been assembling and selling AR-15s for a few years as a sort of hobby – something to do with my hands while watching tv. I can do a very workable AR (without a scope) for under $400.00. Cheapest AKs I’ve seen have been right around $900.00. (ETA: I don’t plan on selling them as I make them – but then someone wants one, and I enjoy making more.)

    – I’ve put thousands of rounds through ARs with nary a glitch. I don’t clean them very often – mostly just pull the bolt carrier out and wipe it off. I get the guns wet. I drop them. I shoot garbage ammo. So I’m not sure where the reliability issue comes from.

    Having said that, I do wish the .223 was a bit more forceful. But I can carry 100 rounds in my pockets.

  12. I was going to ask about the SKS, and then I read the post by Staff Martin, so thank you. I also note that while the SKS is not as readily available as it once was, it is still out there, sometimes at reasonable prices, and at pawn shops and in newspaper for sale ads. I don’t have one yet, but I think it is in my future. I don’t have the money to justify a huge arsenal, but a centerfire rifle is the next addition to my firearms collection. With the 7.62 x 39, I can hunt white tail deer here in MI, as well as cover self defense needs and any martial type actions that could happen in the future, God forbid.
    One question, however, for those who have more knowledge than I. I had thought that most military weapons had chrome lined bores, which meant that they first lined them with copper. Thus, the use of copper removing solvents such as Hoppes #9 in cleaning the bores is a bad idea, as it could eventually cause the chrome to leach from the bores, and in any case, being chrome plated, such a solvent was unnecessary anyway. In any chrome plated bore I have cleaned, I usually used just Remington oil, and they always cleaned up just fine anyway. Any help you can give me I am thankful for.
    One last note on the AR platform, that is that for what it is intended for, I am impressed by it. It is only when it is attempted to be pressed into a role that it is not designed for that it’s short comings are magnified, and it’s critics are given cause to complain about it. For the intended use, it certainly has stood up to the test of time.

    1. Been using Hoppes for decades with no issues. I think this is an imaginary “problem.”

      1. Thanks. That is pretty much what I had figured. Just like most common knowledge, it is mostly based on speculation. I think that you would have to soak the barrel in a vat of the stuff for a few days or weeks, in order to have it show any effects. If at all.

  13. I know of no semi-auto which won’t group minute of cranium inside of 100 yards. So, IMO, comparative accuracy is irrelevant. In what I consider to be true “self defense” distances of “across the street” or “in the yard” (or even closer), handiness and familiarity are primary concerns.

    COM hits with soft-point .223 bullets are ruinacious. Many reports of one-shot success on Bambi, with modern bullets which have resulted from a lot of R&D. I doubt that I’d be going against body armor.

    I regularly see a question about how many mags should one have. If you need more than one or two reloads, the problem is not a lack of mags. It’s a lack of armed people on your side of the argument.

  14. I thought the M16A2 I carried in the desert was way too finicky and I never could bring myself to pay money for a civilian version. I have an HK91 – as a .308 it is technically a battle rifle. It’s a handful but reliable and hits like a sledgehammer.

    1. I have a G3 clone myself (made by the Ohio Rapid Fire – which unfortunately closed after the owner’s untimely passing). It is both reliable to a fault and any difference in accuracy to my bolt guns is not noticeable is at all. Trigger jobs on HK family rifles are very inexpensive and they are quite nice afterwards – mine is at a smooth 3.5 lbs or so.

      I have an AR too, but that is mostly to remember my adventures in the desert and plink with. I much prefer the G3.

  15. Agree with the choice of the AK. I trained with the AR at LEO Academy and still don’t like it.

    As already said, if you do want an AR, nowadays quality can be had starting at $400.00.

    Agree with the choice of 20 round magazines.

    I try to keep 10 magazines in rotation. In a Bug Out situation, I can carry that many.

    What brands of “AK” do you suggest?

    1. I’m not a big user of AKs, so I’m probably not the right guy to ask. I’ve had both the Romanian SAR-1 and WASR-10 rifles, and the Hungarian AMD-63. All three have been just about perfect for my needs.

  16. I bought one the first Mini-14s that showed up in Austintatious. Traded in and out of three more. (Well, I’m a trader!) Ran over 1,000 rounds through one of them. Never a problem of any sort. Uber reliable. Did in a few jackrabbits and coyotes. Back in the 1970s and 1980s, magazines were reliable and less expensive.

    Depending on where you live, they can be an advantage in that they’re usually legal, and not “Evil’n’Black!”

    For now, my 5th AR is a Colt 20″ A2. So far, quite reliable and 1-MOA with irons.

  17. I freely admit that my distaste for the AR platform is primarily aesthetic. Sure, I could wax wroth about the ejector and direct impingement. But what really makes me grind my teeth is the wobble.

  18. First, Kim, enjoyed your old site and glad to have you back. Condolences for your recent loss. I always enjoyed your historical “one rifle” games, and while I don’t always agree with you, you always make a strong and persuasive proponent for your side.

    Now, as to this rifle. Sorry, gotta go with the AR on this one.

    This isn’t a “zombie apocalypse” scenario; this is a working combat rifle in case things go TU. And here, the AR is the way to go, chambered in .223/5.56. I don’t dispute the strengths of the AK platform – it’s toughness and reliability is legendary. But the round has limited range; it’s ballistically the equivalent of a 30-30. And while worldwide 7.62 may ubiquitous, here in the US of A, .223 is everywhere. Your neighbors likely have it. Your local police force uses it. If the defecation really strikes the oscillator, the local Guard or military has it. Just carry around 10-12 loaded magazines for a while and you know which one you’d prefer to have to hump.

    Moreover, (and I have three sons who are Marines to back this up, two of which are vets of the sandboxes) 5.56 is just fine at putting bad guys down. I had a client (a nasty SOB) who ended up with a VERY nasty and nearly fatal wound from .223; once it starts tumbling, which it likes to do when it hits flesh, bad mojo. It didn’t just bore a .22 sized hole, it scooped flesh the size of a small fist out of his forearm, tumbled through his ribs, collapsed a lung, and nearly killed him (too bad it didn’t – I didn’t say that, did I?). And in combat, accurate, effective fire from 5.56 outranges any incoming fire from the AKs. My boys all qualified as expert; in the Marines, that means (or did) 500 yards, torso sized targets, with iron sites. The target, at that range, is smaller than the front sight post. And they hit that target. An AK chambered in 7.62 won’t come close to doing that. The “poodleshooter” does just fine (and the M14 was, and is vastly overrated; .308 is overrated, period).

    I have both, a preban Norinco AK and two AR’s, both lowers home assembled. The ARs have been anything but finicky with well over 1000 rounds through them, and I am not a cleaning fanatic. Get them out, shoot, do a quick pull through the barrel and wipe down the bolt and carrier and pretty much good to go. They are also more than plenty accurate, battlesighted to 36/300 yards. And the ergonomics beat the h*ll out of the AK.

    The AK is fun as s*it; we go out and bump fire it to dump a mag in a few seconds. And nothing beats putting M2 ball downrange with the Garand. But when I have a critter to put down (the ‘coon in the chicken coop last night, BTW), it’s the AR that I grab. If the zombie hordes show up at my door, or the local sheriff needs an extra hand, it’ll be the AR that is go-to.

    And BTW, I’m with you on the 1911.

    1. GMC,
      And it’s good to see you back as well. As I said, I have no issue with whatever choice anyone makes for a home-defense assault rifle, just as long you HAVE one.
      Don’t be a stranger to my back porch in the future.

  19. I loathe the AK for its crudity, and would not trust my life to one. I loathe the AR for its girly little pop cap of a cartridge (yes, I know you can fix that) and somewhat questionable reliability (yes, I know you can fix that).

    So, I’ll stick with my SCAR in 7.62 Manly. It goes bang real good.

  20. My black rifle of choice has been the Mini-14 for many years. Yes, a bit pricey, but reliable as all get out. The ghost ring peep sight and the post-and-wings on the latest generation Mini-14’s do really turn me on and are just plain *fun*. I’m not against red dots or scopes, I’ve just been a fan of peep sights ever since I put a Williams peep sight on my Benjamin air rifle oh-so-many decades ago and busted hordes of pigeons and starlings with it.

    As far as ammo for SHTF situations goes, my preference is expanding soft points, either the Winchester 64 grain Power Points or the Sierra 65 grain GameKing SBT. Both of those are generally a hand loading proposition which I enjoy. Either of them do fine over a nice dose of H335. When I do buy 55 grain FMJ ball ammo, it’s just for my son to blast away with and for the brass to pick up and reload; he’s away happy to help me with the blasting part (grin).

  21. Peep sights are good, but for rapid target acquisition in a defensive scenario I’d prefer the larger aperture of the Ghost Ring style.

  22. Two comments:

    First, these are not “assault rifles” unless they have automatic fire capacity, which means either illegal modification or a very high price. Referring to them as “assault rifles” is quasi-echoing hoplophobe propaganda. “Combat rifle” is a more accurate term, ISTM.

    Second, a friend of mine won a “Celebrity Dead Pool” prize with Mikhail Kalashnikov three years ago. Which is completely irrelevant except for the random synchronicity. Did you know he lived that long?

  23. Here’s why I agree with you, Kim:
    Everything you said. In the past, I’ve felt about the AK the same as I felt about the Glock: meh. Not a hater, just meh. But one thing you can say about both, is that you can throw them in a puddle of gritty muck and come back the next day and some fucker has stolen it. Hah! No, you can pick it up, sling the crap out and shoot it and it works. The AR, notsomuch. But, by replacing the gas system with a piston, you have eliminated most of that problem. No more soot in the chamber, no more problems with failure to lock up or feed (or fewer, at any rate).
    Having said that, I still own an AK and a Glock. Because I’m well rounded, dammit.

    Here’s why I disagree with you, Kim:
    Caliber: you call the 223 a poodle shooter, and I agree. Lots of others agree, too, which is why there are so many cool other calibers we can use on the platform. I think the 300 Blackout has better ballistics than the 7.62.39, but if you want, you can get an upper to shoot that caliber too. I’ve got 9mm pistol and rifle uppers, .45ACP pistol and rifle uppers, all sorts of fun.

    If one were to be in possession of a registered Lightning Link, one could use it in any of the AR’s in the safe for a fun full auto day of wasting waaaay too much ammo and hitting little but having a lot of fun.

    Probably because of the millions of these things in civilian hands, the aftermarket ..er, market, is YUGE, so you get yes, too much tacticool stuff, but also interesting things like the belt-fed 9mm and 5.56 uppers that ALSO work with the Lightning Link and make me giggle like a little girl on her first pony ride.

    As to the end of days Zombie apocalypse, someone once said something I thought wise… There will be lots of 223/5.56 ammo around since military/police use these rounds. So, not a bad idea to have a weapon that fires that ammo. Of course if things get to the point you are able to take ammo from soldiers and police, then they’re bad enough that gaining access to M4’s and even heavy weapons will probably be easy. And F-16’s. I wanna fly one of those.

  24. The AR has one advantage that seems to be mentioned rarely- to me anyway, it is much faster to recover from recoil and get back on target than an AK.
    AK have a rarely mentioned advantage- they are made to order for left handed shooters. Keep the grip in the firing hand and run everything else with the weak hand.

  25. I never intended to have either. I bought an SKS early on, and enjoy it despite its quirks, but the two AKs I shot just didn’t fit me well. Not fun and not very pleasant to shoot. And I mirrored Kim’s “poodle shooter” opinion of the 5.56. Then I won an AR in a raffle (a very tacticool one) and I have to admit its a lot of fun to shoot and pretty accurate compared to the SKS.

    I believe in 30 caliber rifles. If I expected serious opposition I’d rather have the SKS (well, I’d rather have the M1 Garand actually), but I’m wondering about putting together a 300 blackout AR. The ammo seems to be catching on and is fairly available (even the local walmarts have it). No comparison to 7.62×39 for availability (and how I wish I’d stacked that deep when it was cheap) but with only the SKS to use it I bought it in smaller quantities, then ill annoy made it difficult to mail order, then crook county made it impossible, so there’s not much of a stash to outweigh the .300 blackout option.

    Someday I hope to have an M1-A to justify the 7.62×51 stash ( I was listening long ago when you posted that cheap surplus ammo was going to disappear, just couldn’t afford every caliber!) but it may end up being an AR10-alike instead. TBD. But at that point 7.62×51 would be the SHTF caliber. Got more of it and it hits harder and goes through more things.

  26. No comparison to 7.62×39 for availability (and how I wish I’d stacked that deep when it was cheap) but with only the SKS to use it I bought it in smaller quantities, then ill annoy made it difficult to mail order, then crook county made it impossible, so there’s not much of a stash to outweigh the .300 blackout option.

    Ammo availablility is, IMO one of the chief advantages of the AK/SKS. Even in the dark days of the post-Newtown “ammo crisis” in early 2013, when .223/5.56 could not be had at all, 7.62 x 39 was still available at most of the local big-box stores.

    As far as difficulty obtaining ammo locally or via mail order, I would simply point out that Illinois is located in the middle of the US and we have a first-class system of interstate highways.

    And there are lots of places in Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Iowa and Wisconsin that sell ammo pretty cheaply.

    And you can put a LOT of ammo in the trunk of a car or the cargo area of an SUV.

    Can you say “road trip?” 😉

  27. Not sure if anyone mentioned, but AR pattern in 7.62×39 is a good compromise. CMMG makes a wide variety of calibers and lengths in AR pattern. Certainly not the only one.

    1. I’ve heard that the ones that use the M-16/M4 style straight mag well have feeding issues, as well as requiring specialized magazines. If I was to get an M4 style in 7.62×39 I’d make sure it took gen-u-wine AK magazines.

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