Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Many Good Options

I've been thinking about different guns lately. Specifically AR's and AK's but we could extend that same line of thought to HK-91's, FN-FAL's, M1A's, the newer Mini 14's as well as Glocks, M&P's, Sigs etc all. Cost differences vary and various factors including logistical support should be considered. Also we need to look at current prices not historical ones, case in point AK and AR prices are a lot closer now then a few years ago.

They all have different good and bad points. Some have more parts availability than others. Sometimes you pay hundreds of dollars for a name. Some have superior ergonomics. Some are in more common calibers than others. Some are more modular than others. All of these matter to varying degrees for different people.

Back to the AR and AK for a minute. I think both of their cliche weaknesses, accuracy on the AK and reliability on the AR, have been greatly overstated. That is my fairly informed opinion from shooting a few AK's and a ton of AR's.

In terms of accuracy the AK's I have shot are 4 MOA guns. Not amazing but lets put that in perspective. That is the important part of a head at 100 meters and solid chest shots well past 200m. At about 300 it starts to slip from minute of man to minute of SUV but for most situations that is not a huge deal. Also the cartridge drops pretty fast around there anyway.

As to reliability the issues with the AR platform come from two places. First there was 'Nam when the myth that these rifles did not need to be cleaned was perpetuated for awhile. Second was the Battle of Wannat. During that battle those soldiers essentially used their selective fire M4's as suppressive fire weapons at close to cyclic rates for prolonged periods of time. I am not faulting them for that choice, they did what they had to do. The thing is these rifles are simply not made for that. To put it into perspective if you go cyclic mag after mag in any burst or automatic weapon it will fail at some point. The M4 is pretty reliable

The reliability requirement for the M4 is 600 Mean Rounds Between Stoppage (MRBS). The demonstrated current reliability is over 3600 MRBS as a result of our continuous improvement program.

If you keep an AR lubed they will shoot almost indefinitely.  I put lube on them to just short of the point where it will drip off. There just isn't a downside to it. Keep them lubed and occasionally give them a quick cleaning and you are good to go.

Moving forward.

I am more concerned about what people can do with the guns they have than with their choice to carry an AK and a Glock 9mm or an AR and an M&P or a PTR-91 and a .45. If everybody spent a bit more time training and a bit less on the internet arguing about guns they would be a lot more capable.


Anonymous said...

Your last statement in this post, "If everybody spent a bit more time training. . .more capable.", is well said and spot on.
Having one gun and knowing how to use it well will get you farther than a huge collection of safe-queens with all the newest gadgets if you can't clear a simple malfunction or reload quickly while moving.
And 'training' is NOT the same as 'shooting'. I have seen people who are great shots driven to a state of immobility by a type 2 (stove pipe).
None of us know it all. Learn, train, practice.

riverrider said...

jeff cooper is quoted saying "beware the man with just one gun, he likely knows how to use it" a lefty i have to go easy on the lube or risk an eyeful of clp, burns like hell too. even with glasses on, it somehow gets thru.

3rdman said...

I agree 100%. The AR will run dirty all day long as long as the BCG is kept wet. I have both AKs and ARs and the ARs are still by far my favorite.

Anonymous said...

With the AR vs. AK issue, the AK wins hands down. The ONLY advantage of an AR over an AK is accuracy improved from 3-4 MOA to about two MOA, and a 30-40% reduction in ammo weight, which in turn is greater ammo carrying capacity. The AR is also more accurate to about 100 yards greater than the AK. EVERY other category goes to the AK, such as:
• Economics - ammo is cheaper, AKs themselves are about half the cost of a decent AR
• Redundancy - if you go down, can your wife or untrained nephew shoot that AR and know how to lube the BCG? If not, they will likely get killed when the gun jams. If the AK goes too dry, it keeps on going bang.
• Ammo - the .223 is actually a devestating round if it hits like it was intended to do, but the penetration and size of the AK round is far more effective in a greater range of roles than the .223
• Distance - if it is so critical to engage an enemy from 200-300 yards, then an AR is more suited for that purpose, but if the engagement zone is 0-200 yards, an AK will work and from 200+ yards out a 308 will work. There is no need for an intermediate gun over the other two.
• Reliability - yes, there are very reliable ARs out there and there are some dud AKs, but overall the design of the receivers gives the reliability category to the AK. There are several youtube videos of soldiers in combat with M4s that are jamming so bad they are out of the fight. There is a reason many of our vets prefer the AK 47 over the M4. These perceptions are not myths when they are reaffirmed over and over.

Ryan said...


With price you are wrong dude. Speaking both for internet prices and local brick and mortar basic AR's and AK's are running about the same price, certainly within margin of error.

Either the prices you are basing that comparison on are several years old or you are picking the absolute cheapest AK's on the market and a pretty nice AR. Sorry but that does not pass the reality check.

A basic AK like a WASR and a basic AR are running very close to the same price. On the high end Arsenal or Polytech AK's cost as much as a very nice AR. The mid range is pretty close also.

What you called redundancy which I would term training. People need to be trained to shoot a given type of weapon, AK or AR or whatever.

The AK probably has a slight edge in terms of reliability. I addressed the significant case study for M4 reliability in Afghanistan.

I have been in the Army for a minute. Far more soldiers, particularly Infantrymen, own AR's than AK's. In my anecdotal observation it is probably 3 or 4 with AR's for each one with an AK. The folks who have an AK usually have a pretty nice collection that includes an AR.

No issue with somebody going AK over AR at all. Both are fine choices.

Boosh! said...

Hey Ryan,
Have you tried the frog-lube on any of your gear?

Ryan said...

Boosh, Heard good things about it but I have not personally used Frog Lube.

Anonymous said...

In general, it is the Indian, not the arrow, but most Indians want good arrows. Of course, opinions often vary about what constitutes good arrows.

Not meaning to start a pissing contest here, but my experience with both AR and AK goes back over 40 years, including monsoon Viet Nam and winter Alaska. I've seen AK's come unzipped. In real life, not just on the internet. Personally, I would not throw down a working AR-15 to pick up the best AK on the planet under any circumstances that I can think of, short of being plumb out of 5.56 ammo. My jarhead nephew, who did multiple tours in the sandbox, agrees with that assessment.

And, with a spare 5 minutes, anyone with a lick of leadership ability should be able to train nearly anybody to properly lube an AR-15, and have at least two minutes left over. Anyone not capable of assimilating that knowledge in a relatively short period of time, probably should not be considered safe or reliable standing behind oneself with a loaded weapon........

As always, your mileage may vary.


Anonymous said...

ARs are what you show your friends. AKs are what you show your enemies. I have never understood the fascination with that little .223 round and why anyone would choose it over the 762x39.

Ryan said...

H, I did not want to be antagonistic in my reply saying "any chucklehead can dump a bunch of oil on an AR".

Logistics are the rub and the real advantage of the AR. Lots of 5.56 and AR parts are made in the US. A bit of 7.62x39 is made in the US and almost no AK parts. Economics are of course a consideration. Before (regrettably) my time when you could get Norico AK's for $200 and 7.62x39 for $60/1,000 AK's were a great deal. Now when the economics are a wash I am a lot less sure. Still love em but if I was doing all my buying today there probably would not be any AK's involved.

I do love the AK but cannot disagree with anything you said.

@8:47, Because 7.62x39 is one executive order away from being a dollar a round. Because supplies of old AK's, mags and parts are drying up so economics are close to AR levels. Because an AR can reach out to several hundred meters while an AK is a 300 meter gun on a good day.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Ryan, I thought of that non-antagonistic thing, too. But, couldn't quite stop myself. Paying attention to your reminder here, Boss.

I have yet to have my first stoppage with an AR-15 or, many years ago the 16, that was not ammunition or magazine related. And dang few of those, at that. Pretty sure I could count them all on the fingers of one hand.


Boosh! said...

If you get a wild hair, try converting one of your non-essentials (if you have one) over to frog lube and try it out. I say convert, because you must first clean your item with rubbing alcohol removing ALL (or as close to all as you can get) of petroleum based lube. Then re-coat with frog lube. The frog lube will actually penetrate the metal (kind of like an anodizing or nickle boron treatment) as the metal gets hotter. I'll run 2 - 3 mags through my pistol then break it down (ya, it's hot!) and lube it with frog lube. You don't need a lot of it. Two bonus': 1) because it's made with peppermint, or something like that it actually smells good when you cycle rounds through a frog lubed gun 2) it's completely non-toxic (vegetable based I think) you can use it inside the house (I regularly clean my pistol on the floor in the living room as I watch TV.....and even eat it.....weird huh?

Ryan said...

Boosh, I'll give that a shot.

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