I have to admit that I fall into the camp that has always considered the AR-15 platform a better weapon than the AK-47 variants. Part of my bias comes from my experience as a grunt in the U.S. Army, and my later use of the AR-15 in law enforcement. In all fairness, I’ve owned and shot the AK-47 also, but I’ve been a bit snobbish on my love for the Stoner design.
Speaking of which, and not at all relevant to which is the better platform, it’s interesting that the AK-47 is actually the older of the rivals by a good margin. That speaks well of the AK (or Automatic Kalashnikov). The 47 in AK-47 designates it’s year of design and implementation, while the Eugene Stoner designed AR-15 was developed some 10 years later in 1957.
I’ve come to realize that the truth on which weapon is better comes down to how it’ll be used.
I’ve found, and most people seem to agree, that regarding accuracy the AR-15 is the clear winner. Though as world conflicts have shown, the AK-47 is accurate enough to do the job it was designed for, so it’s really a moot point in most combat-type situations. Where the AK-47 seems to come ahead for a lot of people is in its sheer simplicity and ease of operation (and fewer in-battery malfunctions). Though, again, we’re treading on thin ice here because some people, as I’ll show below, believe the AR-15 to be a superior weapon in even that category and back it up with live-fire proof.
For now, I’d first mention someone who I’m an affiliate for, EJ Owens, and his top-notch training programs called Legally Concealed. But specifically to this topic he has a strong opinion on which one of these makes for the better SHTF rifle and it might surprise you. Check it out here. Anyone considering an AK-47 or those on the fence should definitely have a look.
Next, let’s look below at this great infographic provided by TacticalGear.com, and see how they break down the two choices.
What you see is that the AK-47 (in terms of raw data) excels in muzzle energy and price to own, for example, but misses out in other areas like accuracy and service life of the rifle.
If you haven’t already, take a look at my article on the AR-15 fouling issue, and you’ll find that surprisingly a properly built and maintained AR-15 can fire without malfunction with the best AK-47. I would have to say that I now land somewhere in the middle on this debate.
For me, it’s probably alright whichever rifle you own as long as you take care of your equipment and train with it. Also, make sure that you have extra parts available (they won’t be around in time of crisis) and make certain that you have high quality pins and springs inside (as recommended in the fouling article above). And be sure to have plenty of ammo stored up, it’ll almost certainly become the first victim of progressive control.
Now I’m ready… which one do you like better, the AR-15 or the AK-47, and why?