Armory, Self Defense, And EDC > Modern Rifles, Shotguns and Carbines

Wait.. an AR is MORE Reliable than an AK?


David in MN:
I know, we've believed it forever. The AK is unsurpassable in rugged reliability... Or maybe not? The "In Range" guys did "mud tests" on popular military rifles and shock... The AR won.



Now there is a rabbit hole you can go down because they got pushback and wound up testing other AK variants and all failed. For those worried the Garand failed too. And it's just one test. But it does go to show that at least in mud you can be more rough and tumble with an AR.

The other thing to loop back to here is that (and they mention this in other mud tests) the AK reliability has more to do with poor maintenance than rough use. In other words if you leaned an AR and AK on the side of the house and never cleaned or lubricated either the AK would have a better shelf life.

It actually kind of fits in with some personal experience. I have seen an AK rust shut, get kicked open, and function. And I know people who got trigger time in Afghanistan who lived by the mantra that an AR can run filthy but it can't run dry. After hard use it needs oil.

Interesting that the tighter tolerances actually were the saving grace.

Smurf Hunter:
Imagine if people were fans of their favorite model vehicle because they believed they could skip oil changes.  I kind of view Toyota trucks that way, but when I drove one I still did the routine maintenance.

I'm not OCD about cleaning, but after a full day at the range, I almost always clean.  Sometimes if I shoot only a magazine for whatever reason, it might go in the safe as-is if I'm busy.

If we're comparing product attributes, I don't see AKs functioning after being rusted shut, or mudcaked as offsetting the fundamentals like ergonomics and accuracy.
The care and feeding of an AR is reasonable.  The field stripping protocol is easily learned, and it's an easier rifle for many people to learn to shoot competently.

I think it's great we have a variety of carbines to debate about, but as a grown-up common sense has the AR winning for me.

David in MN:
I'm all over the place here. The 1911 is spotless. I mean spotless. The AR is clean. Both are (I'm sure) dripping oil. The striker fired pistols get cleaned maybe twice per year.

I think there's a fundamental difference between neglect and abuse that's coming out here. You can abuse an AR but neglect an AK. I agree that the manual of arms for both is pretty easy but you've got to give the AK its due... Whenever there's a conflict with hastily trained soldiers who don't know proper weapon maintenance it's the AK.

In fact what I fundamentally am beginning to understand is that there is a difference. The AR is better provided you have access to care for it. But if I was forced to walk across a desert with shoddy resupply and questionable ammo the AK starts making sense.

Again, neglect and abuse are two different issues. I prefer an AR but there is a lot of bias built in and I have the cleaning tools and an ultrasonic cleaner and I know the manual of arms and I have parts kits and I have preferred lubricant and I have good ammo and I have upgraded the stuff I didn't like and I have lots of experience. Start paring back those and the AK looks better and better.

I guess for me the difference in standing up to abuse was amazing. If you have good resupply you'd rather be dunked in a mud puddle with an AR.

The very time they did the AR test i found another guy's videos where all his tests with multi lug bolt rifles (like the SCAR) went equally well.
On the other hand the AK failed in the Inrange tests cos mud went into the locking recess of the rifle, precisely what have killed all bolt actions in their tests too.

I have come into the conclusion that the multi lug bolt is an advantage. Because it has to "screw in" the barrel extension and that leaves a lot of room in there for crud to get in and move away. (there is a cylindrical space behind the barrel locking areas)

the AR will freeze if thick dirt enters the trigger area, something the Ak has shown that avoids

Smurf Hunter:
Cartridge selection cannot be ignored. 

Cost, availability, ballistics, carry weight, etc.

A single 7.62x39mm round weighs almost double a NATO 5.56 round.  I realize in real life it's not a simple binary choice of 2 shots from an AR or 1 shot from an AK, but depending on the shooting style, there could be advantages either way.


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