AR vs. AK as a Survival Gun

FerFal –

Read your book twice, love it! Most don’t feel that could happen here in America but anything is possible. Read where you said the AR is flawed design. And for some time I wasn’t an AR fan either, but that’s changed recently. I’ve come to experience the AR Colt 6520 as well as SURPLUS ARMS and both are extremely reliable and far more accurate than I am. Compared to the AK they are lighter and if you keep them lubricated they are just as reliable. So when I factored these things together I’ve beed sold on the AR platform.

Is the AK a good battle proven rifle? YES. Without a doubt the AK is battle proven but I’ve seen them jam on occasion. Is the AR a battle proven rifle? YES.

So perhaps you should review your feelings against the AR platform, as I have. They’re reliable, accurate, light weight, and when placed right, the 5.56 is lethal. In fact we spent the entire afternoon destroying cinder block & brick walls and the 5.56 cut through them like a hot knife through butter, and accurate. Follow up shots become second nature before long.

Take care my brother in arms,



Hi Agustino, glad you liked my book. Many of the things described in it are already happening in USA unfortunately. Lets hope it doesn’t get much worse.

The AR is a flawed designed because its direct gas impingement proved to be an awful choice. For those unfamiliar with this working mechanism, direct gas impingement means that gas is tapped from the barrel through a gas port, goes through the gas tube directly into the bolt. This happens to be a very bad idea because it fouls and overheats the bolt carrier. It becomes especially sensitive to the kind of ammo used. Powder that doesn’t burn as clean will have some serious consequences on the reliability of the weapon. As a SHTF fighting rifle, I certainly wouldn’t want a gun that sensitive in terms of what ammo I use on it. Chances are I’ll just grab whatever I can afford, or if you want to look at it from an ever more extreme case, whatever I can scrounge.

If you look at some of the best modern firearms made today, like the ones in Phase II of the Individual Carbine Program to replace the M4, none uses a direct gas impingement, and they favor mechanism that use a piston of some sort, separating the dirty gasses from moving parts.   In fact, the AR design is so bad, that Colt itself named its Individual Carbine program contender the Colt Advanced Piston Carbine (APC) because that’s right, they no longer use direct gas impingement and now has a piston instead.

You are right regarding how accurate they are, ergonomics are also excellent, and there’s tons of accessories and parts for it, but compared to the AK it certainly lacks reliability and robustness.  Instead of spending big money in a top of the line piston AR, to me it makes more sense to get an AK variant which is proven, reliable and accurate enough which by the way already has one of those new flashy piston thingies in it, you know, like Colt´s brand new “Enhanced” M4.

At the end of the day its up to you to choose your firearm given not only your preferences but also personal circumstances. I would strongly suggest taking your weapon of choice to basic and advanced gun fighting classes, and there see how it performs. If after that you are still happy with it, then that’s just fine. Keep it clean and ready to rock if needed. If you keep having failures while training, then you might want to reconsider.

Its not only about the gun design, but also about the manufacturer and even down to the particular gun itself. They are not all equal. AKs are generally more forgiving due to an intrinsically reliable design, but a beat up uSd 90 surplus AK47 put together by a blind one-armed Afghan shooting ammo that was hand loaded by an eight year old using a combination of gunpowder and dirt at a 50/50 rate may have reliability issues too. In that case, your Smith and Wesson AR will be more reliable. At the same time a well put together AK with decent optics can hit a chest size target at 500 meters.

I happen to like .30 calibers better too, so to me that’s also a factor that comes into consideration. Either caliber can kill, but to me quality 7.62 x 39mm ammo feels better than 5.56.

Again, if you are happy with your gun and can use it well, and most of all, if you train on regular basis, took classes with it shooting a thousand rounds and you’re still confident about it, then go with what works for you given your criteria.

Take care and happy Thanksgiving!



AR vs. AK as a Survival Gun — 8 Comments

  1. Fernando, if you can hit a chest size target at 500 meters with an AK 47, optics or not, I will eat my shoes and film it. The AK is indeed a simple to use and reliable platform but accuracy drops of a cliff past 100 meters.

    The AR has been around, in active service for half a century and its not going anywhere anytime soon.

    • Well I hope you like eating shoes. This an AK, iron sights:
      google AK at 500 yards to see several average shooters hitting steel targets at 500 yards.
      Ak at 500 yards, yes, with a good scoped AK you can hit a chest size target all day long. About accuracy drops of a cliff past 100 meters, its not hard to hit an FBI taget 80 yards away while MOVING, using the front sight target alone as a “poor mans” eotech.
      Maybe the AR is more accurate, but the AK is FAR more accurate than people give it credit for.

      • Lol…

        AKs definitely have a place in the survivalists armoury but so does the AR.

        They are complementary, not mutually exclusive in my opinion. But this is your house so you can have the last word on this 😉

        We obviously have our minds made up and if you want we can swap stories about it.

        • Hey, you can say anything as long as its done respectfully. I was just pointing out that your assumptions abotut he AK at 500 yards arent correct, thats all.

    • I’d have to second that the AK is more accurate than most give it credit for. I am still a very new shooter, and I’ve never properly sighted in the rifle, but if I do my part I can hit a 12 inch plate at 100 yards standing up fairly reliably. (and I suck at shooting standing up) I think the main reason people say the AR is so much more accurate is because it has much better sights and a longer sight radius than the AK.

      Personally, I could see a major SHTF scenario where ammo for the AK could become scarce if international trade collapses. Then 5.56 might be the only readily available ammo. I try to keep a variety of weapons of different calibers so that if I can’t find ammo for one, I can usually get ammo for another.

      • 12 inches at 100yards is 5 feet at 500 yards.

        I am not knocking the AK but it is not an accurate rifle in general.

        I shoot less then an inch groups at 100 yards with my DDM4 V5. At 500 yards my groups are about 4 inches.

        Despite what shortcoming an AR platform might have, that kind of ability is always gonna be in demand in a firefight.

        Run both and decide for yourself what you like best and why…

  2. It helps to understand the purpose of military small arms. By virtue of the Hague Convention of 1899, banning dum-dum bullets, they are inherently non-lethal. They’re meant to wound rather than kill. This works out well as your enemy must care for wounded comrades rather than stepping over their body’s and continuing to fight you. All things being equal, the .30 caliber is going to be more lethal. Just read the book “Blackhawk Down” and you’ll find comments about how the 7.62×51’s put the Khat hyped up fighters down where the 5.56 only wounded them to die later.

    I shoot 5.56 and 7.62×39 through my AR. For civil disturbances I prefer the .30 cal but I’m old enough to remember when the 7.62 Soviet cartridge was a novelty and very rare. I wouldn’t build all my rifle options around it. Better to have both uppers.

    With regard to the AR being defective, I must disagree. I’ve used them extensively my entire life with none of the Vietnam era teething problems. You’re correct that direct impingement fouls and heats he bolt carrier. However, fouling is alleviated by running it wet. I’ve seen one tested to 50,000+ rounds without cleaning, just kept wet. Also, bolt carrier heating is only an issue with extended full-auto usage where the bolt face becomes hot enough to ignite primers. Not an issue at semi-auto.

    While piston’s are preferable, the AR system is lighter, smaller, simpler, and will work for civilians in a civil unrest situation, with all the inherent advantages of an AR. They also have the option of parts, ammo, and magazine support from local authorities (or personal connections) that won’t happen with AK’s.

    • The reliability isn’t the only thing to consider, and the “AR vs AK” argument is a pretty shallow one.

      First and foremost, the AR15 contains ~200 parts compared to about 52 in the AK. The parts in the AR’s tend to be small pins and springs that work loose in time and are prone to failures through prolonged usage.

      The AK is mostly chrome plated and simple, using very few springs and most of the parts are non-moving.

      Both are reliable. Any modern, shoulder-fired small arm is capable of 2 MOA. My AK’s are routinely 1.5-2 MOA.

      The ‘accuracy’ of the cartridge is a measure of how well the user knows it. Practice and experience; there are no substitutes.

      Either is a fine choice, but when it comes to a protracted emergency in which I may have to put my rifle through hell, I know what I’m choosing…

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