AK or AR Platform?

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AK or AR Platform?

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  • Andy

    I know, it’s the classic debate.  I like them both but would pick up an AR over an AK.  The reliability of modern AR platforms from most manufacturers is the best it’s ever been and manufacturing tolerances are much more strict than that of the even the Izhmash AKs.

    I know they’re both great platforms but for the sake of discussion, choose a side!

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  • Not Required

    The answer to any “gun A or gun B” question is always BOTH.

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    Anonymous

    Hi Andy,

    I will go with you here. In a no circumstances, 1 or the other decision I would take an AR.

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    Adam Hoisington

    I own both. I really like gas piston ARs. But I have to be honest, I wish I owned a very nice AK. I only have an old WASR-10. I have an LWRC M6A2 that I’m going to sell. Maybe I’ll buy a nice AK, like an Arsenal or something, in it’s place,

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    Ben Noble

    I like the AR platform. Mostly because I have more experience with it. I bought a SIG 556R a couple years ago and I like it, but I think I would have rather picked up an AR. Guess I’ll just have to go out and buy another rifle!

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    Cody Mercer

    I definitely see the benefits to the AK platform, and I’ve always enjoyed shooting them, but I personally prefer the AR. I just feels like a more comfortable platform to me.

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    Nic Christensen

    I think it’s really a personal decision. AK tends to be more abuse friendly, and the AR tends to excel at longer range engagements. I don’t think you can go wrong with either platform. Personally, I’m a tinkerer and love the amount of accessories and customization options for the AR.

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    Martin T. Flaherty

    I own a fantastic AK, and Arsenal from Las Vegas. It has survived many outings running-n-gunning with my buddies in the woods. I trained with the M16 and M4 in the Marines, and it was all I knew for quite a few years. The moment I cross-trained on the AK, there was just something about it that gave me that special warm, fuzzy-feeling that one occasionally gets every so often from a weapon. To be honest, I’m much more proficient with the AR platform, but the AK is my Main Battle Rifle at this point. That is….until I can afford a Knight’s Armament Stoner Rifle. In the end, it’s more financially feasible to purchase a high-quality AK in this shitty economy. 7.62×39 is still a pretty decent price, compared to what it was last year around this time, and it is fairly common in my area of Texas. So, at this point, I’m sticking with my AK. If I win the lottery and can afford a KAC SR-15, I may pony up and make the change back to the black(rifle) side.

    As far as the “shitty accuracy” of the AK and the “lack of durability” of the AR, these are overstated and a bit exaggerated. How many people are going to mix their AK or AR in some cement, let it dry, drop the heap of dried cement into a volcano three miles under the ocean?!? Get real! The point to remember is, ARs are a hell of a lot more durable than people give them credit for and AKs are a hell of a lot more accurate than people give them credit for. The key thing to remember is, go for quality not quantity. Get one really go one, whichever you choose. I’ve seen an AK break after running through a few mags of old Afghani ammo buried in a cave for a couple decades, and I’ve seen an AR miss an vehicle at 300 yards consistently due sight issues and barrel temp. changes. Piston movement in the AK, and its design being for automatic fire does cause an issue with precision fire, but most civilians have trouble shooting sub-MOA with an AR anyway. This discussion isn’t as simple as people want to make it by claiming the AR and AK have a Ying Yang relationship where one is more accurate but less durable and the other is more durable but less accurate. That’s just my two cents.

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    Wesley Mathieu

    Largely its a question of what you’re going for. The AR platform is endlessly customizable with a massive selection of aftermarket accessories. Some are practical, others are completely impractical, and most probably fall between the two in the sense that you add them if you want to. To put it bluntly, its essentially a Barbie Doll that you can shoot stuff with. Or more realistically: the AR is like any other gadget that you own and can customize to your liking.

    The AK platform does have aftermarket accessories, but it doesn’t lend itself to customization as readily. However it shoots just fine, and is arguably (your mileage may vary) the more reliable, easier to maintain, all around simpler weapon platform.

    Suffice it to say, I prefer the AR platform because I like the flexibility it provides. However I’m trying not to overaccessorize, so I could probably be just as happy with an AK, if all I was worried about was putting holes in stuff.

     

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    Dan B

    I have fired both, and I prefer the AR platform. It could simply be that I’m so used to AR platforms that it’s just easier. I didn’t love everything about my M16 when I was in the Marine Corps, but I was able to make it work. I prefer mid-lengths, but I have fun with everything. I just bought a Daniel Defense M4V9 that I’m in love with. Right out of the case it’s just incredibly sexy.

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    Brandon Ahlgrim

    Preferences aside and to echo sentiment above, if you’re serious about being prepared with a fighting rifle, you need both.

     

    Assume uneven ammo availability for one versus the other: does it matter which rifle you have if you don’t have ammo for it?  I’m not talking about the thousands of rounds that some of us might have already, I’m talking about the newcomer who’s reading this thinking how they’re going to begin getting into rifles.

     

    Go for a decent rifle in each category and you’re covered.

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    Tom Crass

    I have an AK , more reliable, better penetration , cheaper , but each to their own , take them both for a test drive ?

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    H.H. Morris

    When choosing a weapon, it always depends on your mission. If you can only have one, and you need it for home defense/watering the liberty tree I recommend an AK because they’re cheap, the ammo is cheap and plentiful, and it can take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’. If you can spend more money and want to be able to trick out your rig, go with an AR (although aftermarket accessories for the AK are growing by the day). But, why choose one when you can have both?

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    Jp Cortez

    I saw a guy give a talk on how it makes more sense to build your own than to buy one. For the sake of money/time/not super experienced, does it make more sense to try to build it? Or just buy one? And which one?

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    Brandon Ahlgrim

    If you want to do it for fun, sure, buy an 80% lower receiver and do it yourself.  Or buy a finished lower receiver and go up from there.

     

    However, it’d be cheaper and more time effective to just buy a decent, cheap AR-15.  The Smith & Wesson M&P 15 is a very affordable platform and I’ve seen thousands of rounds through a few of them with a minor problem here or there (not common unless abused heavily).

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      Dick Clark

      I agree. For a newcomer, buying one of the more affordable factory rifles is a good first step. You can accessorize and customize to your liking, and as you learn more you can also incorporate your newly discovered preferences into future builds.

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    Josh K

    I had a really long piece here but cut it all out. Just keep in mind what you’re getting is a bunch of opinions formed from individual experience. We all value different things. It’s definitely worth it for you to find out what’s best for you through hands on experience if possible. As for me, I owned 6 different ARs and sold them all. From low end to high end. I loved their ergonomics and the accessory aftermarket is vast. Their accuracy and build quality was phenomenal and impeccable. Their reliability wasn’t. I now exclusively own AKs and haven’t had any misfires or misfeeds in thousands of rounds. (Excursus: Some problems with aftermarket mags, they often require filing to fit to magwells. 20 year old surplus mags are perform a lot better than most new aftermarket AK mags. Haven’t tried the magpul brand magazine yet…) I’m completely happy with my AKs and willingly trade the lower accuracy for higher reliability and durability.

    I’ve never been in the military and haven’t used a standard issued AR. I don’t know how well they really perform. The media always has stories of malfunctions and overheating, etc. There are congressional investigations and huge competitions to replace the rifle held by the Army. And so it goes as it has since the Vietnam War. (I will concede that the modern AR is immensely better than the Vietnam variant). My ARs were semi auto in a non desert environment and performed poorly compared to all of my other guns. The arguments I hear against the AR from my military friends and acquaintances are summarized in this article

    Why I hate the M-16/AR-15 Rifle

    For what it’s worth, I have had much better results with piston driven ARs like the Adams Arms line. By the time I made the conversion to them, I was already too sick and tired of the AR and 100% converted to the AK. YMMV.

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    Paddy Harrington

    I’ll be different and say G3. Ever since I first saw that rifle, I’ve had a crush on it. When I finally got a US made clone, it became true love.

    That aside, if I had to chose one of those, it’d be AK. As with AR’s, there’s always crappy manufacturers out there, but well made, you have to truly break something on it to keep it from functioning. AR’s get touchy when they’re not lubed just right. Too many small pins and springs (I’ve put together a few lowers and have had to crawl across the floor looking for a tiny spring that went shooting across my garage) that fit into tiny holes that can get gunked up.

    Yes, the AR is much more of a customizable platform, but so much of it isn’t a necessity.

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    Josh Wells

    Ford or Chevy? My first choice for a battle rifle is the M1A but between the AR and AK I prefer the AK.

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      Brandon Ahlgrim

      M1A would be a great scoped, long rifle to have to augment an intermediate cartridge rifle, but it’d be heavy with wood furniture.

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    Gabriel Bärwald

    Why not choose a gun that has the best of both worlds? My SIG 556 while not chambered in the larger round is built like a Kalashnikov however it is built like one, and it has the modularity of a AR platform weapon with plenty of upgrades you can do and plenty of accessories.

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      Brandon Ahlgrim

      While the SG556 is long stroke, piston operated and that is much more reliable than gas impingement, the machining tolerances for the Sig are very modernly Western.  Part of the reliability of the AK is the way the round is made: a tapered wall casing extracts more reliably than a straight walled casing.  I’m sure the SG556 can more reliably hit MOA but that’s a range & competition metric, not necessarily a real world environment one.

      The price of the SG556 is rather steep, with premium (maybe “plus” is a better word, I just saw an AK for $2500 and an AR for $3000) off the shelf AKs and ARs coming in reasonably below it’s sticker price.  I’m sure you love it and I probably would too, so if someone’s got the money, have at it.

      Food for thought.

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    Sean Ridlon

    AK here. I think it’s a bias from the 1980s and 90s I picked up in the days of the junky ARs.

    But the new stuff on the AR platform is far more durable and all.

    AKs are just what I have but I’m wholly convincible if the right AR comes along at the right price 😉

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