The AK-47 vs AR-15: Which Rifle is Better?

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AK-47 versus AR-15
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Yes, I am going there. One of the most hotly debated questions in prepper/survival/firearm enthusiast circles is around the best survival rifle. For all intents and purposes, there are only two in competition in the US and those are the AK-47 and the AR-15. I will add that there are variants of both and I am lumping all of those into these two categories. This question of what is the best survival rifle is one that I asked myself when I was considering my first rifle purchase so I wanted to take some time on the Prepper Journal blog today to hash out what I see are the differences and to give you my opinion as to which rifle is better when it comes to the AK-47 vs AR-15.

House cleaning

I know that this subject is insanely controversial, even though it shouldn’t be. It’s the same as getting upset over Ford versus Chevy. If this post makes it to some of the firearms forums out there I know I will have some people who will disparagingly call me an “Internet Expert” implying that I have no idea what I am talking about. So be it. I am not an expert, but I don’t think anyone else is an expert either in this subject. I don’t think anyone out there is more qualified to determine what rifle is best in my opinion, for me, than me. I don’t really care if you are active duty police, 20 year military veteran, or mercenary for hire. This is my opinion based upon my belief and requirements, you are entitled to yours, but that doesn’t mean mine is invalid. It also doesn’t mean you are smarter than anyone else that disagrees with you. It simply means we have different opinions.

Additionally, I will throw out some facts that should be pretty easy to agree on and some opinions based upon my personal experience which may not be. Just because your experience is different, that doesn’t make it a law of science or anything. If you have a different experience, by all means, please comment down below but I would ask you to keep the debate civil as that is what I am going to try to do. If you would like to make your case for the opposite of what I recommend, please do so in the comments and we can all judge whether what you are saying makes sense.

History

Very briefly, the The AK-47 is a selective-fire, gas-operated rifle that fires 7.62×39mm ammunition. The AK-47 was developed in the Soviet Union by Mikhail Kalashnikov. Design work on the AK-47 began in the last year of World War II (1945).  In 1949, the AK-47 was officially accepted by the Soviet Armed Forces and used by the majority of the member states of the Warsaw Pact. It is still widely used today.

If you are going to count on a rifle, you should know how to take care of it.


The AR-15 is a lightweight, magazine-fed, air cooled rifle with a rotating-lock bolt, actuated by direct impingement gas operation or long/short stroke piston operation that fires 5.56 mm/.223-caliber ammunition.

The AR-15 was first built by ArmaLite as a small arms rifle for the United States armed forces.Because of financial problems, ArmaLite sold the AR-15 design to Colt who made some modifications and the redesigned rifle was subsequently adopted as the M16 rifle which was the main rifle used by US Armed Forces. Colt then started selling the semi-automatic version of the M16 rifle as the Colt AR-15 for civilian sales in 1963 and the term AR-15 has been used to refer to semiautomatic-only versions of the rifle since then.

For the purpose of this comparison we are only going to be discussing semi-automatic weapons available for purchase in the US by a non FFL carrying person, not their fully automatic counterparts.

The Facts

You can quickly see some of the facts below about each rifle on this excellent info graphic from TacticalGear.com , but I will list what I see are the important differences between the two rifles.

  • The AR-15 can effectively shoot 200 yards further than the AK-47.
  • The AK-47 shoots a significantly larger bullet than the AR-15.
  • The AR-15 weighs 2 pounds less (not counting a lot of hardware we add after the fact) than the AK-47
  • The AK-47 usually costs less than an AR-15.
  • The AR-15 has a higher (30% more) accuracy than the AK-47
  • The AK-47 is more widely used globally by a long shot than the AR-15.

For more information and my opinion on which rifle is best, please read below the graphic.
AK-47 vs. AR-15

The Debate

There are really only 3 main arguments that proponents of the AK-47 use as their rationale for saying that the AK-47 is the better survival rifle so I want to list and address each below.

  • AK-47 rounds penetrate better and do more damage – This is true generally speaking, let’s move on to the next point.
  • AK-47 Costs less – This is true generally, let’s move on to the next point.
  • AK-47 will keep working no matter how dirty it gets – This is also true to an extent, but with a caveat. The point to this argument is that if the AR-15 gets too dirty, you will have firing problems. I can tell you from personal experience that I have never had a single problem with any AR-15 or it’s fully automatic cousins that I have ever shot. However, I clean my rifles usually after every time I shoot them. Sometimes, I will wait, but they never go too long without a thorough cleaning, so what is this point supposed to be saying to us? Well, what if you are in a firefight and you have to shoot 300 rounds through your AR-15 rifle; will it jam then? No, at least not in my experience. Maybe if you shot 10000 rounds through it without cleaning the rifle you could see some issues, but if you are in a firefight so bad that you have shot 10000 rounds, you have bigger problems. What if you drop it in a vat of guacamole? Not a valid point in my book.

Which Rifle is the Best Survival Rifle?

I will tell you that in my opinion, the best rifle is the one you have with you when you need it. That sounds well and good, but if I was going to buy one rifle, and I lived in America, it would be the AR-15. Why? For me this comes down to 4 simple points.

Accuracy – The AR is simply more accurate at further distances than the AK-47. If I wanted to shoot a rifle up in the air when I was mad, riding in the back of a Toyota truck with 20 of my friends, or happy, or just plain stupid then I might get an AK-47. One of my goals is to be able to engage targets at up to 500 yards and the AR-15 does that better than the AK-47. The AK might use a heavier round that will go through more solid objects, but if you are able to kill the person holding the AK 200 yards before he can hit you, does that matter?

Range – Speaking of range, the AR-15 shoots further effectively, so that just adds to what I was saying above. Range is also important to me because I want to be able to take people out as far away as possible. I don’t want you getting so close that your AK-47 can hit me. I would rather you and your AK be far away and I will take care of you way out there. I don’t mind walking out there to pick up your rifle when I am finished.

Parts – The AR-15 is like the Barbie doll of the firearm world. There are so many accessories! And yes, the military version of this rifle (M16/M4) has a majority of parts that are fully compatible with the AR-15. The AR-15 is also the same weapon used by police, DHS, and NASA. If anything bad happens, there should be plenty of opportunity for spare parts to be acquired. I can’t say the same for the AK-47 unless we are invaded by Russia. So, even if your AK is able to fire with some mud in it, what if something breaks? That is why you buy spare parts you say. No, that is why you buy what everyone else is using including our government.

Ammo – Same as above, this is the ammo our police and military use as well as quite a large number of my countrymen, so I have the advantage of a very common caliber in my favor.

OK, that is my rationale and those are my reasons. The AR-15 does cost a little more on average, but you can find really good deals out there if you look and the price difference would be much lower. Does this mean I wouldn’t own an AK-47? No, not at all. I would love to have one, but I do think that for the reasons I listed above, if you can only choose one and you live in the good old US of A, the AR-15 is the better option in my opinion. I know for a fact people will disagree with me, so please let me know what you think in the comments below.

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154 Comments on "The AK-47 vs AR-15: Which Rifle is Better?"

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Eze
Guest
I have just a question. As you speak about AR-15 – you probably speak about last major modification (in M-16 words M-16A4) of the rifle, am I right? But of what version of “AK” are you speaking? AK-47? AKM? AK-74? AK-10x? All versions are commonly spoken of as “AK-47″… My question is based on the diagram you attached, where is a production date of “AK” 1949-59… But it is true only for the “47” version. E.g. 74 version is still being produced. I dont know the specifications, but it is probably better than “47” (I dont know which version you… Read more »
Northern Raider
Guest
I definitely choose the AK 47 or the more modern 74 and its derivatives as used by places like Sweden and South Africa. The AK family was designed to do the job, cost was not a consideration, The AR being American was built to a price. I used both on various attachments over the years when I was in the British army along with other notables like the Galil, H& K G 36, Steyr Aug etc. The AK would work flawlessly even the most appalling of conditions and regardless of how well it was cleaned (or not). The wonderful chaps… Read more »
Northern Raider
Guest

Eze makes a very valid point, todays AK family of weapons are fine quality beasts that still have all the good points of the original with improved specification and quality controls as well.

In a survival situation for an ordinary dude not part of the SF, just a guy with a family trying to survive, who may not have the time or skills to religiously maintain his rifle, a guy who NEEDS it to work in appalling conditions and with reduced maintenance the AK wins hands down. The AK is the Hummer of the rifle family the AR15 is the Jeep.

Kudu GS
Guest

1. All AK’s are horrible marksmanship weapons and in a survival situation marksmanship is paramount. 2. AR maintenance is quite simple really. 3. Summers are horrible vehicles compared to Jeeps. Jeeps are reliable, easy to find parts and repair and can go where a hummer can’t.

G-Dog
Guest

That “horrible marksmanship” myth is a bit overstated for the AK. It’s not as accurate overall as the AR. But, it’s far from “horrible”. I consistently get 1 1/2″ groups at 150.

Monstersdoexist
Guest

Exactly!

G-Dog
Guest
In a survival situation EVERYTHING is paramount. The AK isn’t “a horrible marksmanship weapon”. That’s and extreme overstatement. The truth is the AK is accurate enough in a firefight. The difference in accuracy between the AK and AR platforms have more to do with the front and rear iron sights being too close together. This is easily overcome with decent zeroed optics. Inside of 400yds outfitted with the same zeroed optic my performance with each platform is virtually identical. Typically, the effect range of an AR platform is about 200yds beyond the AK. But, “real world” small arms firefights don’t… Read more »
3rdMan
Guest

Why you hating on the Jeep, MAN!!!!
You don’t have to be a SF operator, just a responsible firearms owner. SHTF is not the time to learn what your weapon skills are or what kind of beating your weapon will take. The AK is a machine, and like every other machine made by man it will fail at some point. You take care of it all the time, like your life might depend on it.

Northern Raider
Guest

By the way your info graphic is comparing the old 7.62 x 39 AK with the modern AR15, that’s not very fair or responsible. you should compare the AR15 with the 5.56 AK 74 so its fairer and more balanced.

Wag
Guest

The AK 74 is 5.45

Northern Raider
Guest

Wag your right of course, I was having a senior moment, especially as I have an empty steel cased 5.45 shell on my desk Doh !!!

robert
Guest

REAL COMBAT GOING BE CONCRETS, DRYWALL WOOD RAIN WINDSTORM AND PROBABLY MOTOR OIL TO LUB WITH, I TAKE AK AS MOST SHOOTING GOING BE 50 YARDS.

robert
Guest

I GT SEVERAL AK47 AND I JUST RUN JUNK AMMO ALWAYS THRU THEM NEVER JAM, TOSS EM MUD. AK MADE TO THROW LEAD

3rdMan
Guest

Dude,

Some commas and a period after “With”, please!!! haha Just messing with you man!

Oh, and the yelling!!!

B
Guest

There are 5.56×45 AK’s. Bought a pistol one just to round out the collection without having to stock a new ammo caliber. Its neat, but I really prefer the AR-15 ergo’s since I’m so used to it.

Nathan Simcox
Guest

If you’re gonna compare all the “modern” aks then let’s also bring in the ar10 and the 300 a ac etc. This was a basic comparison of just those two models. I have owned both rifles. I have since condensed to just ar15s because all parts fit all brands unlike the different aks.

Mark Devillier
Guest

Either, or … I’m just glad Americans have them in large #’s!
This is the only thing that keeps foreign invasion at bay. Our own Government is slowly rotting from the inside …. but there is little one can do when a cancer is misdiagnosed for a long period of time.
Dont tread on me.

Don Roberts
Guest

Just a biased opinion on my part as I own both the AK47 and AK74.

The AK47 with a 30 round magazine is a load to carry and shoot. On the other hand the AK74 with a 30 round magazine weights a lot less and is a great little battle rifle. It takes very little knowledge to maintain and shoot either the AK47 or AK74.

I’m not certain that the AR is an easy weapon to just pick up and shoot.

Also the cost and availability of AK ammo (either 7.62×39 or 5.45×39) is better than for the AR.

B
Guest

If you buy steel case prices per round are nearly identical, especially since the Ukraine got invaded and basically doubled the price of 5.45×39. Operation wise AK and AR are fairly similar with 1 big difference in last round bolt lockback. The AK is not as ergonomic. Big sharp selector, reciprocating charging handle, and rocking mag loading. Almost everything on the AR can be done 1 handed. Selector, bolt, and mag release are right there and can be operated with the grip hand.

Aldric
Guest

The AK74, as the AK47, is not a battle rifle, but an assault rifle. The cartridge is intermediate. Battle rifle territory would be the 7.62x51mm or 7.62x54R variants.

Northern Raider
Guest
The more I think about this subject and if the choice was between a MODERN AK versus the Modern AR 15 I think that if I was a cop, city dweller, federal agents, Coast guard or member of some other professional organisation that had full workshop and armoury support I would probably go for an accessorised AR15. BUT if I was (am) a prepper, hunter, rural dweller, forester, off gridder, loner, survivalist, etc the choice would have to be the rugged durability of the MODERN AK such as the AK74 carbine in 5.56 x 39. Without afull armourer as back… Read more »
Wg
Guest
I have had the pleasure of putting thousands of rounds through both guns. I will try not to be too tactical of a mindset but give some food for thought. I LOVE the AR! Ammo- if I’m in close quarters I am giving a hammered pair or failure drill. That being said I can carry more 5.56 ammo than 7.62. Also a lighter recoil with the 5.56 which will allow me to get back on target faster and help with follow up shots. The ammo price comparison really is not a big difference and I have had no problem ever… Read more »
maksim
Guest
I think comparing ak47 in run of the mill configuration is not fair comparison. At current state, there lot of accessories available for ak47/74, not as much ask ar15 though. I own both platforms. I have Vepr 7.62×39 / 54R, Vepr 5.45 x 39 and HK 556/ 7.62 (own both). I love both systems, I do prefer piston over DI. My X39 is heavily modified and have very little recoil and very accurate. It really about person and what mod were done to the rifle. But if I had to pick one rifle, I would pick my X39, because of… Read more »
Parker
Guest

Just saying, In the graph above it says the AR-15 in used in Australia, and I know for a fact, we Aussies use an AUG variant.

JMW
Guest

Aussies use both rifles actually. AUG’s for the line troops and M4 variants for SOF and some specialty jobs.

Ezekyl
Guest
(yes, the first post is mine, I just happened to misstype the nick 🙂 I believe in this discussion, it is very important in which region each of us is. Because as I wrote in my first post (yes, it is me, I just happened to misstype the nick :-), North America region is probably going for the AR. Not only because of the availability of the weapon/accesories/ammo in that region, but also because they are very familiar with the gun. They are used to its weight, behaviour, recoil… That makes it an ultimate rifle for them. For those in… Read more »
f4klift
Guest

As a “newbie” to prepping, and a tight budget, the best rifle IMO is the one you can get your hands on. Weight, accessories, ammo size, etc. are meaningless if you can’t get one in hand.

Hillbilly
Guest

I started with a sks uses the same ammo as the ak And you can pick one up for around $200 it is best to keep your options open so I now have an ar and ak as well would not mind using any of them in a pinch

robert
Guest

MY AK I PURPOSELY RUN DIFFERENT AMMO IN SAME CLIPS MAKE SURE KEEP EATING IT, I TWEEK ALL MINE MYSELF AND I KEEP EM SIMPLE AS POSSIBLE I DONR LIKE BUNCH STUFF ON MY GUNS

robert
Guest

TOSS SOME WEEDS IN CHAMBER AND THEY KEEP ROCKING, AK WORK FINE FOR ME

slaveofchrist
Guest

OK DUDE

Northern Raider
Guest

I guess as Pat live in the US the focus must be on what is best for that domestic environment and that would naturally be the AR15 family.

Though I still think for preppers and ordinary folks with limited facilities I would go for a Ruger Mini 14.

John
Guest

Informative article. The AR-15 is on my shopping list.

Mark Duplessis
Guest
I understand your reasoning for the AR and I agree that the best rifle is the one that suits you. Personally I chose the AK and for some of the reasons you’ve listed. The main one being penetration and cleaning. I live in south Louisiana where everything is extremely humid and, once out of the city, is mostly marsh and swamp. In a survival situation I don’t plan on stopping to clean my rifle. If while on the move the I had to drop to the ground, the odds of being on dry ground are very slim. I don’t want… Read more »
A. Prepper
Guest
I understand the premise of your comparison, but, here’s a simple solution that should work for many family-type preppers. Get at least one of each. The AK variant for the husband (father) and the AR variant (in 5.56 NATO for sure, not .223) for the wife and kids. AK’s are somewhat heavy and clumsy, best handled by an experienced male shooter. Females/kids would find the AR variant much easier to operate and carry. For example, with safety considerations in mind, it is MUCH easier to flick the safety on/off between shots on my wife’s SIG M400 (AR) than on my… Read more »
Sideliner
Guest

Really great article, and follow-up comments. Thank you all very much.

OK, so let’s say I decided I want to acquire either/both. At today’s prices, about how much should I budget for the weapon/s, optics, lights, magazines? and once I get comfortable with either/both of these weapons, how much ammo – at minimum – will I need to keep on hand? Tough to say, I know, but I’d appreciate someone’s best guess. TIA.

Hillbilly
Guest
It’s like buying a car depends on the options but if you want to go cheep it can be done you can get a carbon ar for around $800 a ak on the low end around $350 you will not want to carry more than 2500 rounds for either very far and there is a big difference in ammo prices as well the 5.56 will run around $600 for 1000 rounds picked up in bulk the cheep steal case 7.62 will be around $300 for 1000 rounds a little hint the ar’s chambered 5.56 will shoot 2.23 ammo but the… Read more »
Sideliner
Guest

Hillbilly – many thanks for the prompt reply, the good info and advice, and the good wishes. Right back atcha.

Prepping in progress…

Sideliner
Guest

Thanks to all who have weighed in with additional perspective, whose comments don’t appear here for some reason. All excellent input that will help me decide. PIP…keep ’em coming.

Robert
Guest
I like them both for certain reasons. I like the AR Because of its weight and accuracy, and because it is like Lego’s for Adults. The ammo may be expensive, but I can reload it. The AK is awesome because I “can” drop it in a vat of Guacamole and fire it. It’s easy to load (not that the AR isn’t) and shoot. I can hand it to my wife or son’s and they can fire it and reload it with minimal instruction. The ammo for the AK is cheaper but you can’t reload steel cases. It doesn’t matter what… Read more »
BlakeW5
Guest
Ah, the age-old gun debate. There’s a few issues the article overlooks. Range: The extra range of the AR is debatable, especially “effective range”. I’ve read numerous studies (take that for what it’s worth) concerning the effectiveness of the 5.56 out of the standard 16″ barrel and most of them conclude that the real effective range of the round is similar to the 7.62×39. The thing the 5.56 has going for it is muzzle velocity plain and simple. Once that smaller round gets below it’s optimum speed it massively loses performance, something that will happen quicker with a carbine length… Read more »
Kris
Guest
I don’t think the police or military will be sharing ammo or weapons parts so that point is moot. Also, as far as accuracy I know my experience is different than anyone else’s but my AK’s are human size target iron sights accurate to 400 yards +. I won’t take anything away from the AR but it’s primary design goal was to injure enemy combatants. Will it kill? Absolutely. The AK just kills better. If the proverbial S does hit the fan, I’m grabbing my AK and several magazines filled with FMJ and several more with SP ammo. FMJ for… Read more »
Pat Henry
Guest

Thanks for your comments Kris, but I think you misunderstand the point about police and military carrying the same caliber. It doesn’t have anything to do with them sharing…

The simple fact is regardless of circumstances, there will be a predominance of .556 ammo available. I would think that there would also be 7.62, albeit in shorter supply.

Bill Brasky
Guest

All in all considering these prices I’d rather buy several Ak-47’s and have everyone in my group armed.

YourKidding Right
Guest
Excellent discussion–myself–never had a good M16 when I was in the service, A1 or A2–spent more time clearing the thing than shooting it–might be just because they were wore out BUT–My AK’s–never an extraction issue–the AR’s definitely have the edge in several categories BUT from my experience–they are finicky, to finicky for me. The AK–it doesn’t care what ammo you throw at it or if it has laid in the mud for a week–I do own an AR but it would not be my first choice in the area I’m in–100 yds or less visibility–They both have their attributes in… Read more »
Dylan
Guest
You can get an ak in 223, and you can get an AR in 7.62×39. I think it really depends on your situation. AKs weren’t meant for long range, they were meant for modern engagements in cities and close quarters. ARs can really do both though. AK ammo is cheaper but AR ammo is plenty in the US. But you can really just get the same rifle but in a different caliber so that shouldn’t matter too much except on finding mags that’ll work. Newer ARs are far better and more reliable than the old m16s but still require some… Read more »
sig121
Guest
Why would accuracy at 200 yards matter when the enemy probably won’t be stationary knowing they’ll live longer if they keep moving. Trying to pick out targets at long distances might not work too well when targets are erraticaly moving trying not to get shot. Both rifles are accurate at short-medium ranges. If one factors out long range shooting, the AK is superior in many ways. The 7.62 has more penetration potential than the 5.56, it’s less prone to jamming, less finicky, and in a SHTF situation where maintanence parts may not be readily available, the AK will still function… Read more »
Pat Henry
Guest

OK, fair enough. But, if the platform is only useful on the range, why does our military use it? Why does every police force field officers with these? Why are special operations running around with M4’s? Shouldn’t they all be using AK-47’s if they are all around superior?

Sideliner1950
Guest
You ask, “But, if the platform is only useful on the range, why does our military use it? Why does every police force field officers with these? Why are special operations running around with M4’s?” Can I take a shot at this one? Maybe this is just a naive, cynical oversimplification..but it could be that the powerful lobby for American defense contractors have made it eminently clear to politicians that they would never stand for something like that? Politicians have been taught that if they don’t dance to the tune being played by powerful lobbies, PACs, etc., the flow of… Read more »
Pat Henry
Guest
That may very well be true, but I guess more specifically my question was that if the platform (piston driven, 7.62 round) is so much better why hasn’t the US moved in this direction by now? The defense contractors can make one weapon just as well as another so if they aren’t making the standard M4 variants they could make an AK variant and still make money, right? Government loves new toys so why is this standard still hanging tough? We are already giving away MRAPs because they are obsolete, the uniforms they wear are changing again soon from ACU… Read more »
Sideliner1950
Guest

Right you are. “What is” and “what could/should be” aren’t always the same, especially once politics get inserted into the mix.

maksim
Guest

actually marines use HK variant which is piston driven AR

Steven
Guest

I don’t need to worry about need spare parts with my Ak since I can make most of the parts with a few common tools found in any hardware store. Can you do this with your AR. Not downing the fine machine parts in AR but hard to make with hacksaw and dremil.

Pat Henry
Guest

OK, I guess you have me beat then. I can’t make spare parts for my AR, but the fact you can for your AK seems to illustrate that either you are an exceptionally crafty person or the AK is made up of simple parts. Either way, I don’t think most people can make machine parts with some simple tools like you can so the AR is still my choice. Also, if the power is out, that Dremel isn’t going to work too well.

David Sanders
Guest

A good argument can be made for both. I have each of them in my collection, but that said, Ill take the AK…. KNOCKDOWN DELUX power.

TD
Guest

I say, let the majority of preppers use the AK-47. This way, there is more AR centered parts and ammo for me to use if SHTF.

Pat Henry
Guest

Ha ha! Ditto!

Ben
Guest
I have both and use the M-4 at work. I am very familiar with both and shoot both on a regular basis. It is hard to beat either one, as both fill a notch and are able to perform the same basic duties. Yes the AR is more accurate than most AK’s. However, given a choice of only one, the AK would win hands down for me for most of the reasons already stated. However, when you look at peneration at say 100 yards the AK also wins hands dwn, as I have shot through 2 cinder blocks placed one… Read more »
Ben
Guest

Also another reason that our government hasn’t switched to the 7.62×39, is it is not a NATO round where the 5.56 is. If the 7.62×39 round was a NATO round, we would have probably switched over. As we have a lot of military and reserve personnel where I work and they all like the 7.62×39 round better, just not the rifle.

3rdMan
Guest

I think you mean the 7.62×51 or .308. We would never switch to a common caliber as the Russians.

Big&Ugly
Guest
If I may add my $.02, I was a trauma nurse; I have encountered and treated several GSW (gun shot wounds). 1) FMJ bullets suck! Little hole going in, little hole going out. They are designed to WOUND. Use soft point or (even better) HP. 2) .22 vs .30, hands down use the .30; the .22, .223, 5.56 makes a much smaller hole and does less tissue damage. If you want the target to go down and stay down, Use a 7.62 HP. That’s why I prefer the SKS, AK, or anything else that shoots 7.62×39, or .308, or 30-06.… Read more »
Zed
Guest
Well, the comparison was not wholesome..and without a common sense and rationale… If you want to have a gun in SHTF… Well in Middle east, they all are currently living in shtf, with constant war,terrorism, deaths, famine etc..And there they choose AK’s Why? its quite Simple..post SHTF world points to consider 1. It won’t be like US army battling terrorists which is techno-savvy, group (battalions) and air backup..you will be atmost with your wife, kids ..and/or few friends who don’t have tactical or strategic insight. 2. The cleaning materials will be very difficult to get hands on… after few months… Read more »
Sandy Murdock
Guest
I am afraid I have to disagree with the author. I spent a number of years in the army so I have been around weapons ‘a bit’ here and there. If I were looking for a COMBAT rifle I would probably choose the AR15, but for a SURVIVAL rifle I’d be looking at the AK. The AK is much more rugged, and when you are in survival mode you are not spending lot of time cleaning your rifle, you are trying to survive. If you are in a survival situation you are not firing at targets 500 meters away, you… Read more »
Omega Tactical and Survival
Guest

I know soldiers were having problems in Afghanistan and Iraq with the AR15 reaching out at a distance, so they started reverting back and reissuing M14’s to certain units to help in accuracy.
When the M16/AR platform was designed during the Vietnam era it was ideal for those conditions. Well not idea I won’t say that but better suited for that atmosphere. I believe both weapons the AR and the AK have their advantages and disadvantages.

Steve D
Guest

The FBI, after extensive studies, is recommending police ditch their .40SW cartridges in favor of the more controllable 9mm. A big part of this recommendation is that modern 9mm ammo is equally as effective as .40 or .45.

Carry this logic into the rifle cartridge size debate. After watching video of what a modern round such as the Winchester PDX1 does to ballistics gel I can’t imagine needing anything more powerful against a likely adversary. A magazine with alternating rounds of expanding hybrid ammo and FMJ (or others) seems like a great idea to this non-expert.

Thoughts?

Marc Redding
Guest
I have often thought of this myself.. Great Article!!! And myself getting into prepping, I had to consider this scenario awhile back.. Thus, living in the USA, your I chose the AR-15 for the main reasons you gave. Accesibility of ammo and parts, the fact most government agencies in the US use this weapon, and many civilians also own the AR. I did read a small article awhile back where the Father of the AK-47 was asked about some AK-47 versions that had been modified with accessories and such.. And his reply was “The rifle was fine, adding anything to… Read more »
maksim
Guest

as long as you don’t touch main operational parts of the AK, you not sacrificing the reliability

David
Guest
In a abusive environment the AK wins hands down there are no exceptions, you can’t throw you rifle in a river, run it over in a vehicle, toss it from a building onto cement, drag it on a dirt gravel road, bury it in the mud, and expect it to fire and gas impingement system will lose every time. Is this rifle capable of good accuracy up to 200 yard man size targets; absolutely! Now can you make it more accurate with rails, sights, barrels without a doubt, so the conclusion is a simple one is it a fighting rifle,… Read more »
William Kevin Styers
Guest
When we talk about reliability issues between the two rifles what we are really talking about is piston versus direct impingement. Direct impingement can be a finnicky system by its very nature. You are essentially funneling hot gas, and whatever unspent powder and particulates it carries, through a very narrow aperture to create pressure against the bolt carrier to move the action. The very narrow part is the key there. Over time, and without proper maintenance, that narrow aperture can become clogged resulting in feeding malfunctions at best. If we are talking about a prepper end of days scenario then… Read more »
Pat Henry
Guest

Great comments! Thanks William.

James
Guest
I think it should be noted that over the past few weeks some 5.56mm has been taken off the market deemed Armor Piercing by the Feds. So the effective range just went down for the AR-15 because you are now limited on the grain in the round. To those that are seriously looking into a weapon, there are a few factors that make the overall distance. 1)Practice, Ten years of military experience tells me you are junk until you practice with your rifle, the most expensive sniper rifle is as good as the person pulling the trigger. Practice makes perfect.… Read more »
Fife
Guest
We did some “research” once on a couple of dead bulls that took a lightning bolt while standing too close to the fence. We had 2 ARs, one AK, lots of ammo, and 2 dead bovines that were just starting to puff up. Results; 1. I guess we were about 120 yards out. All rifles were right on, but the four shooters were not stressed and the extra weight of AK was not a factor. If I’m fatigued, I miss with heavy rifles… 2. The AK made way bigger holes! You could cut the front legs off the young steer… Read more »
Joe E Goodart
Guest
A survival weapon? That be the AK hands down. It can shoot anything that fits in the chamber and you don’t need to oil it continually. Yes it design is rude and crude but it is simple. A 6 year old can take it down for cleaning. It is an ugly but a very elegant design.(simplicity) If you ask the question which is the best platform, well that be the AR hands down, just because you can do so much with it, but for reliability, usefulness at 150 yards, and for survival it is AK. 30 cal is better than… Read more »
sterling
Guest
There are some good points brought up and ultimately you did come to the proper conclusion to get a rifle with easily acquirable parts and ammo for your area. I am left with a big question that makes me question you having ever shot either of these rifles. What ar15 shoots 7 moa? and what ak shoots 10 moa? I’ve only ever seen ar’s with less than 3 moa (normally 2 or lower) and ak’s are generally around the 6 moa range. I’m referring to 16″ barrels for both of those. Maybe if you’re talking about a ppsh or something… Read more »
Jonesey
Guest

The AK-47 including modern variants is a superior firearm compared to the AR-15 (+variants) in a combat situation.. the AR-15 is over rated! In my experience the Aug steyr kicks the pants off the AR-15

...
Guest
If you are talking about a prepping situation, where you are living in the middle of a national or global emergency, you’re not going to be able to always clean and properly maintain your weapons. If I was in a survival situation, I would want to have a gun I knew I could rely on no matter what. Because I can kill more easily without wasting ammunition due to it’s larger caliber, and because of it’s unrivaled reliability, my edge goes to the ak. Also, some people complain that the range of the ak is only 400m, compared to the… Read more »
Luke
Guest

One thing I have to say is if your hit by an AK 47 you have less chance to live from bleeding, than an AR 15, and you may have a greater chance to live being hit by a AR 15! AK makes more of a mess!

strato man
Guest

Not going to try to say which is “better” because that requires us to set the rating criteria but I do have a specific comment.

I have 5 AR type rifles, the least accurate of the bunch (14.5″ lightweight barrel and a EOS holographic sight) will do 3MOA 10 shot groups (that’s 2MOA 3 shot group). The other ones are all set up more for target work and will shoot anywhere from 0.5 -1MOA.

Spirit of 1776
Guest
Your desire, preparedness,skill and gear will have more to determine how well either one of these work for you.Learn to fire iron sights because batteries die ,lenses break and technology fades.Don’t think you’re prepared because you have stored food and a couple of boxes of ammo.You wont be taking the time to load boxes of freeze dried when they are kicking in the front door.Have thousands of rounds stored in two to three safe places have your skills sharpened monthly at the range.Most of all be prepared to leave what you have to to get away.When you’re running they can… Read more »
Pat Henry
Guest

Thank you for your comments!

greg adkins
Guest

Not discussing the 5.45 in this debate is ridiculous it negate’s the 5.56 lightweight advantage and accuracy advantage at distance firing.I own both,they are both reliable/durable but in my opinion the AR needs to be maintained more often to keep up that reliability.Plus in grid down you don’t know how often you will be able to maintain the weapon(not just a quick cleaning)So for me I’ll grab the 5.45.Can’t speak to the 7.62 never have owned one.

Chrush Whorty
Guest

This the best “AR15 vs. AK47” analysis I’ve ever seen (so far). Thank you!

Don White
Guest
26 years active duty Army service and I’m in the middle of this decision right now. The AR has fought against the AK in almost every part of the world and they’re both excellent. So my first conclusion is that there is no WRONG decision here. So what does matter? #1 ACQUISITION. It appears to me (though I’m not 100% convinced yet) that with a limit of $800, I will get a better quality weapon for going with an AK. Both prices have become inflated but the AR appears more so. #2 AMMO RESUPPLY IN SHTF SCENARIO I think goes… Read more »
mojo risen
Guest

the mission and the objective determines the weapon, only a mass minded idiot would chose one over the other . both have added bodies to the cemeteries .

Pat Henry
Guest

So your stance is that it doesn’t matter which one you get? Or is it that you should get both? Neither?

What if you have a budget? What if you already have one and are looking to purchase another rifle? What if your mission and object precludes selecting one?

mojo risen
Guest

what is the mission ? clearing buildings or patroling the southern borders ? are we in the jungle or hot sandy desert ? i know what weapon to chose . i own several both . if you live in the USA go AR . if you live in russia go AK . that way if the shtf you know you can always get your hands on 223/556 ammo . whatever it takes (kill, trade ,steal) to achieve the objective .

Leslie James
Guest

I’m an American and have fired both weapons and much prefer the AK47.

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