Tman and I went to the range today and I brought an example of the two systems to shoot.
I will make some observations regarding the systems, but probably not solve the debate.
These are the rifles.
The top rifle is my vintage AR-15 like the one I carried at Fort Polk in Basic Training back in 1970.
The bottom rifle is a Maadi AK in 7.62 X 39.
It has a Kvar stock, which is slightly longer than the original.
Many find that the AR “fits” American sized men better than the AK.
Here I am with the AR.
The usual AK stock has a slightly shorter length of pull.
Mine has a longer stock.
No big winner with the longer stock, but I do find my front grip hand fits better on the AR, it seems.
The magazine release on an AK is most easily changed by using the left hand and gripping the release clamp with the thumb.
It “rocks” out, much like an M-14 variant.
I find this an uncomfortable movement to perform.
While the AK magazines are very stout, they must be carefully “locked” into the rifle.
The AR, on the other hand, allows the trigger finger to hit the magazine release and discard the mag one-handed, if desired.
Mag replacements are quick and positive.
Charging the Weapons
To charge the AK, the shooter must reach over the reciever and pull the charging handle fully to the rear.
Another method requires the release of the right hand grip.
This is difficult to perform without lowering the weapon, or at least taking it off the threat.
The AR allows the shooter to charge the weapon while still on the shoulder and on target.
Keeping the weapon on the “threat” is important.
Releasing the Safety
The safety on the AK is not easy to operate.
The rifle cannot be charged with the safety on.
The shooter must release his grip on the AK to operate the safety.
The “sweep” of the safety is long and noisey.
I got many questions regarding the On/Off position of the AK safety, so this is how it works.
This is the safety in the “On” position, Up and blocking the charging handle.
This is the safety in the “Off” position, ready to fire.
The safety on the AR is operated by the thumb, without removing the grip from the rifle.
Once again, this allows the shooter to keep the rifle trained on the threat.
The AR is generally considered to be more accurate than the AK. The AK has a reputation of being extremely reliable, although I never have problems with an AR, as long as it is well-maintained.
Recoil on the AK is noticably more than the AR. Of course, neither is a hard kicker, but you definitely notice the difference.
The comparison of the two calibers, 5.56 Vs. 762 X 39, we will leave to another installment.
I’m sure you guys can think of other points. But it was a fine day.
Here I am, burning up the backstop with the AK.
This is my buddy Tman doing the same with his AR.
It was 60 degrees, the sun was shining, and it was better than any day we ever spent at work.