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Which Is My Rifle, the AK-47 or the AR-15?

Which Is My Rifle, the AK-47 or the AR-15?

If you are even remotely familiar with firearms, you know that this is a hot-topic debate—one that gun enthusiasts approach with the same fervor and passion as smartphone users do the iPhone vs Android argument, or that pizza lovers do the pineapple vs no pineapple dispute. We know there are plenty of opinions out there, so we want to lay out the facts— to give a brief, unbiased overview of the pros and cons of both. That way, when it does come time for you to select a rifle, you can make an informed decision about which one is a better fit for you, according to your goals and preferences.

Background:

AK-47

The “Automatik Kalashnikova”, named after its Russian maker, created in 1947, the chosen weapon of choice of the Soviet military during WWII and, of the two guns, the one most widely used around the world.

AR-15

Named after the company that created it in the 1950s, ArmaLite, and is the civilian version of the M16, the weapon of choice of the U.S. military. Of the two guns, it is America’s best-selling rifle.

Regarding Price:

AK-47

Prices range from $350- $600. These weapons are mostly made of pressed steel and are cheaper to produce than AR-15s. Most of the ones available for purchase are used or NOS- (new, old stock—surplus).

AR-15

Prices range from $750- $1500. The majority of these weapons are new, and made out of aluminum rather than made completely of steel. The average consumer will pay about $400-500 more than for a typical AK-47.

Regarding Accuracy:

AK-47

Less accurate than the AK-47. Because it was designed for warfare, it was created to be cheap to produce and to retain its firing capabilities even in unfavorable circumstances/harsh environments. Because of this, accuracy had to be compromised, which is the main argument of people who favor the AR-15.

AR-15

30% more accurate than the AK-47. Rifle accuracy is measured in MOA (minute of angle). AK-47s can shoot at 200 yards with 20” of potential deviation (overall, 8-12 MOA), while AR-15s can shoot at 200 yards with 14” of potential deviation (overall, 6-8 MOA, the better score).

Regarding Durability:

AK-47

Performs just as well when exposed to dirt, mud, etc. Highly durable, and much more so than the AR-15. However, it has a shorter lifespan—if properly serviced, it will last 20-40 years, as opposed to the longer life of an AR-15.

AR-15

Fragile—likely to malfunction if subjected to the elements. Can last 40+ years if well taken care of, which is longer than the AK-47.

Regarding Range:

AK-47

The maximum effective range is 400 yards. The AK-47 is shorter (standard length 34.3”) and heavier (9.5 lbs. when empty) than the AR-15.

AR-15

The maximum effective range is 600 yards, farther than the AK-47. The AR-15 is longer (standard length 39.5”) and lighter (7.8 lbs. when empty) than the AK-47.

Regarding Muzzle Energy, Rate of Fire, and Magazine Capacity:

AK-47

Muzzle energy is a general indication of the destructive potential of a firearm, and refers to the kinetic energy of the bullet coming out of the muzzle. In this category, the AK-47 is superior, with 1,500 foot-pounds. While it has the same magazine capacity as the AR-15 (30), it has a slower rate of fire, at 600 rounds per minute.

AR-15

The AR-15 has less muzzle energy than the AK-47 (1,300 foot-pounds), but has a faster rate of fire, at 700-950 rounds per minute.

Other factors:

AK-47

Proponents of the AK-47 list its aesthetic appeal as a reason for their admiration- it combines the Russian design with European artisanship, and looks iconic and unique, a look which gives it character.

AR-15

The AR-15 is decisively the winner when it comes to customization. Owners can purchase laser sights, foregrips, lights, uppers of various calibers, and a multitude of other parts to modify their AR-15 according to their personal needs or taste. Also, the recoil of the AR-15 is noticeably less than on the AK-47. So which rifle is better? It depends. If you’re looking for classic, cheaper, and more reliable, with greater short-range performance, the AK-47 is your rifle; if you’re looking for new, high accuracy, adaptability, and long-range performance, the AR-15 is your rifle. The best way to decide is to test them both out for yourself!

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