The debate between AR and AK lovers has been going on for years and will likely go on for many more, after all these are the two most popular rifles on the planet. But lets compare a few key aspects of these two rifle platforms and see if we can come up with a clear winner in this decades long debate.
Before we start this comparison, I’d like to point out a couple of things. First off for the sake of comparison, we’ll be sticking to specific calibers, the 5.56×45 or .223 for the AR platform and the 7.62×39 caliber for the AK. We’ll stick to these calibers since they are the most popular and most common and they are the calibers the rifles were designed to fire. Also for the sake of comparison we’ll be assuming that the AR platform is a direct impingement system as it is again the most popular and most common and what the rifle was designed to operate with.
Appearance – This is a draw as this is a personal preferance issue although in my opinion I believe the AR is a better looking rifle. DRAW
Accessories – The AR wins in this catagory. While the AK platform has many accessories on the market available for it, the AR has far more and its modular design lends itself to adding accessories much more than the AK design. EDGE AR15
Controls/Features – These two rifles are very different in this catagory and for many that makes it a clear choice for a winner but honestly to me this is a draw. The reason is that some will look at the AR platform and say that because it has more controls and features built into the design, thus creating more ways to manipulate the weapon, that this makes it the better rifle. However others will argue that the simplicity in design of the AK platform lends itself to being the easier rifle to operate and manipulate. In my opinion both points of view are correct and it really boils down to knowning your rifle and training with whatever rifle you choose. DRAW
Action – By action I mean comparing the AR’s Direct Impingement gas system to the AK’s Piston gas system. In this catagory I have to call it a draw. Even though some will say that the AK piston gas system has been around longer and the AR gas system got off to a rocky start, by modern standards both gas systems have a good reputation and function very well for their given platforms. DRAW
Accuracy – This one has to go to the AR15 as it has been consistantly more accurate through different types and rates of fire, than the AK47. Now part of this has to do with the overall design of the rifle and part of it is the caliber it shoots. EDGE AR15
Range – Again this one has to go to the AR15 platform. The reasons for this are simply that the 5.56×45 has and effective range of about 600 meters compared to the 7.62×39’s effective range of about 500 meters. Add to that the fact that the 5.56 round has far less bullet drop out past 300 yards than the 7.62 does and you understand why the AR wins in this catagory. EDGE AR15
Durability – This one should be a no brainer, even AR fans should know that the durability of the AK in any number of conditions and circumstances is better than that of the AR. Simplicity of design, fewer moving parts and tougher building materials all add up to the AK winning this one.
Reliability – This one may be a little harder for the AR folks to swallow but just like with durability, the AK wins this one. The reliability of the AK has been proven time and again for a couple of decades longer than the AR has been around. In addition to that, the simplistic design and piston system lends itself to less potential problems than the AR platforms due to issues like a gas system that without cleaning has the potential to foul up the action and cause failures. EDGE AK47
Supported vs Unsupported – This category is a litte more complicated and honestly something that alot of AR and AK lovers don’t always think about. The basics of it are that the AR15 platform has never served in an unsupported capacity, and by that I mean that the AR platform has always served with a standing military, repair technicians, spare parts and an armory standing behind it. The AK on the other hand has served for decades in an unsupported capacity in many conflicts from Asia to the Middle East and Africa to South America and has continued to prove itself even in the toughest conditions without support from any of the earlier mentioned support the AR has benefitted from. Now this doesn’t mean that the AR couldn’t hold its own in an unsupported capacity, simply that as of yet it hasn’t served successfully in one. EDGE AK47
So there you have it, nine categories. Three categories are a draw, three going to the AR platform and three going to the AK platform. So what does this prove, well it proves that there’s a reason why these two rifles are the most popular on the planet. You’d be well served with either of these rifles, in fact why not have one of each!