Firearms

Choices: AK-47, AK-74… or AK-12?

“Besides honey, this isn’t just for fun, this is work.” That was the basic gist of the conversation when my wife caught me browsing sales fliers for new AKs. Unlike a bolt gun or even a black rifle that is easy enough to stash in the back corner of one of our safes among the others of the same ilk, or a handgun that could have been stuffed into one of the many smaller safes we own, an AK would be something she would immediately recognize as new.

Mind you, it is not a matter of whether or not she cares if I get another gun. The problem is two-fold. One, she never misses a chance to vex me just because she has the upper hand and takes pleasure in watching me squirm. The second is a matter of the size and value of the new piece of jewelry she is going to buy to pay me back… In the past, she has actually used the argument that the size of the rock should somehow equate to the caliber of the gun. Thank heaven for the .17 HMR!

Anyway, back to the issue. I was in the market for an AK (Avtomat Kalashnikova). The primary reason was that it was one platform that is noticeably absent in my safes; a hole that needs to be plugged. This led to an extensive investigation of AK offerings and a choice between the AK-47 and AK-74.

AK-47 v. AK-74

Generally speaking, most people misuse the AK-47 as a generic term for both weapons. The Avtomat Kalashnikova was originally designed in 1947 hence the designation AK-47. While very similar, there are certainly notable differences. Briefly, the AK-47 is an older design, weighs more and fires a larger cartridge.

The larger caliber and increased power of the 7.62×39 cartridge accounts for much of the beefed-up design of the AK-47 when compared to the AK-74. The AK-47 has a larger gas piston, operating rod and bolt than the ’74. The inertia of the parts slapping together, muzzle climb, added bulk and recoil all contribute to the AK-47 being a tough gun to control and shoot accurately in rapid-fire modes.

Vietnam was the proving ground for the M-16—a lighter rifle shooting a much smaller cartridge than the standard. The M-16 proved to be easier to carry and the recoil was more manageable in burst or full-auto modes. The cartridges were cheaper to manufacture and due to the smaller size and lighter weight, more rounds could be carried without adding weight to the soldier’s load.

The Soviet’s based their decision on studies of the M-16 and its effectiveness in Vietnam. The Soviets thought the American’s might know something they did not, but Kalashnikov was unconvinced and believed the 7.62×39 was all the battlefield needed in a light cartridge. Still, this was undeniably in his mind when he designed AK-74.

The AK-74 (Avtomat Kalashnikova originally designed in 1974) uses the smaller 5.45×39 cartridge. This allowed Kalashnikov to use lighter parts, resulting in lower recoil. Particularly in cases when a muzzle brake is used, this makes recoil from the AK-74 is almost nil—similar to the .223 Remington from an AR-15. Logically, it also follows that the AK-74—shooting a round with lower recoil—would be easier to keep the sights aligned on the target for follow up shots and during rapid-fire scenarios. The AK-74 round, being smaller and quicker 5.45×39 used in the AK-74 is smaller and faster than the 7.62×39 round in AK-47s.

AK-47 Against brick wall
The 5.45×39 also has a flatter trajectory—over the same distances—then the 7.62×39 round. I have had the opportunity to play with both in different configurations. There is an obvious reason why you never see an AK-47 with a scope mounted on it, but a scope is manageable with the AK-74.

The AK-74 has never captured the hearts of American shooters. Why? Some believe there really isn’t any advantage over today’s modern sporting rifle. The gas-operating system on the AK-74 is still based on the older design without any technological upgrades to endear modern shooters. That does not mean it isn’t fun to shoot, a reliable bug out weapon or über worthy of having a home in your gun safe.

AK-12

So what is the modern solution you ask? The AK-12, the replacement to Cold War-era AK and AKM weapons. The features are certainly similar to its predecessors, however, the AK-12 is in actuality a completely new design.

The idea was to strip the AK down and identify the key parts that made it great. The engineers at Izmash then sat down to address the deficiencies. The result was the inclusion of the long-stroke piston from the past and several new control features.

The AK-12 features an ambidextrous selector switch. The switch can be set from safe to single fire to three-round burst to nirvana (otherwise known as full auto). The switch has also been moved back behind the receiver so it can be actuated with your thumb.

The charging handle still reciprocates, but can now be installed from either side to accommodate southpaws. The AK-12 is furniture-friendly too! And features a full-length top rail over a hinged top cover. Additional Picatinny rails are outfitted on the handguard for left, right and bottom attachments.

Other upgrades include an enhanced grip and a folding and telescoping adjustable buttstock. The AK-12 is chambered in either the traditional 7.62x39mm or 5.45x39mm calibers—and NATO’s 5.56x45mm as well! All AK-47/AKM magazines are supposed to work with the AK-12. The weight should be 3.3 kilograms or 7.33 pounds.

Early testing did not go well for Izmash. The Russian Defense Ministry was not in the market for a new national weapon and has millions of AK-74s still in surplus. Regardless, they agreed to go through a testing process. The initial tests revealed several “defects” that worked against the AK-12. Izmash, was not willing to discuss the problems, but later released a statement that all were minor and fixable. That was about nine months ago, so I would expect to hear something over the next few months.

The jury is still out as to which one to pick. I am sure that one of each will be the eventual solution. Right now I am leaning heavily toward the AK-74 due to the availability cost of ammo. Father’s Day has passed and Christmas is too long to wait. I think a Labor Day gift is in order…

Type: AK-47 AK-74
Cartridge: 7.62x39mm 5.45x39mm
Designer: Mikhail Kalashnikov Mikhail Kalashnikov
Effective range: 300 metres (330 yd) fully automatic, 400 metres (440 yd) semi-automatic 600 m, 100–1,000 m sight adjustments, 350–500 m sight adjustments (AKS-74U)
Weight: 4.3 kg (9.5 lb) with empty magazine AK-74: 3.03 kg (6.7 lb), AKS-74: 2.97 kg (6.5 lb), AKS-74U: 2.5 kg (5.5 lb), AK-74M: 3.4 kg (7.5 lb)
Muzzle velocity: 715 m/s (2,346 ft/s) 900 m/s (2,953 ft/s) (AK-74, AKS-74, AK-74M), 735 m/s (2,411.4 ft/s) (AKS-74U)
Rate of Fire: 600 rounds/min cyclic 650 rounds/min (AK-74, AKS-74, AK-74M), 650-735 rounds/min (AKS-74U)
Feed system: 20 or 30-round detachable box magazine, also compatible with 40-round box or 75-round drum magazines from the RPK 30-round or 45-round RPK-74 detachable box magazine
Barrel Length: 415 mm (16.3 in) AK-74, AKS-74, AK-74M: 415 mm (16.3 in), AKS-74U: 210 mm (8.3 in)
Action: Gas-operated, rotating bolt (Long Stroke Gas Piston) Gas-operated, rotating bolt
Sights: Adjustable iron sights, 100–800 metre adjustments, 378 mm (14.9 in) sight radius Adjustable iron sights, front post and rear notch on a scaled tangent, Flip-up sight and front cylindrical post (AKS-74U)
Variants: AK-47 1948–51, AK-47 1952, AKS-47, RPK, AKM (most ubiquitous variant), AKMS AKS-74, AKS-74U, AKS-74UB, AK-74M, AK-101, AK-102, AK-103, AK-104, AK-105
In service: 1949–present 1974–present
Place of origin: Soviet Union Soviet Union
Designed: 1944–1946 1974
Manufacturer: Izhmash Izhevsk Mechanical Works
Length: 870 mm (34.3 in) fixed wooden stock, 875 mm (34.4 in) folding stock extended, 645 mm (25.4 in)stock folded AK-74: 943 mm (37.1 in), AKS-74 (stock extended): 943 mm (37.1 in), AKS-74 (stock folded): 690 mm (27.2 in), AKS-74U (stock extended): 735 mm (28.9 in), AKS-74U (stock folded): 490 mm (19.3 in), AK-74M (stock extended): 943 mm (37.1 in), AK-74M (stoc
Number built: approximately 75 million AK-47, 100 million AK-type rifles 5 million+
About: AK-47 stands for Kalashnikov automatic rifle model of 1947. It is a selective fire, gas-operated 7.62x39mm assault rifle. Most 47’s are actually the 1959 AKM. AK-74 is a 1974 update of the AKM.
General Purpose: Many applications Many applications
Accuracy (16″ barrel): 2-6 MOA 1-4 MOA
Dependability: Functions well under any conditions Same extreme reliability
Recoil Type: Mild, but easily managed in semiautomatic Barely noticeable; lighter than 5.56 recoil.
History: Developed in the USSR by Mikhail Kaashnikov in the late 1940s. Developed in the 1970s due to Soviet fears that the American 5.56cartridge was a breakthrough that needed to be imitated.
Wars: It’s easier to name the wars this hasn’t been in. Soviet-Afghan War, various other conflicts in Asia and the Middle East
Produced: 1947-present 1974–present

What are your thought between the AK-47 and the AK-74? Give us your recommendation or share an experience in the comment section.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (51)

  1. Resurrecting the dead here for Easter 🙂
    First off the AK74 never made it to Vietnam before American withdrawal. AK’s and AKm and Chinese Type 56’s out the wazzoo but no 74s… The 74 wasnt available to Russia’s military until well after America’s 1973 withdrawal, much less to anyone else.
    Special Forces and other groups did uutilise captured AKm, Type 56, and SKS rifles and ammo on occasion while doing deep undercover ops when the sound of your rifle could give you away as American or ARVN. We certainly dd not use them in areas where the sound of an AK or SKS would draw friendly fire… Just sayin…
    probably

  2. Mr. Dolbee writes a good article, but I’m somewhat surprised that he doesn’t mention that the AK-47 has a milled receiver whereas most AK-74s have stamped receivers. This was an accomplishment mainly for cost, but has the added benefit of reduced weight and was the reason for the change in nomenclature from AK which has the milled receiver to AKM which has the stamped receiver.
    Also, i never cease to be surprised to hear of someone that attempts to “better”the design when the Israelis already did it successfully when they modified the AK by getting rid of the bad features when they designed the Galil. Did you know that a lot of parts are interchangeable? Both of my Galils have AK bolts that were modified to fit. I think that one reason that the AK-74 has never caught on in this country is that there is a scarcity of ammo that is available for hunting. I believe there is one round that is a soft point. One round, period. The 5.45 x 39mm round was built for killing people and surpasses the 5.56 round in that when it hits soft tissue, it yaws twice instead of once causing a wound that cannot be triaged.
    As to a comparison between the AR-15 and the AK, The AR-15 can be ‘built’ by anyone with a minimum of mechanical ability. Try that with an AK if you dare.

  3. Pingback: Ode to the AK
  4. Wonderful article Dave. Your humor about the .17 was a great way to start out and a common ground in the war of ” You don’t need another gun! You don’t use the ones you already have!” : )

    So, in the interest of “Domestic” preparedness, do you know when the AK12 will be available for purchase, and the approximate cost? I would also be interested in where I might obtain some threaded 7.62 barrel caps, with .17 caiber holes in them?

    Sincerely,

    Lee in Arizona

    1. Lee, Thanks for the kudos. The Russians have been showing off AK-12 prototypes over the last few years and look like they have settled on designs for the military, law enforcement, and most importantly, export! In fact, the Russians were busy showing it off at an expo in June of 2015. I will do a bit more research and get a new article up on the blog for you in the next week or so. Thanks again for reading. ~Dave Dolbee

  5. Wonderful article Dave. Your humor about the .17 was a great way to start out and a common ground in the war of ” You don’t need another gun! You don’t us the ones you already have!” : )

    So, in the interest of “Domestic” preparedness, do yo know when the AK12 will be available for purchase, and the approximate cost, and also, where might obtain some 7.62 barrel caps with .17 caiber holes in them?

    Sincerely,

    Lee in Arizona

  6. I seem to have owned ’em all at one time or another . AR’s , AK’s , FN’s , H&K’s , Mini 14’s , you get the idea. After 30 years , here’s what I still have . AK’s – an NHM ’91 in 7.62 and a plain Jane Romanian ’74 , both w/ ’74 style brakes .Why ? Because they work .Today , tomorrow , or 10 years down the road. Accurate enuf ( paper plate ) for me @ 300 yards w/ iron sights. H&K 91A4 w/ match barrel . Why? This thing is a beast and will eat anything I feed it + .308 power & accuracy . DPMS M4 w/ quad rail forearm & electronic gadgets as well as flip up iron sights . Why ? Because I’m stupid and really want this thing to work – which it does … if it feels like it . Just like the Oly Arms I sold years ago . I keep it around for the wife and grandkids to shoot .

    Mr. AR Shooter better sell his rifle post haste , ’cause this ” wonder weapon ” / Mattel toy / POS has cost PLENTY of American lives . It is the ” Luger ” of assault rifles . It MUST be kept spotlessly clean . It MUST be properly lubed . Both of mine are ammunition sensative , etc. Stoner’s ” Jammomatic ” has cost a boatload of American lives . Bring yours out to the ranch . We’ll lay ’em in my driveway , spray ’em down with a hose , and add one handful each of soil , sand & compost , then spray ’em down again . The AK’s will still work as will the H&K . The AR , mini 14 , FN , Steyr AUG ,FAMAS , KelTec RFB , etc. will not & I’ll prove it .

  7. option 4: AR15 chambered in 5.45x39mm. I chose the Spikes Tactical 5.45x39mm upper for my AR lowers, though I do have a 5.56 and .338 Lapua(which Ive never shot, but instead stock what ammo I do get on very-rare occasion, but I can shoot my 5.45 all the time as the ammo is cheap

  8. The AK-47 and its many variants used to be the unsung bargains of the gun world, being cheap, readily available in large numbers and with a huge aftermarket of cheap ammo, magazines and accessories. I have several, but the good old days are long gone.

    Now, with bans, restrictions and all sorts of godawful legislation being slathered all over us, prices and availability have taken a dive as collectors snap up pristine examples, speculators hoard thousands of rifles in hopes of turning a big profit later, and importers are forced to comply with stupid regulations that do nothing but drive up prices and reduce availability.

    Still, despite all that, I never pass up a chance to fill a hole in my collection, and these rifles remain as much fun to shoot and collect as they always have.

    I even introduced my dad, who was on the business end of a number of these rifles several times in Vietnam, to the Egyptian Maadi ARM, and I was surprised to see that he liked it enough to ask about getting one.

    They’re not the best rifles in the world, by a long way, but for a basic, all-around fun gun that you can use for just about any purpose imaginable out to about 300 meters, the AK series is hard to beat.

    I think every gun enthusiast, no matter what his favorite weapon, should at least try one of these workmanlike rifles out sometime, and any collector of military arms should have one or more.

    Get ’em while you still can, folks!

  9. Of course there’s always those pesky budget issues, but why not one of each? If we’re truly preparing for a SHTF situation, then all possibilities have to be considered. Being prepared to use pick-up ammo and arms can’t be ignored. Any administration that’s devious enough to create that situation will be just as devious when it comes to the force they position to enforce their policies. That means that there’s a larger then average chance that the loose ammo available on the battlefield won’t be that which we’ve all been hoarding. And when those stockpiles are gone the only option will be that which the ‘government’ is issuing. So consider those calibers which have been traditionally obscure here in the US and be prepared to adopt them for your own.

    For that reason, the AK-74 and its 5.4 x 39 would be my choice of the three firearms considered in this review. I already own at least one firearm that shoots all of the other cartridges mentioned here.

    Everyone else has already given AR Shooter his dues so I won’t pile on, surely he sees the error in his logic by now.

  10. We can buy backpacks and pressure cookers but ad one cpuple found out when hubby dod so on hos company puter they turned his ass in to themen in Black SUV’s, They looked out window to see three rigs two men in each get out split up and then ask if they van search his house.
    What do you say tp the men in black SUV’s.

    Stick it your ear?
    O don’t think do!
    So if your wife wants a pressure cooker, I want one to can feer meat etc, and You want a new back pack just go quoetly to Cabellas and pay cash.
    Whenthe dumb as a rock cluck ask for your phone number just ask m why is he trying to date you or what.

  11. well well well,the never ending …… which one is better question. they are all great weapons 47_74 or ar 15 and yes the lowly sks in the years I have owned and shot these weapons I have come to find a ak is a ak is a ak I own more 47’s than 74’s but like both equally.the only time I shot a ar {m16} was when I was in the army and dgi m16 ARE JUNK all my ar’s are piston guns and I will not own a dgi ar!!! and one more little tid bit any body looking for a eye catcher at the range buy a sks that takes ak47 mags.they are more accurate than a ak47 shot the same round and are a blast to shoot!!! I love all mine!!!!

  12. Wow… just wow! I’m really floored by the arrogance and ignorance of JBEV’s post. For someone who professes to know something; this poster comes across like some kid in his daddy’s basement. Not good for a forum like this which is supposed to advance the knowledge of gunnery folks in the wild. Not good at all!

    This poster needs to back to his 7th grade buddies and figure out how to enlighten the rest of us in the basic concept of taking on a 100 bad guys within 200 yards and then come back and explain why a reliable rifle like the AK is worthless to someone so obviously knowledgeable as he.

    His first words were: “I don’t know why I even bother to comment on these things”. Had he stopped right there he would have been ahead but of course he didn’t so he went on to prove his deep and ignorance on a subject he had no business even commenting on.

    So mister JBEV; let me be the first to tell you to pack sand since your mouth and arrogance outran your ignorance. People like you give good and responsible gun folk a bad name so do us a favor and park your comments on some anti-gun forum where it belongs.

  13. OK. First let me apologize. I just realized after posting my last comment (Never call me again!!- Way too dramatic) that I did not send the first one correctly. I basically outlined numerous pluses for the AK 47 (WASR10) and stated that I would trust my life to it (AK 47). Bummer. It is a good rifle that I have fired over 3000 plus rounds through with only 2 FTFs, both of which came from the rifle not being shouldered correctly (Fired off hand and in an awkward position). I clean my rifle after every use. I suggest a few after market “upgrades” to include a peep sight, a safety which you can engage with your trigger finger and an aluminum hand guard. Wear gloves as the rifle gets really hot during rapid fire. Take the time to sight the rifle in. Mine is accurate with irons to 180-200 yards. Basically if I can see it I can hit it at those ranges. I use it in local carbine matches. As noted the rifle is reliable and accurate enough but if I had the funds I would purchase a 74 “just because”……..Oh yeah, buy steel magazines. Hope this helps and sorry for the chastising comments. I grew up reading, not computer programing……

  14. Since I am a coward I prefer neithor AK nor AR. I prefer something that one aims from. well concealed position upon an unsuspecting entity.
    The AR platform allows such targetting. and besidesbeing a coward I am old and pretty well dtoved up, so after they gind my position, hell I run the hundred downhill in 10, minutes, I can flip uppers slap a mega mag and start popping from 800 and under.
    I will leave you three gunners to go manoymano. with 223 or 308223 or

  15. The AK-74 was NOT designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov.

    I do not trust any cartridge that is based on the .22 hornet (such as the .223).

    Other than that it’s a very informative article.

  16. The AK-74 was not designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov.

    I do NOT trust any bullet that is based on the 22 hornet (AKA .223) or similar bullets. Other than that it is a very informative article.

  17. I don’t know why I even bother to comment on these things, because chances are that anyone who reads them, will ignore them… and, I’m not real big on citing my opinions in the first place… but, I will cite facts.

    While a long-barreled rifle is difficult to maneuver in close quarters, a battle rifle can, with some awkward difficulty, be used there. On the other hand, an “assault rifle” design as inaccurate as the AK-47 is virtually useless at ranges in excess of 400 yards in either semi, or full-auto mode… even if you hit the enemy, you might not even immobilize him. Martin P. Fackler, the FBI, and some famous combat surgeon whose name escapes me have done years of research and published volumes of studies on this.

    I have friends that spent time in WWII, Korean, and Viet Nam (Tucson is full of retired military guys) virtually any of them would stand-up against either an AK or AR design with a 1903A3, K98, K31, Garand, M14 or M1A… because: distance = life when it comes to combat… which is why every Rambo wannabe spends as much money on gizmos as they do the gun trying to extract every last MOA of accuracy out of it… even though an AK-47 with a $200 scope takes longer to aim, and will get you killed by the guy with the Garand…

    The entire philosophy of the “Assault Rifle” is high-volume, un-aimed, short-range, area coverage… if you are an eighth grade educated drunkard serving as a conscript in either Eastern Europe, the jungles of Asia, the pot fields of Mexico, or the dusty filth of the Middle East… you’ll do just fine with your AK-47…

    However, if you think you can use an “Assault Rifle” to feed your family, fend-off the Chinese hordes coming across the Kansas prairies, or stand up against a US or NATO military marksman with an M24, M21, M25, M110… well, it was nice knowing you… WWI and WWII bolt action rifles took quite a toll on US soldiers in Afghanistan.

    If you like the AK design, the SG 550 family is acknowledged by small arms experts to be the absolute epitome of “Assault Rifle” design. It combines the lighter weight and longer reach/accuracy of the NATO 5.56 / SS102 round from a 20″ barrel in an ergonomic, feature-rich Swiss redesign of the AK’s operating system. A light-weight, folding-stock version is available in the 16″ carbine-length as the STANAG compatible SIG 556. It is as reliable as an AK, accurate as the M-4, comfortable, and folds. I’ve never had a problem with mine, and it’s easy to clean.

    But, my Match-grade FAL is still my Grab-and-go One Gun Solution, because it takes THE WIDEST RANGE OF AMMO (hunting or military) of any military rifle… I can hunt anything from squirrels and rabbits, to elk.

    In open-space combat in the Sonoran desert, my M1A (and perhaps my FAL) would be more than a match for AK’s and AR’s at any range outside of 400 yards… I won’t be clearing buildings without a pistol, I won’t have C-130’s full of trucks following me around to re-supply my ammo, and I won’t be field-packing into the combat zone… I live here among a very heavily-armed population, and have a FAST car with a big trunk and a typically near-full tank of gas…

  18. I question the notion (expressed in the article, as well as several reviewers) that 7.62×39 ammo costs more than the smaller (5.x mm)calibers. I recently bought 1000+ rounds of 7.62 for $4.99/box of 20. That is the lowest price I’ve seen since the pre-panic days and far less than the small caliber prices.
    Don’t get me wrong, the 5mm calibers DO have many advantages over the 7mm stuff but, so far at least, price is not one of them. (I shoot both calibers and love ’em both).
    ALSO: Russian ammo works great in RUSSIAN designed weapons (AK’s, etc.) but may not function well in non-Commie rifles!

  19. I’ll be brief, and be sure to check my spelling. If anyone out there who doesn’t own one and has had an opportunity to buy an AK in any caliber, and didn’t, means simply that they made a big mistake; PERIOD! God bless America!

  20. I own both an AK47 & AK74 Both are Good Weapons and really don’t prefer one over the other. I guess if I had to choose between the two, It would be the AK47 as the 7.62x39mm as the Author stated is more prevalent in this Country than is the 5.45x39mm, So chances of finding a stash in a SHTF would increase more so I believe. Plus 75 round drums can be had for the 47, I know they make them for the 74, But for the cost you might as well buy another AK.

    As for the Gentleman that refuses to own any type of gun that may have killed Americans, That’s just Foolish logic, The Brits & Americans used the same Muskets in the Fight for America’s independence, The Civil War saw use of the same guns with Americans killing Americans, the Indians were Armed with Winchesters and Colts at the battle of little Big Horn, as stated earlier by a Nam Vet, Battlefield pick-ups were used against their enemy’s in every war since the dawn of time even before Firearms, and then you have that whole Criminal thing, Again, Americans killing Americans with American Guns, So your Logic is just plain Nuts and as someone else already…You must not own any guns then.

  21. AK’s wether its a milled or stamped (AKMS) or the AK74, is the best functioning rifle ever built. I have shot them under water and when the receiver has been packed with mud and sand with no cycling issues. I went through an extensive Combloc/NATO small arms weapons course in the late 80’s and the AK platform outperformed all others with only a slight disadvantage in accuracy at distances greater than 250 meters.

  22. Interesting that most of the folks that leave comments can barely spell and have poor command of the English language. This is what gives us gun owners a bad reputation.

  23. First, I researched the AK-47, AK-74 and the various .223 pieces out there. I elected to purchase a Century Arms WASR AK-47, despite some negative reviews. I have had the piece for about 4 years, put about 10,000 rounds through it and found it to be an excellent choice. Early on I did have a couple of jams but once it was broken it I have put over 9,000 rounds without a problem. I purchased the AK for both personal protection and just fun. It is always loaded and right next to my bed. In addition to the 30 round mag already on the gun I have 3 more 30 round mags and a 75 round drum in my night stand, along with 3 Springfield XD pistols (a 9mm and a .45ACP) with about 150 rounds in mags. I take my guns, and the choice of each, very seriously.

    Now, AR shooter, ARE YOU SERIOUS?? Do think the AK guns are the only pieces to kill Americans? What do you think our allies in Afghanistan are using against us? We are training these “friends” to use various versions of our guns and that is what they are turning against our own troops. If you are not going to use guns that have been used to kill Americans, you will not be using any guns,

    Hide Behind, too many things to say about your comments so I will focus on what you said. First, most was incoherent nonsense, then use spellcheck? The underlined words indicate a probable misspelled word. Things written as poorly as your post just show how uneducated this once great country has become.

    One thing for us all to remember: We are all under attack by the very government that is charged with ensuring our freedoms, not taking them away. We MUST unite to ensure the tyranny that has been allowed to exist and grow in Washington and some of the states is stopped by any means necessary.

  24. Very good article,but we need to come up with words that don’t include ASSALT, this regeme loves that word, makes it easier to take from us.

  25. “bug out” gun has to be the AK…..

    I will be buying and AK prob (arsenal .223) in the near future for one reason. If we have a SHTF scenario you will not have access to foreign ammmo maybe not even domestic that you haven’t horded at home. If your talking about having a gun that you may need for 1-3 months in bivouac conditions or just home/property defense. The AK can be cleaned out with a can of WD40 in 30 sec and work perfectly. You can drop it, bang it around, have it covered in crud, hose it off and spray it with everyday lube and it’s golden. And honestly, you don’t even have to do that after 3000 rds of the worst ammo you can find. In a SHTF scenario you are worried about 2 things….keeping you and yours’ safe and alive… food and water…. not a 2″moa at 500yds. A $2500 AR that doesn’t go bang every time is wall art. Focus on reliability in any conditions, access to ammo and the bug out gun of choice has to be the AK. Keep it in .223 and you can use it along side any AR or neighbors/police AR system gun.

  26. I own versions of both (’47 & 74). Lovely things. I also own the only broken SKS in the world. (Will get it fixed one day.)
    I dig all the comblock stuff I own. But I am sure that eventually, in a misguided effort to keep up with US, the Russians will begin to over-think and over-engineer their small arms, thereby ruining a really good thing.

  27. I need to clarify a point in my earlier post.I said the SKS stash gun in my contact with Soc Nloc stuff…I meant as a buyer.As a1970 military veteran and 23 years as a street cop,Ive been on the other end of this equipment(thugs love this type equipment)…But I can’t help feeling if the people aiming at me had been toting quality gear,things would be different.I know the article is about the AK line and Mr K did a bang up job designing something any illiterate 3rd worlder could pick up and be taught to use in one 10 minute class; and the author writes a good piece on the AK choices out there. But the times lean towards inexperienced folks buying a first times gun for all they may need it for and I just cant see telling my little accountant neighbor he “needs” an AK….JMO
    ;

  28. I currently have an AK-47 which is lethal at under 100 yards with iron sights. After reading this op-ed I think I might buy a 74 next instead of an AR. I’m into low maintenance these days and like the reliability of the AK. This is the first I have heard of an AK-12. More info is needed to consider it but it sounds promising if it uses the same gas piston design.

  29. No one will ever be able(or should be able)to talk you out of your fav rifle/pistol/shotgun/knife/dog/other vital equipment…At this stage of the world people should be concentrating on what thay will be using(How many guns can you carry at one time?)….If you have the time/money to play with various weapons,fine,debate/investigate this conundrum until you are satisfied….:22. years ago I picked up a SKS and a 500 rd pack of ammo and,after proper treatment for long term storage,threw it all up in the rafters of my shed as a last ditch go-to gun and,other than checking/resealing every five years,dont fool with it. Thats my contact with Soviet Bloc stuff.My favs are(and will always be)Springfield M1A(If I can see it,I can kill it)Sig 220(’nuff said)FN-SLP 12ga(again,’nuff said)and then Cold Steel,German Shepherds,etc etc.
    Sov Bloc stuff shoots,keeps shooting woth minimum/no care,is cheap and you can use it as a hammer if you need to.I still wont waste my money on something I wont FEEL safe using when its time for the n*t cutting.Y’all be safe.

  30. Sorry but anytime Someone brings up ARs M16’s and NamI gotta scream, Remember ad to acvuracy and finctioning Colts lack pg care and quality control and knowingly selling bent barraled and poor gas etc. went on until Yed Lennedy heard it from your Hreen Berets not officer Brass asdrs.
    I too this day canmot bring myself to buy an Fn colt even tho not same firm or ownets today

  31. Sound, muzzle flash, quite a few under and side folders but most were wood stock of 47 were a hell of a lot better in close firefight than your sempr fi blockheads M-14 for sure.
    An modle 97 pump hold trigger pump like hell best close up suppression weapin and yes. GB did use.
    the sk was everywhere with Charlie And NVA early on.
    Mags hard to get for 47 as was ammo which at first limited to our guys in boonies not ordinary GB
    AR ammo hurt cuz 20 rnds but easy get mags ammo and yes manoymano even GB love hated it.

  32. As to prefered weapons on Nam hell who knows most GI’S NEVER EVEN FIRED A WEAPON ONCE IN COUNTRY,LIKE 90% OF THEM.
    No place here for history but to call some one uneducated on choice of Ops in Nam is wrong.
    At first ARVN. receivhed our surplus WWII AND KOREAN surplus With full auto M-1/2/3 carbines being both Green Beenies and ARVN Troopand indigenous forcesYards Hmongs etc.
    Before AR we haf no real up close eye to eye firepower and I saw WWII GERMAN. ITALIAN BRIT SUB GINS. MOST THAT HAD BEEN STOLEN IN DOM REP AND HAND ME DOWS BUT BRAGG HAD LOTS OF EM, and yes our old Thompsons and even a Johnson and other sub guns.
    Then the GB .
    TROOPS

  33. Dave, Like you, have experience with both the AK47 and 74 BUT own the 74. Recoil tolerable for both you and the mrs. Mine is scoped and a real tack driver inside 100 yards. A breeze to clean and maintain unlike the AR’s and of course ammo is much cheaper to shoot! Would also suggest Bulgarian or Russian as build seems to be of a higher quality with milled receiver vs. stamped. Just my two cents.

    @AR shooter: You are obviously biased towards Mideast Countries and uneducated. It’s a known fact that many U.S. Special Forces preferred the AK74 over the new and ‘not yet proven’ M16 during early conflicts like Vietnam (as stated by Dave). Educate yourself before spewing off!

  34. Not sure about the AK-12 or AK-74 but one of my favorites is the AK-47 with a wire, folding stock. I carried one strapped to my pack in Vietnam in 68-69 with the 101st Airborne (I usually carried a Model 12 Winchester, 12 gauge or an M-79 as a primary weapon but when we needed longer range results, the AK came off the pack.) Just a comment, my AK saved American lives 🙂

  35. I haven’t been able to afford an AR, but I love the .223. I have one in 788 Rem. I’d never had a military or auto loader other than 740/742 Rem, ’til the big “Re-election” started to take place, and then I ran down to the latest gun show, and bought an AK, with no knowledge what so ever. Just taking over the shoulder whispers from some of the other patrons in there. I bypast the WASRs, and bulagarians, to buy a Century Arms ZASTAVA M-70, or something like that. I knew nothing about them, but this one was new in the box, so I paid $650 rather than $400 for the others. At first, it jammed, and the bolt hung on magazine lips, but I let a friend keep it forf a few weeks, and now it runs like a sewing machine. I love it. But…….it’s not made like almost all other AKs, in that aftermarket stocks and forearms don’t fit it. If and when I find optional furniture that will work on it, I’ll be a happy camper. I recently saw photos of the Iraqi Tabuk AK, and I really like the looks of that rifle. I’d like to own one of them I think, some day. Sounds like that AK-74 might be worth having as well to me. If the specs of the Russian cartridge are compareable to the .223, it would be much more reliable than the AR. You can’t argue the heavy metal and loose tolerances firing reliablly.

  36. Another concern is ammo vs. cleaning.

    Most (all?) of the 5.45×39 is milsup cans of corrosive. It is super cheap, shoots well, and stores well. It is not reloadable (why would you bother), but most importantly it is corrosive.

    That isn’t a problem for a fun gun you take to the range and then take home to clean completely every time. If you are like me, however, and sometimes you walk out back and shoot a few, and only clean as needed (and every gun completely every year whether it needs it or not) – then non-corrosive is a must.

    7.62×39 is almost never corrosive any more, as the milsup is not that common, but new make, non-corosive, steel case offerings from Tula, Wold, and Bear are.

    Might not make a huge difference for a safe filler, but for many people reading this article, it is something to keep in mind.

  37. Well if a guy just ” Has to Have” an AK style weapon and likes to shoot, fire, a lot buy a used 47 and then a new 74; That way you got bost of best worlds and your wife has a nice light recoiling weapon when she
    Best get em now cuz they are getting ready to slam door on imports into US. Not UN but our Executive Branch State and trade treaty people.
    Unless the Phillipines makes either one because we need them for anti china bs so we trade wity them and watch #s of guns especially ammo. come from there.

  38. this is maybe a different slant on these weapons , but when I got back into shooting five years ago . my grandfather [rest his sole] started me shooting at age 5 and I am now 64 . I thought about the ak’s BUT DECIDED I WILL NOT OWN A WEAPON [LOOK ALIKE] THAT HAS TAKEN AMERICAN LIVES..
    AND I DON’T

    1. Virtually every weapon available today has been *used* to take American lives. Guns are machines, like toasters and cars. They are not automated, willful killers and aren’t symbols of evil ideologies. If you aren’t killing Americans then your guns won’t either.

  39. I’ve shot both weapons extensively, but in my opinion the 74 comes out on top. It’s lighter, has less recoil, has an extremely effective muzzzle break, fires cheaper ammunition, is much faster to get back on target, and although it fires a smaller round, the standard military round earned the name “poison bullet” because of its deadly hydroshock effect on entering the body. The round also strangely has an extremely good penetration effect on barriers (see youtube’s Military Arms Channel to observe it consistently going through sizeable frozen trees while several other calibers fail, including the 7.62×39).
    As you said, it also has a flatter trajectory, a longer effective distance, and is much more accurate. Reliability and durability are the same for both guns, but all things considered, I bought the 74. When I go shooting with my buddies, the 47 owners are surprised at the performance of my 74 and some wish they had purchased the 74 instead.

  40. After doing some exhaustive research myself I finally opted for the AK-47. I had never even heard of the AK-12 until now. Looks like I may be needing a new one soon… 😉 And I hear you on the wife. “Honey these are not toys, they are tools. I’m investing in them for the kids!”

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