AR vs. AK?

AR vs. AK?

This is a discussion on AR vs. AK? within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I am looking in to getting either an AR or an AK. I like the beefy 7.62, but in all reality for my applications (plinking ...

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Thread: AR vs. AK?

  1. #1
    Member Array Shackleton's Avatar
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    AR vs. AK?

    I am looking in to getting either an AR or an AK. I like the beefy 7.62, but in all reality for my applications (plinking and occasional target shooting), it seems like it would just wind up being more expensive than a .223, or possibly a 5.56 (I am unsure of the exact prices).

    I like the look of the AR more than the AK, as well as the accessories available. Also, am I correct in thinking that .223 ammo is far cheaper than 7.62?

    As far as the AK, I love love love the reliability of them, a friend of mine owns one and it has not given him any trouble since he bought it. (Which I believe was a couple years ago.)

    I don't know which to choose!
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  2. #2
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    I'm not even going to get into the AK/AR debate, but suffice it to say that most of what you'll hear from bar stool Rambos and gun shop commandos is bunk.

    I will say that, generally, 7.62x39 ammo is cheaper than 5.56x45/.223. However, there are more loadings available for the latter, from very light varmint loads to relatively heavy rounds capable of solving more serious social problems.
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

  3. #3
    Member Array High Cap's Avatar
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    ak's are fun to shoot, and reliable in tough rugged conditions... they shoot (most of them some better some worse) at avg 2-3'' @ 100 yd.

    AR's have the ability to shoot 1 MOA or less all day long, have a tremendous aftermarket support to accommodate all aspects of ergonomics/functionality, can be made for long distance shooting to CQ/HD, the 223 round with GOOD bullet selection (hand-loading) is more than capable of taking deer inside 300 yds with ease (tx size deer) the bad rap the AR got about reliability was from the 60 in it's early inception in the field, tolerances were too close and it was in it's infant years on the battle field. since then the AR has proven to be quite reliable and will survive a good about of abuse before failing...


    if you want a fun gun to shoot and aren't a precision type shooter get an AK, if you like to tinker/customize/modify/accessorize you weapon, get an AR.

    having shot and owned both, i prefer the AR it is much more refined and precise for my shooting style(s)
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    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Personally, I think it's a toss up on the costs these days....rifle and ammo. Target shooting, I'd say the AR. Anything else, I'd say the AK. .223 ammo is around $8.50 box of 20 now. I'm still working through my $3.25 boxes and will be for a long time. The 7.62 might be less expensive actually. Buy either by the case or split a case purchase with someone else for the best prices.

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    Member Array charlie1826's Avatar
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    If you like the AR but prefer the 7.62x39, then just get an AR chambered for 7.62x39. I haven't had the chance to shoot an AK but everything I have heard is good. I personally went with the AR (DPMS 5.56) but I think in the end it just comes down to personal preference every time. Both have their ups and downs.

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    VIP Member Array SIGguy229's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by charlie1826 View Post
    If you like the AR but prefer the 7.62x39, then just get an AR chambered for 7.62x39. I haven't had the chance to shoot an AK but everything I have heard is good. I personally went with the AR (DPMS 5.56) but I think in the end it just comes down to personal preference every time. Both have their ups and downs.
    I'm thinking AR-10???? or is that in .308?
    Magazine <> clip - know the difference

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  7. #7
    Member Array charlie1826's Avatar
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    DPMS: AR-15 Rifles, Parts and Accessories.
    That is the link for the DPMS rifles that are chambered for 7.62x39. I think its a standard AR15 lower but I could be wrong.
    A .308 would be an AR10. This may be a dumb question but isn't the difference between an AR10 and an AR15 just the lower receiver? I know the uppers would be different but I'm assuming that you couldn't put an AR10 upper on an AR15 lower. I know that the calibers are different but I've never actually looked at the differences between a 10 and a 15.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Array Katana's Avatar
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    7.62x39mm is cheaper by the case. (steel cases)

    Now then, does it have to be an AK or an AR, or are you just looking for "evil black rifles" in either 7.62x39 or .223/5.56X45mm? There's lots of good choices in plenty of other rifles besides those two, not to mention in other calibers as well.

    What will the primary purpose of the rifle be? (Plinker, home defense, varmint control, teotwawki?)

    What kind of environment do you live in? (Urban, suburban, rural. Here is where rifle reliability when exposed to the environment as well as penetration of the round really comes into play.)

    How much time do you have to devote to maintenance? Let's face facts, the AK is easier to maintain. It was designed for illiterate soviet peasants after all. Modern AR's are pretty easy to clean too, and so long as you can keep it "wet" they're pretty reliable too.

    Accessories. Do you want lights, lasers, optics, toasters, can openers, blenders, etc. hanging off your rifle? The AR is definitely more modular than the AK in this respect.

    My best suggestion to you as far as this topic goes is this: Buy both. I'd go with the AK first if you're unfamiliar with militarized sporters. They tend to be a bit more forgiving on newbies and you can learn the basics with a cheaper to shoot round.


    My WASR 10/63 GP beside my daughter's S&W M&P 15-22. While not a true AR, it's taught me quite a bit about them, and it's made me want to get an AR when funds will allow in a few years (To be honest, I'll be flipping a coin between that or a PTR-91 first. But I've planned to not buy any more firearms and focus on ammo, accessories, and training for awhile.)
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    Distinguished Member Array MinistrMalic's Avatar
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    It really just depends on what you're buying it for; both have their purposes. In my experience .223 is more expensive than 7.62, but YMMV. The AR platform is doodad central, so if you're looking to customize it's the way to go. I have an AR, because I note that the best military in the world uses it as their duty weapon. And I also think that if we get to TEOTWAWKI it will be easier here to find parts and ammo to scrounge for an AR.
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    Member Array The Cat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OPFOR View Post
    bar stool Rambos and gun shop commandos



    Quote Originally Posted by Katana View Post
    My best suggestion to you as far as this topic goes is this: Buy both. I'd go with the AK first if you're unfamiliar with militarized sporters. They tend to be a bit more forgiving on newbies and you can learn the basics with a cheaper to shoot round.
    +1. Chances are you'll end up with both anyway.... and like Katana said, the AK's a great starter gun :)
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  11. #11
    Distinguished Member Array Dragman's Avatar
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    This is what think take it or leave it. Everyone that collects or likes guns should buy an AK they are just fun! and you never have to worry about it being stored properly in 50 years just take it out and shoot it! I like the AR but for a first BLACK GUN purchase buy the AK. Because its just as fun and 1/3rd the price.
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    Member Array SC Tiger's Avatar
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    Not to hijack but I handled an AK at a gun shop recently. One thing that bothered me was the way the mag loaded. I made a mistake and it wound up getting stuck and had to get the owner of the shop to get it out (which he did without too much trouble but he did warn me that if I'd kept trying I could have gotten it REALLY stuck). Has anyone else seen or had this issue?

    I will also say that with the AK I've been told you have to be careful where they come from. The Romanian ones are supposed to be very good. Some of the others may not be. I'm not sure where the bad ones originate from, and can't say how bad they truly are. I guess it's kind of like the 1911 (and I would guess the AR has the same issue) in that since several companies make them you can get well-made ones and cr@ppy ones.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Array DMan's Avatar
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    All the above posts are good - I am not an AR or AK owner myself but have done a fair amount of shooting and researching them.

    AK's were built to be damn tough and reliable. Toss sand in the works and take it shooting. It was designed for all the parts to be loose fitting and almost free floating on purpose just for this reason. All the other weapons were made for tight tolerances on all the working parts which do lead to reliability issues when not maintained or cleaned when in dirty/sandy environments. (i.e. mud, sand, etc).

    AR's are more expensive - but a good AK is harder to find and you will pay the price for a GOOD AK. I have seen some where the bore of in the barrel is offset from the center of the barrel (one side of the barrel is thinner than the other side), plus you will not get a "true" AK, as I believe those are officially banned - but you will get the AK clones that are made throughout the world.

    AR's are more accurate - more labor intensive to maintain, than the AK (don't think I am saying that they ARE labor intensive, just more care/cleaning and maintenance will be required than the AK).

    Ammo costs "generally" are cheaper for AK's than the AR's. I think is because of the popularity world wide of the AK. Some of the imported brands are extremely dirty and even corrosive. If you do get an AK - make sure you get a chromed lined barrel - as some ammo can still be corrosive.

    .223 is readily available (as ammo goes these days) and can be cheaper to get when purchased in bulk and such.

    If you want a piece of art that kicks ass, and wants you to pay attention to it - get the AR.

    If you want a work horse of a gun where accuracy isn't such an issue but it will always work regardless if you cleaned in the past 10 years get the AK.
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  14. #14
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    I carried a AR for 6 years in the Marines, fighting against people who used the AK. I own a AK NOT an AR. AK's always work, AR's don't.

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    Senior Member Array HK Dan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1 old 0311 View Post
    I carried a AR for 6 years in the Marines, fighting against people who used the AK. I own a AK NOT an AR. AK's always work, AR's don't.
    That was my old line too. "Bad guy guns" I called 'em...I now own 3 and a Dragunov (PSL), along with 5 AR15s and an AR10.

    Both are just plain FUN. Don't be mislead by the "7.62x39" being the same as a 7.62x51 (.308). It's not. Ballistically, it's about on par with a 30/30.

    Now, people will tell you that AKs aren't accurate. They aren't MATCH accurate, but I've hit poppers at 400 yards with tedious regularity with all of the AKs. 1 MOA they are not, but mine do about 3 MOA. The ARs will do 1 MOA if I do my part.

    It's all preference. The ARs are fantastic lil rifles and very modular--all kinds of possibilities. The AKs are fantastic lil rifles. They'll run forever with very little maintenance, and don't believe that they are inaccurate. THey are "combat accurate"; invite scoffers to go 200 yards down range for testing purposes, just remember to set the sights for distance. The 7.62x39 has a lotta drop at distance. <g>
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