There are many who believe Mikhail Kalashnikov’s rifle design, itself heavily influenced by John Garand’s M1, is the most rugged and reliable rifle platform in the World. Since being introduced in 1947, the AK-47 has been involved in every single, major world conflict, and while slightly refined over the last 69 years, the basic, fundamental, operating design remains unchanged. If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it. The AK-47 has certainly endured the test of time, and proven itself reliable in some of the worst conditions imaginable. Like it or hate it, you have to agree that even purely as a mechanical device, the AK-47 deserves serious respect! It can be ridden hard, and put away wet, with minimal maintenance, and just keeps going. (Not something I recommend you try with an AR.)
In case you haven’t noticed (2016 Firearms Industry Predictions & Why You Need to Consider the AK-47), the AK has become extremely popular in the United States over the last few years. As of this writing, a variety of import based, and 100% U.S. made AK pattern rifles are available to civilians. Big-name, major accessory manufactures, like Magpul and Geissele, have also started producing AK specific products, highlighting and increasing its continued popularity. (If you build it, they will come…) That said, most current AK offerings are chambered in traditional 7.62 x 39. That’s understandable since 7.62 x 39 is easy to shoot, proven very effective, and for the moment…yes, for the moment…good, non-corrosive, imported ammo is both cheap, and plentiful. Did I say for the moment?
The Case for an AK in 5.56 NATO!
We in the United States of America are a nation of AR-15 fans. It’s estimated that throughout the U.S., there are between 1.5 – 3.2 million AR-15s owned by civilians, and the great majority of them are chambered in 5.56 NATO / .223 Remington. (As of mid-2016, that’s probably a low estimate, and doesn’t include all of the other semi-automatic and bolt action rifles also chambered for 5.56 NATO / .223 Remington, many of which accept AR-15 magazines.) That means 5.56 NATO / .223 Remington and AR-15 magazines are ubiquitous. I’m sure most of you have at least a few hundred rounds of 5.56 / .223 Remington, and at least a handful of AR-15 magazines in your house right now, not counting any secret stash. Lucky for us, the 5.56 x 45 is a NATO cartridge, so chances are very good 5.56 / .223 ammunition will continue to be readily available and affordable, well into the foreseeable future.
So 5.56 / .223 is plentiful, affordable, fun and easy to shoot all day long, without developing the dreaded flinch. It’s a great round for general target shooting / paper punching, competition, varmint hunting, predator control and certainly home defense. Hey, the 5.56 x 45 is still the intermediate cartridge of choice for all NATO countries. The same cannot be said for 7.62 x 39.
What happens if the administration decides to ban the import of all 7.62 x 39 ammunition, which can happen in an instant, with the stroke of a pen? How long would your current supply last? How easy would it be to find more? How much could you borrow or barter for from friends and neighbors? Sure, a few big name U.S. ammo manufacturers have started producing 7.62 x 39, but have you checked prices?? I wouldn’t exactly call it cheap!! Purists will have a hard time accepting an AK-47 chambered in anything that doesn’t begin with 7.62, and end with 39, but there’s definitely a lot more 5.56 NATO / .223 Remington than 7.62 x 39 out there, and the 5.56 / .223’s long-term future is definitely more secure. If you live in the U.S., having the most rugged and reliable rifle in the world, chambered in the most common, readily available caliber in the country makes a lot of sense.
Be Aware! Be Prepared! Be Safe!
© 2016 Inside The X Ring.