Wait, whaaaatt??!! An AK-47? Are you serious, Clark?!
Now listen, I’m as American as Apple Pie, and I truly love this great Country, but I’ve secretly had a thing for the AK-47 for a while. Yet for a long time, I just couldn’t get past the AK’s traditional stigma. You know, all the bad guys have one, and that’s what our enemies use. Well, recently, a few things happened that changed my mind on the civilian version of the AK-47. First, I heard reports of our guys, the good guys, using AK-47soverseas, and second, I’ve become adept at separating the gun itself from the person pulling the trigger.
In fact, just as I pointed out with the AR-15, there are a number of great reasons for civilians to consider an AK-47 based variant, and judging by how popular the AK platform has become in the United States over the last two years or so here, I’m clearly not the only one who sees it.
But before we get to those reasons, let’s first all agree I’m talking about the semi-automatic, modern sporting, or civilian legal, version of the AK. I’m NOT talking about a fully automatic, military weapon. Second, and while there are some differences that would be important for other discussions, we’re not going to split hairs between AK variants let’s agree that for purposes of this article. Whether it’s a Serbian produced Zastava, a Romanian WASR, a Bulgarian based Arsenal, a Chinese Norinco MAK 90 based import, or a 100% U.S. made Century Arms c39v2, DDI variant, or Kalashnikov-USA incarnation, if it’s based on Mikhail Kalashiknov’s long stroke, gas piston operated, rotating bolt design, and fires the 7.62×39, we’re gonna call it an AK, (even though it really might not be for true legalese purposes….)
So, without further adieu, here are just a few GREAT Reasons to Consider a Civilian Legal AK-47:
- Home Defense / Protection, or “Without Rule of Law, (WROL)” Gun, a Nutnfancy term. The AK-47 has a very well deserved, long running reputation for being easy to use, ultra reliable and “accurate enough” for conflict resolution. Those key traits, combined with a large, .30 caliber bullet, make the AK-47, with it’s unmistakable profile, a very efficient, and effective home defense gun. If you need something to defend your property, your house, campsite or your loved ones from critters, or bad guys, an AK-47 will certainly get the job done. With a roughly 16” barrel, an overall length of 36” and weighing-in around 7-8 lbs, the AK-47 is truly a carbine, making it easy to carry and quick handling. These traits make it much more acceptable for CQB / home defense situations than a longer, potentially heavier, traditional hunting rifle or scatter gun. Stand strong with an AK-47, instantly recognizable around the Globe, and everyone will know you mean business.
Wait, what’s “accurate enough” you ask? The typical AK-47 should be able to produce 2 – 5” groups at 100 yards. While that won’t win you any trophies, its more than adequate for hunting medium to large sized game, and for deterring bad guys, where anything in a 8-9”, pie-plate circle at 100 yards is considered good. By way of contrast, a quality AR-15 in the right hands will produce groups you can cover with a quarter, if not same hole, or clover-leaf groups, at the same 100 yards. (But is the AK’s perceived lack of inherent accuracy really the design of the gun itself, which may lend itself to deflection and springing? Or is it poorly trained shooters? What low quality ammo? As a guy who punches paper and strives for tiny groups, I’d be very interested to see how much more accurate the AK-47 can be with high-quality, match grade ammo.) Anyway, the AK-47 is generally considered “accurate enough” for serious work.
2. Recreational Shooting. Thanks to what was a really great friend at the time, I shot my first AK-47 in 2003, and it was a blast! pun intended. There’s no denying the AK-47 is just plain FUN, and EASY TO SHOOT, and you know exactly what I mean if you’ve ever shot one.
Rock in the magazine. Slingshot bolt, which makes a ver distinctive sound, that is up there with racking a 12-gauge. Shoulder the rifle. Pull the Trigger. BANG!
Each shot rewards you with a distinctive pop, but not the loud bark of an AR-15. There’s enough of a kick to let you know you just shot a gun, but its neither unpleasant, nor painful, like some other .30 cal, and larger rifles. You can literally shoot an AK all day long and not develop the dreaded shooter’s flinch. Want a really fun way to spend an afternoon in the back forty, or some time at the local range? Well, the AK-47 is certainly fits the bill, very nicely.
3. Hunting Rifle. If you like venison or bacon, an AK-47, chambered in the traditional 7.62 x 39 cartridge will certainly, legally, put food on the table, where your AR-15 may not. As you may already know, there are many states where the AR-15’s standard 5.56 / .223 chambering is NOT legal for hunting deer sized game, because the .22 caliber bullet is just considered too small. That’s one reason that despite their broader popularity, you don’t see many AR-15s in the deer woods. Sure, you could easily swap-in an AR-15 upper chambered in 6.8SPC, .300 Blackout, 6.5 Grendel or something similar to get you there, but those uppers are expensive, and the ammo for them is really expensive. Enter the AK-47, which only costs a littler more than an low-end bolt gun, and aside from a 5 round magazine, is ready for the deer woods right out of the box. Just make sure to wear your big boy pants and thick skin if you roll into hunt camp with an AK-47. I can hear the comments now…
4. Pure Economics. The AK-47’s Low Cost of Entry, Low Cost of Maintenance, and Low Cost to Shoot make it one of the BEST overall values in firearms today. Look at the competitive options for a semi-automatic, modern sporting rifle, chambered for a centerfire cartridge. You’ll see countless AR-15s, the least expensive from well known manufacturers like S&W and Rock River Arms will be ~$800. (Though honestly, there are very good, less expensive options.) You’ll also see Browning BARs, FN SCARs, IWI Tavors and Galil’s, Ruger Mini-14s, Sig 556Rs, Springfield M1s, M1As, and M1 Carbines, but almost all of those cost two, three, even FOUR TIMES the price of some, new manufactured AK-47 variant. Plus, if you like to shoot a lot, and what firearms enthusiast doesn’t, you need to consider the cost of ammunition. I advise against corrosive ammo, but you can generally be a lot less picky about what you feed your AK-47, than what you feed your AR-15. So, I wouldn’t hesitate to shoot imported, steel or aluminum case, polymer coated ammo through an AK-47, and imported stuff can generally be found on the cheap. (As of early 2016, you can get decent 7.62 x 39 ammo for ~$0.23 per round, as opposed to ~$0.35 – 0.40 per round for high quality, brass case 5.56 / .223. It adds up if you shoot a lot.) Finally, consider the long term cost of maintenance. The AR-15 needs to be maintained diligently, likes to run wet, and was designed to have certain critical parts replaced after so many thousands of rounds, though most recreational shooters may never hit that threshold. The AK-47, on the other hand, was made to be ridden hard and put away wet. With fewer moving parts, looser overall tolerances, and generous areas for dirt and debris to hide before impeding the action, the AK-47 is much more forgiving if you don’t clean your firearms to pass U.S. Marine Corps inspection. Since you can find good examples in $500 – $600 range, the AK-47 represents unmatched capability for the dollar, and that makes it extremely high value.
5. Historical Significance / Collector Item – While the M16 / M4 is the longest serving rifle in U.S. military history, and while the semi-automatic, civilian AR-15 version is by far the most popular rifle in America, the AK-47 is easily the most popular rifle in the World. Consider that AK based firearms have been used in just about every military conflict outside of the U.S. over the last ~67 years, since roughly 1949. The ease and low cost of manufacturing, ease of use / training, ease of maintenance, utter durability, and effectiveness continue to make the Kalashnikov family of firearms extremely popular. The depth and breadth of just how widely used the AK-47 is, combined with just how long it’s been in service make it one of the most significant, and influential firearms of all time. That makes it attractive as a collectible. (If you’re looking for a collectible, I recommend an import, or import based AK-47 as opposed to a 100% U.S. made rifle. To me, it just seems more authentic coming from a factory in Europe that has produced AK-47s for decades.)
6. The Impending Ban – It’s no secret that despite actual crime statistics and despite logical reason, AR-15 and AK-47 firearms top every anti-gunner’s “ban” list. In 2014, when President Obama banned the importation of Russian made Kalashnikov Concern rifles as part of sanctions against Russia, the price of Russian based Saiga’s went through the roof, and supply dried up, almost overnight. Well, look for that to possibly happen again, but this time to all other popular AK based imports, as 92 Democratic Senators have allegedly already requested that Obama extend his overreach, and ban the import of ALL AK-47 style rifles through additional Executive Action. Finally, with a pivotal Presidential Election coming in November, I will tell you that if you’ve ever considered buying the semi-automatic, modern sporting version of the AK-47, you should do it NOW, while you still can. This is especially true if you want an import based AK.
Perhaps the Best Reason to Consider an AK is – ALL OF THEM. The Whole is Greater Than the Sum of the Parts.
As you can see, there are plenty of individual, legit reasons to own the semi-automatic, modern sporting version of the infamous AK-47, and you could easily justify the purchase with any one of the reasons above.
That said, the best reason, may just be… ALL OF THEM. Things really come together when you take a step back, and consider the holistic view. The AK-47 is really the proverbial Jack of All Trades, providing potentially unmatched reliability and capability for the dollar. Just about any AK variant will be an extremely versatile rifle, relatively inexpensive rifle to buy and inexpensive to shoot, while being easy learn & use, simple to maintain, forgiving if not kept meticulously clean, and something that can effectively flex into a multitude of useful roles. If you’re on a tight budget and looking for one rifle that can do it all, you gotta consider the AK-47. It might just be the perfect one-gun option, or ranch gun, or truck gun, or camp gun, or survival gun, or SHTF gun…
So, that’s it. That’s why I think a civilian legal AK-47 based variant is actually a great, multi-use rifle, and why I think want to get one, sooner rather than later. Let me know what you think? Do you already have an AK? Would you ever consider an AK? Why or why not?
Be Aware! Be Prepared! Be Safe!
© 2016 Inside The X Ring.