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Weapons: AK-47 Gets No Respect
   Next Article → IRAQ: Gotterdammerung

January 11, 2008: While the AK-47 is famous, it is not all that popular once users have some money and a little choice. Such has been the case in Afghanistan, where drug gangs can now afford expensive American, European and Israeli weapons. A top line Western sniper rifle can cost over a thousand dollars, although an old G-3 (a Cold War era 7.62mm long rifle), or more modern weapon of the same caliber, can be had for less. Anyone carrying an AK-47 is looked down, because a beat up model can be had for less than $20. Afghanistan is full of AK-47s, thanks to the Russian army, the Egyptians, Israelis  (who all sent in assault rifles during the 1980s) and the Taliban (who brought in more in the 1990s).

 

In many countries, like Lebanon or Colombia, late model AKs (of different calibers) cost as much as Western weapons (($500-$1,000). In Pakistan, there are so many cheap AK-47s coming across the border from Afghanistan, that the price is under $300. In parts of the world where there used to be a lot of action, but there is no longer much, and there was no large-scale turn-in of weapons, there are a lot of elderly, and cheap, AK-47s available. In Uganda, you can get an AK-47 for less than $200. In Cambodia, it's under $50.

 

One problem with the AK-47 is that it's a lousy hunting weapon, unless you fix the sights, or  practice, and burn a lot of ammo (which costs about 20 cents a round, not cheap for a part of the world where most people live on a buck or two a day). The AK-47 is mainly good for shooting, at close range,  people who are not moving much. Wild animals are more elusive, and require a more precise firearm to bring down.

 

 

Next Article → IRAQ: Gotterdammerung
  

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larryjcr    AK??   1/19/2008 11:27:34 AM
It's kind of an axium that people are always more impressed by the other side's weapons than by their own.  Probably because they only see the results from the other side, not the problems.
 
In Viet Nam, the AK had an almost cult status.  After the first time I tried one out for myself, I couldn't understand why!  It was heavier than an M16, and the ammo much more so.  Recoil was heavy and it bounced all over hell when you used it in full auto.  The sights were crap.  For the most part, it seemed like a heavy, clunky sub machine gun.
 
I understand the reliability issue, but I was careful to take care of my '16, and had no problems.  Beyond that, there was no comparison
 
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JHenry-OSIAN       1/22/2008 7:40:41 PM
In Pakistan and Afghanistan, some of those AKs are hand made.  We can only imagine the poor mujihid on the freezing mountainside trying to clear a jam, cursing his uncle Hamid for not filing the feed ramp smooth as the American infidel draws closer with a M-4A4 with M-68 attached.
 
This is why the Iraqi Ministry of Defense is buying M-16A2s and the Iraqi Junuud (plural of Jundi) are dropping their AKs for them.
 
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JHenry-OSIAN       1/22/2008 7:47:26 PM
In case anyone dare doubt me...
 
ID Checkhttp://www.mnf-iraq.com/mnfimages/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=2820&g2_serialNumber=2" width=640 longDesc="A Iraqi Army Soldier from 2nd Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 9th Iraqi Army (Mechanized) checks papers and identification during a cordon and knock in Abu Atham. Photo by Tech Sgt. William Greer, Joint Combat Camera Center.">
 
I would have detained the kid just for wearing an Arsenal jersey.  UNITED!!!
 
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Yimmy       1/22/2008 8:03:55 PM
That isn't an M16A2, but regardless of the type of AR15, I seriously doubt they chose them to be their next service rifle because of how they perform.  Far more likely it is because American aid is subsidising them, or the bloke who's job it was to make the selection was bribed.  But that's just the synic in me.
 
 
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GOP       3/8/2008 12:50:18 PM

That isn't an M16A2
Obviously not. I was about to point that out.


 
 
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GOP       3/8/2008 12:56:56 PM
AK's are alot more accurate than people think if shot properly. Unfortunately, learning how to shoot properly takes alot of trigger time, and most people in 3rd world countries (and even some Western nations) don't take the time or have the money to learn effectively. Im mainly referring to the articles "Shooting moving targets require a more precise rifle" comment.
 
Im certainly not comparing an AK to the AR-15 in the accuracy department, but I own both and Im getting about 2 inch groups at 100 yards outta both.
 
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Horsesoldier       3/8/2008 3:14:25 PM
In the accuracy department, the AK has some assorted strikes against it, but many of them can be corrected for.  These include:
 
1) Short sight radius and sights poorly designed for the human eye.  Simple fix is to put a red dot or similar on it (as mentioned in the other AK related thread).  More complicated is to figure out a way to move the rear sight back to the rear of the receiver and put a proper aperture on it, as the Finns, Israelis, Swiss (sort of) etc opted for.  Either works.
 
2) Most AK shooters are using bottom end ammunition.  Again, simply fix -- use better ammo.  Some of the Russian manufacturers are, I'm told, putting out stuff that can have 200+ fps spreads in velocity -- with this kind of situation, the shooter can do everything right and he'll still get flyers in a group. 
 
3) Relatively arcing trajectory of the 7.62x39 round.  There's no real fix for this, but getting good at range estimation and knowing where your rifle prints high and low in its trajectory helps.  At least on the range.  On the battlefield, no one is really taking shots with most any rifle outside the range where the AK's battle sight setting will do minute of man/minute of torso, so it's not really an issue for the AK as a combat gun.
 
4) Relatively high degree of "slop" in manufacture for reliability.  Not really a fix for this, but if you've got the sights issue addressed and are shooting quality ammunition, it's not as big a deal as a lot of people claim. 
 
To me the biggest problem is issue #1 -- AK sights just are not user friendly for me (I do have a slight astigmatism in my shooting eye, so it's possible they bother me more than other people) -- but issue #1 is also probably the easiest to fix these days.
 
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GOP       3/9/2008 12:07:39 AM

In the accuracy department, the AK has some assorted strikes against it, but many of them can be corrected for.  These include:

 

1) Short sight radius and sights poorly designed for the human eye.  Simple fix is to put a red dot or similar on it (as mentioned in the other AK related thread).  More complicated is to figure out a way to move the rear sight back to the rear of the receiver and put a proper aperture on it, as the Finns, Israelis, Swiss (sort of) etc opted for.  Either works.

 

2) Most AK shooters are using bottom end ammunition.  Again, simply fix -- use better ammo.  Some of the Russian manufacturers are, I'm told, putting out stuff that can have 200+ fps spreads in velocity -- with this kind of situation, the shooter can do everything right and he'll still get flyers in a group. 

 

3) Relatively arcing trajectory of the 7.62x39 round.  There's no real fix for this, but getting good at range estimation and knowing where your rifle prints high and low in its trajectory helps.  At least on the range.  On the battlefield, no one is really taking shots with most any rifle outside the range where the AK's battle sight setting will do minute of man/minute of torso, so it's not really an issue for the AK as a combat gun.

 

4) Relatively high degree of "slop" in manufacture for reliability.  Not really a fix for this, but if you've got the sights issue addressed and are shooting quality ammunition, it's not as big a deal as a lot of people claim. 

 

To me the biggest problem is issue #1 -- AK sights just are not user friendly for me (I do have a slight astigmatism in my shooting eye, so it's possible they bother me more than other people) -- but issue #1 is also probably the easiest to fix these days.



Totally agree with all of these facts. The stock front sights are shit, as is the cheap ammo. I've ordered a red-dot for mine, and if I ever plan to hunt with my AK (which I don't, I have a nice 7mm mag BAR for that) I'll use quality ammo. The russian ammo quality is almost all utter trash. I've actually found a .308 round in a box of Wolf (as I noted in the other AK thread of mine).
 
I can't really complain with the quality of mine at all. Thing is very nice and tight, unlike some AK's that are 'loose'.
 
One problem I see regarding the AK's accuracy is that the guys shooting it in war time nowadays are usually poor conscripts in 3rd world countries or belong to rebel groups. They don't get much trigger time at all, don't clean the things well at all, are shooting crap ammo, and are typically using much older models that may have fouling issues, etc. However, in the hands of a trained shooter (like an SF weapons sgt for example), then it is plenty accurate for most jobs.
 
A gun is a tool. In the hands of a trained shooter, an AK can be devestating. And in the hands of a poor shot, an AR can be useless obviously. I was reading a tactical shooting forum earlier today (you sparked my interest so I googled one, I believe), and a soldier from Fallujah was saying how it was common place for US soldiers with freakin' ACOGs on their AR's to miss a insurgent at 50 yards or 100 yards. Yeah, I know, combat shooting is different and all that bs, but if you can't hit a guy with a tricked out AR and a $500 top of the line scope at 50 yards, then your shooting skills are most likely crap. That's kind of off topic, but my point is: Gun handler > Gun in alot of cases. 
 
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