|Arsenal SGL31-94 Rifle|
In the 1990's Survivalism was alive and well, but it took on a more Constitutional flavor in the form of State Militias. These groups sprung up all over the country drawing in people from all walks of life into the movement. They stressed self reliance, weapons training and were mostly concerned with government infringement of rights.
Today we know Survivalists as "Preppers". Preppers are essentially Survivalists of old but their concerns are focused on economic and political issues with a few folks thinking about 2012 (Mayan predictions) and even people concerned with asteroid or meteor strikes, solar flares, earth quakes, magnetic poll shifts and super volcanos. It's become so popular that we now have reality television shows cropping up like "Dooms Day Preppers" which continue to fan the flames of interest by the general public in being somewhat self reliant.
Key to many people who Prep is the weapon they choose as a "go to rifle". Many of the most popular discussions online center around "what rifle would you choose for SHTF?" These conversations are springing up on general firearms boards, not just Prepper or Survivalist boards - people want to talk about it.
|Poll taken on DefensiveCarry.com|
Being a former Marine, I know and trust the AR15. It's a good rifle. But when it came time for me to choose a SHTF rifle, I gave the obvious choice (the AR) a good-hard look. After much thought, shooting and comparing of the rifles, I decided the AK was the best rifle for my needs.
I've read many arguments against using the AK as a primary rifle for SHTF. I'll address the most common arguments against its use and explain why I choose the rifle for my own needs.
You will find more spare parts and ammo for the AR15.
Many of those that choose the AR15 claim they do so because it's the most common semi-automatic rifle in the country. As such, they believe they'll have an infinite source of spare parts, magazines and ammo lying about that they can either scavenge off of dead Soldiers and civilians or they can barter/trade for.
|Modern sights, rails and hand guards on an AK|
I have rifles that are 20 years old that have never broken a part. I have at least 50 magazines for my primary rifle. I have cases of ammo sitting stored in tin cans to feed the rifles I have for years. If I really thought a firing pin, hammer, trigger, spring, or something else were going to break, I would buy a spare parts kit before something bad happened and have it in my kit. The chances of finding a M16, magazines or even cases of ammo lying about after a SHTF scenario happens is highly unlikely. How many M16's, magazines and cases of ammo do you think people in New Orleans found lying about after Katrina?
The AK isn't as accurate as the AR15.
What people fail to realize is that even if local governments collapse for 4 months, government *is* coming back. Order will be restored eventually. Laws aren't typically suspended because of natural disasters or because riots break out. If you shoot someone at 500 yards there's a good chance you will answer to a jury of your peers for that shooting, and good luck convincing that jury you were justified in killing someone 500 yards away. Most self defense situations will take place at much closer ranges, within 100 yards or less. While the AR15 has a slight accuracy advantage, it's only marginal at best and certainly isn't as drastic as many folks tend to believe. The AK is quite capable of repeatedly hitting a man sized target at 100, 200 or even 300 yards. The AK isn't a bench rest competition rifle, but then combat isn't a bench rest competition.
The AK isn't as ergonomic as the AR15.
A bone stock rack grade AK isn't that ergonomic to a Western shooter, it's true. We're accustom to different firearms here in the United States and the AR15 is still considered one of the most ergonomic rifles on the market. By taking a training course centered around the AK rifle such as those offered by Tactical Response, a Western shooter will quickly become acclimated to the AK rifle and perhaps, like me, prefer it over rifles such as the AR15.
|US PALM pistol grip|
The AK has a number of accessories made by U.S. companies that are well designed and of good quality that drastically improve the base ergonomics of the AK rifle. New pistol grips, stocks, railed front hand guards, safety levers, sights, etc. are available for the AK making it more comfortable to the Western shooter.
Here's why I choose the AK.
It's simple to operate. My rifles have (6) moving parts. A bolt, trigger, safety, magazine release, rear sight and a folding stock. The AK has large parts that fit together without tiny pins holding everything in place. They can even be field stripped with winter gloves on, try that with an AR15.
It's incredibly reliable. The AK is one of the few rifles in the world that can continue to function without much maintenance at all. When things go south, the last thing I want to have to worry about is cleaning my rifle because it got dropped in a mud puddle or hasn't been cleaned in 3 weeks. I want a low maintenance weapon that doesn't consume much of my time or energy to keep functioning and doesn't require special lubes, Q-Tips and pipe cleaners to stay squeaky clean.
The cheapest ammo on the market right now is 5.45x39. This is the caliber I choose for my SHTF AK for that reason, and because I prefer the ballistics of it over the 7.62x39. I can buy 1280 rounds of 5.45x39 for less than $150. That means I can affordably buy plenty of ammo for both training and for storage.
In the end you should pick the rifle that best suits your needs. Buying an AK because I choose to use one, or because someone else chooses an AK isn't a good idea. It's a personal decision that only you can make. Weigh your options carefully and give it some thought. After you make your decision, learn to use your weapon. Take a fighting rifle course. Shoot from the standing, kneeling, sitting and prone positions. Learn to shoot on the move. Learn how to clear malfunctions and how to do reloads. All of this can be taught to you by a good shooting school.