Mayo or Miracle Whip? Ford or Chevy? Some debates are eternal, and one such rivalry among gun enthusiasts is the AK-47 versus the AR-15. One is the best-selling rifle in the United States, and the other is the most abundant rifle in the world. What are the real differences between these two popular rifles? Read on to find out.
History and Development
The Avtomat Kalashnikova, more commonly known as the AK-47, was developed in 1940s Russia. The rifle’s low cost and ease of production led to its proliferation around the world, particularly in China, Africa and the former Soviet Union. The AR-15, on the other hand, is a distinctly American rifle. Originally developed by ArmaLite, its patent was acquired by Colt in 1957 and expired in 1977. Now many different manufacturers produce an AR-15 style rifle.
Design and Specs
The AK-47 is a shorter and heavier gun with a standard length of 34.3 inches and weighing in at 10.9 pounds compared to the AR-15’s 39.5 inches and 8.8 pounds. The AK-47 uses a larger caliber bullet than the AR-15 and fires those bullets with a gas-operated action, while the AR-15 is a direct impingement rifle. The main selling point of the AK-47 is its extreme durability. AR-15 fans, however, appreciate their favorite rifle’s customizable modularity.
The relatively low price of the AK-47 is one of the main reasons for its global popularity. The base price of this rifle runs from $300 to $600. If you have your heart set on an AR-15, you’ll pay a little more. New AR-15 prices start around $700 and go up to $1500 or more. However, you can often find new and used AR-15 rifles online for less.
If it’s performance you’re after, the AR-15 is hard to beat. It fires 750 to 900 rounds per minute, which is a little faster than the AK-47’s 600 rounds per minute. The AR-15 is also more accurate and has a longer maximum effective range than the AK-47. This might make the AK-47 seem inferior. However, most of these figures are close, and both rifles are very capable weapons.
So, which of these two rifles should you choose? If you’re in the market for a reliable rifle but don’t need the best performance, you can’t go wrong with the AK-47. However, if accuracy is the most important factor for you, choose the AR-15. Of course, you can always get one of each and enjoy them both.