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  1. #1

    AR and AK practical results

    So yes I bought another AR a while back. At Christmas time Academy had a deal on S&W MP15 models at $449. with a $100. instant rebate card. Bought the rifle and gave the card to my wife for shopping. So far so good on it, since it's not a primary for us, it's still only seen around 800 or so rounds. If it stays true to form to 3 other AR's I've owned, problems will start cropping up between 1,000 and 1,500 rounds. Yes it's definitely not the "approved" AR version, but then again this would be most likely the LAST platform I would ever use to defend life and limb with if given the choice.

    A 100 years ago, we were trained on the CAR15 type platform, so it's not that this "AK guy" has no experience at all with an AR, just a helluva lot less experience with it compared to 30 years of shooting AKs regularly.

    So doing some basic work, how do the two compare in the hands of a regular shooter?

    Started with basic ready ups. 30 yards, standing, rifle at patrol carry, brought into shooting position quickly and two shots fired rapidly. This is a RAPID pair of quick aimed shots, full focal input on sights, follow through and second shot.


    First up is the AR15, most grouped center there at the aiming point which is about the size of a clenched fist in the center of the body. The AR has an Aimpoint PRO on it.


    Next up is an AK, a X39 SBR with a Trijicon MRO on it. Results are very similar as you can see. Truth be told the SBR does handle differently than my other AKs and realistically I only have a similar amount of rounds through it as the AR.

    PLEASE REMEMBER- this isn't 1 round every 20 minutes between donut munching bench shooting stuff. These were all closer range but done very quickly. Even most of the AR strings were done really fast. The AK SBR has a little more "jump" given the shorter platform IMO. Also, we run ACOGs on our carry rifles, so I'm not super used to dot type sights (MRO and PRO).

    Now for something a little different. I've been getting back into working point shooting with pistol and rifle, and have done very little point shooting with the AR.

    Keep in mind that these last two targets had ZERO FOCAL INPUT ON SIGHTS. Range was 20 yards. Starting with the rifle held down in one hand, the rifle is brought up to the side of the body while the target is zippered with 3-5 shots beginning at the bottom and "zippering" up the center of the target culminating with the last round in upper thorasis cavity or head. This is an extremely fast way to shoot and as you can see, with a lot of practice can be very effective at short range where there is no time for focal input on sights. Anyone who has done any kind of force on force training in tighter environments knows the value of this. This technique is very effective also while moving fast. With practice distances can be increased easily and I've gotten decent hits at 40 yards quickly this way. Requires a lot of eye/hand coordination and tens of thousands of rounds of work put in however.


    First up is the AK's, which again remember I have a helluva lot more experience with and I've probably invested 8-10K rounds in learning to point fire alone with. Some were done with the SBR and some with my old trusty 21-61 which I recently had refinished and looks all gorgeous there in the pic LOL.


    Lastly we have the AR with the point shooting target. I find it interesting that all of the zippers are on the right side of the target, done in the correct vertical manner, but all over to the right a good bit, not following the center line like the AKs did. Again, absolutely no focal input on the sights in either of these last two pics.

    So results of the two platforms are pretty close here. Yes these are close distances, but the work was done very fast, no donut munching, cig smoking one shot every twenty minutes bench BS. I'm doing some work on the distance berms at the range, once that's done we will compare some 100, 200 and 300 yard target work with the two platforms also.

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  2. #2

    Thumbs up

    Good report!

    I'm looking forward to the long range comparisons.
    Last edited by Benn Gleck; 05-02-2018 at 05:22 PM. Reason: Protus type spelling error

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  3. #3
    The Army taught quick kill point shooting with Daisy bb guns way back in my days. It would be CQB now. I was taught with both rifle and pistol, At the time was very good at it, Now I'm way slower, by the time I got my shoes on !! well wouldn't be good. I do love red dots though I had one from the UK on my XM177, made by sterling aircraft co. 1970's. It was an occlusion sight both eyes open.
    Last edited by cpt_sfc; 05-03-2018 at 07:07 PM. Reason: old

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by cpt_sfc View Post
    The Army taught quick kill point shooting with Daisy bb guns way back in my days. It would be CQB now. I was taught with both rifle and pistol, At the time was very good at it, Now I'm way slower, by the time I got my shoes on !! well wouldn't be good. I do love red dots though I had one from the UK on my XM177, made by sterling aircraft co. 1970's. It was an occlusion sight both eyes open.

    I did a lot of training with an SF Vietnam vet- we throw a few cans in the air in that manner of which your probably familiar

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  5. #5
    so... the ar shot more to the right!
    that's good... lot better than trending "left"

  6. #6
    Took the family to a long distance shoot at Arena in Blakely this Saturday. Man we love this place!!! They are making more improvements on the UKD range including putting 3 sets of stairs up to the elevated berm and some astro turf on the top of the berm. I know astro turf right.... but the berm is that crazy red/brown hard Georgia clay. In November we came home with bloody elbows and knees from the same spot, so the astro turf is a welcome addition. They also have done some modifications to the 2nd conex in the stack of three at the UKD range and you can shoot from inside the 2nd conex. A couple guys already were in that spot when we got out there, so we didn't shoot from that spot. Light crowd this Saturday, 9 total at the height of the day, with 5 most of the day, 3 coming from "Team JRH" lol.

    The other cool improvement they have made at the UKD range is adding some contraptions to some of the further distance targets (800 and beyond) where a red light flashes at the target when you score a good hit. It was pretty cool to see that because outside of sound, it's hard to get 100% confirmation via the spotting scope at some of these distances.

    So after going through our normal ranging exercises using the Mark I eyeball and the Steiners, we spent about 5 hours shooting.

    Brought the M4 with the Aimpoint PRO to go head to head against the AK with ACOG at various ranges.

    The range card was first done via estimates using the Mark I eyeball and the Steiner commanders. Out to about 800 yards most of J's estimates were "close enough for gubmint work" as the saying goes. We confirmed numbers via a laser rangefinder again and now Arena has a little sign with distances to each target berm for further confirmation.

    We shot other rifles out past 621 yards but the AKs and ARs we shot under that distance.

    We shot a CAR15 with iron sights also, but that was NOT used for the comparison. For the comparison we used the S&W MP15 with the Aimpoint PRO and an Arsenal SGL21-61 with ACOG.

    OK, so the ACOG has 3X magnification and the PRO has no magnification- yes. Slight advantage to the AK there as far as optics. The rifle however is an SGL I've had since around 09' and since I'm not a once a year donut swigging 100 round bench shooter, it has some pretty heavy damn mileage on it already, realistically probably more than 20,000 rounds through that rifle. And since "everyone knows" (LOL) the AR is supposedly more accurate than the AK, this slight advantage in optic shouldn't make that much of a difference right?

    "Damn commie rifle, it's a 100 yard gun! MURICA!!!" right???

    A small ravine splits the UKD range at about the 300 yard mark, there is 5 steels on the close side of the ravine. 2 are at 100 yards or less and used typically for checking zero, the other 3 are at 225, 270 and 285.

    Both AK and ARs did fine at these ranges with damn near exact numbers of hits. I did NOT adjust the Aimpoint PRO on the MP15 from the 100 yard zero, I simply used holdover and had good results- to a point.

    Just beyond the ravine the next target berm is at about 12 o'clock in the pics, it is 474 or 484 yards. I'd have to pull my notebook from my pack and it's early so I'm not going to do that, 10 yards only matters up close LOL.



    On the 474'ish steel it took about 2 rounds to remember my aiming point on the ACOG to start getting hits and from them averaged about 80% hits. Using the M&P with the Aimpoint PRO took a few more rounds to figure out the aiming point at 474 but that also averaged about 80% hits once the aiming point was found.

    Once again I want to say that none of this is done via a bench, this is all off the side of a pack laying on the ground. No bipod, no super special stock levelers, no 15 minute pauses between shots, no half hour break to smoke cigs, eat donuts and talk ****, no "bench shooting beeeoch" (BSB) type stuff. Maybe when I turn 75 or when I can't walk anymore, but until then, shooting like this for us will be more realistic, like one would do on the fly in the field. Although the astro turf was much better than rock hard clay LOL.


    So everything was more or less equal out to 474.

    Last time around (didn't have the M&P15 in November) there, we got out to 621 with the AKs. Course this news broke the hearts of every Natty lite drinking, Nascar watching "damn commie rifle!!" bubba that touts the ignorant drivel that " the AK is just a 100 yard gun!!" in between yelling "DE TOOK OUR JOBS!!" LMAO


    Try as I might, I could not get the M&P15 out to 621. After about a half mag I decided that was past the limitations of the red dot sight. I believe if I had a 3X ACOG designed for the .223 the shot would not have been a problem. However given my experience with 3 ARs failing miserably on me over the years, I'm loathe to get too "invested" in items specific to that platform. Twice before I ended up giving away dozens and dozens of AR mags, spare parts and selling .223 cheap after the weapon failed miserably on me and I got rid of it.

    Once again, I have no doubt given a decent optic the M&P could have gotten out to the 621 yard target however.

    The AKs did well again at that distance (621), further confirming that it was not a fluke that the rifle made consistent hits at that distance last time. In November the AK we brought was my wife's rifle, which has seen considerably less rounds through it than mine or my son's. This time we shot 621 with my original SGL 21-61 with "high mileage" and got the same results. Did I mention it's been about 2K rounds since it's last cleaning also? Meanwhile I'm scared to go two HUNDRED rounds with the ARs without cleaning them given the problems we have seen over the years with them.

    If your an AR user, you really need to be circumspect with maintenance. Asking around about problems we had again recently (empty rounds stuck in chamber that had to be beat out with a rod), I get the impression many AR users are not cleaning their rifles and their chamber areas as well as they should. That's a recipe for disaster IME.

    So the M&P15 did well out to 474 with the Aimpoint PRO, but could not get on at 621 due mostly I would say to the limitations of the optic (red dot sight).

    Two separate Arsenal SGL 21-61s with 3X30 ACOG kept pace with the M&P at 474 yards and went on to make consistent hits again at 621. Worth noting that one of the Arsenals is pretty well worn, with the other one probably only having double the amount of rounds through it that the M&P now has through it. Neither AK was cleaned before the shoot. The M&P was cleaned about two weeks ago and a couple hundred rounds of Fiochi was shot since then (see original post).


    AK vs. AR blah blah blah-

    Better "ergonomics"- this is a question of training and experience. A newer shooter or the "I only shoot 100 rounds a year cause I'm a cheapskate" types will likely never get to the point where they will be as quick a reload with an AK as an experienced AR user. Experienced AK users who actually put in the work will be as fast as most AR users in reloads from my experience.

    But "ergonomics" is a lot more than just about reloading. What about things like using the rifle ambidextrously? The AR is succinctly a right handed platform. Many schools rarely bother to teach AR centric material left handed because of the cluster fudge it becomes with less experienced users. Again I think this is largely a function of more training, but certain things are just plain stupid when attempting to use the AR left handed.

    What about malfunctions? Do you know your FIVE major AR malfunction drills? What about the AK? Most malfunctions are handled just like a reload, with the "one in a million" malfunction (which I've seen twice oddly enough, not on any of mine though) being the only thing that requires slightly more than rote reload skills. What I'm speaking of is the chance that with a lesser AK, perhaps one put together by Century Arms here in good ole "murica", you can get a SPENT cartridge somehow BEHIND the bolt carrier after firing. I have literally seen this happen twice. Once was on my range and I was walking with another person doing a jungle lane exercise. I saw the gray of the casing through the cutout area of the dust cover. I stopped him and we looked and confirmed. The guy being kind of a nutjob, asked could he finish the drill with the gun like that to see if the gun would function (same guy I watched shoot a .223 round through an AK) and I let him shoot another 10 or so rounds before he had to clear it. The other time I've seen that was with a well worn Century rental gun at a Tactical Response class in 2009. I've NEVER seen this problem with any other rifles other than Century Arms however.

    That "one in a million" malfunction drill goes like this- do a shoulder transfer to the left, this helps get eyes on the problem, conversely you could keep the AK in your right hand and cant it flat to get a better view briefly. Once you see the casing behind the bolt carrier, use your right hand to pull the dust cover off (if you did the left shoulder transfer) Now you can rake the casing free of the rifle and resume firing. Yes you can fire the AK with the dust cover removed, it's not the end of the world.

    The AR's equivalent to this is where a spent primer gets stuck in the fire control group and the weapon has to be opened up and taken apart for this to be reconciled. Saw that more than a couple times at classes, including one we taught up north about 13 years ago now, oddly enough right after one of those "I know Rob doesn't like ARs, but MINE HAS NEVER FAILED ON ME" speeches (and then it happened to him).

    Operating the AK left handed is much simpler than operating the AR left handed. The only thing to watch is that most people tend to flag their right hand thumb UP when shooting left. As most shooters tend to bring the support hand in closer during left handed firing, this can cause the bolt carrier handle to snag the thumb. I'd love to say "this will only happen once" but I've seen students do it twice within a short period of time. You can take care of this potential problem by using a magazine hold for the support hand, or simply pointing your thumb forward instead of straight up when bringing the support hand in close left handed.
    Last edited by Lowdown3; 05-06-2018 at 08:52 AM. Reason: spelling

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  7. #7
    It's interesting, people used to talk about learning how to operate an AK in case they needed a "battlefield pickup." The reality is that your more likely to see/find some Bubba's poorly maintained AR as a "battlefield pickup" in the PAW in CONUS than you probably are an AK.

    Therefore it's important to know how to run both effectively and know the limitations of each (reliability of the AR).

    I drove over to the range last night to do some shooting with the night vision. Within a few minutes of getting there I realized it was about to thunderstorm big time. I set up targets before it got dark, putting cyalume sticks in the center of some cardboard targets to verify the DBAL-I2's zero of the IR laser. Had some work done to the rifle lately (refinished) and wanted to double check everything.

    Sure enough the sky opened up and it rained cats and dogs as I shot the cardboard, then later some steel targets at 100 yard with the PVS14 and the DBAL-I2 infrared laser. Pouring rain, high humidity and the Revision glasses I wear under the PVS14 start fogging up a bit also. I pushed the pace a bit, firing from odd positions, firing a little faster and pushing myself on reloads. Not so much to get out of the rain quicker (had a 5 minute drive home in the Ranger..) but to add some stress into the mix.

    THAT is how you see if your equipment set up works out, not putting your chest rig on a cute little dummy and playing "dress up" for pics to post on the internet. I can understand why a gear maker has those, but that's about it.

    Dark as hell, raining cats and dogs, these are the conditions you want to test your gear in.

    Will the supposed "better ergonomics" of your AR really work out under stress?? Lot of potential for use of fine motor skills there depending on how you train with it. AK is designed for a lot of GROSS motor skills. Under stress which one will be easier? Ever have tunnel vision? Auditory exclusion? What happened to your fine motor skills then?

    Back a thousand years ago, we were always taught to use the palm of your left hand to smack the bolt hold open release of the AR for the reload. Now I hear that's out of vogue because evidently some dweeb cupped his hand instead of straightening his hand and could not hit the LITTLE button (again under stress not bench shooting donut eating 1 round every 10 minutes non sense). There is a definite failure point in the "better ergonomics" argument! We will chalk that up right under the left handed use line.

    Everyone goes into a fight with a "plan", it usually goes out the window the first time your hit, kicked or taken down. I know it does for me. I know my first couple of matches no matter how well I tried to breathe the auditory exclusion and tunnel vision was real. I could use GROSS motor skills that I had practiced probably THOUSANDS of times, but I could not formulate seemingly non complex moves or actions.

    So we need to:

    1. Take away as much complex crap as we can and simplify it. Down to the very actions.
    2. Drill and practice so damn much that these things can be effectively and quickly under stress, in altered states, driving rain and darkness.
    3. Breathe, deep breaths in through nose and out mouth, 4 pretty quick, calm your psyche.
    4. Being willing to put ourselves in crappy training conditions, whether it's just a soaked night at the range or starting a sparring session by letting some 270 lb. guy start in mount with a choke set. We cannot just plan and train for the best conditions, most likely they will NOT be there.

    This means the bench shooting, five minutes between shots while you smoke a cig, eat and donut and "rabble rabble!" on to the other fat old guy next to you about the 2A has got to go and people have to train REALISTICALLY.
    Last edited by Lowdown3; 06-17-2018 at 08:27 AM.

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  8. #8
    I knew I was going to not be able to shoot for a few weeks after this surgery so we spent several hours at the range during Father's day.

    Put another 240 rounds or so through that M&P15, mostly all high quality Fiochi brass cased .223. I have put some cheaper Wolf steel cased through that one but not in any significant quantities. All the hardcore AR guys like to blame the steel cased ammo for some of the AR's misgivings, so I'm trying to avoid that excuse.

    Did have one dud round with the Fiochi which was extremely surprising to me, given the name and the $$ cost of the ammo. But sure enough, the primer was DEEPLY hit but the round did not fire. Should have took a pic.

    When you buy cheaper ammo (Wolf, etc.) you come to expect 1 or 2 bad rounds per 1K and I've found that to be fairly true. I'll have to monitor this Fiochi to see if we have any more duds. Why else would I pay almost $100. more per case for this ammo if it isn't going to have a lower failure rate than Wolf?

    To be fair, we also ran about 900 rounds of Wolf (X39) through the AK's running drills that day and had a dud round from that lot also.

    This is Reason 549 why your malfunction drills have to be spot on, rehearsed and practiced constantly, able to be done with automaticity ambidextrously. My son had the dud X39 round and he yelled stoppage (I thought he was changing mags) but he had the gun back up in no time.

    Repetition, repetition, repetition. Are you doing it?

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  9. #9
    SGAmmo.com recently had some IMI 5.56 on sale and then a few days later the Fiochi 5.56 on sale again. Got a case of each to run and will post results if either gives any more dud rounds.

    A few months back at a surplus store in Hinesville I found a chamber cleaning tool made by Otis. It's a scraper and then you take the scraper off and use these little star shaped pads to dry and finish cleaning the chamber area.

    From my experience with other AR's, this is the single largest failure point in that rifle. With some training the little FTF and FTE jams can be handled pretty easily most of the time, however when a spent cartridge gets stuck in the chamber- your done son.... So if you do anything, clean the bejeezus out of that chamber area. We are doing it every couple hundred rounds at this point.
    Boris- "He's famous, has picture on three dollar bill!"

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  10. #10
    Manufacturer of Hater-Aide Mannlicher's Avatar
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    Jul 2010
    North Central FL
    I still have my old SAR 193 Bulgarian. I use a Docter Optic dot sight on it these days. Shoots as well as an AK I have ever used.

    Recently picked up a new Colt 6920LE, with Magpul Krpytic furniture. Added an ACOG 4X32 red chevron sight. I was hitting 4 inch metal poppers at 200 yards the other day. Good enough for me.

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