Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Kalashnikov

Well, it has been far too long since I've posted...took a trip to Colorado to watch my sister graduate and get married.  So, for a "welcome back to blogging" gift to myself, I'm going to talk about my favorite rifle, the Avtomat Kalashnikova, model of 1947 commonly known as the AK-47. 

Here is my AK, a Russian Saiga converted back to its true form.

A comparison of cartridge size, the 7.62x39 for the AK and a .45ACP pistol round

With over 100 million variants produced worldwide, the AK-47 is one of the most popular rifles world wide, used by various military groups, revolutionaries, and terrorists. With that being said, there are several questions people not familiar with the rifle inevitably ask.

Is that thing legal?Yes, with some caveats.  In a FREE state like Texas, citizens who are not prohibited persons (ie convicted felons) are free to purchase and own AK-47 variants and other fine rifles like the FAL and AR-15.  Some states have outright bans on so called "assault rifles" (ASSAULT is an action, not a description, despite what the media says) while others ban certain features, like folding stocks or bayonet lugs.  (to save us from all those awful drive by bayonettings that kept happening before the bans)  Check your local and state laws regarding ownership. 

Isn't it just a bullet hose? All it does is spray bullets indiscriminately..
First things first, put down the TV remote.  Movies lie about automatic weapons.  Here is a video of a fully automatic AK variant emptying a magazine.  AK mag dump So, that took about 2 seconds.  Not the 1:30 of baby killing carnage you see on TV.  In addition, while there are legal full automatic AKs in the states, they are very expensive, require a tax stamp from the ATF, extensive background check, etc.  The majority of AKs you see in the USA are semi auto clones of the military AK-47.  What does this mean?  A semi automatic firearm is best explained by this simple phrase: 1 round fired for each time the trigger is pulled.  If you just pull back and hold down the trigger of a semi auto AK, it is going to fire exactly ONE bullet.  They're not going to spray everywhere. 

Now that the 2 biggest misconceptions are out of the way, I'd like to talk about my AK.  There are a ton of variants out there, and I may address that in another post.  My AK is a Russian Saiga.  They are imported into the United States looking more like this:
As long as you follow federal law (specifically 922(r)) you can restore these sporting rifles into a more authentic AK form. Here is a good site to guide you through the process. 

My Saiga AK is reliable, accurate, and a great rifle.  One upgrade I consider mandatory for at least 1 AK you own is a folding stock of some kind, either a side folder like mine or an underfolder.  The ability to be compact and thus carried discretely is one of the big +1 points in the AK column regarding any AK vs AR debate.  The most compact is of course the underfolder, but I like the ACE sidefolder I have on mine, primarily because I can still get a good cheek weld with this stock.  Eventually, I would love to have some kind of red dot mounted on this gun, because AK sights are crude at best.  I've been eyeing the Texas Weapons Systems dogleg, which replaces the dust cover with a railed cover that can be tightened down to maintain a zero on any optics mounted on it. 

For those who don't know, the Sagias are not surplus weapons that have been used and abused then sold as parts kits, but brand new Russian AKs with chrome lined barrels.  A lot of people who have little experience with the AK are quick to deride the system as inaccurate.  You will certainly get no argument from me that an AR-15 style rifle can be set up and tuned to a much finer degree of accuracy than an AK, with even sub MOA accuracy possible from a quality AR.  That being said, my AK isn't a bulls-eye target rifle but I would argue it is "accurate enough"  to do whatever I need it to within 300 yards easily.  There are probably plenty of AKs out there that have surplus barrels that have been shot out, built to loose tolerances and aren't capable of reliably hitting the target.  The Russian Saigas are not in that category at all.

I'll go into further detail over why I prefer the AK to the AR platform, what it takes to get into AKs, and anything else I can think of to talk about regarding AKs in later posts.  Till next time!

No comments:

Post a Comment