> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Guest Post: The AK for Survival



Guest Post: The AK for Survival

Editor's Note: One of my buddies wrote this up; thought it was a pretty good overview of the pros/cons of the AK system.

The last thing I want to start is some sort of AR vs AK discussion. I know a lot of people out there love their ARs and rightfully so. To be sure, both the AR and the AK as well as most variants of either weapon have proven over and over again to be among the greatest firearms of all time. Hence pretty much every country the world over uses some version of one or the other. But today we are going to talk about the AK-47 and the pros and cons it presents as a TEOTWAWKI weapon.

I say AK-47 but my experience has been with my pride and joy AK-74. The 74 is the 1974 revamp of the AK-47. Essentially the only main difference is rather than using the 7.62x39mm cartridge of the 47, the 74 uses 5.45x39mm. This round is a lighter-weight round, its sort of a commie version of the .223 we all know and love, vs. the typical 30/30 like 7.62x39mm.

  • TEOTWAWKI tough. First and foremost this thing is rugged. The AK is tough as can be. Heck, a lot the 3rd world's armies are using 50 year old AKs that are still working just fine. Something about all this adds to its charm. Every scratch or nick or ding on the thing just makes it all the more AKish. You don't worry about it getting dirty and after upwards of a thousand rounds it has yet to jam or have a single problem. In TEOTWAWKI this is oh so valuable. Whether your gunning down zombies, hunting the a mutant buffalo to feed your family, or defending your bunker against angry mobs after your canned goods—when you pull the trigger you want to hear a bang. TEOTWAWKI is dirty, grimy, and bloody—you gun needs to be able to take all of that and more and still work well time and time again, year after year, decade after decade; whether you clean it or not.
  • Cheap! To be honest this was my primary reason for getting an AK. For $350 you are ready to go (Editor: you can of course spend more!). Its not the prettiest thing in the world but again, that's kind of the point. For those who want to prepare for hell on earth but don't have upwards of $1,000 to dole out one of the fancier carbines, the AK is a godsend. Also ammo is dirty cheap—well, relatively. A case of 1000 rounds of 5.45 goes for $130 on the interweb.
  •  “Caveman Simple.” (Gabe Suarez) The AK is really a simple and straightforward weapon system. Its easy to shoot, easy to take apart, east to maintain etc. whether or not your hands are shaking from fear of Skynet's army of killing machines.
  • Folding Stock. For around $45 you can get a wire folding stock for the AK. I have people whine and whine about how wire folders aren't very comfortable and all I have to say is be a man grow a pair. They are just fine. I wrapped mine in para-cord and got a $6 recoil pad (which you don't really even need) and its pretty much as good as any fixed stock. This makes the AK very easy to store, hide under a coat, carry in a tennis racket bag etc. Plus its just way wicked cool to snap open that stock. Manly!
  • Commie. I hate that I even have to say this but it IS a Russian weapon (or Bulgarian or Polish or whatever.) To me I really really couldn't care at all. I love America but sometimes you gotta respect the Commies when they do something right—like make a truly awesome firearm. I know there are some of you out there that have some kind of aneurysm when you hear something wasn't made State side. I don't care but for those that do I guess this isn't the weapon for you.
  • Ammo. This is the biggest con. I said above that the ammo is dirty cheap and it is, but for 5.45 your only option is surplus ammo from Russia/former Soviet countries. You could shove just about anything into the AK and it'll fire, but there certainly are advantages to having good quality ammo and there aren't a lot of options with the AK-74. With the AK-47 there are a few more options—even a few domestic companies produce good quality 7.62x39. But in either case when TSHTF it won't be easy to find huge stockpiles of AK ammo laying around. So this leaves you with the option of either hoarding tons of ammo, which is fine by me, or eventually finding a new gun. If its truly the end of the world than this...well isn't the end of the world—if thousands of rounds of .223 are laying around for the taking I'd imagine there'd also be a few guns to shoot it as well. But still I would say this is the biggest problem TEOTWAWKI wise concerning the AK. If your in the US AK ammo is gonna be hard to come by and that's just the way it is.
  • It's not an AR. The AK is not an AR and never will be. Its a totally different weapon system. I think most people's frustration with the AK is they use it the way they've been taught to use an AR. Some approaches work great with an AR but just aren't meant for the AK. You can't force a square peg into a round hole so don't try. You need to learn the AK from the ground up—learning techniques and skill-sets specifically designed for the AK.
In the end I am, despite its cons, crazy about my AK. To he who wants to a relatively affordable and extremely reliable assault rifle I highly recommend taking a look at the Kalashnikova.