They are two of the most recognizable and widely used firearms in the world. Both have their own preferred fan base, and many of the world’s greatest military powers will have at least one of these rifle types in active service. To the uninformed, however, it’s difficult to separate the two.

Fortunately, this infographic takes care of that for you. We’re getting down to the nitty-gritty to compare the basic functionality and cold hard facts of these two popular, and misunderstood firearms.

AK-47 vs. AR-15

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  • Az Mine

    I converted one of my AR-15s to a 300 blackout with just a barrel change. Its pretty close to the AKs 7.62×39. It being 7.62×35.

    • Matthiu Ryin

      Does that give it the properties of an AK or still have the AR 15 properties? Because then you’re losing all the advantages of the AR but still keeping all the disadvantages like price.

      • Shooter McGavin

        I also have an AR in 300 blackout. It maintains all the positives the AR offers, it just makes a bigger hole. Another advantage is that by adding a complete upper, which includes the upper receiver, barrel, and sights or optics you can change from .223 to .300 in literally seconds. Even the magazines will work for both calibers. This add on can be accomplished for as little as $300, and it’s like having two guns. I liked mine so much that I decided to build a complete lower also, so now have two complete rifles. I have about $700 into the .300 blackout version, but it is custom built with all the invividual parts I wanted. Magpul stock and grip, stainless steel barrel, etc. My Colt .223 cost about $1200, but you can buy an entry level AR for around $600 today. Good luck finding a decent AK for that price anymore.

      • VeteranGunsmith at large

        True enough on the AK prices – we are the only place on the planet where AK rifles sell for the $1000.00 bracket… maybe the legend is the biggest selling point, since the only reason they are as prolific is because the combloc tosses them at their fans like popcorn. I bought my AK back in the 1990’s and it was not cheap, but it is a standard issue semi auto AK and not one of the high polished PolyTech ones that went for a premium back then. Internally, there is no difference. I wanted one for the sake of owning a real AK type weapon, not for a trophy safe queen. Don’t get me wrong, PolyTech made a fine parade rifle, but I wanted one that wouldn’t make me cringe if it got a scratch or a ding in the surface. Most of what I see AK type rifles going for retail is around $800.00 to $1,000.00, and that is plain garden variety AKs. What the .300 upper delivers ballistically speaking is only marginally different from the 7.62 x 39 until you get out past 200 yards. Personally, I prefer the .300 upper option over the AK anyway, it is just a better platform. If I am going to spend a grand on an AK, it is just a bit more money and a whole lot more sensible for a superior AR-10 with the superior 7.62 NATO caliber anyway. Why choose a heavy combloc weapon and heavy combat load when you can spend a little more and get a better rifle with more reliability and accuracy?

      • Chiefbuck

        I have both an AK47 and an old SKS in my collection and my fit for duty days are long over. I was issued the M16 in various configurations as a Navy Seabee. When those weapons worked they worked well but the frequent jamming at the worst possible time was a problem. The AR is fifty years plus old now and in my humble opinion a new design is overdue. I last fired one on the range in1995. When one must depend on a weapon I’d suggest considering a German design. Back when I bought the AK47 the cost was about $125 new and it was Chinese made. It still functions quite well.

      • Curtis Johnese

        The AR has come a long way since 1995. They are much better these days. I have a number of guns that I had during the 80s and 90s that they make better versions of them now. The AK can still be bought today from different suppliers for $500 and up but you can build a quality AR for the same or a little more and the ammo is a lot cheaper for the AR. I just can’t spend that kind of money on something that I don’t like, so I guess I will stick with the AR , it’s American made and that means a lot to me. Thanks for your service in our military too , we wouldn’t even be having a discussion on what firearms we have if it wasn’t for you and others like you that protect our freedoms.

      • Chiefbuck

        Curtis, I haven’t fired an AR since before I retired on Aug 31 2001. I missed the first big war surplus of WWII and earlier firearms in the 60’s but I took advantage of the last big dump and got an FFL and sold a load of them at cost to Marines & Sailors because I worked as a full time Navy Reserve recruiter. After I got promoted to CPO I was transferred to Washington DC and rented a house in Mt Vernon VA. I wasn’t permitted by VA law to transfer my FFL unless I rented or bought a store front. Clinton was the president then and was pretty much anti-gun. He made the license fee cost increase to get rid of part time guys like me so I just turned in my license and stopped selling guns. I rebuilt several Mauser 98 rifles, installed new surplus barrels and head spaced & checked everything that I sold. I sold anything that I could get a good price on and also got familiar with the Japanese rifles and Mosin Nagants. In one batch of Nagants I got two American made ones, a Remington and a Westinghouse. I’m a 100% disabled vet but doing OK and I don’t get to the range much anymore because our hunting property is up in Pa about 100 miles away. I still reload the stuff that I gathered through the years and hope to resume shooting as soon as I complete the latest rehab. Stay safe, Bernie

      • Curtis Johnese

        Century arms makes one for around $5-600 but I won’t buy one because I could take $600 and build me another AR in a 300 black out for that. The ammo for the 300 black out is a lot more expensive though so I will most likely stay with the 5.56 because I really love to shoot and would go broke feeding that 300.

      • Snyphilis

        As Shooter said, it’s still an AR. It loses some range vs the 5.56, BUT it is a much better round if you ever want a supressor or a short barrel rifle. 5.56 reaches full velocity in around 12″ if barrel. .300blk reaches it in about 8″. Makes for a nice SBR.

        I have a lower i am about to send away for a SBR. Planning on getting a 9″ Sig MCX .300blk upper. When they finally release them for sale as parts.

      • VeteranGunsmith at large

        It gives you the 30 cal smack of the AK with the advantages of the AR – only the bore diameter is different from the AR.

      • Curtis Johnese

        It also raises the price of your ammo when you swap from 5.56 to 300 black out. I would still rather have my AR in 5.56.

  • MC
  • Joseph Rivers

    ? How does this settle the debate?

    • Rob Doar

      Clickbait.

  • Rodger

    Compared to the AR-10?

  • Shooter McGavin

    I have an AR-15 in .223, one in .300 blackout, and I also have an AK-74, the updated 5.45x39mm version of the AK-47. If you are going to compare, the .223 should be compared to the 5.45 x 39, which the Russians designed as an answer to the M-16. The ballistics are similar, and the 5.45 round is much more accurate than the 7.62. I have shot my AK-74 at the range next to guys with AK-47’s, and they were happy with a paper-plate sized group while I was shooting groups the size of a quarter.
    Also, 7 Moa from an AR??? My Colt guarantees 1MOA, or a 1″ group at 100 yds. I can shoot 2″ groups at 100 yards with the AK-74, and with cheap Russian surplus ammo.
    One huge factor in accuracy maintenance. Yes, Ak’s are plentiful and cheaper than AR’s. They will also turn into a piece of rusted steel if you aren’t meticulous about cleaning and oiling after shooting. The metal finishing on AR’s is far superior, with the receivers being anodized aluminum and the barrel and action being melonited steel. You can shoot an AR for a long time without cleaning, and it may lose accuracy, but it won’t easily rust.
    While the mechanical simplicity of the AK can be appreciated…Yes, you can pull the trigger and it will go ‘bang’ every time….The beauty and precision of the AR is far superior. While you can swap parts and upgrade AK’s, it’s hit or miss with part compatibility due to all the variants. With the AR, there are a multitude of aftermarket parts available, and they pretty much always fit perfectly.
    While both are fun to shoot, the AR is like riding a thorobred, and the AK more like a bucking bronco. The recoil dampening system not only reduces felt recoil, but also gets you back on target faster after a shot. Shooting the AK is kind of like running an old stamping press…Due to the loose tolerances, every shot leaves you wondering if a part is going to come flying off the gun the next time you pull the trigger.
    Yes, a lot of people will say it’s personal preference, but I say you get what you pay for. And if my life was on the line, it’s AR all the way. Then again, I’m one of those politically incorrect dinosaurs who still believes in American exceptionalism.

    • Michael Anderson

      You are not alone…

      • Bill Wessels

        In combat you can trough the Ak in the mud, come back a couple of weeks later pick it up, knock off the bigger pieces and fire it. Not so with the AR. An average soldier can completely strip an AK and replace parts and repair or clean in the field without specialized tools and knowledge. (many of them can’t read). The AR is able to be field stripped only (partially dissasembled) without special training and tools. Best left to the armorer usually.

  • disqus_PDmXLtTxJj

    I have several variations of the AR-15 including one that fires 7.62×39, and I have a Saiga 12 shotgun (my favorite shotgun). My father used to have a dozen different kinds of AK-47’S when i was growing up,and knowing that, AK’s aren’t the most accurate. I prefer the AR-15.

  • Burl johnson

    I have both ars and aks. They each have their own purpose.

  • VeteranGunsmith at large

    If my life depends on it, I will take the AR – as a military select fire weapon, it has the most firepower and best accuracy as well as range. The AK has a shorter lifespan and is too heavy if you have to lug it long distances, (include a full combat load of 300 rounds in magazines). That is why the AR platform has been the right arm of democracy for over 50 years.
    The main reason the AK has such a large footprint is because Russia and China gave them away to friendly regimes across the globe for political favors. The third world is littered with AKs because of this alone. While the cold war was going on they put a lot of money into distributing the weapon – while we were concentrating on out producing the largest weapons systems like nuclear submarines, aircraft, tanks and ICBMs – which basically broke the Soviet’s bank and ended the bifurcation of Germany, they were still making AKs for their allies and no one noticed. I wish that more attention had been paid to their small arms industry, production and distribution. If so, perhaps there might have been fewer leftist regimes in the world today and instead of continuing to fight on, Russia might be more inclined to listen to the west when it comes to invading their neighbors to reclaim some lofty dream of old Soviet glory that only existed in the politburo.

    • T-14

      Dawn ascension of the sun of American weaponry over the jungles of Vietnam was marred by a large number of its own losses due to the failure of the rifle. That would be no today were talking about gunpowder, not of the system, non chrome plated the chamber, untrained soldiers how to care for a new rifle, all this baby talk, and the universal shame.
      “…Has left 72 people in our platoon and came back 19. Believe it or not, but you know what killed most of us? Our own rifle. Before we left, we were all with this new M16. In fact, every dead was found with his rifle beside him, where he tried to fix it.”
      E. Murphy Fights on the hills.

      “Nine Marines died today in the battle, six of them in rice checks right in front of the fortifications. Their bodies were found clutching an M16 in a semi assembled state with casings, jammed in the cartridge chamber. In bullet holes on their heads were traces of gunpowder.”
      The company commander “N”, BMP 3/5 PMP. Operation “swift” 4-15 September 1967, Vietnam.

      In fact, as the M16 was in Vietnam, in the Soviet Union she would not be allowed even the competition. It now does not pass any competition, or an acceptance. Neither she nor one of its German, Belgian, Israeli and other clones of the HK-416, FN SCAR, TAR-21, etc.
      The Americans, after sending Schmeisser in Izhevsk, frankly didn’t pay much attention progress in the development of small arms initiated by the Germans and brilliantly caught up in the Soviet Union. Glory to the alleged victors of the Second world war with carpet bombing, which they themselves inspired, dulled sense of smell most infantry nation in the development of the weapon control systems. The decision on the AR-15 was under time pressure, after the Korean war and the birth of AK-47. The Soviet Union after the appearance of the 7,92х33 Kurz calmly studied all the advantages and disadvantages of this cartridge, held its own fundamental research and gave a masterpiece thoughts ammunition – 7. 62×39.

      On sheer voluntarism Americans have adopted a small-caliber hunting cartridge. This cartridge, initially deprived of the opportunity for a major upgrade; the weapon under it, built on a risky and not proven to the scheme of automation, started Western arms thought to a standstill.

      Unlike the cartridge used in the West, the Soviet cartridge has all the properties required for shooting automatic weapons. Steel sleeve is precisely calculated annular flange to grip her by the extractor, and a conical shape. This ensures flawless functioning of the steel sleeve…
      American 5.56 mm cartridge M193 and the M16 have both advantages and disadvantages… the Main disadvantage is that instead of having to create a special cartridge for the automatic weapon, was used a modified cartridge with a nearly cylindrical sleeve and a small flange. When extracting the cylindrical sleeve is tight to the breech walls, so even with the slight pollution, there is a strong friction and together with a small rim that causes delays.

      Perfect strategy in the race to be a half-step behind the leader, assess his physical and technical condition, to analyze his methods of overcoming obstacles, to plan their actions in the light of its errors and in the final dash to bypass it and be the first.
      As well as the German patron, our designers carefully examined the American malinowsky and made better. Focusing on the penetration and knockdown of the American model at a distance of effective fire, was created by the cartridge less power, thereby improving the accuracy of the gun when firing bursts. This was achieved due to the elongated bullet shape with improved aerodynamics — the radius of her life was more American. To improve your cartridge by changing the aerodynamics Americans can not, will not allow the length of the liner. You can only increase the length of the bullet, as was done in the M855, sinking it inside the sleeve, but the Soviet cartridge, it seems, have still not exhausted all possibilities for its modernization, although since the emergence of 7N6, its penetration has grown more than eight times the figure for the development of technical systems is close to the threshold of genius, which, in turn, is at the level of order that is equal to ten.

      Stoner was “irregular” designer, as some of his decisions were not merely incorrect, even illiterate, and generally the impression that he was interested in weapons specifics. Outright copying of some nodes from shturmgevera, multiplied by the adventurous scheme of automation with a cylindrical sleeve, and the result is a gun misunderstanding, the reliability of which depends the life of a soldier. Although, from the point of view of engineering art AR made, and she could fly if she were a plane. But filled with water and covered with mud, the planes do not fly.

      Speaking of beauty. Aesthetics AR terrible. Straightened the butt, sawmill Picatinny rail, angles, utilization of small things that scratches not only look – a direct influence of Gothic art, pronounced in the architecture of Catholic churches. And how the opposite is the SKS, SVD, AK and PM in its original form, not ispohablennyh pop kit.

      Comparison of the structures AK and AR is part of a larger confrontation WE vs THEY. I – AK. Since I am Russian.

      And about reliability – ask the Marines in Afghanistan.And which platform they would trust with my life.

      With respect.

      And democracy is something stalling…

      Is Putin to blame?…:)

      • BrotherLazarus

        Yeah, uh. The child platforms of SCAR and H&K 400 series have been considered and discarded… because of cost, not a lack of reliability. They’re durable and reliable piston tubes, not DGI, so I think your research might be flagging a bit. The Tavor is, similarly, in active military use and supplanting the M16 family in Isreal–unless they don’t count because they disagree with Russian foreign policy?

        The 7.62x51mm NATO variants were considered because they have a lower recoil impulse than older .30 caliber select fire weapons while discarding the disappointing 5.56mm NATO chambering, but running something like twice the price of a stock M16 family rifle has kept them solely in the hands of special operations units.

  • Christine Guinn

    Rate of fire:

    AK – 600 rpm
    AR- 750-900 rpm

    BUT…try hitting anything at 600 rpm with an AK!

  • Aija

    I have one of each so I guess I can’t say one way or another 🙂

  • Rocky Gibraltar

    AKs have been AKMs, not AK-47s, since 1959. Stamped, not milled is an AKM.

  • The Ape @ApeSideAttic

    Those are two totally different weapons to me for use in different arenas. We can have that option. I do. I live in a swamp. Brushy, dense thickett, MUD.= AK.
    10 miles north. Pines. No or little underbrush. Wide open line of sight. =AR.
    I have a Browning .22 Semi…Fine rifle! That I have more fun shooting than AR.
    Frankly, that AK ‘pop’…flutters my heart.
    Aaaaaw….

    • Thomas Shue

      You are so correct. It’s like comparing apples to oranges. They should of done the Ar vs Ak74

  • The Ape @ApeSideAttic

    Another consideration with the AK? 39mm or a brick busting 51mm?

  • Thomas Shue

    They should of compared the AK 74 vs the AR15. Why not compare M1 garand to the AK 47 that’s a closer comparison to time of manufacture. It’s apples and oranges. The AK was developed as a weapon to supersed WWII era weapons. It’s a fantastic platform and in its day the dominant firepower for decades since it’s reveal.

    Fast forward 2 decades the M-16 platform hits the world stage. Fights are much closer (much less than the 900 meters of WWII), 300 meters or less. So the US responded to the change in the fight hence the entrance of the M-16. You know the drill, lighter, better accuracy, carry more ammo ECT, ECT… Before the M-16, troops carried 30.06 or .308. Yes the larger round is far superior in all aspects , except for the amount of ammo a troop can carry. During the time before the M-16 hits the stage, the AK47 was the cats ass, it is a short 30.06/.308 round in a machine gun. I know if given the opertunity to lug a M1 garand or an AK, I would take the AK if fighting in conditions 500 yards or less. Using the correct weapon for the distance fighting is critical even today. In the deserts of the middle east, many spec ops fighters are calling for the .308. The fight is at 1000 meters or more and the 556 round isn’t very effective at these distances. Remember the 556 is nothing more than a very hot .22 round.

    Sorry to get so far off track, but a fair comparison would be the AK 74 to the M-16/AR-15. Russia is not stupid, they realised quickly that the fight changed and brought to the battlefield a platform that competed effectively the M-16.

    Lastly if you want a longer range more accurate platform for the 762×39 (AK round) look no further than the lowly SKS. It’s super accurate and if you mod one, can shoot 30 rounds just like the AR or AK ( but it loads on a stripper clips).

    I so wish these so called gun experts would write a gun piece that compares apples to apples. Personally if I had to have a .556 platform, I would prefer the Israeli Tavor, but that is a whole other subject. I would love to see the best all around Military issued .556 platform, the saw included 🙂

    • Т-14

      The AR platform is flawed in its characteristics it does not say.Dead end. Has no potential for its modernization, as has been established around the caliber 5.56, which, in turn, was created for the shooting of foxes, and marmots, causing minimal damage to the carcasses of animals .

      7,62×39 was created intentionally under automatic weapon and has great potential for modernization. The same 5.. 45×39 1970.Weapons that use cartridge : the AK-105
      AEK-971
      A-545
      AK-107
      AK-12
      AK-74
      AKS-74U
      An-94
      Vahan
      Vepr
      K-3
      PU-21
      RPK-74
      RPN
      Fort-221.

      American aircraft designer Eugene Stoner, it seems, you can safely write into the category of “irregular”. Otherwise, no way to explain the emergence of the light weapons such misunderstandings as the American M16 rifle.
      In the history of the M16 was continuous lobbying and protectionism of individual personalities and generals. In one of American propaganda films about the creation of the M16 is clearly stated that when the question arose about the development of weapons under the new small-caliber bullet, an old and respected American gunsmiths from the “Springfield Armory” right said that they will need for four years.
      But there was one fellow who requested a six-month revision of its poor design the AR-10. He said, “Let’s”. So the alteration of hunting appeared cartridge SS109 (5.56×45), AR-10 turned out to be the AR-15 was accepted into service under the name M16 and the centre for the development and manufacture of firearms “Springfield Armory” was closed in 1968.

      The purpose of a constructor is to create a system with the lowest entropy. It is perfectly understood Sergeant of the Soviet Army, Mikhail Kalashnikov and poorly imagined by American engineer Eugene Stoner.

      • BrotherLazarus

        The 6.5 Grendel, .50 Beowulf, .300 Whisper, .300 Blackout, and a dozen other chamberings would like a word with you on “no moderinization”.

        I dislike the AR platform, but there are a number of modern chamberings that do, in fact, “modernize” it.

  • Charles Montgomery Rockson

    What kind of AR has 7 MOA of potential deviation? Are you shooting with Hurricane Katrina behind you? My AR, and many others I’ve shot, are typically less than 1 MOA; most came in at 1 to 2 MOA on a bad day, dirty barrel, etc.. 7 MOA and you may just have Michael J Fox behind the trigger of that AR.

    • dafaq

      I can say the same about the AKs

      It really depends on the build. I have both AK’s and AR’s. my SHTF gun would be my AK-74. Even though I put a ton of time and research into my AR, I feel my AK would be the gun I would take if things got hot. That gun at sub 100 yards is the most accurate in my collection and if things popped off, I know I would be shooting sub 100 yards. My AR is for the long shot.

      BUT if crap happened, I would not leave with out my Marlin lever 22. at Sub 50 yards, this gun is more accurate and ammo is more plentiful.

      • Curtis Johnese

        I guess that’s why America is such a great country, we can disagree and no one gets shot for it. I would choose my AR because of the abundance of parts and ammunition for them here in the USA. I would agree that a marlin 22 lever gun would be great too. Let’s just both pray that the SHTF moment doesn’t arrive anytime soon. I will say that the AK is extremely tough and hard to beat but if you take care of the AR it will do what it should when it should.

      • dafaq

        I can drink to that. I have some friends who are in the “business” and they love the AK for the fact that it can shoot in any condition compared to the AR. These guys probably drop a couple hundred thousand rounds a year, easy

  • Austin

    This graphic does a horrible job misrepresenting the AR-15 by lumping the AR-15 and the M-16 together. We face a battle of ignorance here in the US where the Anti-Gunners work tirelessly to convince the uninformed that AR-15’s are military machine guns like they see in the movies. This graphic promotes that confusion. Can we please take more care to make it very clear that an AR-15 that is purchased at Cabela’s is very different than an M-16 used on the battle field?

    • biappete

      Is it possible that the early CAR-15 (Carbines) were military?

  • Matthew

    The ak was designed in large, to militarize the ppl of Russia, after the nazi came knocking on the door to Moscow. It was designed in consideration to be neglected… To be unused for 16 years picked up and fired and still shoot.. Its pros are only knock down power, reliability and affordable bulk ammo. It has modernized a bit and gained some good upgrade options.. But imo the ar platform is better and has come further..
    Compare both to where they started to where they are now..
    The ar /m16 was designed to be the next gen battle rifle. The smaller ammo was picked to allow more for carry. Lighter rifle. Longer barrel. Rifle gas system. Field strip capabilities yield easy part change out.. The original design proved to be less effective in reliability.. But today an ar with m4 feed ramps and m4 barrel extension with gen 3 pmags is imo more reliable than any ak.
    Barrels have come Miles in quality. The ar sports modularity and has a bigger after market than most cars.
    In addition the ak sports 2 main cartridges typically found.. The ar sports 556/223, 300blk, 6.5 grendal, 6.8 spc, 22lr, 458, 50 beuwulf, 9mm, 40sw, 45acp, and even the ak 7.62..
    And if your gonna argue the ak has a better operating system many ar’s can be found with gas piston instead of dgi like rra’s piston rifles. Ruger and the faxon arak 21 just to name a few… So really this is more like comparing a 1968 chevelle to a 2015 gtr.

  • phred

    It all boils down to personal preference. I have fired both and actually enjoy the AK’s more than the AR’s. Your mileage may vary.

  • AhnoldtheGovernor
    • Mike Brown

      Ding ding ding ding! And we have a winner!!

  • Curtis Johnese

    AR if I’m here in America, AK if I’m ever in a foreign sh?t hole because if you need parts or ammo you will most likely find AK parts before you can AR parts. Since I’m never planning on leaving the USA I will cling to my AR and 1911.

  • Gringo_Cracker

    One little difference glossed-over in this comparison: Global AK-47s are mostly select-fire, while global AR-15s are mostly semi-auto. Apples and oranges, where rate-of-fire more than compensates for accuracy. Decision: AK-47. But thanks for playing!

  • budfudlacker

    AR, anywhere, anytime, any day.

    • Mike Brown

      Why limit yourself? I have both.

  • Zibian Stein

    Russia retired the AK47. THEY use variants like the AK74 utilizing the AR15-like 5.45 round. This article, although still showing the AR15 to be tactically superior, is exaggerating the AK47 stats.

    • Mike Brown

      Not really, different tool for different job. While the AR has a theoretically longer effective range the AK hits harder inside of the 400 yard mark.

  • Jolly Roger

    I had some fun over in the sandbox with captured AK-47s but the M16A1 made a believer of me.

  • Joshua Isley

    Where the hell do you find an AK for $350? Or even $600?

    • Kelan Keith

      Gunshow in Lakeland wasing selling ak for 300 a gun i bought one for 400 at a pawn shop

    • Bill Liles

      Palmetto State Armory

  • Kirk Weir

    Comparing sales in Russia from 3 generations ago??? MOA on an M16 is supposed to be 2 inches at 100 yards – and I’ve seen many service rifles that could hold 1 inch with iron sights. I don’t know that point you guys are trying to make. Both are superb platforms in their way.

  • DrJaul

    I disagree with the maximum effective range analysis. The push to field infantry weapons chambered in 30 cal, in the middle east came out of the fact that afghani fighters were engaging our troops with AK’s with good effect past 600 yards, and our 223 caliber rifles were not as effective.

    • 3 wheeler

      Our troops did not have the experience shooting at distance. That was the real difference.

    • Joseph A. Clark

      the 7.62X39 is a heavier bullet than the 5.56 NATO, and even though there is a larger powder charge behind the 5.56, it doesn’t have the mass to maintain the momentum it had when it left the muzzle. On the other hand, the powder charge of the 7.62X39 isn’t that large, the case doesn’t have the capacity of the 7.62 X 51 NATO (the .308 Win), which is used in long-range target shooting competitions at 1,000 yards…..can’t do that with the AK because the bullet won’t go that far, and the 5.56 is too light and too easily affected by wind conditions.

  • Bill Liles

    I just ask myself which one would I take to Mars? AK47

    • Former Deputy

      Neither. There may not be enough Oxygen to allow either one to function on Mars. 🙂

      • Logic Prevails

        Gunpowder has its own O2 supply. It might be too cold, but that would probably be easy enough to overcome.

  • Stanley Constantini

    The AK-47 was developed for mass production and for a semi-trained shooter to generate a high volume and rate of fire (spray n’ pray); whereas the AR-15/16 was designed for a trained shooter to use aimed fire to directly engage an enemy. I will take the AR-15/16 any day of the week and twice on Sunday….but that’s just me……

  • Former Deputy

    IMHO, there are other factors that put the AR ahead of the AK. Once is the ergonomics. The AK’s sight radius sucks, it’s stock does not lend itself to helping the shooter obtain a good sight picture, the safety lever (aka: DNA collection tool) is cumbersome and its magazine system is the worse (try doing an emergency reload in the dark of while blindfolded). Personally, I like the M1 Carbine better than the AK and would not feel outgunned if that’s what I had.

    However, most of the issues that are inherent with both platforms can be addressed through training, modifications and aftermarket add-ons. But that does not address the baseline of an untrained person being handed one or the other and provided the most rudimentary training. I also would not feel handicapped if I had to use the AK.

  • Michael Harmon

    M1A

    • John Smith

      L1A1

  • JCD

    I know of NO military that uses an AR-15 rifle. M16’s, M4, yes. AR-15, NO.

  • This info-graphic does little to subdue the debate. If anything it simply spurs it on. The information itself is debatable. I like them both for different reasons. But I own an AK. In the end they will both get the job done. Ergonomics is a futile point in this day and age. Considering the vast amount of accessories for these rifles. Most of EITHER of these rifles that are privately owned are modified in some form or another. Both are perfectly effective at eliminating a threat. Simply a matter of preference. “Better” is a matter of perception. The fact that this comparison is between a military weapon vs a civilian weapon is the first problem. These were designed under different criteria in the first place. Different times, different circumstances, and different environments. I have my preference, but only because it is more suited to my particular tastes, desires, and purposes. Both serve their owners perfectly well, but I don’t consider either particularly “better” than the other.

    • Just to touch on the “debatable” portions;

      1. AK-47 Maximum Effective Range 400 yards? = I call BS. And I will personally testify to it.

      2. Weight and Length Spec? = Debatable. Most of these privately owned are slightly if not highly modified

      3. Rounds Per Minute? = Irrelevant And Deceptive. PRIVATELY OWNED AK-47’s are GENERALLY not fully automatic. And the AR-15 is NOT A FULLY AUTOMATIC rifle. “Rounds Per Minute” would be subjective to the specific shooters capabilities.

      4. Manufacturers? = While I can’t verify this I’m pretty certain there are more than 30 manufacturers of the AK-47 platform “including variants”. And even if there isn’t HOW many EACH manufacture produces is debatable as well.

      5. Service Life? = Again I call BS. Under no circumstance will you EVER convince me that an AR-15 has a LONGER operational life than AK-47. The AK-47 has MORE than proven its durability, and reliability, in a multitude of environments. In reality I’m pretty confident these years would most likely be pretty close.

      6. Accuracy? = I will admit that most AR-15 platforms I have fired tend to be slightly more “accurate” than the AK-47 platforms. But how much of that depends on the ammunition utilized as well? And 30% more? Again I call BS. And I can personally testify to it. I would say maybe 5%-10% at max. And lets not even get into using 1500 yard tables for either of these platforms being completely ludicrous.

      • Tuulos

        7. Usage map is wrong too. There are several countries marked as AR-15 users while in reality they either use AK or neither.

      • Tommassa

        Exactly, for example Argentina uses the Argentine production of the FAL, even though their navy infantry uses M16a2 and special forces of many branches would us m4, car-15 but also AUG or g3

  • Joseph A. Clark

    I’d like to see someone fire an AR-15 at 700 – 950 rounds per minute…….I doubt even Jerry Miculek could work his trigger finger that quickly for that amount of time……

    • Gold Stars

      One needs to realize this is such and incorrect article! Government’s do not buy the AR-15, they use the M-16 and M4’s. They do in fact cycle at the mentioned rate!

  • John Kanellopoulos

    AKs are used in Venezuela. Map has it all blue.

  • odddave

    600 yards? Seriously?

  • Bill Stafford

    I have both and shoot both equally. I think my AR (Ruger SR556FB) is lighter and slightly more accurate, but the AK (C39V2) is much easier to maintain and way less finicky about being clean. My AR is a piston gun and runs much cooler than DI ARs do. Love both of these rifles. (BTW, I can barely see 600 yds. I would never take a shot at that range with either of these guns.)

  • Gold Stars

    Total BS article in many ways! A true AK-47 is a military select fire weapon, while the AR-15 is the civilian semi-auto variant of the M-16!
    Shows the author has little knowledge of what he is writing about!!

  • Chris

    The pricing on AKs vs. ARs has virtually flip-flopped in recent years.
    My first Ak was the Romanian WASR-10 – paid $319 for it.
    Now you can’t hardly touch an Ak for under $600 while I can get an Ar15 all day for south of $500.
    That said, the price comparison on the chart seems out of whack to me.

  • jeffrey thurston

    AR guys live in a fantasy land. The USA is a fantasy land- compared to 90% of the earth so clean, so civilized, so happy- life is good. You have time to clean and mollycoddle weapons- even out in the field in our so called “wars”! The M-16, M-4 and Ar-15 all suffer from bad industrial design- no amount of features and tweaks can take away the base BAD design. The AK is genius- and ultimately reliable and lethal whether in 7.62X39 or 5.45X39. The 5.45 is a beautiful perfection of the stupid straight-shouldered jammomatic .223! Face facts fellas…

  • jeffrey thurston

    I’ve owned both types- I innocently started out with an Armalite AR-15 (post-ban-remember those days?), then an Eagle Arms with a carbine upper. Gas rings failure, the stupid star-shaped bolt, the counter-intuitive bolt carrier that really doesn’t want to work, the blasting of gas all over the action, the idiotic bolt-face ejector, the 2 hour cleaning procedure and the constant mollycoddling with q-tips and cleaners etc.etc. DROVE ME NUTS!! The AK is genius- brutally simple yet it wants to work- it wants to go off. Built for the real world- not shooting at paper targets. And soooooo much more fun! It likes to blast- it likes to go through 500 rounds at a time-and then- IT DOESN’T NEED CLEANING!!! Never a hiccup- it likes to work. The AR is a range gun- the AK a true battle rifle. Accuracy is a fantasy necessity in real life battle- shooting lots of bullets in a general direction is the reality- I bet that secretly even our special ops guys would prefer an AK platform…