Firearms Friday: Resurrecting a $79 Rifle, Part II -- Range Report
August 21, 2014
"Learner" Licenses Coming to Your State? They Should.
July 29, 2014
Rules for Buying a Motorcycle on Craigslist, Part 1: The Hunt
September 1, 2014
AK vs. AR: You've Missed the Point. Buy Both.
August 1, 2014
I write about motorcycles and firearms, which have more in common than just being symbols of phallic potency popular with mid-lifers. They both harbor sub-cults that are (1.) dedicated to certain brands or styles, and (2.) Regard rival sub-cults with pity, contempt, or both. Today I want to propose an end to a very annoying and unnecessary rifle rift: The AK/AR schism.
It feels like 30 percent of firearm-based internet content is dedicated to beating this very dead horse. Forum threads that began in 1992 on community dial-up services rage on, unbowed by time or technology’s forward march. Not really, but you get the idea. People talk about it a lot.
A or B, pick a team, they're all bad and we're all good -- all examples of lazy or nonexistent thinking. The constant strife is unnecessary. And not because it’s a Coke/Pepsi thing. It’s because it’s a Dodge Truck/Ferrari thing.
Why not have both?
There’s no good reason not to. Forget the stereotypical image of the AK type or the AR type. If you have both, you're just the prepared type.
Not only can it be fairly inexpensive, it’s the smart maneuver. No matter which ammo (7.62 or .223/5.56) gets scarce in your area, you’re still in the game. Hell, you could go with an AK-74 and stock up on 5.45 x 39. It's like this: In an emergency, you can use a Bowie knife for a scalpel and vice versa.
Let’s say you have a nice AR, maybe a Sig Sauer or a Colt. You’ve spent over a thousand dollars, and a thousand rounds of ammo will set you back $250-$350 or more, depending on your taste. Now let’s run out and buy another $600 in doodads to hang off the Sig/Colt. You’re easily over $2,000 at this point. Wouldn’t it be a reasonably-priced insurance policy to get yourself a Bulgarian or similar AK for $450-$650 and a 1,000-round case of Tula for 250 bucks? You’ve just expanded your emergency capabilities considerably. Get it sighted in/zeroed, break it in, practice a little more and put it away. No one says you have to like the damn thing, but you should like the security margin it affords.
And you over there with the AK. You probably think you’ll have to spend 2 grand to get set up with an AR. You’re wrong. Just this week I bought the well-regarded Smith and Wesson M&P 15 Sport for $580 including FFL transfer. Sure, it doesn’t have a forward assist or dust cover, but come on. AR owners are much like Porsche owners – what percentage actually use the car or the rifle at the top of its capability? The dust cover and forward assist are simply not necessary in my philosophy of use. The S&W Sport is the strippo model, but I’m not a tacticool gadget freak so that’s fine with me. I’ll buy it some medium-priced glass and be done with it. I like both AK's and AR's though, so I'll be shooting this one. I own no safe queens.
Yeah, yeah. You could spend that money instead on ammo for your current guns. Or you could by a Ruger Mini-14 or Mini-30, although I think they’re kind of pricy for what you get.
But neither of those purchases would create that long-awaited kumbayah moment of AR and AK owners coming together, and finally shutting the hell up.
By the way, my AK is a Yugo M70AB2 underfolder. Even though everyone knows an AK isn’t as good as an SKS.