The good old, the famous, the loved and hated, the AK47. Is it the right gun for you and can you decide which one to buy?
One thing is certain, you can hate it or love it, but there are so many AKs out there, that you get dizzy just trying to sort out which is which and what is what. Don`t worry, we have done that for you, but it has caused us some headaches too.
Granted, the AK47 does gets some hate, but with so many makes and models, variants, and sub-variants out there, there is also an undeniable amount of love for this gun in the world. That does not come as a surprise when we look at the history of this rifle.
Born as the Avtomat Kalashnikova 1947, short AK47, it became the assault rifle of the communist Eastern Bloc. Built for a mass army, it was rugged, but it was also light compared to the guns it replaced, and it was select fire. At that time, you either had a rifle or a sub-machine gun. The rifle was rather long and cumbersome, and, if you were lucky, semi-automatic. If not, it was still a bolt-action system. It was good at longer ranges but of lesser use in close quarters. On the other hand, the sub-machine gun was either full auto or select fire, good for close quarters, but rather useless at anything beyond that.
The AK47 offered a great enhancement. It was not necessarily the first of its kind, that was the StG 44, but it was a significant improvement. What it offered was the ability to be used in semi-automatic at ranges of up to 300 meters pretty much like a rifle and in close quarter battles in full auto like a submachine gun. In other words, you got two in one. This was possible thanks to the intermediate cartridge, and its design.
However, that was not all. As a still rather new thing, it did not come with a lot of teething problems and the need to be pampered all the time. Instead, it could be thrown on concrete, buried in mud and sand, and still reliably perform its duty. That was a gun for the masses. And this is what makes it so awesome. In fact, it makes it so awesome that it is still in production today, after more than a hundred million copies have been made. Speaking of copies, it was of course copied from many countries and manufacturers, and many of them added their own small improvements.
Its revolutionary concept and its ruggedness were big factors helping its success, but alone, that would not have been enough. What further sets the AK47 apart, is that it is easy in every regard. That means, you don’t need a lot of training, its production does not require a lot of material, time, or money, and even maintaining it is rather effortless. This made this gun a real winner. Compare it to an AR15, the latter has a lot going for it, but when it comes to ease of use, production, or maintenance, the AK47 wins hands down.
OK, there are some downsides to it as well. The ergonomics could be much improved and the recoil is terrible. When it comes to accuracy, there is nothing much to say, but who needs all this? Look at the users of this gun, they do not have much to compare this gun to, so there won’t be any complaints about the ergonomics. The recoil? Same, where there is no comparison, there is no complaint. And accuracy? Who is barely trained to begin with does not need the accuracy of a sniper rifle as he cannot use it anyway. What the typical user of an AK47 needs is simplicity. Easy to use, easy to maintain, and cheap, is all it has to be, and the AK47 excels in all of that.
Here come the best AK47s on the market and available for you.
Arsenal offers a series of high-end AKs imported from Bulgaria. They might be the best AKs on the market, but they do come with a price that represents that. Take the SLR-107. This is in fact a whole series of rifles offering you different features ranging from rails over bayonet lugs all the way to sights block and gas block combinations. And the price? It is well north of $1400 all the way to $2000. However, you get your money`s worth with it.
The WASR 10 is one of the most available foreign AK47s. It is manufactured in Romania and has a reputation for being not necessarily of the best quality but the cheapest. Taking a quick look at it, and you can actually confirm this very fast.
You know if you have a mag in without looking, as it rattles a lot. The front side needs to be zeroed, and it will be in a ridiculous position once that is done. Better use a red dot. Don`t bother using a scope. At a greater range, it is more of a spray and pray anyway.
So, why have it then? Because it works. You might not become a sniper with it, but whenever you squeeze that trigger, there is a boom and a projectile flying to the target. Given, the target should be big and close enough to be hit, but man size and below 300 yards is absolutely doable.
Thanks to the rattling mags it is also not too picky in what you stick into it. What looks like an AK47 magazine will fit. And one more time, it simply shoots anytime. Bury it in sand or mud, the only thing you achieve is making yourself dirty when you shoot it. The rifle itself will just fire as normal. And the price? Depending on the time and issue of the day, it will be around $700-$1000.
Palmetto State Armory is famous for weapons made 100% in the US with a good quality, reliability and this for a super affordable price. How is this possible? This manufacturer does everything in house beginning with the raw material and ending with the finished rifle. The results prove that this concept works.
The AKs from Palmetto State Armory are completely forged. That gives them the maximum strength and reliability for which AK is famous. All of that you get starting at $499. This is budget and quality combined in a way that seemed impossible before.
Palmetto State Armory also has a model that might be a little bit less budget but still not expensive in comparison. That is the AK-103 or rather a clone of this model. The original AK-103 is part of the Ak-100 series, an update of the AK-74M.
The barrel comes from FN Herstal and is cold hammered with a chrome lining. Also, you get a muzzle break. It helps a lot with the rather hefty recoil of the 7.62×39 mm round. Not only is this AK-103 still affordable, it also gives you the option to get it with a fixed or folding stock.
If you look for something more extraordinary, go with Krebs. They have a good reputation, but also a high price. Here again, you get a range of different variants from which you can choose the AK of your dreams with all the bells and whistles you want. However, expect to pay in the ballpark of $2000.
Sometimes, size does matter. If you want the AK feel but in a smaller package, go for an AK pistol. Palmetto State Armory offers you for that the AK-V and -P. The V comes in 9mm and the P in 7.62×39.
The AK-V is actually based on the Russian Special Forces Vityaz-SN. Thanks to that, it is in high demand, so when you see it, buy it before it is gone.
The P in the AK-P stands for pistol what could be expected. Now, guess what the V in the AK-V stands for.
You want it small? You want it tacticool? Looks matter to you? Great, here it comes, the Lead Star Arms Barrage AK47. Long name, but short gun, and a cute little baby it is. It does not even set you back too much with a price tag of around $900. For that, you get a gun with a 4130 steel receiver and a return to zero picatinny pivoting top cover. This means, forget the side rail and keep your zero after every maintenance.