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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Beyond The Wall
    Posts
    45,932

    Default STATE OF THE AK - 2017/18

    I was working on a couple of rifles for my son and I for a backcountry expedition we are planning. Deep in the weeds for a few days...land nav, huge elevation changes, no human contact nor likely, cell phones. Area populated by black bear and lions...and maybe a couple of bad guy meth types. We will be using two SBR suppressed 300 BO incidentally. But as I was replacing them in the safe I glanced at my only AK left. It is an Arsenal SLR-107 UR. Bought on the eve of the Kenyan's election and SBR'd. Sporting an Ultimak rail and Aimpoint Micro, it was the epitome of the AK system in the heyday of the AK (2008-2012). With it and Lapua ammo I hit head shots in front of students out to 250 yards.

    I brought it out and began working it. The manual of arms we developed was still there. So it prompted me to have a peek into the AK world. After my workout (still being careful to stay on the right side of the Chambers line after surgery) I took a look. Here is what I saw.

    1). The AK world still seems to be divided into three groups.

    a). One keeps companies like Century and Wolf alive and feed on how cheap everything is. These WASR wizards are the same crowd that has given rise to the Polymer 80 in the Glock world, and eventually will comoditize everything they touch...meaning that both prices and quality will drop like flies.

    b). Another group are the traditionalists. I admit I was a part of that line when I developed the material for the AK. They want everything ComBloc and use the graphic of the Soviet soldier saying "Nyet...rifle is fine" when faced with the myriad of inventions. This group keeps Arsenal, Kvar and Vepr in business and want tradition and quality.

    c). Finally you have the innovators. They tend into both camps and try to make the rifles better. Eventually you end up with an AR for twice what an AR would have cost.

    2). The era of the build a rifle that will be as good as an Arsenal has passed. Today you get a century or you get an Arsenal. Nothing really in the middle. There are still people converting Saigas but is a $2500 "Traditional" rifle built on a Saiga better than the same result from Arsenal? I don't know. With Saigas and Molot and other Russian weapons being prevented from import...???

    3). I find it the height of hilarity and indicative of the thievery evident in the gun world that our "Red October" name for the yearly AK training event was grabbed up by a few guys (who incidentally know me) without even asking, for - wait for it - an IPSC-esque AK competition. Head shakes and eyes roll...

    4). New stuff? We saw Magpul bring out their accessories...but into a market that is flooded with accessories. The magazines however are far better in my opinion than any US made mags and as good as the high cost Circle ten magazines. I notice that the accessory market has remained fairly stagnant for the AK. Not much new since I moved away. The training? Head shaking again. I see a few places doing them...and under the guise of nebulous backgrounds, teaching all the crap that we laughed at when the US instructors were running their AKs like it was an M4.

    I don't know. I will keep my SBR, run it now and again to keep the hand in...but I am not seeing much changed since 2012. And I expect I will post an identical post in ten years.
    Gabriel Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Western WA
    Posts
    5,899
    Agreed on all points.

    I still like running the AK...in the way you like running and old muscle car. Always fun but some things are lacking compared to modern choices.

    The AK was what brought me into SI, so I have a spot for it. In some ways it's still the rifle I am most comfortable with.

    But with my SI Recce, I can make eyeball shots at 100 and body shots at 1000. My 300 pistol can fold into a laptop bag. Can't do that with any of my AKs.
    Brent Yamamoto
    Suarez International Tier 1 Staff Instructor

    Ready, willing, able. Bring it.

    Instagram: karate_at_1200fps

    Upcoming classes:

    Pistol Groundfighting, Texas

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    East Coast
    Posts
    373
    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Yamamoto View Post
    I still like running the AK...in the way you like running and old muscle car. Always fun but some things are lacking compared to modern choices.
    Well said. Its a rifle that's nice to take out and get a reminder of how things were or how things are for the other guy but whenever we train with it we're seeing what we can do in spite of the weapon.

    I have mine because I enjoy them and to keep some foreign weapons proficiency. They are not first choice weapons.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    8,251
    I like them still, manual of arms are ingrained in my dna now(thanks to Gabe). But, I never stop trying to better myself.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Posts
    679
    Good stuff. Thanks for the insight.
    Be alert, stand firm in the faith, act like a man, be strong. Your every action must be done with love.

    “Adversity introduces a man to himself.”

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Made it to Free America
    Posts
    13,252
    I think theres still a place for the AK, admittedly its a lot smaller since 300BlkOut has become a Walmart round in both Super and Subsonic loads. I have or have had AKs from all three classes, plus some from some well known and one now infamous builder. Yep the good and great ones are pure treasures to handle and use in a fight. The base line models are, well, baseline--minimum standard quality. Likewise Ive used and handled similar minimum quality ARs; but treasure my Tier One guns.

    Perhaps the best feature of AKs is the lack of a buffer tube that makes them more portable and potentially concealable. I recall carrying a full size Underfolder around an apartment complex in a folding chair bag without anyone noticing. With a SBRd AK (or folding braced pistol), the AK can be small AND fired from that small package--a AR cant do that (at least not more than once). Is that a big deal IDK....but it is a feature at least worth of consideration. Nothing folds slimmer than a UFer AK. Is it a perfect package--no far from it..but it is an option not otherwise available in a AR

    Now none of this means that I would choose a AK over a AR, neither would I stock up on a "family" of AKs today. The AR is king but a quality AK is far from useless

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    East Coast
    Posts
    373
    Another interesting data point. A well known firearms commentator noted that some of the Russians he met with had preferred to use captured Bushmaster M4 type rifles from Georgia when deployed.
    If you have access to the best AKs and still choose a Bushmaster what does that say about the AK?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Leesville LA
    Posts
    2,228
    I've got the same SGL21\63 and SLR 106 that I had when I started training with SI I keep red dots and the standard iron sights on them make sure that they are zeroed and run them every once and awhile I noticed the last time I ran m 106 the zero on the dot seemed to waiver when it got hot. I think it is good to have a couple and be proficient with them but if I have to grab a rifle it's going to be one of my ARs by the time I add a magnified optic to an AK it weighs as much as a 308 might as well run a 308 at that point.

    Sent from my K88 using Tapatalk
    The gun has played a critical role in history. An invention that has been praised and denounced... Served Hero and villain alike... and carries with it moral responsibility. To understand the gun is to better understand history.

    KRG 9/11/11, PSGS 3/23/12, CPM 8/11/12, ACPM 8/18/12, M4 Sniper Week 2/20/13, TMCO 4/27/13, ATM 10/26/13, Wilderness Warrior Weekend 6/19/15, CRG-1 9/26/15, TASI 1/23/16, Wilderness Warrior Weekend 9/30/16

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Exiled in Texas
    Posts
    7,152
    The last few years, I've wanted to pick up an AK-47 again. I don't expect it to be my go-to-war gun, but I would enjoy having one around to play with, use for familiarity training, and to raise in the air while I watch Red Dawn. But every decent example I've come across in recent years was way more money than it was worth. While I've seen smoking hot deals on AR15s, I have seen none on AK-pattern rifles. I see cheap AKs at middling prices, and good AKs at exorbitant prices. But I can build a match quality AR that is customized to my preferences and do it so inexpensively that I am rapidly accumulating more rifles than I can justify to my wife.
    Virtute et Armis

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    8,251
    Quote Originally Posted by LawDog View Post
    The last few years, I've wanted to pick up an AK-47 again. I don't expect it to be my go-to-war gun, but I would enjoy having one around to play with, use for familiarity training, and to raise in the air while I watch Red Dawn. But every decent example I've come across in recent years was way more money than it was worth. While I've seen smoking hot deals on AR15s, I have seen none on AK-pattern rifles. I see cheap AKs at middling prices, and good AKs at exorbitant prices. But I can build a match quality AR that is customized to my preferences and do it so inexpensively that I am rapidly accumulating more rifles than I can justify to my wife.
    Let me know if you want something in 223.:)

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