6 Keys to Choosing the RIGHT Tactical Rifle - AR15 or AK47?

6 Keys to Choosing the RIGHT Tactical Rifle - AR15 or AK47?

The world doesn't seem to be getting any better, so it's a prudent decision for all freedom-loving, law-abiding folks to consider purchasing, customizing and being trained to responsibly handle either an AK-47 or AR-15... just in case things continue in the direction they are going. When we start talking about military style weapons (like the Ar-15 or AK-47) for survival, we are talking about a time in the future, when things have gotten really bad. Oftentimes referred to as the world without the rule of law (WROL). We want to be clear with you, the reader, that we are not advocates of violence for the sake of violence. However we do think there are certain tools that can increase your ability to defend yourself in an event where utilizing a rifle is warranted. Let us assume for a moment that this has happened. So let's take a look at the merits of the Ar-15 vs. the AK-47 using six major categories as our guide.


An AK47 or an AR15?


Both the AK47 and the AR15 have an effective range inside of 400 yards. However, the AR15 has the ability to effectively go out to 600 yards quite well. And in the hands of someone who invests a fair amount of time into training and shooting, it is effective even further.

  • Thumbs up to the AR15 on for it's effectiveness at longer ranges.


An AK47 or an AR15?
The AK47 cartridge is 7.62X39mm. The AR15 is 5.56X45. If you are unfamiliar with those measurements they are millimeters. This allows the AK47 round to carry more powder which in effect gives it more muzzle energy considering that the bullet of the "AK round" is nearly twice the weight of the AR15 round. So, in it's most basic sense the muzzle energy is the power of the projectile as it leaves the muzzle (business end) of the gun. The muzzle energy of the typical AK47 round is about 1500 ft. lbf, whereas the AR15 is around 1300 ft. lbf
  • Thumbs up to the AK47 for caliber and stopping power.


An AK47 or an AR15?


Functionality and Ease of Use

This consideration is certainly subjective to the individual user. The AK47 is more widely used worldwide than any other weapon. The AR15 is more widely used here in the United States. It is this author’s opinion that the AK47 is harder to manipulate the safety, the bolt carrier, the trigger and (by design) it has much more "kick". The AR15 is much easier to manipulate the safety, bolt carrier, trigger, and by design has very little kick at all. For a beginner seeking these weapons out, you will certainly find the AR15 much easier to manipulate. You can also add other parts to increase the function of it much easier than the AK47. There are an incredible amount of other parts to personalize your AR15 over and above the AK47. Items such as grips, lights, stocks, sights, optics are incredibly diverse and numerous for the AR. The AK does have some options. Just simply not as many.

  • Thumbs up to the AR-15 for ease of use and general simplicity of function.


Maintenance / Cleaning

An AK47 or an AR15?

This a very easy one to determine. Without a doubt the AK47 is much easier to maintain. It has been said that you can open the action of the AK47, dump a handful of mud in it, put it together and it will still run. It is true, I have done it. Both weapons are easy to field strip (basic breakdown) and clean. However, you mostly do not have to do it with the AK. I know of many fellows who have NEVER cleaned their AK47. The abuse they take and keep on running is phenomenal.


 AK47 - Basic Take Down.
The AR15 bolt carrier group has several small pins and gas rings that break after long and hard use and must be replaced. While this is easy to do with a small amount of maintenance, I am still leaning towards the AK here.
  • Thumbs up to the AK47 ease of maintenance and cleaning.



This is subjective to the individual user. While some people that may carry a weapon are the human form of a mule and can carry insane amount of loads. I can easily make a guess that there is no one that wants to carry any more weight than you have to. An AK47 with a fully loaded magazine (30 rounds) is around 10.9 lbs. (depending on the stock etc.) The AR15 with a fully loaded (30 rounds) magazine is around 8.8 lbs. Those 2.1 lbs do not sound like much until you start carrying it for several days. They then start feeling like 210 lbs.

  • Thumbs up to the AR15 on this aspect.
An AK47 or an AR15?



The almighty dollar places a part in this doesn’t it? It certainly does, we all come from different backgrounds and budgets. Much like the weight consideration, less is better here. Considering you can buy both used and new weapons that will function very well for you, the range on pricing is significant. The range on AK47s in my area of the world is currently $400 up to $600, with the difference being determined because of wear and tear and add-ons that are on the weapon at the time of purchase. The AR15 range starts around $600 and goes up to around $1500. Although a person can build their own AR for around $500 if they shop around for parts. The price of ammunition is also much cheaper for the AK47. Although ammo prices vary greatly depending upon current political, social and world events. Check with your favorite ammo supplier to see what it's currently running.

  • Thumbs up to the AK47 for generally being lower in price.


Which Rifle is RIGHT for You?

You were probably guessing this would come to be a tie. For good reason, both of these weapons will do what you want them to do - work well, are rugged, accurate, have been proven in the field and go "bang" when you pull the trigger . If you only look at these six basic reasons of choice then the AR15 and AK47 stand pretty even. I think it boils down to price really. What fits your budget? If you can afford an AR15 I would go with it, simply because it is easier to function and it weighs less. If you cannot afford the AR15, then do not worry yourself. The AK47 is a workhorse of a gun, can take a beating, and keeps on running and doing its job.


~ About Craig Caudill ~

Craig Caudill is the Founder and Chief Instructor of Nature Reliance School. He specializes in wilderness and urban survival, land navigation, scout/tracking and defensive tactics training for private, public and government agencies. Craig is a frequent survival and preparedness contributor to TV outlets, blog sites, magazines and is a popular online outdoor educator on YouTube via Nature Reliance and Dan's Depot channels. Craig also has a regular show on CarbonTV. Craig also has advanced rank in both Judo and Aikido and continues to teach and train after 20+ years of training in each and is also an avid student of all things gun. Forever a student, Craig always attempts to find ways to help others to develop their mindset and critical thinking skills so they can think on their own, for themselves.

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