Thursday, December 27, 2007

AK vs AR, .45 vs 9mm, .308 vs 5.56 etc etc

This argument just gets beaten to death. It seems that every time I turn around I get sucked into a debate on the subject. The bottom line is that there are pros and cons to every one of these calibers and the weapon systems associated with them. When you think of the 5.56 round the first gun that comes to mind is the M-16/AR-15. Everyone knows what this gun is. Anyone that's been in the military in the last 30 years or so has probably had experience with it. It's also got a huge following with firearms hobbyists all over the US. The AK is probably one of the most easily recognized firearms in the world. To some it's a symbol of freedom. To others it's a symbol of terrorism and anarchy. Then there are the sensible people that recognize it for what it is...an inexpensive, durable, reliable piece of equipment that you can always count on to work when you need it. .308 is another "serious" rifle caliber. Most hunters would recognize it as a solid intermediate hunting round. It's getting harder and harder to find a hunting rifle chambered in .308, though. The military style rifles are relatively expensive and the ammo has gone up in price drastically. While the ballistics of the round itself are great there are just too many drawbacks from the weapon systems that employ it such as the weight of the guns, the weight of the ammo, the relatively limited capacity of the magazines, etc etc. Then you've got the big handgun argument. 9mm is the deadliest caliber in the US. It kills more people in the US than any other caliber year after year. It's also the cheapest handgun caliber (besides .22 which really can't be considered as a viable defense caliber). .45 seems to be what it's compared to the most often. It's a great round but it's twice as big (and heavy), twice as expensive and the guns tend to have a much lower capacity.

Now that I've covered the basics let's get to the point. NONE OF THAT CRAP MATTERS! If you point a gun at a person, pull the trigger and manage to hit them then there is a good chance that they'll be discouraged from continuing their attack. Even if you DON'T hit them they might just go "OH SHIT" and turn tail and run once they realize that you're not as soft a target as they originally thought. You might be able to put a full magazine into a hole the size of a quarter from 100 yards from a bench with your $2000 AR but do you think that you'll have that kind of accuracy when your heart rate is 130 beats per minute, you've been walking for 10 miles and you're being shot at? What it comes down to is that the person behind the gun is much more important than the gun that you choose. You hear cute little anecdotes about how badass our troops are because of their M-4s all the time or how worthless the AK is because the terrorists that are shooting them never hit shit. Give our troops the AKs and their troops the M-16s and it wouldn't change a thing. We would still hit our targets and they would still be a bunch of untrained peasants who are pissed off at the world and think that picking up a gun and shooting Americans will make everything better.

What it comes down to is that training matters a hell of a lot more than the gun that you choose to use. That $2000 AR with 50 mags and 10k rounds of ammo sitting at the house won't do you a damn bit of good if you get shot in the face because you walked right into an ambush the first time you decided to go on a patrol. Learn how to shoot. Learn about battlefield tactics. Learn basic infantry tactics. Learn how to setup and recognize an ambush. Learn what to do if you get fired upon. Knowledge will help you a lot more than the most high speed gun and thousands of rounds of ammo. When you become some kind of badass that's confident and knows how to react in those types of situations then it won't matter what kind of gun you've got. That's not to say that you won't be more picky. You'll just know exactly why you're choosing to spend more on a different weapon system rather than taking someone's advice from the internet. Here's one of my rules to live by. Until you know WHY you need to spend more money on something then don't bother spending more money on it. Another thing to think about is that eventually you get to the point where you're spending a LOT more money for a marginal improvement in performance. When I get to that point I like to ask myself whether or not it's really worth it.

11 comments:

theotherryan said...

I heard something that sort of puts the whole caliber debate into perspective "stopping power only matters if you don't hit the 10 ring". A slight over simplification but more truth then not. If you look at a large number of gunfights; the common theme is that getting accurate fire on target is FAR MORE IMPORTANT then what kind of gun you have, its stopping power or magazine capacity.

Obviously a fight with 6 guys while carrying have a five shot revolver is not going to be a good day. If the enemy is a half a mile away your AK47 is not going to be able to accurately engage them. Regardless of the situation the man behind the gun is far more important then the gun itself.

The Urban Survivalist said...

It doesn't matter what kind of gun you have. If you're alone and you get in a firefight with 6 guys then you're probably screwed unless you surprise them. As for the 500 yards thing as long as you don't get hit by the initial shot and you get your head down as soon as you hear it then your chances are pretty good. Just start moving and get behind cover. I don't care how good of a shot the person is. Hitting a moving target is damn near impossible at long distances.

fallout11 said...

If someone is shooting at me from 500 yards, I will thank them for the courteous warning shots, and then respond appropriately.

Best post in ages, urbansurvivalist. Way too much arguing and pissing contest mentality going on at "other blogs" over stupid stuff like this, mostly from those with no actual combat experience (i.e., ignorant 'wisemen') to teach them otherwise.

Mike In MN said...

This is exactly what I was trying to say at Bison's blog before the heckler jumped me and tried to shout me down.

Very good post.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the post. But I am searching for a real comparison of the damage that can be done from a .308 vs that of a standard .556 nato round.

Anonymous said...

7.62, the ak round, or the .308 (interchange-able, but not recommended) is larger than the 5.56 round, by my logic and nothing else... it should make a bigger hole. But it won't penetrate as far, again by my logic, because it is not traveling as fast as the 5.56.

Anonymous said...

anonymous is incorrect. the "ak round" is a 7.62x39mm round, whereas the .308 win is a 7.62x51mm round. They are absolutely NOT interchangeable. Also, the penetration of both rounds far surpasses that of the .223 remington round (5.56x45)because the bullet has more mass to carry the energy through the target. And the .308 has a higher muzzle velocity than the .223, so get your facts straight.

Anonymous said...

lol anon#2 you called it. so did the urban survivalist, ar and ak require different strategies but both preform so similarly that unless you're an incredibly battle hardened veteran with extensive experience using both you probably wont ever notice. the average combat distance in urban combat is something like 60 ft, and even at 100 yards the difference in accuracy marginal at best (like 1/2" difference in grouping diameter) so grab the one that fits you better.

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Anonymous said...

Go with the 5.56/.223 good optics and spend as much time at the range as you can. Bring your wife too, because while she's bitching about being there it will help you remain calm under duress.

Firearms Safety Training MA said...

Obviously the AK is a better gun than AR because it has a larger bullet 7.62mm compared to the 5.56mm of the ar-15. It has better accuracy having less misfires and jams in the field when it gets dirty.