The AR15 is one of the most highly prized, accurate, and inexpensive rifles on the civilian market today. Because of that, not many people, especially beginners bat an eye when they are met with a firearm that actually has better results than the AR-15.
The AR-15 is one rifle of a particular platform originating from the original AR-15 made by Eugene Stoner of Armalite. While the AR-15 is a decent rifle, with good ballistics, the AR-15 is far from new. Designed in the 50s, it has been almost 70 years old as a platform, and even then, and especially in war, it was not seen as even a competitor among other competing firearms. That is especially true when it comes to the firearms on the opposing side of the US armed forces. So what is better than an AR-15?
Is the AR-15 Reliable?
Of course! There is around 70 years worth of trial and error, an aftermarket that has exponentially grown a community of builders to test and devise new ideas for the AR-15. In fact the AR-15 is not even really just one single gun, but rather a platform to call a gun made of the same style. The AR-15 is capable of a lot, and for its modular design alone, it is almost unbeatable.
The AR-15 is made almost completely of aluminum, a lightweight yet durable metal used to make Airplanes. So that means it ought to be able to withstand a lot of force right? Not necessarily. The AR-15 does not actually hold that well when in contact with abrasive forces. The metal is quick to shave, and must even be finished in such a way that it will not be susceptible to the elements.
A common technique for gun metal durability is blueing, however the AR-15 relies on anodizing, an electrochemical process that strengthens the exterior of the AR-15 against corrosion. However, when in contact with abrasive forces, there is not much by way of protection that the AR-15 can offer.
The other parts of the AR-15 are made of the polymer, which until recently hadn’t really been strong enough for more than a grip and buttstock. However, polymer is much better against abrasive forces, despite not being able to withstand as much of the force of the explosions created by the firing of the gun. That being said, polymer is still weak compared to the materials used in other guns, despite many advancements to polymer technology especially in recent years.
The Ballistics of the AR-15
The AR-15 is capable of shooting its projectile at around 600 yards with a muzzle velocity of around 3,000 fps. This is very good and very fast. It still does not add up to the ballistic capabilities of some of the other rifles, however, the AR-15 was primarily designed as an all purpose rifle. The AR-15 today, with a little bit of customization, can be made to shoot farther and faster than its standard range and muzzle velocity. The AR-15, ballistically, is a master of none, Jack of all trades. The AR platform can be pushed to the brink of its limits through modification, however, this can be costly, and the final cost may even end up being around the price you might have paid for a gun that could already do what you wanted in the first place.
Why would you want an AR-15?
The AR-15 is capable of being modified to fit the purpose of its owner. However, it is still an AR-15 at the end of the day. It still relies on a series of simply designed parts that are easy to take out. So while owning and operating an AR-15 is very easy, there is still the risk of human error and malfunction more so than other rifles that are built tighter. The AR-15 takes a lot more know-how in order to maximize its operation and modification, whereas, because other guns cannot do the same, it requires a lot less know-how in order to effectively operate.
Also Read: What is an AR-15 Scope mount?
The AK vs the AR-15?
The AK-47 was made around the same time as the AR-15 and has seen battle against forces using the AR-15 in multiple conflicts throughout the globe and throughout history. That being said, in the Vietnam war especially, the American soldiers were issued the M-16 after becoming the new standard issue rifle, succeeding the M14. The M-16 had very poor initial results, and therefore many of the US soldiers actually took to swapping out their M-16s for the SKS or the AK-47s which had been given to the Vietnamese forces by the then Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, or the USSR.
The gun swaps among the American soldiers became so rampant, that there was even a time when the US government had made pallets of 7.62×39, sent them over via several airdrops to the US soldiers in order to use the stolen AK-47s in battle. It is worth noting, the press at the time actually thought that the US government was aiding the enemy troops by sending over ammunition, a misconception that was cleared up much later in the war, after being swept under the rug by the number of other controversies brought about by the Vietnam war.
It is a misconception that the AK-47 is not an accurate rifle, in fact it can be as accurate if not more accurate then the AR-15. The reason it gets such a bad rap in modern history is because of the forces that had commonly used the AK-47 in battle. As the US used the M4 Carbine, a military version of the AR-15 with fully automatic capabilities, it was seemingly a definite win for the platform over the AK-47.
However, most fail to consider that the forces fighting against the United states with AK-47s had been mostly untrained groups of radical terrorists. While they had the weapons in hand, there was a clear disadvantage in the tactics of these forces, and likewise in the operation of the AK-47 which has been the subject of its view in the general public. The platform of the AK-47 has also given birth to one of the most prized sniper rifles of all time, the Dragunov, which shoots the same bullet with devastating accuracy at long range.
One thing that could never have been argued against the AK-47 compared to the AR-15 is which gun is actually more durable. Despite being a design that uses archaic technology, the AK-47 was a revolution for its time as the tools necessary to build it are much more powerful, so as to really make sure the construction of the AR-15 is tight.
The gun does not really take off, merely the top plate is removable. Some of the receivers on less fortunate builds, made by unofficial engineers, use stamped metal to make the AKs, but the real ones are built to last using rivets, and pressure tools to securely fasten the parts together. The AR-15 is simply made out of a block of aluminum that can be milled with a hand drill if necessary. The cost to build AR-15s is significantly lower than the build cost of an AK-47, where an AK-47 relies on a series of tools that would be more expensive than even the drill press many use in their homes to complete AR-15s.
To gain more insight on this visit AK47 Forum on AR15 froum community and there you can check out threads that detail more comparisons from aspect to specification.
The AR-15 is a great gun, but it is not the best there is by far. The thing is, whenever it comes to the right gun for you, it is not about what is best,as most guns available on the market are made to a reliable standard. What matters when buying a gun, is either the enjoyment you may get out of it or its purpose to you as an effective tool for self defense against home invaders, and the tyranny of an unjust government.