The AK-47 vs AR-15 debate is a very hot topic amongst gun owners. It’s a discussion bomb that can be an easy way to liven up any gun conversation – as long as you’re fine with people thinking less of each other in the end.
InRangeTV takes a look at the iconic AK-47 and AR-15, putting them head to head in a reliability test. While this mud test will by no means be the end all statement in the AK-47 vs AR-15 debate, it certainly will rustle some jimmies and provide some interesting, and potentially unexpected, results.
AK-47 Mud Test
The AK-47 has a reputation that has reached “legendary” status. It is well known as a very reliable gun, requiring little to no maintenance. But many people falsely believe that it will always run in any condition. Rain, shine, mud, snow, sand – the AK-47 will somehow always run.
But that’s not quite true. All mechanical devices have points of failure – it’s just a matter of how easy it is to get dirt or grime into those failure points.
For those who don’t want to watch the video, here’s a summery: it failed. The fabled Romanian stock AK-47 repeatedly failed to function fully when soupy mud was poured on the rifle.
The mud gummed up the AK-47 pretty much turning the rifle into a sort of functioning bolt action rifle. The semi-auto functionality of the rifle no longer worked – but the charging handle could be manually operated in order to fire. So the AK-47 definitely gets some points for being in a semi-functioning state.
AR-15 Mud Test
For the AR-15 mud test, InRangeTV takes the same mud filled wheelbarrel with the same soupy mud used on the AK-47 and performs the same mud test on an entry level mil-spec AR-15. This test was performed just minutes after the AK-47 test, so the conditions were identical.
The AR-15 functioned almost flawlessly. It was able to fire repeatedly in semi auto mode when the test had been performed with the dust cover open or closed. It did not lock open on the last round fired, but that is a minor detail all things considered, especially since the AK-47 doesn’t lock open on the last round fired anyways.
Why did the AR-15 out perform the AK-47?
The answer is simple really. The loose tolerances and the gaps in the AK-47’s design allowed mud to get into the fire control group, causing it to seize up. The AR-15 operates as a mostly sealed firearm, preventing most mud and gunk from getting into the firearm.
So while the AK-47 has many benefits to its piston design, primarily requiring so little maintenance, there are definitely many flaws to the AK-47. Similarly, the AR-15 has many benefits to its design, but also has a number of drawbacks.
In the AK-47 vs AR-15 debate, there is no true winner. Both firearm platforms have positives and negatives to their design. It all comes down to which features and details meet your needs.
Update: Testing More AKs
After InRangeTV’s first AK-47 mud test video was posted, many viewers claimed the AK-47 used in the test was a low quality AK-47 and a better rifle would have passed the test. So, InRangeTV put it to the test with an Arsenal SLR104 (AK74) and a Valmet M76 AK variants.
Does the updated AK-47 mud test change your opinion at all?
Which rifle do you prefer?
Personally? The AR-15 better meets my needs with its reliability, substantial aftermarket support, free float barrel design, last round bolt hold open, and more.
Which camp do you hail from? AK-47 or AR-15?