The lowly and much maligned AK-47, with its history of being the number one combat weapon (in military form) fielded against us since its adoption as the primary battle rifle of numerous hostile nations in the late 1940s, has had a long row to hoe in gaining widespread acceptance by American shooters. But, in the past 20 years or so, with an increasing number of decent quality street-legal semi-auto versions available that just about anybody can buy, the AK is slowly working its way into the homes, trucks, trunks, and range carry cases of knowledgeable gunnies who either like it for its historical significance, or its legendary reliability.

ak47.jpgRegardless of its roots, the AK-47 and derivatives feature a simple and robust action that the “Energizer Bunny” would be proud of, which is the real bottom line. Its original chambering, the 7.62x39mm, is a true intermediate combat or defensive caliber that can offer superior penetration to its arch rival, the 5.56mm AR, and military steel magazines are both cheap and nearly indestructible, as opposed to the thinner aluminum AR magazines. Most classic AK packages are relatively compact, recoil is very tolerable, the action is simpler to break down, easier to clean, not particularly sensitive to environmental conditions around it, and takes a lot of serious abuse to persuade one to quit working. In situations where these attributes may be critical, the AK has proven itself for 60 years, and makes an excellent choice for a general-purpose knockabout rifle.

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The lowly and much maligned AK-47, with its history of being the number one…