Selecting an Assault Rifle

Hey Guy’s

I get a lot of questions about which type of assault rifle is best to be armed with in many different survival situations. Something to keep in mind is that no one tool does every job. The fast food mentality does not work with modern military rifles. Fast, light, and cheap is not what you want. No matter how good it sounds now, that very thinking will get you killed somewhere down the line. Last, but most important, bigger is not always better. Let’s look at what we need in a Modern Military Firearm, which I will refer to as an MMF, from now on.

1. Dependability – How well it holds up and functions in many different environments.

2. Accuracy – You need to be realistic when it comes to your expectations here.

3. Capability of the round – Penetration of different type materials and types of rounds you can get i.e. AP, HP, ball.

4. Rearm and repair – How easily you can get replacement parts i.e. (firing pin, extra springs, ammo, magazine’s).

5. Low recoil – This allows you to acquire a new target quicker

6. Multiple set ups – for different tactical situations

7. Ergonomics

8. Weight of the rifle

9. Weight of the ammo

10. Bullet trajectory

The following is a very simplified explanation on the inner workings of these rifles. Here is how the 2 main types of MMF classifications function. One uses a gas operated piston to operate, for example the AK-47 and the M-14. Then, there is the M-16, which uses the gas from a fired round to blow back the bolt.

To give everyone a quick basic explanation there is a small hole drilled into the barrel of the M-16, once fired, the bullet passes the hole in the barrel. This causes some of the gas to be redirected down the gas tube, this gas is directly is blown onto the bolt. The bolt is then thrust backwards to extract the empty brass and pick up the next round.

The “AK” (aka, Kalashnikov Assault Rifle), also has a small hole drilled into the barrel. When the bullet passes this hole some of the gas is redirected through this hole but it hits a piston which is directed backwards thereby pushing the bolt back extracting the empty brass and picking up the next round.

The inherent problem with the M-16, and any direct gas blow back system is that hot dirty gas and carbon particles are being blown all over the inside of the firearm and on the bullets themselves. Weapons designers realized that they could leave out the piston type system and make their firearm designs cheaper and lighter by using the gas to affect the movement of the bolt instead of a piston. The blow back/non piston type system, as you see, has a dangerous design flaw. This flaw will eventually foul up the inner workings of any rifle.

The piston operated systems tend to be much cleaner and thereby more reliable systems to use in a firearm. It is well know that Ak47’s and M-14 are among the most reliable firearms in the world, both of which use a piston to actuate the bolt. Another aspect that promotes reliability is large machining tolerances of the AK-47. Unfortunately, this destroys the accuracy of any weapon. The looser the parts in your rifle, the looser your pattern will be on your target that you fire at.

Accuracy is important in a MMF, but if it’s jammed it doesn’t matter how accurate it is. Another note about accuracy is that most fighting takes place at less than 400 meters. At that close a range any MMF doesn’t have to be that accurate to be able to hit a person consistently. When I was in basic training, I was issued a worn out beat up M-16 that looked like it was used in Vietnam. The barrel was worn out, and the take down pins were so worn out I could wiggle the upper receiver and move it around off center. However, I was still able to consistently hit targets from 250m and less.

I am not saying that accuracy is not important, far from it. I am however explaining to you, that your MMF does not have to shoot one (1) MOA (Minute of Angle) or less. A two (2) MOA pattern will still hit 6 inches in any direction at 300 m which is still a small enough pattern that it would hit a body sized target. 1 MOA equals 1 inch at 100 yards which adds to itself at every 100 yard increment. At 200 yards a one (1) MOA would be a 2 inch group and, at 300 yards it would be a 3 inch group, out to 800 yards, which would be an 8 inch group. I have owned AKs that would not shoot better than a 3 MOA group. I am sure that there are many AKs out in the world that won’t do any better. Kalashnikov rifles are still one of the most widely used and effective assault rifles ever developed.

The next thing to look at is the capability of the round. From my experiences in hunting and shooting over the years, I don’t personally like any round less than 100 grains in weight. The muzzle velocity and bullet weight account for more than the overall diameter of the bullet. The higher the muzzle velocity is the flatter the trajectory that the bullet flies. This will help decrease error from distance estimation errors which happen a lot. Additionally, a medium sized AP or armor piercing round with a high muzzle velocity tends to have very good penetration on most building material. Anything 223 and above will cut right through most walls, car doors, and body armor. Special ceramic plates have to be used to stop even a 223 AP round from cutting through both sides of a Kevlar vest. At one time you could buy pulled ss-109 bullets to reload for 50.00$ per 1 thousand. As a result, for very little money you could stockpile the 223 ss-109’s and load them yourself to the military specifications, over time, amassing large quantities of armor piecing rounds for a small price.

In any kind of guerrilla warfare or rebellion caused by an invading enemy either foreign or domestic, you have to be able to supply you and you fellow soldiers with ammo. One thousand rounds will not cut it. You will need several thousand rounds especially if you choose to carry a non typical weapon like an AK (7.62×39) that domestic military and police do not use. There is a great deal to be said about interchangability of parts, ammo, amd magazine’s Most police forces in the US use a derivative of an M-16. The national gaurd, the army reserve’s and our military all use the M-16. Because of this there is always spare parts, ammo, and accecories to be had. Another thing that is nice about the AR-15 semi auto version of the M-16 is that you can change the upper reciever and shoot a variety of different rounds. They even have a piston operated upper reciever that you can get that shoots the standard 223 and one that shoots the awsome 6.8 SPC round. With the new upper and the 6.8 spc cartridge will propell the usability of the M-16 up to the lvl of the M-14. My next purchase will be an upper reciever that is uses the 6.8 spc cartridge and that uses the piston system instead of the blow back. When i am fully loaded I have 9 30rd magazines 2 20rd mags, all ss109’s, and a 300 rd battle pack. If you look at a 62 grain ss-109 and compare that to a 147 grain 308 and, look at the much larger 308 brass cassing as well as the larger amount of powder that the 308 rd uses you can easily carry 3, 223 rds to 1, 308 round.

Based on the 10 listed reasons above the 3 assult weapons that I would choose from would be the AR-15 first and foremost the M-14 would be my 2cnd choice and the Ak-47 would be my third choice. The M-14 is the best assult weapon ever produced, but it is heavy long unwieldy in confined spaces like hallway’s and fighting positions. The 308 round is expensive, heavy, and it is hard to carry much more than 200 rds. Another problem is it is extreamly difficult to get armor piercing rounds for it these days. In order to get ap rounds you have to buy much older 30-06 bullets that have been demiliterized and sold as parts. You can do this but it is very expensive compared to the 223 ss-109


This is only a brief overview of the factors that go into selecting an MMA for survival use. I hope at the very least it has given you a starting point for further research so that you may select a rifle that is best suited to your needs.


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6 Responses to “Selecting an Assault Rifle”

  1. jhw Says:

    thanks for the info on the subject!!!………….very informative!!!……………..keep up the good work fellow patriot!!!

  2. slaminsammy Says:

    your cousin jay told me to check out your blog and i think its very informative and well researched! keep up the good work!

  3. sandrar Says:

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

  4. James Cannon Says:

    I have used both the M-16 and the M-14 in combat and love both of them. I have a Springfield’s M1A “Scout” (it’s four inches shorter than an M-14), as my main survival weapon and an AR-15 with a piston gas system as my “defensive” survival weapon.
    Also, I think the SKS is a much better “survival” weapon than the AK-47, having been on the receiving end of both weapons.

    James, U.S. Army Ret.

    • wardsurvival Says:

      I have owned several AK-47’s, SKS’s and a couple AK-74’s I have gotten into the AK-74’s in the last year or so since the availability of them and ammo has increased in my area.
      I love the Arsenal Saiga AK-74 my favorite of all of the AK’s period. So little kick, I can acquire target after target with such speed and accuracy its flat F-ing SCARY. The penetration and performance of the AK-74 is very similar to the AK-47 so long as you are using the military steel core ammo. Its way more accurate than any of the other AK-47’s that I have PERSONALLY owned. If a small squad was ambushing a larger force a some thing you want is to be able to accurately acquire target after target, be able to hit the target, and move to the next target. The faster you can hit a target and move to the next rinse and repeat will be a big advantage. I have timed the difference between accurate shots from my M-14 and compared them to my AR and my AK-74 with the 74 I can acquire a target fire hit acquire another target fire and hit over twice as fast as I can with my M-14. The round of the AK-74 will out penetrate the AR-15 consistently. These are some things most people never stop to consider.
      I personally like the SKS rifles but it would not be chosen by me or any one i know over an AK for a survival or combat situation. The fact you can carry multiple preloaded 30 round mags. The fact there is less moving parts all make it a better weapon to have in that situation. The SKS’s are great rifles and if that’s all some one can afford by all means get one. You can get proficient with stripper clips but only holding 10 rounds does make you have to stop and reload 3 times that of an AK. With an AK i can also load up a 75 round drum with your standard SKS you don’t have that option. You can get a Magazine feed SKS but the run about as much as an AK or more so at that point you gain no benefit for getting an SKS. As far as performance goes one SKS I owned was the least accurate rifle I have ever owned it was horrible. With my Rem 700 R5 I can shoot less than 1 moa consistently with gold medal match so I know its not me lol. NONE of the SKS’s I have owned have ever been any more accurate than the AK’s I have. The tapered cartridge of the AK’s and SKS’s “since they shoot the same round” greatly helps the reliability but it also reduces the accuracy. I like the SKS’s and they are far better than nothing but as a first choice? not mine but that is my opinion. I can give you more reasons but they are to technical and minor to waste our time doing it. One thing to consider is that most 3rd world military forces do not train their troops like we do. They don’t get 4 weeks of Basic rifle marksmanship in in basic training and that’s if they even have a formal basic. So performance from troops like that is not very good in one force multiplier situation I saw that one troop was considered equal to some thing in the teens compared to the African warlords militia. There are always so many different variables so training with and being proficient with what ever weapon you have, along with knowing its ability’s and limitations is one of the most important things you can do…………………. Thank you for your reply and interest in my article. I hope it was helpful and informative.

  5. guns Says:


    […]Selecting an Assault Rifle « Ward’s Survival Blog[…]…

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