Registered: 1487512410 Posts: 303
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OK, I read it. To comment, first let me outline my experiences with both platforms, and why I have what I have:
I was an Army Armorer (76Y) with an SMOS of 45B, Small Arms Repairer. (Post to Depot-Level Maintenance) My unit was issued M16A1's, though the Infantry on Post (Ft. Ord, 7th ID(L) ) were issued M16A2's. I hung out at both the Post Maintenance Activity and the ATMU unit on post, when I wasn't out at the airfield bumming Huey rides with the Medevac in our BN. I have seen M16's in every state of disrepair known. It needs maintenance, much more than the AK does, to keep it running. The A1's we had were all VN vets, mine was made in 1964, just after me, by Harrington and Richardson. Most were Hydro-Matic (GM) made. They were loose, shot up, and constantly needing TLC. When I took over our Arms Room, only 50% were operational, and in a unit where you shared a rifle with someone, that's not good. I got 'em fixed up fast by volunteering to do the work myself at the Maintenance Activity. The Chief was a riding friend of mine. Combine old worn-out 16A1's with a REMF unit that was actually happy half their rifles were NOGO, as they didn't have to carry them in the field, you can imagine how well they cleaned them before I got there. That changed fast too. For the post rifle matches, I borrowed some M16A2's from a friend of mine from back in AIT. Now that's a rifle. Of course, now those are all worn down from being through two wars. I helped the LRSD guys build 10" CAR's, as the XM177E2 had been withdrawn by then, and the M4's wouldn't be issued for about 3 or 4 years yet. I had fired several AK's before joining, but thanks to the S-4 Officer I worked for, who was 5th SF, I got to attend an Enemy weapons Familiarization Course, where I learned that the AK is absolutely worthless in full auto. I liked the SKS, which I had also shot before, and I really liked the PKM. The DPM was fun to shoot, as was the RPD, but I'd take a PKM or even a 60 over either. We got to look at an AK-74, but as the few we had at the time came from the CIA via Afghanistan (this was '88), they didn't have enough ammo for us to shoot it. In semi-auto the AK is battle accurate, but not close to the AR. But in battle, the AK is designed to keep working, whereas the M16 had to be re-designed several times before it was near as reliable. I should mention my first experience firing the M16(A1), when I was 16, in ROTC. (I had fired AR's before that, so I was familiar with the action) We drew them from the local Army Reserve Arms Room, were handed them when we got to our training area and were told we had about 5 minutes to load our mags from the boxed Federal M193 (the same white box we all know and love, but blanks) and be ready to move out. (As freshmen, we were training targets for the seniors and juniors) I got all my mags loaded just in time to be ambushed by the seniors, and got three whole shots off before it jammed. I popped the action open, and wiped the BCG down and as much of the inside of the upper as could manage. Some troglodyte used leftover-from-WWII LSA on them, and quite liberally, at that. It worked fine once I had a chance between the attacks to take about 90% of the LSA out. 20 Degrees and way overlubed with LSA does not instill confidence in the M16A1! I tried to get the 60 from then on, and usually did, because no one else liked to carry them or clean them. That was also my plan if our BN was deployed, the PSC had several M60's they did not like to carry, so whenever we went to the field, I'd draw one of their 60's. Sure surprised our OPFOR, who knew we didn't have any 60's. I also surprised them once when I opened up with a .38. I had bought blanks in town... Anyhoo, I digress. I built an AR (CAR-style) after I got out, but the $$$ was too good to pass up just before the Klinton Ban. That and I couldn't hunt with it, and it wasn't the best choice for defense in the apartments we were in. Around then, all that was available for AK's were Maadis and WASR's, both overpriced. I bought an SKS, and liked it, but when the kit prices went down, I bought an AMD-65 kit. I liked the look better than the standard AK, and the kits were $80, a NODAK SPUD receiver was $100. My Dad and a friend shot it, and I helped them build theirs, though the kits had gone up by then. The only time I have ever seen an AK malfunction was from an improperly installed "shepard's crook" pin retaining 'device'. (wasn't me.) Even the old, shot out, liberated from Vietnam and Lebanon, AKs in that course always went bang. Can an AK malfunction? Yes. Can an AR malfunction? Yes. Do I know how to maintain both of them? Yes. My choice? an AK. (AMD-65, specifically, until I run into enough $$ to buy me a Kreb's Assneck SBR. ) Why? Even though I know how to maintain an AR, when I need that kind of rifle, it may well be for a long term, and I want one I don't have to worry whether it will go bang or not if I haven't had a chance to maintain it. Besides, like SGM Plumley, I believe that if I need an AR, at that point, there'll be plenty laying around.