Without a doubt, you can not think of modern military small arms and not have the image of an AK-47 come to mind. For years, and still to this day, the AK was seen as a ‘commie gun’ or the rifle of terrorists and the proverbial ‘bad guy’. But, today in America you are just as likely to see and AK pattern rifle on the range as you are the American counterpart the AR.Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)
The AK quickly earned its way into the history books by becoming the most prolific small arm ever produced. There are several reasons for this that go beyond its simple, reliable and legendary rugged design, such as the use of the rights to produce AK’s as a diplomatic tool during the Cold War era. Perhaps this use of the AK by then Soviet Russia is why we have such an association with it being the weapon of the enemy, considering every foe America has faced since the Korean War was armed with some variant of the AK design I suppose this would be accurate.
The times have changed though, and with the collapse of the Soviet Union the American market has been flooded with various copies, some licensed, some not, of Mikhail’s original design – and Americans have been buying them.
In the years following the Vietnam War the AK was a novelty item and was limited to very few Class III versions, mainly Type-56 Chinese rifles that found their way from Vietnam. Oddly enough, actual Russian made AK’s were some of the last to make it to the American market. The Chinese were the initial venture capitalists to offer their versions. Companies like Polytech and Norinco introduced various models of the Type-56 to an eager market for many years up until the import ban of 89’ and the assault weapons ban of 1994 that banned both companies. It is important to note that there was a lot of controversy regarding the illegal importation of military arms during the Polytech and Norinco import years. The Chinese AK’s are still considered some of the finest AK’s ever offered to American consumers and are worth many times their initial back page of gun magazine prices of $175.00.
Unfortunately, though the market has opened up it also opened up to some AK’s of a lesser quality in the Post-Ban era. Everyone has heard horror stories of the quality of the WASR warhorse – some of which is earned but most of which is blown out of proportion. Most of the quality concerns of today’s AK’s are mainly an issue of importers such as Century International Arms (who seems to have no concerns over quality or end user safety when assembling their rifles). Most of today’s AK’s are imported into the states as a parts kit – that is that the receiver is cut and disassembled and reassembled on a new receiver sometimes using barrels and trunnions from different rifles. There in lies the biggest issue. Most AK’s based off of the AKM pattern feature a barrel that is pinned into the receiver and trunnion by two pins. Over use wear begins to develop and the holes in the trunnions will open-up more as well as wear of the barrel itself. This of course leads to wider groups and is translated as Minute of Milk Jug by the gun-pros.
So what is the best AK to get you may ask – your mileage may vary, but I have found the newly imported, and new production, Saiga rifles to be quit affordable and amazingly accurate compared to parts guns. In addition to being new, Saigas are also produced by the Izhmash company where Kalashnikov and his son continue to work as weapon designers. There are companies that sell converted, or modified, Saigas as well – such as Arsenal Inc. in Las Vegas, NV, Kreb’s Customs and Redstick to name a few. There are many that swear by the quality of Bulgarian AK’s and will argue till they are red in the face that milled receivers are inherently better and more accurate – that is not the case and it is important to note that the original design of the AK was to be used on a stamped receiver. The only thing a milled AK has over a stamped AK is weight to be honest.
So in the end with some many choices, like Romanian, Yugoslavian, Egyptian, Russian, Chinese, Bulgarian, Polish, Hungarian and American home grown, what’s best for you will be a matter of your own intended use and personal likes and dislikes – but know that when it comes to choosing an AK, there is no wrong choice.
I’ve had the opportunity to attend Combative Carbine Skills 1&2 twice now, so I feel I can accurately review this class. First off, Modern Defensive Training Systems (MDTS) is run by Chris Fry, a well-versed training instructor as well as a great contributor to our forums, here at NY Firearms.Chris does not claim to be some crazy military, special forces, and he is especially not a ninja. With this said, he has had many years and several thousands of hours training, which can easily be seen in the way he carries himself and speaks to the class. He is always more than willing to help students throughout the class and is very knowledgeable in what he teaches.
To quote the course description from MDTS, Combative Carbine Skills series “emphasizes three critical elements of defensive shooting: Mindset, Skill-At-Arms, and Tactics.” CCS 1&2 begins the series with the fundamentals needed to operate the carbine in a combative and defensive manner. What I love, personally, is the focus on the class from a citizen perspective, which 90% of us who take these classes will be using the training for.
The first hour of the day was classroom-based training, which went over firearms safety, range safety, some carbine history and zeroing, accessories and rifle modifications, as well as some initial administrative firearms handling and platforms. Once the initial classroom training was complete, we moved out to the range and jumped right into zeroing our rifles.
Once all of the rifles were zeroed, training began. Without divulging too much of the course, there was a great deal of information thrown at the attendees. Personally, I enjoy “drinking from the firehose” as they say, but I can see how some people may not like that approach. However, most everyone rose to the occasion and stepped up their game to learn.
I also noticed that there were several people attending the class who had just bought their AR-15 or similar carbine, and by the end of the class they were engaging targets out to 75 yards, and clearing complicated “triple feed” malfunctions. Considering how some of the newer shooters were picking up the information, I have to say that speaks louder than I can about Chris’ proficiency as a trainer.
As I said above, this is the second time I have had the chance to take this class from MDTS, which has joined my resume of several other carbine training classes, and I have to say that I would highly recommend anyone with carbine rifles to give this class a shot (no pun intended). From the basic fundamentals to some advanced weapon malfunction clearing, the class provides a great deal of valuable information to the average shooter.
Combative Carbine Skills 1&2 Course Details
The MDTS Combative Carbine Skills curriculm is designed for the new rifle owner, individuals who have owned a rifle but never attended formal training as well as the seasoned operator. A solid grounding in safety and fundamentals of gun handling is presented with a heavy emphasis on the students ability to manipulate the carbine platform while mult-tasking or under stress. This is a fast paced, challenging course. Course content will include but is not limited to:
CCS1 Firearm Safety/Range Safety
History & Zero
Modifications & Sling Options
Personal Equipment Selection & Placement
Carry & Carbine Ready Positions
Shooting Response Theory
After Action Assessment Concept
Bilateral Weapon Operation
Transition to Handgun
Combative Shooting Positions
Vertical and Lateral Displacement
Multiple Target Engagement
Fundamental Use of Cover & Concealment and more…
A serviceable carbine to include M4, AR15, AK47 or pistol caliber rifle, a minimum of 3 magazines, 500+ rounds rifle – NO GREEN TIP OR AP AMMUNITION, 50 rounds pistol, eye and ear protection, pistol and minimum of 2 magazines (if you own a pistol), appropriate clothing for weather, water, hat with brim, optional equipment- sling, gloves & knee pads.
*A pistol is not required to attend this course
Additional Equipment Considerations:
Weapon mounted illumination tool, knee & elbow protection, note taking materials, lunch for full day class
Great News for firearms owners and enthusiasts everywhere. The on-going supreme court case of DC vs Heller has come to a close and the DC handgun ban has been declared unconstitutional. This is great news for handgun owners everywhere. Hopefully we’ll see the effects of this up in NY with handgun permits, and maybe the removal of the Assault Weapons Ban (yeah right, I can dream).
Read about it here at High court strikes down gun ban – CNN.com