The AK rifle is a legend know to most. The details of which the legend is known to each individual vary and the myths in place of fact or fun fib on place of mechanical reality are what they are.
Bu one inescapable fact that has been born out in many hands and one professional military (Polish) is that the AK really does thrive in 5.56 NATO. When properly built is has next to nothing for a recoil impulse and negligble muzzle movement. Combined with its reliability and ability to power through just about anything short of total immersion in thick grime and you have the making of a completely capable fighting gun.
My personal rifle is an RD 14.5″ permanently muzzled to 16″ on a Surefire brake with a Magpul Zhukov-U and it is simply the finest example of Kalashnikov’s art I could ask for. The handguard superbly addresses heat and allows a Surefire DF light and BCM short vertical grip while the Ultimak rail hosts the Aimpoint CompM5 2 MOA RDS.
Simple. Elegant. Effective. Accurate. Reliable. And very soon, suppressible.
This all too say that I support Henry’s and Josh’s ongoing AK endeavors for the exceptional platform the AK is continuing to emerge as in the 21st Century. The AR is not the sole inheritor of exceptional longevity in the service rifle category. I believe the two will serve throughout the whole of this century in some manner. We are 20% through and we have yet to replace either in any meaningful way. The M4 and M27 against the 5.45 AKs are essentially the standards of today. Although the AR-18/180, in spirit, is certainly resurging as just about every modern service rifle variant is using that system that isn’t an AR or AK.
Moving forward, nothing will truly be new until a drastic change in projectile/energy technology moves us away from gas operated self-contained cartridge weapons and there is no sign of that yet. But that is something I’m looking forward to seeing also. The continued refinement of proven technology is a fine sight to behold but when new things emerge, that is why I got into this writer’s seat.