Shawn over at the Loose Rounds blog posted a really good analysis on the reasons for the AK’s legendary reliability.
He starts off with the reasons that were not behind that level of reliability:
It’s not because of blind luck.
It’s not because the weapon is orders of magnitude better than its worldwide competitors…
It’s not because Kalashnikov the man had genius that was lacking in other men.
It’s not because of breakthroughs. Almost every feature of the AK is recycled from somewhere else.
Then goes into what he sees as the actual reasons for that level of reliability:
Lack of small, dainty (and fragile) parts
Minimal use of tight tolerances
Use of very loose tolerances everywhere else
I have to admit the article rekindled my appreciation of the AK patterned rifle. I have one, a cheap one, and I like it a lot. I had a couple of minor issues with it when it was new and the advice to fix them from my AK-buddies was simple, shoot it. Put a few hundred rounds through it and it will be fine…and it was.
With iron sights I am more accurate with it than any other rifle I own (yes, I know that’s weird). It’s probably due to the simple fact that AK sights are basically the same as pistol sights and I have a lot more time running pistols than rifles. I am just more used to them than traditional rifles sights.
As much as I appreciate my AK, I have to say I don’t think she likes me much. I can’t think of a time when I was running the gun hard that I didn’t end up bleeding from somewhere. Stamped sheet metal on the receiver, magazines or (usually) the safety lever all seem to find any bit of unprotected skin and slice it in some new way I never thought of…
What are your thoughts on the AK?