The AK-47 for Survival and Preparedness
100% American Made, 100% Awesome
Many of our survivalist and preparedness readers have expressed how much they like their AK-47’s over a 5.56 carbine for various reasons. A recent article I saw listed the top ten survival weapons, and number one was the AR-15 and number 10 was the AK-47. Many people commented on this that they had it reversed. Well, I have to tell you, as a patriotic gun enthusiast that owns both AK-47’s and AR-15’s, I have to say that the AK47 as a combat, close quarters, survival rifle is the compelling choice.
In the old days, Century Arms, who makes most of the AK47’s that are sold in the USA (both imported and manufactured), pulled in parts from around the world and would assemble them in the US to make their AK47’s, and they still do that to some extent. The reputation on the street was that Century made a decent AK47 for the price, but the quality was inconsistent. One fellow I ran into in Busarias, Mexico told me that he thought Century AK’s were “crap”. But I asked him when he last bought one, and it was a decade ago. In the past few years, Century brought out the RAS47 with Magpul furniture, shooting the standard AK47 round, the 7.62X39. Century states that the rifle is 100% American made. I personally don’t like AK’s with wood stocks and was attracted to the modern look of this Magpul RAS47. A purist will like the wood, and this is understandable. The wood can crack with rough use or temperature and weather extremes, however. That’s why I opted for the all black, all American made, Magpul polymer furniture AK47 made by Century Arms. The black Magpul accessories make the machine look cool and modern, and functionally they hold up to all conditions better than wood in my opinion. Depending upon where you live, you can get it with a folding stock or a fixed stock. You can also swap out the stock for a collapsible stock, which is what I would recommend if you want smaller profile members of your family to be comfortable shooting it. It retails for around $759. Depending upon where you live, it can be as high as $1200 because of fluctuations in demand like we’re currently experiencing in California, where the outlaw of all AK’s and AR’s starting on January 1, 2017 is creating a bit of a frenzy at the retailers. Century is making them 24/7 and selling them as fast as they can make them.
Accuracy. Right out of the box, using no optics – just the stock iron sites – this rifle was quite accurate at 25 to 50 yards. I shot around 300 rounds after taking it out of the box, and everything was inside a 4” cluster. I then handed the AK to my lady and she shot it. She peppered the targets center mass with a tight grouping at 25 yards, then I told her to give me a head shot. She paused for a second, and then shot. Dead between the eyes. Lethal. This was the first time she had ever shot an AK47. Her comment to me was that the kick was less than she thought it would be, but the fixed stock was too long and uncomfortable for her. So if you’re a regular sized guy, the non-collapsible Magpul stock is alright, but if you want your lady to be able to shoot it comfortably, you should switch it out for a collapsible stock.
Reliability. The rifle doesn’t jam. It just doesn’t care how dirty it is, how wet it is, or how you’ve treated it or what kind of ammo you put in it – it just keeps firing. Reliability in a survival situation where conditions might not be perfect…priceless. You’ve heard people tell stories about how they found an AK47 buried in the mud that had been there for several years, pulled it out, hosed it off, racked it and it fired. Some of these might be exaggerations, but I tend to side with them being true because of my own experience. I’ve put 1300 or so rounds through the Century RAS47, the first 800 without cleaning it. No jams or misfires. The next 500, same result. No jams, no misfires. Contrast this to my AR-15’s which seems to always have some little drama going on. One of my AR-15’s suddenly “lost” its mag catch out in the field after about 150 rounds, then later the trigger just stopped working entirely on my other AR-15, forcing me to tear the gun down and find the problem – a loose trigger pin – and reset the trigger and the trigger spring. On top of that, the AR-15 was not as reliable after 200+ rounds. Jams and misfires, being finicky on certain ammo, you name it. It’s like a woman from OC Housewives…lots of drama and maintenance. Compared to the AK47, it just has more parts and points of failure. The positives on my AR-15’s are that they are more accessory friendly than the AK47. The AK was not really made to have optics and accessories, even though you can manage to do it with some work around accessories, but just getting a scope on an AK47 is kind of different. With the AR-15 you can build out all kinds of optics, bi-pods and finger pressure sensitive lights and such, and swap out the handrail for a quad rail and bolt all kinds of cool stuff onto the gun. I put a bi-pod and a riser rail topped off with a nice optic on my AR-15 and zeroed it in a few weeks ago. Because of that, it is my favorite long range rifle. Accuracy at distance is shockingly good, and it’s not because I’m a great shot. I’m not. My other AR-15 is equipped with the standard red dot scope and an LED light with strobe toggle switch.
Preparation/Survival Scenario w/ AK47: There are “drum” magazines available for the AK-47 allowing you to load up 75 or even 90 rounds in an “always ready” drum magazine. As a survivalist, these drums are perfect as the springs are not activated until you wind it up. This allows you to always have it loaded and when needed, wind it up, snap it on, rack and fire. In most cases, it is not recommended to keep a magazine fully loaded for long periods of dormant time since the springs might be damaged. This means when you need it, it may not be working! So the winding drum is kind of unique in this way. For my AR-15’s, I load about 60% of its capacity so not to stress the springs. Xtreme Gear makes a cool 50 round drum magazine for the AR-15 which I've found to be high quality, but running 50 rounds through the AR-15 with any speed usually seems to cause drama in some other part of the gun.
I keep several rifle mags in my chest rig hanging on the back door. Chest rig has a cross draw holster for a handgun where I keep a loaded Glock 19 with 3-4 extra, fully loaded Glock mags. My drop leg rig is there also, ready to go with a Sig Sauer P220 .45 caliber. All handguns are loaded with a combination of RIP fragmenting ammo and more traditional hollow points that are less fancy, but that have potentially more stopping power. At the very least, once a month I hit the range with all rifles and handguns, cycle the mags through and load up fresh new ammo, zero in scopes and sights, and clean the guns. I keep a small backpack ready to go with various essentials – sort of a mini bug out. My large bug out pack is in the room also, ready to go at a moment’s notice. It has everything my family needs to live completely isolated and alone off the grid without any outside sources of food, water, shelter or electricity. MRE’s for 4 weeks. After that we’re hunting for our food. In the mountains around SoCal, it'll be deer, black bears, rabbits, mountain lions. Our rifles all have slings, so we can sling them all on our backs and move out on foot if necessary. An AK-47, an AR-15 and 1-2 handguns PER PERSON. Ammo cans with 1,000 rounds for all calibers - if we have the time to get them to the Jeep. If not, our bug out packs have ammo packs that will be sufficient for a long period unless we get over run by well armed gangs. Our bug out time is pretty fast. We can be dressed, rigged, and walking in 5 minutes.
If you’re the sheepdog and leader in your family, this is the moment in time when everyone you are responsible for is looking to you for leadership. If you’re prepared, leadership is natural and easy. If you’re not prepared, everyone in your family unit is at risk. Be prepared, be ready to go, be ready to lead. They will love you for it if it’s required (which we all hope it isn’t), and they will rest easy every night knowing that they have a prepared leader in the family watching out for them no matter what happens.
Conclusion: The Magpul AK47 from Century is priced well at around $759 - $925 with the Magpul furniture. It has proven to be durable in rugged environments wet or dry, loves any ammo you put in it, and is an excellent choice for an all-weather, reliable combat or survival rifle. The 7.62X39 round is also plenty powerful for hunting if required as a part of your survival effort.