Summarizing last post, I made the point that the 5.56mm DOES have better terminal performance than what it’s often given credit for provided that the correct combination of barrels and ammunition are made. What can also be understood from this is that with the AR-15 you get to choose from a variety of cartridges to meet different needs. Want something to plink meat with post-TEOTWAWKI? Load some 45 grain bullets in it. Want to puncture steel 500 yards away? Load some M855 in it. Want to vaporize a zombie’s head 700 yards away? Load some 69 grain Sierra Match King in it, 75, 77, whatever. Versatility. My comments may fire some of you up, but whatever. That’s what it’s all about – right?
A few of you old timer “give me an M1 Garand or M1A” guys, and you young “an AK hits so hard” guys . . . I love ya and all, but . . .
Weight – call the AR-15 a “mattel toy” if you’d like, but if you’re saying you want heavy wood and steel in your rifle than you’ve never had to carry it very far (or very fast). Do you think post-SHTF you’ll just hop in the ole F-150 and put your M1 Garand on the gun rack when you need to get some place? No. You’ll be walking, maybe you’ll be riding a bike, maybe you’ll be riding a horse, or maybe you’ll even have a dirt bike. Gonna carry the M1 Garand that way? I wouldn’t. You’d be carrying a pack, too. The AR-15 is what you’d want for SHTF applications such as this. Slap a tactical 3-point sling on it and you could move freely whith the compact 16″ barrel, collapsible stock semi-automatic, high capacity AR-15 and rapid target acquisition optics at the ready.
Size – Oh wait, you’re a “yuppie survivalist” and you said, “Yes, actually. I AM going to drive there in my F-350 diesel. I have more fuel stored than the local gas station. I have a few M1A’s, so I’ll bring my neighbor with me, too.”
Uh huh. You’re cruising down the road in the mighty F-350 when you see a beat up Toyota Tercel parked across the road 300 yards ahead. Some scrawny, sketchy guy sitting in it is surprised by your sudden arrival. He fumbles around in the passenger seat and you make out a rifle barrel. Your neighbor sticks a Colt .45 out the window and gives him a warning shot that goes nowhere near target. Sketchy guy has you in his sights. You guys are fumbling with long, bulky M1A’s inside a truck cab while trying to get out . . . . he sprays you with M855.
Modular – You’re the suburban survivalist with a well fortified suburban keep. Your dad made it to your house before the fallout hit. It’s TEOTWAWKI out there, and your dad has a medical condition. You need to travel to the pharmacy pronto. (Think Jericho hospital trip episode). You know others will be thinking the same thing, so you go at night and take your SKS. You bust in through a side window and quickly scurry through the aisle when you hear someone else. You both stop. You’re both aware of each other’s presence. You have a flashlight in your pack, but you’re not going for it now, and even if you had it would you turn it on? Just then – a momentary, ultra-bright flash of light from a few isles over. You hear more scurrying and ready both hands on your SKS. You change your position and say aloud, “I’m just here for ‘x’ prescription. I have an SKS and I’m not afraid to use it.” You hear close scurrying now, your heart is thumping fast, and you fire a few rounds . . . but the last thing you experienced was the blinding flash of light from a Surefire attached to a quad-rail on an AR-15.
If you don’t have a light on your gun (and know how to use it) you’re virtually useless in dark, close quarter combat. Think it’ll be dark after SHTF? Gonna duct tape a flashlight to your SKS?
Commonality – You’re the urban survivalist and you’ve held out in the city post-SHTF for 5 weeks. There’s mayhem and destruction throughout the city. No place is safe. Small gangs have organized and it’s you and your buddy holed up with a few others in a large apartment. You and your buddy both have AK’s. Word comes that a few remaining National Guard troops have connected with a few of the city’s former police officers. They’re trying to bring a little order and create a green zone. First they need to push a pile of armed thugs out of a grocery store distribution warehouse. There’s A LOT of canned food, bottled water, and everything else there. You have guns and ammo, you’re a good guy, they need you, so you join them.
“Welcome,” they say, eyeing your AK’s. “Perfect. Do you have more?”
“Just these two, but we have A LOT of ammo.”
“. . . . . . no.”
“We need .223. We shot everything we had the first two weeks of chaos. We can’t take the warehouse.”
James “The Man” Dakin in his mattel toy travesty post writes:
The M16 is very accurate. I grant you that. The AK is not. But what is the assault rifle for? 300 yard shots, or for close combat assaults? The M16 will jam when the enemy is close. Oops! I realize I was issued a Vietnam era version of everyone’s favorite little black rifle. They were crap, complete failures from inspection ready to clean 24 hours in the field. My impressions were formed from that. But what has fundamentally changed with the system design since then?
Question: “What is the assault rifle for? 300 yard shots, or for close combat assaults?”
Answer: The AR-15 does both. A Black Hills 75 grain cartridge at 300 yards is devastating, but I think your point is there aren’t many 300 yard shots . . . but there are. TEOTWAWKI situations in the United States won’t look like the jungles of Vietnam. If I look out my house window I see distances well beyond 300 yards. Urban and suburban survivalists, imagine your environments WTSHTF. Look out your windows. Imagine if you need to go in-town or visit the neighbor. When you walk or drive out and about – how many 300 yard distances are there where you could encounter trouble? You can mount optics on the AR with ease. Do you know why you never see scopes on AK-47’s? LOL. What good is seeing 200+ yards if you can’t hit what you see?
Close combat assaults? Perfect. The 5.56 has a better chance of staying inside walls. WTSHTF and you need to take the grocery store distribution warehouse with the National Guard, you’ll be going in as a team. Will you be organized enough to know who is behind which walls? This feature of the 5.56 is precisely why it’s so widely used for urban combat.
Question: “What has fundamentally changed with the system design since then?”
Answer: A LOT. For starters they chrome lined the barrel and chamber to dramatically reduce ejection problems, they improved the powder in the cartridge and they created the forward assist. They made a heavier barrel that performed better in lousy conditions and beefed up the bullet. Lastly, today’s models will easily accept many advanced accessories that greatly improve its performance and capabilities.
That’s my opinion – I welcome yours!