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Which Is The Best Combat Rifle, EVVVARRRR!!

2137 Views 13 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  MickeyC
This stupid question was brought up of ZEEGforum.

The floor is open for debate.

And for your viewing pleasure:


My answer would be the AK.

Cut 'n pasted directly from ZEEGforum:

The AK has been around since, well '47, besides being a near copy of the STG 43 & 44 that was in service during WW2, and out lasted the FAL, M14 many others and probably will be around for the next 50 years.

Hate 'em or love 'em. Call them the weapon for the third world, but that is a fact that cannot be disputed. Durable, reliable as hell, can be manufactured in small shops and garages, and accurate enough. Yes, many others are refined rifles compared to the ugly AK. But when it comes to war, a pretty rifle isn't, and shouldn't be a requirement.

Just like it's grandaddy, the Mosin-Nagant, which is still being used today, and it's a 116 years old!

The AK will outlive darn near all of us, and it will be in service in quite a few country's armies long after the AR and will go toe to toe with the next generation of battle rifles. You gotta admit those Russians know how to make tough guns.

To top it off, it's designer is still alive! Un-friken-believeable!
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Too picky and finicky and requiring nearly too much maintenance as a combat rifle.

My experience:

M16A2+Blackhawk UH60 rotor wash+sandy desert=high probability of a malfunction that immediate action won't fix.

Luckily I was spared that dilema only after I took extraordinary preventive measures.  I distinctively remember hearing one or two of my guys trying to clear malfunctions.  I saw one of them having to pull the BCG out to clear his M16 w/203 in the middle of our engagement.  I'll never forget it.  That was over 16 years ago.

DOD knows the problem w/the M16 in dusty and sandy enviroments yet they drag their feet to do the dust eval on the M16/M4's.  I already know what will be the results.  AR's have tight bearing surface tolerances that will not handle excessive dust and sand.  Sand and dust easily enters the AR from the little gap between the receivers. 

I simple solution is to use a plastic garbage bag.  But in combat it's kinda tough to jet to the nearest Habbib-O-Mart to get a box of bags in the middle of Wezifukawi, Shitholistan.  An AK will work with sand in the receiver w/o a problem.

Also, consider using a combat rifle in combat.  When you get shot at you will hit the deck.  Except it won't be a deck.  It could be a nicely manicured golf course, but it will most likely NOT be a manicured lawn, but a muddy field or a sandy desert.  Plus your rifle may end up underneath you because you will likely have it slung in front at the ready.  But once you get your rifle out from under you and at first chance to seek cover which may include the lowest spot you can find.  A good chance it could be muddy in that hole.  I know that a B52 bomb crater seem to have two things in the bottom.  Sharp pieces of dense shrapnel and mud.  That and a strong chemical smell, possibly RDX (H-6).

If the M16 is kept clean which mine have always been before I went into the field, or got in a bird, M2 Bradley IFV,  M113 APC, back of a 5 ton, HUMVEE, etc.  But once we got there and hit the ground, then things change and everything we carry become mud and dirt magnets.  Currently troops in Iraq are mostly in a urban and often stay in cleaner enviroment with considerably less mud and sand similar to what I experienced in Somalia.  But be it the person that I am, I managed to find a patch of goat shit and piss covered mud to crawl over in order to find some cover behind a concrete wall in the middle of July.  My M16 still worked, but my confidence was tested.  Come to think of it it could have been sheep shit and piss.  I didn't stop to verify, but whatever it was it has a strong reek of ammonia.  Though, I do remember seeing a a dead donkey in there.  That Somali was better at killing a donkey than us.  We never found him and we didn't get to fire as many rounds as we did in Iraq. 

If the AR was brutably dependable as the AK, I would say different.  Otherwise in every other category the AR is tops.

At least they did finally resolve the flimsy mag issue, but still issue them to troops.

As far as the newer combat rifles, they are too new for me to say confidently that they are the best.

If I were a betting man, my money would go both to the XCR AND the Sig556/55X (and no Slag, I still don't own one, but I did shoot my friends a few times).  I like that the 556/55X follows Ak roots, and the XCR is a cinch to replace any broken or worn out parts.  Based on my experiences, of any gun I've handled the one that has the potential to be the best is the XCR.  But I'm comparing that to rifles with decades of history and development. 

The AK can be field expediently repaired with a hammer, file, and a welder.  And a suitable replacement part can usually be scratch made in a pinch.  That is something you can't do with almost all other rifles out there.

And, regarding that Ar vs. Ak video showing that the Ak could not hit a man sized target at 200 meters is 100% bull shit!  If that was the case either I'm the best Ak shooter in the world or I get lucky alot and maybe I should play the lottery.  I can still hit a target with and Ak at 300 but it ain't pretty.
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Too picky and finicky and requiring nearly too much maintenance as a combat rifle.

My experience:

M16A2+Blackhawk UH60 rotor wash+sandy desert=high probability of a malfunction that immediate action won't fix.
I agree, the best weapon in the world is the one that works when you need it. Thanks for that excellent recap of your experiences and thank you for your service to our country.
I may have to go with the AK on this one. Yes, Iraq is not nearly as dirty for us now that we aren't all living in the desert in tents and our M16/M4s are working out OK. I know a few guys that picked up AKs over there off Badguys and used them instead of their M4s. They just seem to always go bang. Back in 2003 when we were living in tents in the middle of the desert you had to clean your weapon once when you woke up and once when you went to bed and maybe a third time at lunch if it was windy. I wish the army would stop trying to buy us the cool little cleaning kits that try to make cleaning faster and buy us a weapon that we didn't need to clean 2-3 times a day to function reliably. As a pilot I don't get much trigger time in the desert but I was fortunate to get to convoy all over that country so I have a little experience.
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Just out of curiosity, how can any one say the ar 15 is the best combat rifle. I've read all sorts of reasons on other forms but when you get down to the very basics is it reliable, no, Im know you can make it be with a piston and what not, but thats not what most people have or use, I've heard "marine core armours" say "I've beeen working on them for years and I still dont see the big gripe about it shitting where it eats." But being armour they're probly not using it in combat conditions to often. Anything you keep clean and maintained will work. Ive read numerous stories of them failing, but thats becuse it has been around for a while and people use and report on it. As far as the ar 15 series gose it seems its ethier love or hate, people will pull stuff out of their asses to defend or attack it. Its a topic that comes on every form i've read on. and it always starts flaming, its like Fords vs Chevy, or Kawasaki vs Honda or Blimpies vs Subway, nikes vs adidas Coke vs Pepsi, PC games vs Console games, cats vs dogs, Conoco vs Cheveron, Fal vs M14 and god knows what else.

One more question thats been bugging me, when some one brings up anlterative like the XCR, SIG556, or just pretty much any thing it becomes "its not combat tested/proven", well no shit, it never will be until some one dose use it. I understand that if a part breaks you'll be on your own, but the AR whats it been commbat tested and proven to fail 10% of the time I mean come on. people are afraid to move on. I like the ar and I still want one but I cant see it as being the best combat rifle evaaaar.
sorry for the long pointless post and yes these are just the words of young inexpereanced civilian
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I did say it was a stupid question, because what may work for one may not work for another. "What ever works for ya baby" rules here.

As a disclaimer, it wasn't my question!

For most soldiers, and LEO's, we don't have a choice. We do with what we have. And what it will comes down to, they all will work.

And what is defined as "combat". It could be that 12 second exchange of gunfire, most likely even less b/c 12 seconds is a looooong time. Or a long conflict, and no I don't mean Iraq. I had Stalingrad in mind. Where resupply is a luxury and rotating from a foward position to...... another foward position. It was all foward for the Russians.

Then there is the "bean counter" factor. Inexpensive v. expensive is relative to quality and neccesity is relative to whatever you can get your meat beaters on at the time.

I love how simple, cheap to make to the point of being disposable but yet effective the AK's are. Iif I were a dictator of a two bit nation (my childhood dream) I'd equip mah boys with AKs. Heck, I'd do whatever I could to make em in-house. That and wear a red shirt.

Now give me an elite squad of airsofters with an unlimited budget and the sky'd the limit!!

About the DI thing in the AR. The only issue I have with that is yes, it's a pain in the ass when it comes to cleaning an AR. I could see if you don't get good ammo that it may present a problem but mostly our Army is well supplied. It will not be the issue for most of us in a SHTF Stalingradlike enviroment.

Here is my worst case experience regarding carbon build up in an AR type weapon:

As my stations FA instructor (about 300 Agents) we have pool M4's Agents use at the range to qualify every quarter. These guns each put at the minimum 50 rounds a day and 5 days a week minimum, seldom to never get clean. They don't get exposed to duty carry so it's strictly a carbon making machine.

I also know that these M4 have not been thoroughly cleaned in over 2 years, the last time I cleaned the BCG. In the AR carbon ends up in two places. One is onside the bolt carrier and end of bolt. I have one of those Brownell's carbon scraping tool and it works pretty darn well. They do build up quite a bit of carbon in there. The other place is the gas tube well in the upper receiver. That's another story!!

I had to clean 10 pool weapons in a crevise that has never seen day light. That little area was so jammed packed with carbon I thought I'd never see the end of it. Even trying to pull the gas tube out was futile as they were practically fused with carbon in place. Only a cotter pin removal pick, my dental tool until I broke it, and much feneagaling was I able to remove most of that carbon. And that stuff was tough. The entire BCG I just dumped into the ultra sonic cleaner, ran them twice, to include soaking the entire bolts in CLP and that scraper. I'd have to admit that those M4's still ran fine in that condition. In my entire life, none of my AR's or issued M16's and M4 ever got that bad.

About a "combat" tested whatever:

Now I'd also add when things get tested for the military it is usually done at a lab first, then it goes to field testing which it is exposed to less of a controlled enviroment. But neither a lab or field testing will replicate a combat enviroment. A lab will only expose the 'whatever' being tested to things the 'whatever' may encounter in the field. In the field trials, the 'whatever' gets carried by troops and put through the paces in a simulated and similar conditions to that of combat. These usually take place on military installations, safety takes a front seat here, EPA has a say, yadda yadda....

Now in combat all that goes out the window in the first 2 seconds. I will elaborate more on my piss and shit bath;

I was not directly under fire at that time or pretty much the whole ordeal that day. I was trying to get into a position to spot the sniper taking shots at us or support my squad in doing the same and hoping that I would and could take care of the problem. When bullets start flying and with proper training and experience you would naturally look for cover and concealment and use the same when maneuvering to a bad guy.

This played out right next to a popular market area south of Mogadishu in July 1993 and in support of Pakistani soldiers trying to arrest some local shit bags involved in the ambush that killed 24 Pakistani's. Now I must tell you, a Somalian market is NOT like a mall or super market in the US. They include pens for goats, chickens, sheep, cows, donkeys, etc. Now I was near these pens. I saw a low spot surrounded by brush that I THOUGHT was ideal to move well covered and concealed.

Now where do you think animal (I'm sure human too) urine and feces ends up after it rains, also when they clean the pens out. Well there was a good reason as to why this low spot was surrounded by lush green bushes. As I busted through the outer brush and as soon as my foot made solid contact into the wet outer rim, it sank in about a foot into this "mud". My weight, and the additional 30 to 40 pounds of kevlar, ammo, and such, carried me forward, with my M16 slung in a makeshift tactical sling similar to a 3 point. NOTE TO SELF: third world shitholes are called shitholes for a reason AND they do not have infrastructures, such as sewers, as we are accustomed to here in the US. And be leery of lush green vegetation in desert countries.

And that boys and girl is how to take a shit bath and having an M16 go into it FIRST because I do hold it with both hands while I run and I did put those out in front of me. The 2 or 3 attempts to get up right after that just made things worse. I did get out and thank god that crap was only about a foot or so deep. My barrel stayed out of it but it immediately rendered my rear sight useless for a while (take note boys and girl, we didn't have Aimpoints then. Do we see an issue with oprics here?). It wasn't as if I wanted to go almost face first into goat, sheep, donkey, whatever piss and shit.

Now lets fast forward a bit. We made it back to the airfield, my fellow troops "helped" hose me off with 'fresh' water. Of course they only did it for their own personnal amusement, why else would they be there? I did get my M16A2, and uniform clean. I also unloaded all my mags and cleaned them as well as I could. Same went for my LBV and kevlar vest. One thing I could say about Somalia, Saudi, and Iraq, was when it was hot, things dry pretty quick. I didn't get to one mag AND you can't wash out codura or nylon as well the first few times.

One thing I did notice shortly is how ammonia laden urine will corrode things, specially turning brass turquoise in color. When we got rained on some of that remaining dried on mud in my gear would reconstitute and go back into my mags. I also noticed how that turquiose color stuff dripped out of my mags for months and having to dissasemble mags and finding the mag springs very corroded. I did toss them out. I laso saw how ammonia laden urine react to aluminum mags and they will corrode too at the seam and weld. You could see the turquoise colored drips from my mag pouches.

So you see, would a lab technitian would ever wonder how the 'whatever' would handle goat piss and shit? And would a soldier evaluating a 'whatever' think about diving into a goat piss and shit? I would have never thought of it either. And you don't see the gun mag rags peeing on their guns "just to see" how they handle it. And of course I don't go around doing it either.

The same goes for a freshly made B52 bomb crater with mud and water in the bottom laden with explosive chemical compounds and corroding steel. The water was black!! I didn't get into one but I knew one SAW gunner that did. And if you think that was my only experience of falling into a raw sewage enviroment with a gun, you'd be mistaken. But I'll save that for another day.

But it does go to show that in combat you will be exposed to things that no one would or could have thought of.

Tzoid, pee on your XCR and get back to us with that report.
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If all hell broke loose tomorrow and illegal hordes went nuts in the streets, L.A. Riot style, I'd grab my AR15 and call it a day.

40 years of service and the AR15 is still viable as a first world frontline weapon and has grown in popularity.

Nothing wrong with the AK47 I would just pick my AR15 up first.
I completly agree with, in every thing you said, and I know it wasnt your question. I just hate that question. Always starts arguements and all the arm chair commandos come and join forums to to put in their :2cents: and insisit there the most reliable source cause they know John Doe in the delta force who said so, or just any thing any thing to make them right and any one else wrong...
Also my XCR fell in cow poop ;D but I wasnt running through the streets of a city full of angry hostiles
Guess I'm showing my age... but I would say M14... 7.62 NATO... so sweet.
Guess I'm showing my age... but I would say M14... 7.62 NATO... so sweet.
I'm a huge fan of the scout model. M14's are awesome.
M14's rool! :ninja: Reach out and touch someone.
40 years of service and the AR15 is still viable as a first world frontline weapon and has grown in popularity.
Still viable.

Read the three URL's below and then get back to use.




The Col. got to Vietnam a few months before I did. I just spent an extra year there.

After you read his story, which in many ways parallel my own experiences, I would like to ask you a question.

How many American troops would you have to put in body bags before you would personally call the AR15/M16/M4 a failed system? This is a trick question, I personally have done it a bunch of times.

That is one reason I waited for a reasonable piston alternative. I think I may have found it in the XCR.

Go figure


Semper Fi

“Never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
--Sir Winston Churchill
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AK47, it's not the best at anything but good enough at everything.
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