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I figured there would be no better place to post this than AK Forum :grin:

This will be long-winded, but I'm curious in hearing how you guys ended up on the dark side too. I've always respected firearms, always liked them, but didn't own one until earlier this year. I guess you could say it's a freedom I took for granted. And it took legislation in my home state (and a national push) to make me realize, there could be a day (unfortunately probably soon), where firearm ownership could be gone.

So, I started with a handgun. I wanted something for personal/home defense and chose an FNX-45 double stack .45. I love it (still one of my favorites). I'm friends with a few veterans and in talking with them, they helped me see a handgun is great for a deterrent, or in close quarters, but in a true SHTF scenario, it's almost worthless. It's even more worthless of your attacker has soft or hard body armor. One of them offered to sell me his slightly used AR-15. It had about 500 rounds through it and I jumped on it. I shot it a few times and enjoyed it, but I wasn't passionate about it.

I'm from the video game generation. I'm the guy who likes to play with the AK-47 in Call of Duty series lol. I always gravitated towards them at gun stores, or in the movies. Historically, it always fascinated me how a rifle (designed to combat the Nazis in WW2) had proliferated the world, been the gun of freedom fighter and tyrant alike. I've read it's legendary stories, tales of its reliability and strength. That always stuck in my mind. And arguably, for someone who isn't a collector, and owns firearms simply for peace of mind, protection - that's what I wanted.

The lines of an AK, it's outline, the components, just begged to be held. The way the dust cover merges with the gas tube and receiver, the cleaning rod below the barrel, the magazine hooking forward - the stock. It all combines to create a truly beautiful weapon.

So I picked one up. Long story short, it was a PAP M70 from Century Arms and I had feed issues with the single stack bolt. For a brief period of time, I thought about just relegating my AK fascination to the back burner and focusing on the AR. But I couldn't.

So I bit the bullet and purchased one of the most highly recommended variants I could - an Arsenal milled SAM7R. And I'm sitting here, and I realize . . . yes, it's not as fancy as the AR. Doesn't have all the accessories my AR does. It won't reach out and introduce someone to their creator from 800m. My veteran friends talk about how the it's the rifle of the "enemy" and too basic, too simple, etc. But it doesn't matter. The look, the feel, the simplicity, the ease of cleaning, the ruggedness, everything about it I love.

The AR is now in storage and this SAM7R is my go-to weapon. It is something I hope to pass down to my children one day. Something I hope I never have to use in defense . . . but I know if I do, it'll work. It'll go "bang" regardless of how dirty it is, how much dirt or mud is in it, or how much it's been pampered. It is affordable to shoot. I don't have to scour online stores to find ammo under 40 cents a round. It'll eat steel cased ammo. It's effective under the most common engagements one would find on the battlefield/SHTF - at or under 300m.

What more can you ask for in any firearm?

So what brought you guys to this forum? What's your fascination with the AK platform?
 

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When I was a kid we'd often go up to Chicago to see family. We'd see the usual tourist spots to include the Museum of Science and Industry.

A cousin of mine served aboard a sub back in the late fifties to early sixties. My understanding was they'd shadow East German subs. While touring the captured German U-505 at the museum my cousin would translate various nomenclature plates on the sub and compare it to the systems used on the sub he'd served on. Before long the entire tour was listening to him instead of the 18 year old tour guide.

It left an impression on me, knowing your enemy's equipment and how it compared to your own. I'd decided at about the age of three I was going to serve in the military and never faltered from that. It was not likely we'd be facing off against the German's again so I followed his lead and took up studying the Soviets. It's been quite a ride!
 

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ellisoc6 said:
So what brought you guys to this forum? What's your fascination with the AK platform?
Essentially, some of the same reasons as you, albeit, I started about 10 years ahead of you.
I'm notoriously rough on my "toys". Cars, trucks, knives, etc. I ask my equipment to put up with a lot more bullshit than I'm willing to take from it.
I'm also a fan of anything that is so cavemen simple than it seemingly can't not work.
I'm also a cheap bastard.
I think you can do the math from there.
 

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For me guns had always been a fascination, especially the history behind them. My first gun was a German P-08 Luger my grandfather gave me when I was young. That got me started...so naturally I wanted a Russian Capture K98 to go with it, but my mom decided to get me a .22 instead for Christmas. From there years later I joined the USMC from where I decided it would be a good idea to know about the very things that will most likely be shooting at me. Know your enemy, the strength and weaknesses. From there I came to have a great deal of respect and admiration for the AK after learning more about it compared to the weapons I was use to. For me, they are practical, simple and reliable guns, and if SHTF, I wanted one by me. So I joined the forum and started researching build methods, and asking any questions I had. I now have 5 builds under my belt and love browsing the forum to learn anything and everything I can about them.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Great stories! Keep them coming!
 

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Soldier of Fortune Magazine, the early years were the best. I purchased a Belgian FAL and the AK came along later when the Steyr Egyptians hit the market. 7.62x39 was very hard to come by back then till the Chi-com imports hit.
 

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Spent 25 years in the military, and when I retired I found I was more interested in the weapons of our adversaries than what we had.

The more I learn about the Kalashnikov, the more interested I become.

I work with a large number of AR fans, and even know someone who is a customer builder of those rifles. I've shot more than my fair share of them, but they just don't appeal to me like the AK does.

Lastly, being a history buff; I think the AK could easily be one of the most influential weapons in history.

What's not to like?!? :grin:

Cheers! M2
 

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majormadmax said:
Spent 25 years in the military, and when I retired I found I was more interested in the weapons of our adversaries than what we had.

The more I learn about the Kalashnikov, the more interested I become.

I work with a large number of AR fans, and even know someone who is a customer builder of those rifles. I've shot more than my fair share of them, but they just don't appeal to me like the AK does.

Lastly, being a history buff; I think the AK could easily be one of the most influential weapons in history.

What's not to like?!? :grin:

Cheers! M2
My sentiments exactly! Well said.
 

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That's what really got me into it: the history. I bought my first, a CAI Polish 1960, and I founf out a bit about the old barrel launching grenade technology. I found out how to field strip it and it was ridiculously easy compared to the bootcamp crap. I found that accuracy was a non issue with my eyes.

AK, all day long. That original AK is gone now that I've realized how the underfolder butt grabs the ball of my shoulder. Find me an underfolder AR...
 

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Pops had a WASR when I was young. Had to have one.

Reliable, affordable, good looking. AKs were a no-brainer when it came time to decide between an AR or AK.
 

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I had just finished college and got employed back in 2007. Bush was on the way out and it seemed possible that our next president would reinstate the assault weapons ban.

Rewind: My dad grew up in Dallas and was a medivac Huey pilot in Vietnam and Cambodia. He saw a lot of terrible things that I would rather not repeat and which he only shared with me once in my life and as a result of those experiences in Asia, he suffered from PTSD. He also suffers from service connected (and that's according to the VA) early-onset Alzheimer's which his doctors attribute to being shot down in combat, losing his hand, having a severe concussion and various metallic shrapnel lodged in his skull and brain. He is in his mid-sixties, but he has lost almost every mental ability over the last decade, and in the process, it wasn't even possible for his doctors to give him the MRIs and CAT scans or whatever that other people would get, because the conductive material in his brain would make that too dangerous. As a result, we didn't even know exactly what was going wrong with him until it had progressed substantially. After Vietnam, he decided to let the chips fall where they may as far as violence and even self defense goes. We can all think what we want about personal responsibility for security, gun ownership and where we all stand, but after my dad's experience in Vietnam, he was sickened by war movies or the thought of weapons, and he was very active in the nuclear arms nonproliferation movement in the 1980s and I think he actually felt like he would rather just die than be part of violence, even for his own survival. I don't agree with that, but I didn't live through what he experienced, and I wouldn't even begin to judge him for choosing to live out his life as a pacifist. He lead a very impressive life after that and I am really proud of him. He was vice president of two large companies before the Alzheimers caught up with him. He is still alive, and he still has the core of his personality, which is good-natured and friendly, and even has his sense of humor, which now only amounts to him making people laugh by blurting various animal noises at random quiet moments. He doesn't remember anyone specifically, and when he speaks it's very hard to understand what he is trying to say.

All of this is just to share a tiny bit about my family and where I come from and point out that as a result, my dad didn't want me growing up with the same kind of militant mentality that he grew up with. I was not even allowed to play with toy guns until I was probably 11 or so and by then wasn't interested in toys anyway. I'm also part of the video game generation and as a teenager I greatly enjoyed rainbow six and the NATO weapon mod which added about 200 real life weapons and variants, along with little factual blurbs about each one. This sort of sowed a seed of interest in guns, but as a 14 year old or whatever I was, I was more impressed by whiz-bang ARs and G36s. I was aware that the AK was reliable, but that is kind of irrelevant in a video game. Not being allowed to play with guns or watch war movies certainly also spurred some forbidden fruit effect which probably has influenced my interest in weapons as an adult.

As a 7th grader at a public school near Seattle, liberal country, I had a teacher that was also a Colonel in the Army reserves and he had our class read a novel called AK-47, which is about child soldiers in Africa, and included a lot of scenes where the narrator described the guns being buried for months or years and then dug back up during times of conflict. The rugged durability of the weapon was made obvious and this was probably my first inkling of the AK's legendary status.

My dad at some point also told me about the horror of M16 stoppages early in its history, and he blames the weapon on the death of a friend. While I have since learned that the issues with the M16 design are not so cut and dry, and that the worst issue with ammo was corrected during the war, this biased me as a teenager against the AR. For that matter, my dad was issued an M14 for basic, and was only issued a .38 revolver after flight school. Of the M14, he called it accurate, but he also called it heavy and probably meant to sway my opinion of the technology by pointing out that the round could sequentially penetrate 10 people single file (or maybe he said 8, I forget). He didn't really drum up the AK either, though. I think he always believed Russian technology was "kind of crummy," and that bias probably comes from his own father, who was a Saturn V engineer. At this point, I would be more likely to generalize that Russian technology sometimes seemed crummy because it was sometimes designed to account for wider manufacturing tolerances, and while that doesn't reflect the best manufacturing, it is good design.

Fast forward to 2007, and with a genuine respect for peace and my dad's life experience, I also came to my own conclusion that peace is something that has to be actively maintained. I am very skeptical of the cold war proxy wars like Vietnam, but I believe that to the Vietnamese, the AK was an implement of freedom and without that and other dependable weapons, for better or for worse, they probably wouldn't have been able to exert their sovereignty. I take war and any form of violence very seriously, as I am sure many of you do as well, and while I would prefer peace on earth, I think people need weapons, and I think of it as a personal responsibility to keep and bear arms because I believe it makes life more valuable. An armed population is expensive to oppress, and an armed individual is a mortal risk to rob or victimize, and if enough people are armed to assume all people might be armed, then every single independent person benefits from that perceived possibility of great strength. Now I'm preaching to the choir.

So I got employed and I wanted to take a big chunk out of my first few paychecks and buy some guns to keep and bear forever in the name of doing my little part of promoting and maintaining peaceful independence. It's been 6 years or so since then, and while I started with a Glock and CAI Yugo M70, I don't have either of those anymore because I have been buying and selling various AKs ever since, and by now, it has gone beyond just exercising a right or duty, and it has also become a hobby and fascination in the form of a sort of a pursuit of the perfect AK. I even owned an LMT AR for a while but I eventually sold it to fund other AKs. I like shooting ARs, but for me it boiled down to the fact that one weapon almost definitely can run with no maintenance at all, and the other gun runs as long as it stays oiled and runs clean brass. Since I didn't grow up dumping a million rounds through a .22, I will probably never be such a great shot that, when shooting under stress, (not comfortably off a rest) I doubt I could notice the difference between the accuracy of the average AR and the average AK-74. The functional simplicity of the AK is as good of a fit for me as it is for the various poorly organized and trained armies around the world that have fielded them. I was never a soldier at all, and I have no formal training at all. That said, I've spent enough time having fun with AKs in the mountains that I have total confidence in my ability to land multiple hits at realistic distances and that makes the AK ideal for me. I realize the Russians that originally designed and fielded it don't fall into this category of inferior training, but certainly the AK has accommodated for some of the most poorly trained fighting forces on earth. In my opinion, the AK is the perfect choice for pretty much any individual citizen with no military background, which isn't to say that it couldn't be wielded more effectively with training and a military background, but its definitely good enough without. If AKs didn't exist, then I'd probably be happy enough owning ARs, stocking the right ammo and keeping the damn thing wet, but I'd rather have one or two less things to worry about. It's still the case that 90% of my long guns are AKs and the pistols I own are mainly Sig p226s and Makarovs, and otherwise all pistols that someone has probably called "the AK of pistols" at one point or another, because they are all guns that are reliable and durable beyond any other attribute.

Sorry to type up my family history, but I enjoyed perusing the OP, and with all that my dad has been through, it feels good to share a little bit about him, how he influenced me, and as a result, how I got into collecting and posting on this forum.
 

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nexus/mk.7 said:
I had just finished college and got employed back in 2007. Bush was on the way out and it seemed possible that our next president would reinstate the assault weapons ban.

Rewind: My dad grew up in Dallas and was a medivac Huey pilot in Vietnam and Cambodia. He saw a lot of terrible things that I would rather not repeat and which he only shared with me once in my life and as a result of those experiences in Asia, he suffered from PTSD. He also suffers from service connected (and that's according to the VA) early-onset Alzheimer's which his doctors attribute to being shot down in combat, losing his hand, having a severe concussion and various metallic shrapnel lodged in his skull and brain. He is in his mid-sixties, but he has lost almost every mental ability over the last decade, and in the process, it wasn't even possible for his doctors to give him the MRIs and CAT scans or whatever that other people would get, because the conductive material in his brain would make that too dangerous. As a result, we didn't even know exactly what was going wrong with him until it had progressed substantially. After Vietnam, he decided to let the chips fall where they may as far as violence and even self defense goes. We can all think what we want about personal responsibility for security, gun ownership and where we all stand, but after my dad's experience in Vietnam, he was sickened by war movies or the thought of weapons, and he was very active in the nuclear arms nonproliferation movement in the 1980s and I think he actually felt like he would rather just die than be part of violence, even for his own survival. I don't agree with that, but I didn't live through what he experienced, and I wouldn't even begin to judge him for choosing to live out his life as a pacifist. He lead a very impressive life after that and I am really proud of him. He was vice president of two large companies before the Alzheimers caught up with him. He is still alive, and he still has the core of his personality, which is good-natured and friendly, and even has his sense of humor, which now only amounts to him making people laugh by blurting various animal noises at random quiet moments. He doesn't remember anyone specifically, and when he speaks it's very hard to understand what he is trying to say.

All of this is just to share a tiny bit about my family and where I come from and point out that as a result, my dad didn't want me growing up with the same kind of militant mentality that he grew up with. I was not even allowed to play with toy guns until I was probably 11 or so and by then wasn't interested in toys anyway. I'm also part of the video game generation and as a teenager I greatly enjoyed rainbow six and the NATO weapon mod which added about 200 real life weapons and variants, along with little factual blurbs about each one. This sort of sowed a seed of interest in guns, but as a 14 year old or whatever I was, I was more impressed by whiz-bang ARs and G36s. I was aware that the AK was reliable, but that is kind of irrelevant in a video game. Not being allowed to play with guns or watch war movies certainly also spurred some forbidden fruit effect which probably has influenced my interest in weapons as an adult.

As a 7th grader at a public school near Seattle, liberal country, I had a teacher that was also a Colonel in the Army reserves and he had our class read a novel called AK-47, which is about child soldiers in Africa, and included a lot of scenes where the narrator described the guns being buried for months or years and then dug back up during times of conflict. The rugged durability of the weapon was made obvious and this was probably my first inkling of the AK's legendary status.

My dad at some point also told me about the horror of M16 stoppages early in its history, and he blames the weapon on the death of a friend. While I have since learned that the issues with the M16 design are not so cut and dry, this also sort of biased me as a teenager against the AR. For that matter, he qualified with an M14, and was only issued a .38 revolver as a Huey pilot. Of the M14, he called it accurate, but he also called it needlessly heavy and probably meant to disturb me by saying that its bullet could penetrate 10 people in a row.

Fast forward to 2007, and with a genuine respect for peace and my dad's life experience, I also came to my own conclusion that peace is something that has to be actively maintained. I am very skeptical of the cold war proxy wars like Vietnam, but I believe that to the Vietnamese, the AK was an implement of freedom and without that and other dependable weapons, for better or for worse, they probably wouldn't have been able to exert their sovereignty. I take war and any form of violence very seriously, as I am sure many of you do as well, and while I would prefer peace on earth, I think people need weapons, and I think of it as a personal responsibility to keep and bear arms because I believe it makes life more valuable. An armed population is expensive to oppress, and an armed individual is a mortal risk to rob or victimize, and if enough people are armed to assume all people might be armed, then every single independent person benefits from that perceived possibility of great strength. Now I'm preaching to the choir.

So I got employed and I wanted to take a big chunk out of my first few paychecks and buy some guns to keep and bear forever in the name of doing my little part of promoting and maintaining peaceful independence. It's been 6 years or so since then, and while I started with a Glock and CAI Yugo M70, I don't have either of those anymore because I have been buying and selling various AKs ever since, and by now, it has gone beyond just exercising a right or duty, and it has also become a hobby and fascination in the form of a sort of a pursuit of the perfect AK. I even owned an LMT AR for a while but I eventually sold it to fund other AKs. I like shooting ARs, but for me it boiled down to the fact that one weapon almost definitely can run with no maintenance at all, and the other gun runs as long as it stays oiled and runs clean brass. Since I didn't grow up dumping a million rounds through a .22, I will probably never be such a great shot that, when shooting under stress, (not comfortably off a rest) I doubt I could notice the difference between the accuracy of the average AR and the average AK-74. The functional simplicity of the AK is as good of a fit for me as it is for the various poorly organized and trained armies around the world that have fielded them. I was never a soldier at all, and I have no formal training at all. That said, I've spent enough time having fun with AKs in the mountains that I have total confidence in my ability to land multiple hits at realistic distances and that makes the AK ideal for me. I realize the Russians that originally designed and fielded it don't fall into this category of inferior training, but certainly the AK has accommodated for some of the most poorly trained fighting forces on earth. In my opinion, the AK is the perfect choice for pretty much any individual citizen with no military background, which isn't to say that it couldn't be wielded more effectively with training and a military background, but its definitely good enough without. If AKs didn't exist, then I'd probably be happy enough owning ARs, stocking the right ammo and keeping the damn thing wet, but I'd rather have one or two less things to worry about. It's still the case that 90% of my long guns are AKs and the pistols I own are mainly Sig p226s and Makarovs, and otherwise all pistols that someone has probably called "the AK of pistols" at one point or another, because they are all guns that are reliable and durable beyond any other attribute.

Sorry to type up my family history, but I enjoyed perusing the OP, and with all that my dad has been through, it feels good to share a little bit about him, how he influenced me, and as a result, how I got into collecting and posting on this forum.
Honestly, one of the best posts I've ever read on a forum. Thank you for sharing the story of your father. True American hero.
 

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One thing to add here about our beloved Kalashnikov rifles; the weakest points of the system are its ammo, sights and the shooter. It's not nearly as inaccurate as the Fudd's and others claim it to be
 

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<-----As a small boy I saw this picture in a magazine, I was hooked the minute I saw it.

:goof:
 

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Corrosive said:
I'm also a fan of anything that is so cavemen simple than it seemingly can't not work.
I'm also a cheap bastard.
I think you can do the math from there.
Pretty much the same for me. It takes extreme abuse to make a properly built AK not work. Price was indeed a major reason when I got started. As I learned more about the history and variations, I became more on the collector side to a point that I could spot the fine details that differentiate one from the other. As a collector, price goes out the door. Some of my AKs are worth a lot more than a high end AR.

OP, I hope you enjoy the AK as much as I do. Welcome to the forum.
 

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+1 cgp Every AK is a history lesson from around the world and worthy of learning all you can find. I have unsuccessfuly kept plastic memories from my youth...they
eventually get soft and melt away to worthless nothings. The items I kept made from metal and or wood are still in perfect condition and valuable. AK's will last!
 

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I saw my first AK, SKS, RPD, T53, RPG etc., while serving in Mechanized Infantry (M113's) unit in Vietnam with the 25th Infantry Division.
After the war I had little interest in firearms and mostly got into going to college and chasing women and so forth. :grin:
Slowly got into black powder and pistol shooting .357 & 44 mag.
Along with a good friend., I purchased 65 acres of rural recreational (deep country) land in 1978 as shooting and horse riding/raising and started really shooting there and got an SKS, Mauser etc.
Then on to the AK's and later I got access to a really nice hobby machine shop that an old collector and machinist owned.
Spent many visits and years at that shop with a builder friend making AK's and other projects. Kept building and accumulating AK kits to build, bubba and to collect as time went on.
The shop was sold recently by the widow of the original owner who passed on some years ago. She kindly let us work there for free.
A passing of a great place with access to more tools than most can imagine., vertical mills, lathes, surface grinders, tools of every sort. But alas all gone.

I have my home shop (humble it is) to keep building.

For some reason I have little interest in the Chinese stuff I saw and handled and captured in Vietnam., and you seldom build that and the prices are pretty stupid, IMHO.. But I do have a double under Sile/Poly from back in the day and a Type 84 Chinese.
I have enjoyed building "Khyber" and "Tabuk" clone more than Vietnam stuff.

A fun journey of shooting, building and collecting.
 

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I was at the range shooting boring guns and there happened to be a fellow there with a AK 47 double folder, I was curious and asked him about it, he offered me a mag to dump, took 30 shots I was hooked
I now have a AK 47 underfolder and an AK 74 underfolder, I hunt hogs with my 47 bagged two in November, going again this November
 

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I wanted an FAL after reading a lot of SOF magazines and such but couldn't afford one. AR-15's didn't really trip my trigger with the "sprong" sound and all that besides they and the ammo were also too high...so I decided I would look into the Chinese AK-47 rifles since they were really cheap and you could buy the ammunition for next to nothing. Besides none of my shooting buddies had one so I thought what the Hell and bought my first one in a grocery store in Lubbock Texas when I was buying food for a weekend barbecue...That was around '86-'87 and I've always had a cache of them ever since.
 

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I have been fascinated with them since about 1994 or so, being only 11 or 12 I never had enough money to buy one, I had a Shotgun News and remember seeing $89 SKS rifles and $200 Norinco's, I had a friend that was in high school and he had a Mak90 that he debanned him self lol I always liked shooting it and have to say he kinda fueled the love for them. High school involved to much beer, girls and drugs to spend money on an AK. I think they where importing Egyptians and Romanian guns around that time and the Norincos had all but dried up, this was 97-99 iirc. I joined the Navy in 2001 and did not really get back into firearms till about 2004 when I purchased a Mini 14. Fast forward to 2008 I finally purchased an AK a CAI Polish Tantal. Doing research on it I landed on this forum and have been here ever since. I had the gun for about 3 months I think when I started buying kits and building my own. Moondoggies video series on youtube and the knowledge on this board helped ALOT!

Its a platform I enjoy shooting, it has its limitations but not many if you do your part. I also enjoy shooting the AR platform but my pockets are not deep enough to be as heavly invested in AR's as I am AK's lol. Besides the AK has a very rich history in design, use and variation that makes it a perfect for collecting, but having a complete collection would almost be unattainable IMHO. (unless you are a museum or Stottman!)
 
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