I know it probably seems like I’ve been lazy about writing the last few weeks, but all will be explained shortly, and then I’ll be back to my usual pace of complaint and petty griping. But it’s not happening today because tomorrow, we hunt that most delectable of animal foes, the ring neck pheasant.
In the AM tomorrow, myself and a few other guys are off to shoot little birds with big guns. Then later in the afternoon all the wives, girlfriends, kids and pets will be gathering at my house where I will spend several hours cooking up the aforementioned provocateurs, along with an assortment of other things that would make my vegan state Assemblyman’s head explode. (I wonder if it’s too late to invite him?)
I’m confident that much fun will be had by all, but even if it’s not, much fun will be had by me, so I’m OK with that. And in the spirit of sharing a little of the fun, I’m reposting a piece I wrote last July with tons of fun video embedded. Ladies and gents I give you, the venerable, AK-47. When civilization is about to end, accept no substitute.
- And There Was Much Rejoicing
16 July, 2007
This week, that most prolific of firearms the AK-47 turns 60 years old. It's a big event in all places that used to be havens for communism, and there are celebrations going on worldwide wherever the "people’s revolution" was a cherished idea. "The New York Times" is no different, and they’ve done a big article on the subject for this past Sunday’s publication, which speaks in glowing terms of both the rifle and it’s creator.
Normally you would think this must be a tough place for "the peoples newspaper" to be in. Their bias against guns of any kind and "assault weapons" (whatever the hell that means) in particular, is well known. But true to form, they managed to find a way to spin the article so that the noble "peoples revolution" continues. And there is still room for a negative blurb about America, claiming that the US is responsible for Russia's economic demise because it buys "knock-offs" for distribution among it's client nations in the third world.
There is no doubt about it the AK is everywhere. Many reliable estimates say that there have been over 100 million rifles produced in that form. You can buy them on the street in Karachi for about $50, in Baghdad for $100, and in most of Africa for the local price of a goat. Here in the US, the fully automatic version is illegal unless you happen to have the highly restricted license for it, but the semi-automatic knock-offs can be bought in the states for about $300 in both pre and post ban configurations, and with an assortment of options.
As the proud owner of one of the afore mentioned knock-offs, I'm here to tell you that everything you have heard about it's reliability is absolutely true. In fact, if anything it may be a little understated. This clip shows someone proving the point in unbelievably graphic terms. Firearms fans can’t help their reaction when they see this. Personally I find the gasping and cringing it causes almost as entertaining as the video itself.
Afghan soldiers clean them with their boot laces dipped in motor oil, the central American contras cleaned them with old rags and their fingers, and the child soldiers of west Africa don't clean them at all. With the AK, it doesn't matter. I've seen them thrown in the mud. I've seen them with a fist full of sand dropped into their works. I've seen them stood on, dropped, run over by cars and abused in a dozen other ways. So long as there is ammo in it, it will go bang. "And when you run out of ammo" a former Russian paratrooper once told me "you can still beat a man to death with it."
Of course, this reliability is not without costs. The tolerances of a Russian AK-47 are not what most Americans are trained to expect in a firearm, to say nothing off the fast and loose manufacturing methods used on the knock-offs. Produced in communist run factories where "quality assurance" was considered a foreign and suspiciously capitalist sounding term, many look like they were made in someones garage with hand tools. And because of that, the accuracy suffers greatly against American built weapons. I'm told that there are some AK's out there which are as accurate as an AR15, but if that's so, I've yet to see one. With mine, a semi-automatic Romanian knock-off, the first 10 shots can be put into a pie plate at 100 yards if I shoot slowly and use a scope. But after the barrel heats up, and it heats up quickly, then the accuracy drops off the cliff.
It also fires slowly compared to many automatic weapons. Here is another video of a guy abusing his AK. The smoke you see coming off the barrel is caused by the barrel getting hot enough to burn the wooden front hand guard, turning it’s underside into charcoal.
Naturally the Times has it’s own perspective, but for those of you think the AK is only a gun for bad guys, let me give you some related history. In Rwanda, over 100 days in 1994, they had a civil war where roughly 800,000 people were killed, many of them women and children. But it wasn’t the AK-47 that was used for that slaughter. The weapon of choice in that war was the humble machete. So contrary to what every gun-banning politician in the US would have us believe, when they got rid of virtually all of the guns, the murder still continued and at a terrifyingly rapid pace.
History has a way of making fools of those who ignore it, and the gun ban crowd is no different. For instance, in the 20th century over 100 million people were killed by their own governments. But for the AK-47, it may well have been 200 million. It may look scary to American eyes, and it may be thought of as a weapon of criminals and fiends, but the AK is the weapon of self-defense in the places where the government would be the only one with guns otherwise. And in places like that, the government is usually the last people you would trust with a gun.
It’s an effective, reliable, discount product, made for the man (or woman) who can’t afford anything else. It's the walmart special of combat firearms. And for 60 years in the places where it's needed most, it does just what it's always needed to: it gives the peasants a means with which to push back.
Here is a little more entertaining history on the AK. Presented for your viewing pleasure on a slow Monday.
It's an ironic bit of history that for the 60 years where the AK47 has become such an icon, it was illegal for most civilians in the eastern block to own them.
Also, this other piece of video is too much fun not to post. Remember when I said that the barrel tends to heat up a little?