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Crow Hunter
July 16, 2012, 09:16 AM
I have seen quite a few posts about different rifles for defense. Many people have questions about what gun/caliber/optic/etc.

One of the tests that I personally did helped me a lot and I thought it might help some others make a decision or like in my case, discover some things about a favorite rifle that you don't like.

Remember, BE SAFE!

Test setup:

-Rifle setup as you plan on "using it"
-3 magazines
-6 rounds
-Actual or simulated cover (I used a big green garbage can)
-Stop watch
-Preferred magazine holders
-Target

Test method:

1. Put the targets at your "expected engagement range". (You can use smaller targets to help simulate longer range if needed)
2. Load 3 rounds into one magazines, 2 into another and 1 into the final
3. Mix the magazines up so that you don't know which is which
4. Place in magazine holder/s
5. Start Stop watch
6. Load rifle
7. Fire 2 rounds standing, 2 rounds keeling and finally 2 round from prone doing mag changes as needed trying for perfect hits
8. Stop the stop watch
9. Record time

Repeat using opposite side of cover. (Preferrably on your off shoulder)

I would do it 3 or 4 times each just to get a good random distribution of magazine changes in different positions. Average the runs and compare. See what you get and if you like your performance.

I did this back a while ago and while I have been an AK-47 owner and shooter since 1998, I was much faster and more accurate with the AR than I was the AK. I tried it 1 time with a M1A standard model. I didn't bother continuing. :o

At the time, I was using just iron sights. I was shooting at orange clays at about 30 yards. (I have tried it again with a red dot and it is even better, especially shooting from weak side)

My take aways from my personal test:

1. The sights on the AR were much easier to acquire and more accurate for me
2. Rock in magazine changes are more difficult from prone than straight in insertion
3. Bolt hold open with a bolt release is very useful, getting a click instead of a bang is aggravating in the test, could be a shocker in real life
4. Pistol grips are very useful for leverage holding a rifle doing mag changes
5. Longer and heavier rifles are much harder to maneuver than I thought they would be
6. When you are trying to go fast, it is very easy to "miss" with lock in mags. With the AK, if you miss the dimple in the front of the the magazine and "under insert", it can get jammed in place and it won't feed. (This is with a Polytech AKS and Chinese magazines) You you have to smack it to get it out. With the M1A, you think it is seated, until it falls out when the action cycles :o
7. Having to reach around and charge the rifle seems to take forever when you are trying to be fast
8. You can jam the AK magazine down in the dirt and push it forward to "load it" and it helps to control recoil a lot

I did my original test using orange clays. I set it up with just 5 clays in case I missed one. What I found interesting is that I often missed one of the clays with the AK, but never with the AR using the small aperture. It was about equal using the large aperture on the AR. With the AR and the small aperture, I was shooting and hitting the larger pieces of clays with the extra round left over.:cool:

I plan on doing it again with my brother's SCAR-L with a Eotech XPS vs my 6920 with Aimpoint M4s when it cools off some in the fall when the last of the hay has been cut on the farm at a longer range, just to see what happens.

Of course your personal results may vary, but I thought this might be useful as a yardstick to compare different rifles other than by "feel" or "fit and finish" or what you read on the internet from people like me.:D

Achilles11B
July 16, 2012, 10:29 PM
Sounds like a great test and some good training overall. Now to find some place I can try it out...

Crow Hunter
July 18, 2012, 09:24 AM
I actually did it the 1st time in my parent's backyard (out in the country).

I plan on doing it again later this year in a hay field that I can technically go up to 400 yards or so on, but I don't figure I will try it that far, although, my brother does have a new steel target that might make that fun.

I was really surprised by what I learned doing that. I had always preferred the AK due to issues that I had with Bushmaster rifles, after I got my Colts I decided to develop a head to head comparison of them. The difference really caught me off guard.

Prior to that, I had always just "plinked" with my rifles standing on my hind legs offhand other than sighting them in. I never actually tried to fire and load them like I would if I needed them "for real". I was a real eye opener for me.

I thought it would interesting to see if others got similar results or if I am an anomaly.