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Old May 11, 2013, 03:15 PM   #1
LouisianaAviator
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AK74 For Home/Self Defense?

I keep my trusty S&W Model 625-4 (.45 ACP revolver) by my bed at night right now.

I've been shooting my AK74 lately and was wondering thefiringline's thoughts on using an AK74 for home defense. Apparently Hornady now makes a "self defense" 5.45x39 load in the form of their V-Max ballistic tipped rounds.

I'm not much of a shotgunner, so the AK74 would seem like a nice little carbine to keep in case of a bump in the night: 30 rounds vs 6 of my .45.

But how does the self defense 5.45 loads compare to a good ol' .45 ACP +P JHP? I mean we're talking a .22 cal bullet (albeit going very fast) vs a .45 bullet. Would a shot from the AK74 loaded with V-Max do more damage than a .45 ACP +P 230 grain JHP? I mean we're talking a .22 cal bullet (albeit going very fast) vs a .45 bullet Are there any ballistic gel tests of the 5.45 V-max?
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Old May 11, 2013, 03:35 PM   #2
444
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Pretty much any rifle (including yours) inflicts MASSIVE damage to a human body.
Pretty much any handgun, drills a hole through a human body. Even with expansion, it isn't very dramatic. This applies to the .45 ACP.

So, in summary, the rifle you are considering will cause FAR more damage than your handgun. The magazine capacity probably won't matter, but the power of the rifle cartridge does.

I don't know about ballistic gel tests. And frankly, I am not very interested in their results.
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Old May 11, 2013, 10:38 PM   #3
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The 5.45X39 cartridge is an excellent, well balanced anti-personnel round.

Hornady's new offering should reduce penetration adequately to make it viable for home defense. I believe this is similar, or perhaps identicasl, to the ammunition they furnish to law enforcement SWAT operators for urban scenarios.

This round would be several orders of magnitude superior to a .45 ACP.
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Old May 11, 2013, 11:07 PM   #4
M1ke10191
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AK74 For Home/Self Defense?

It would be a fantastic liberal deterrent. Seriously though, I think anything coming out of a carbine wins against whatever handgun may be available. As for the actual caliber debate, I couldn't tell you.
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Old May 14, 2013, 09:05 PM   #5
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Cautionary digression

I remember about 4 years ago reading about a "mock trial" where actors portrayed a defendant, witnesses, prosecutor, defense attorney, judge, etc. The two juries were college kids. The actors tried the cases exactly alike, with the exception that the "murder" weapons were an AR15 with a menacing high capacity magazine, and the other a "cowboy" lever rifle. The issue was self defense.

The "jury" unanimously convicted the defendant who used the AR 15 but acquitted the defendant who used the "cowboy" rifle to defend himself. Everything else in the mock trials was the same.

I think about that sometimes when I choose a particular weapon with which to arm myself. The AK74 would be a very adequate weapon with which to kill someone in your house. Not so sure that it would be my choice of weapon to have a prosecutor parade before a jury.

The choices are yours. Good luck and happy days!
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Old May 14, 2013, 11:32 PM   #6
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I would most definitely recommend an ak 74 for home defense. Its what I feel comfortible shooting, what I like shooting and what I trust.

As far as the type of ammo theres nothing wrong with using the good ol surplus 7n6 against would be attackers.

And to the comment above: I choose reliability of a specific gun and cartridge long before I start to care what a jury thinks I should use.
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Old May 15, 2013, 02:32 PM   #7
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The Russian 74's muzzle brakes, have way to much flash expenditure. May I suggest putting on a flash hider...like the A-2, that I have on mine. Muzzle jump is miminal with the A-2, on my Saiga 74, but I would be hesitant in using a 5.45X39 for home defense, for fear of having some errant bullet go thru drywall; or hitting my next door neighbor's house.

Remember..."there's a lawyer behind every bullet."
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Old May 15, 2013, 03:14 PM   #8
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This guy has done some gel testing on the 5.45x39.
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Old May 15, 2013, 03:32 PM   #9
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I have had AKs before I have thought about what would happen if I used them for home defense. I came to the conclusion that the legal repercussions would not be good.

We were living on the outskirts of Denver and gangs would drop a couple of guys off to break into the cars. Our neighborhood was a good target because we had no street lights.
So the problem is you rough up one or 2 of them and they have a car load on stand by a block or 2 away. I had an AK47 at the time and it would be a great gun for a car load of gangbangers, but I am sure it would buy me a ticket to prison. So the AK stayed in the gun safe and other less vicious looking things stayed handy.

It think a 12ga or something more domestic looking just looks more like a average family guy trying to defend his home and family and would give a prosecutor a much harder time trying to make a case against someone.

Just my 2cents.
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Old May 16, 2013, 03:11 PM   #10
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I've shot both 5.56 FMJ and 5.45x39 Wolf brand FMJ at some steel plate targets on my range. The 5.45 went through plates that the 5.56 only moderately dented. I also found a hole in one of the metal support posts which has never happened with 5.56.
The point of this comment is that using 5.45 FMJ in any sort of populated area would be a BAD idea. I haven't tested the Hornady V-max but the 5.45 Silver Bear 55 HP penetrated about 12-15" in water filled jugs(2) and wet newspaper.
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Old May 16, 2013, 04:19 PM   #11
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If you already have an AK then use it if you have to. Chances are you'll never use it.

However, be prepared for over penetration. The bullet will continue to travel through the intruder into the next intruder or the next room or your neighbor's house.

The 7.63x39 at close range will go through a human body, well, like a.... bullet.

If you want to see some testing. of .223 click here
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Old May 19, 2013, 07:37 AM   #12
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Quote:
It think a 12ga or something more domestic looking just looks more like a average family guy trying to defend his home and family and would give a prosecutor a much harder time trying to make a case against someone.
I agree totally here. Most individuals have no idea the stress the human body experiences in a lethally confrontational situation. Why limit your target zone to specific aim when you can and will do more damage with less expenditure of ammo using a good shotgun and heavy #00 9 or 12 pellet buck shot? Further a good high capacity pump gun action will often deter a would be intruder before ever triggering a round. Everyone knows the sound of doom associated with the pump action 12 gauge.

AK47's are great for urban warfare, but I'd go with a high capacity pump for home defense any day.
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Old May 20, 2013, 06:40 PM   #13
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AK 74 or 47 would either one be excellent for home defense. My Current SWAT weapon is a M4 and I consider the AK to be as good, if not better than the M4.
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Old May 20, 2013, 07:29 PM   #14
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I have an AK74 sitting beside my bed right now. The Hornady's are great at minimizing penetration but will do maximum damage to bad guy.
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Old May 21, 2013, 01:39 AM   #15
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Quote:
Erno86 posted
I would be hesitant in using a 5.45X39 for home defense, for fear of having some errant bullet go thru drywall; or hitting my next door neighbor's house.
A .223 V-Max ballistic-tipped hollow point round will have FAR better terminal ballistics on the human body than any .45 ACP round, and at the same time it will fragment and penetrate through walls less than almost any handgun round or even most self-defense shotgun loads. I would expect a 5.45 V-Max to have similar results.

Quote:
Gmony.308 posted
AK47's are great for urban warfare, but I'd go with a high capacity pump for home defense any day.
A rifle like the AR-15 or AK-74 is is a superior home-defense weapon than a shotgun in my opinion. A shotgun's recoil can be difficult for some people, especially smaller, newer shooters, whereas an AR-15 or AK-74 has barely more recoil than a .22. Also, most semi-auto carbines are shorter than most shotguns and much easier to use one-handed. Pump shotguns can be cumbersome and require two hands, and semi-auto shotguns aren't usually as reliable as a good semi-auto rifle; and unless the shooter is extremely consistant, even a pump is less reliable than a rifle. And I can put 2 or 3 rounds center mass with a rifle as fast as I can hit just once with a shotgun, making the rifle more effective in the same amount of time. And contrary to popular belief, you do need to aim with a shotgun; at home defense ranges the blast is only going to spread a few inches. Also, a rifle is going to have a much higher magazine capacity and will be much faster to reload. In addition, the aforementioned V-Max rounds will punch through soft body armor but will penetrate less through walls than buckshot, meaning you're less likely to kill your neighbors or family members in another room.

If the sound of a pump shotgun is what you're looking for, the sound of a round being racked into the chamber of a rifle isn't exactly welcoming. But I don't like that tactic; it either means you didn't have a round chambered already or you're ejecting a round onto the ground. With a shotgun that's a good percentage of ammo lost. And don't forget that making that sound gives your position away.

There's nothing wrong with using a shotgun for home defense, but I think a semi-auto rifle in .223 or 5.45 is easier to use, more effective (especially against multiple attackers and people wearing body armor), and also safer for innocent bystanders because of less penetration through walls.
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Old May 21, 2013, 02:44 AM   #16
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AK74 For Home/Self Defense?

Sitting at my bedside now is a Remington 870 pump gun with 6+1 PDX1 Slug + Buckshot, but I'd be just as happy with an AK-47 or AK-74, and happy with my AR-15 too.

With long guns, threat-stopping ability becomes a much more comfortable reality.
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Old May 21, 2013, 10:26 AM   #17
Art Eatman
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At maybe ten yards, I shot a jackrabbit through the middle with a .45 ACP. He humped up and looked real sad for at least a half-minute before he fell over.

At around 50 yards, I shot a jackrabbit through the middle with a .223 and blew innards all over the countryside.
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Old May 21, 2013, 01:34 PM   #18
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Quote:
Why limit your target zone to specific aim
It's a shotgun, not a blunderbuss. Pellet expansion at typical target distances inside the home will be pretty minimal. Sorry, but you still need to aim the darn thing.


Quote:
Further a good high capacity pump gun action will often deter a would be intruder before ever triggering a round. Everyone knows the sound of doom associated with the pump action 12 gauge.
So, you're willing to give up a round of capacity as well as the element of surprise for some imaginary fright induction? Sounds pretty foolish to me.
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Old May 21, 2013, 02:08 PM   #19
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Positive:
-Much more effective round
-Generally more magazine capacity depending on jurisidction I guess.
-Can throw a very nice light on it if thats your thing.

Negative:
-Not by your side most of the time.
-Much more difficult to maneuver in house and need two hands. These are concerns depending on your particular circumstances however.
-Penetration issues in a big way. Also an issue depending your circumstances.
-As I have learned. These things are really really LOUD indoors.

Quote:
At maybe ten yards, I shot a jackrabbit through the middle with a .45 ACP. He humped up and looked real sad for at least a half-minute before he fell over.

At around 50 yards, I shot a jackrabbit through the middle with a .223 and blew innards all over the countryside.
moral of the story, rabbits try to be scare when you're around.

Last edited by zincwarrior; May 21, 2013 at 02:14 PM.
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Old May 21, 2013, 02:20 PM   #20
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Re: AK74 For Home/Self Defense?

Zincwarrior, the 74 does not have anymore penetration issues than a pistol round. In fact, it has less....
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Old May 21, 2013, 02:43 PM   #21
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Quote:
zincwarrior posted
Negative:
-Penetration issues in a big way. Also an issue depending your circumstances.
Like allaroundhunter said, the 5.45 will only have penetration issues if you use the wrong type of ammo. Hollow point 5.45 will be extremely effective and yet will penetrate through walls less than almost any hangun round, and also less than most shotgun loads.
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Old May 21, 2013, 02:45 PM   #22
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Really? Is that confirmed? how does a rifle penetrate less than a slow moving hollowpoint .45ACP?

If so thats helpful, but I'd have to see a lot of data to support that as its my understanding the 74 round is a Soviet tweaked version of a 5.56 no?

I'm not being hostile, someone just needs to clarify how exactly that occurs?
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Old May 21, 2013, 03:01 PM   #23
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I tend to recommend a pistol for in the home SD situations. if you don't have your revolver handy, a short carbine in 5.45x39 especially with vmaxs would be a good second place. perfectly suited for up close and personal combat and the Vmax would fragment and disintegrate if it were to hit a wall preventing a lot of collateral damage.
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Old May 21, 2013, 03:27 PM   #24
seanc
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zincwarrior: Check out the following website where they explore bullet penetration quite extensively concentrating on wall penetration results.

http://www.theboxotruth.com/

--> edit to add the interior link to penetration tests
http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/theboxotruth.htm

They have a lot of testing posted and their presentation is often entertaining. You'd be surprised at how far buckshot penetrates.

The key take-away is bullet selection, not just caliber. Though you won't find much on the 5.45x39 V-Max, it is essentially a sized down .223/5.56 V-Max and you can expect similar results, although the 5.45x39 velocity is not as fast as .223/5.56 from the muzzle.

Responding to the OP: I'm counting on my AK74 with 5.45x39 V-Max as my family self defense carbine. It is equipped for night-time use (sight/light/flash hider) and is stored in a biometric rifle safe for easy access. I also have a pistol with night sights and a TLR-4 light & laser in a biometric pistol safe. My quick access rifle safe also has a 20 gauge loaded with #4 buck - the wife prefers that to the AK74 .

Last edited by seanc; May 21, 2013 at 03:38 PM.
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Old May 21, 2013, 03:56 PM   #25
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zincwarrior posted
Really? Is that confirmed? how does a rifle penetrate less than a slow moving hollowpoint .45ACP?
A very fast-moving, light hollow-point bullet like a .223 or 5.45 V-Max is moving fast enough that it tends to fragment rapidly upon impact. A pistol round is much slower and heavier and therefore doesn't tend to fragment much, if at all.
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