I’m not going to spend a lot of time discussing that waste-of-skin loser that committed suicide in a mall in Nebraska and felt the need to take 8 innocents with him, but a co-worker brought up a point. Why the AK-47?
Why do bad guys like the AK? My co-worker has teenage sons and they want Airsoft rifles. What type of Airsoft rifle do they want? The AK-47 style.
(I personally hate the things. It’s not good practice to get a gun to shoot orange plastic Airsoft balls at your friends, then later in life get a REAL rifle and practice really hard never even pointing the barrel at anything you don’t want to destroy. Other than that issue, they are fine.)
When there is a shooting and it involves a rifle of some sort, you can count on the media saying "the gunman sprayed with an AK-47 assault rifle" even if they have no idea what kind of rifle was used.
So why is the AK-47 default for "gun that does bad"?
My theories are all over the place, and not even I am sure of their validity.
They are all over the news in the hands of bad-guys, thanks to the Soviet Union giving them out like ketchup packets at McDonalds. So someone with a bad boy predeliction for anti-social behavior might associate the Kalashnikov with Cool. Anti-Social is always Cool. Just ask James Dean. And the AK-47 is "the preferred weapon of your enemy, and makes a distinctive sound when fired" according to Gunny Highway in the movie ‘Heartbreak Ridge’ (all the Marines I’ve known have HATED that movie…)
So the AK has a Black Hat reputation that adds to its attraction.
It’s not really that good a rifle. Sure its action is reliable, but how many Bad-Azzes are going to drag their prestige bad-boy rifle through the mud and then need it to function? It’s round is ok. It will do the job, but it’s a little anemic for a .30 caliber. There are better alternatives. And there are more accurate long distance rifles than the AK, but if you are a dirtbag punk shooting up a public place your ranges are going to be pretty short.
The AK-47 is cheaper than those better alternatives, generally, but not by THAT much... Cheaper means more available to a Bad-Azz Dirtbag on a budget. But it is no longer cheaper, if it ever was, than a Ruger Mini-30 ranch rifle, the functional equivalent if you buy after-market magazines.
Should I be calling them "Bad-Azz Dirtbags"? Lately the only ones doing wrong have been ineligible to possess a firearm in the first place. And I bet there are actual Bad-Azz Dirtbags that nonetheless do not cause undue consternation to their neighbors and society and are anything but scofflaws. ‘Sofflaw Bad-Azz Dirtbag Loser Punks’ is just too much to type, I guess.
The ammo is cheaper, yes. Compared to other .30 caliber rounds, surplus rounds from Eastern Europe, or steel cased Wolf ammo in 7.62x39 is cheaper than .308. But it is no cheaper than other CARBINE rounds, like the .223 or 5.56mm.
But right now, the SKS is VERY cheap. The rifle can cost $100, and it’s the same round as the AK. Not as sexy, I guess, and it doesn’t have the cool looking banana magazine that holds 30 rounds.
So there are a few theories. The most compelling one is the ‘coolness factor’ that the rifle picked up. None of them seem to be enough to explain the AK’s popularity. Was there a big ad campaign that I missed out on? Anyone have any other ideas?
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