Alternatives to the AR

   10.27.15

Alternatives to the AR

Believe it or not, there are other semi-auto rifles besides the AR. Without a doubt the AR platform is one of the best all-time best sellers. It has not only been embraced (for good, bad or ugly) by the U.S. military and law enforcement for decades, but also by the everyday consumer as well. It is now manufactured by over 120 gun makers worldwide and the list is growing.

It is a fun rifle to shoot at targets, useful for many types of hunting, and is a good solid choice for survivalists and preppers, ranchers, property owners, bug out patrolling, home defense, and a myriad of other applications. But, while the AR rifle makes a good selection for all kinds of shooting work, it is not the only choice out there.

Top on the list of alternatives to the AR rifle and its .223/5.56 chambering is probably the Russian created AK. Typically we think of this rifle as the AK-47 military base model, but there are numerous other configurations as well, not to mention other origins of manufacture, too. The AK is definitely a hard working rifle and the 7.62×39 is a proven round as well.

Over the years some accessories makers have designed some ways to replace the stamped metal top cover with ways to supply a mini-Picatinny rail for scope mounting. Some other aftermarket accessories are available, too. AK ammo is readily available. Russian made, steel cased ammo is fairly cheap in more than one way. Prices for these rifles have escalated over the past few years, mainly due to fluctuating supplies.

Other manufacturers that make various models of “assault” type semi-auto rifles include Heckler and Koch, FNH (Fabrick-Nationale), Auto-Ordnance-Thompson, Sturm-Ruger (Mini-14), and Beretta, CZ among others. Some of these are carbine type rifles that use pistol cartridges like the 9mm and 45 ACP but are still worthy of consideration. I probably missed some, too.

Companies like Springfield Armory (M1A) and DSA (FN-FAL remakes) make upscale rifles that handle the .308 Winchester or the 7.62×51. These are heavy duty, heavy weight rifles, but control the .308 very well. I saw recently where some new maker is trying to bring out a new copy of the CETME/HK93 in .223. That would be welcome addition.

Though the AR is a top seller, there are other viable options to consider, so shop around.

Avatar Author ID 67 - 198160182

Award winning outdoor writer/photographer since 1978. Over 3000 articles and columns published nationally. Field & Stream Hero of Conservation in 2007. Fields of writing includes hunting most game in American, Canada, and Europe, fishing fresh and saltwater, destination travel, product reviews, industry consulting, and conservation issues. Currently VP at largest community college in Mississippi in economic development and workforce training with 40 years of experience in Higher Education. BS-MS in wildlife sciences from MO. University, and then a PhD in Industrial Psychology. Married with two children and Molly the Schnoodle.

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