What Makes a Firearm Entry Level?
Kevin Felts 02.12.19
From time to time the term “entry level” will be thrown around. This is not just in the firearm community, but just about all circles of enthusiasm. For the sake of discussion let’s focus on the shooting sports community.
What makes a firearm entry level?
Maybe a combination of all three?
The example we are looking at is the WASR-10 AK-47. Why the WASR-10? Because it is one of the most hated and loved AKs on the market. Some people hate them because they use to cost a lot less than other AKs, and they can have various flaws in workmanship, such as magazine wobble.
What brought all of this up?
Awhile back I posted a comment on a YouTube video saying something along the lines of, “So the WASR-10 is the best AK for the money?” There were various replies saying the WASR-10 was one of the best entry level AKs.
So what defines entry level?
In July of 2017, Ak Operators Union, Local 47-74 posted a video about the WASR-10: Most hated AK47 in USA: WASR10 – 10,000 rds later. At around the 6:45 – 6:50 mark, there is a comment saying the WASR-10 is a good starter rifle.
The video states when the rifle was new it would give around a 2 inch group at 100 yards. By most standards that is acceptable. Some people may say it is not acceptable. However, a lot of brand name rifles right out of the box can barely make 2 inch MOA – depending on ammunition.
Awhile back I did an accuracy test of a Palmetto State Armory Freedom upper. Depending on bullet weight the rifle gave anywhere from 1 to 6 inch groups at around 100 yards. The rifle was straight out of the box with less than 100 rounds through it.
My Remington 700 Mountain Rifle chambered in 280 Remington does good to give a 2 inch group at 100 yards with Remington Core-Lokt,
If we took price as an entry level factor, would Glock be entry level? After using a Glock, the shooter could upgrade to a SIG, Wilson Combat, or Beretta?
Or maybe Hi-Point is entry level? From there the shooter can upgrade to a Glock, and finally to Sig or Beretta?
Of course we know that is not the way things work. Glock is the gold standard that just about all other handguns are judged by, regardless of price.
How many malfunctions had the WASR-10 had in 10,000 rounds? Just a handful, and those malfunctions may have been ammo related.
If we use reliability as a litmus test, then no, reliability is not a deciding factor.
Just as in the case of Glock, Sig, and Beretta, we know reliability is not a deciding factor on whether or not a handgun is entry level. While a Beretta and Sig may cost hundreds of dollars more than a Glock, the reliability is about the same. Some people may argue Glock is more reliable. For the intents and purposes of this article, and to be far to time tested and proven handguns, let’s say the reliability is around the same between the three.
If we can say reliability is around the same for a WASR-10 and top of the line AKs on the market, why would the WASR-10 be entry level?
Maybe the shooting sports community should stop using terms such as “entry level?” It seems the phrase is subjective to a variety of conditions.
Instead of “entry level,” maybe we should use something like, “best for the money.” After all, we could take two firearms around the same price range and get different results.