The Russian AK-47 Versus The American M16 – Testing Two Of The Most Iconic Post-WW2 Rifles

The AK-47 and the M16 were two important rifles of the period following the Second World War.

The AK-47, often known as the Kalashnikov after the man who developed it, was a Russian design developed in 1945, the last year of the war.

It was modeled on the German Sturmgewehr 14 assault rifle, which impressed the Soviets. It was first tested in 1946 and introduced into the Soviet Army in 1948. It is a gas -operated 7.62×39mm assault rifle which can operate as an automatic or semi-automatic weapon.

It has a 30 round magazine and an effective change of 350m (380yd).

To this day the AK-47 remains the most popular assault rifle in the world on account of its reliability, low cost, availability, and simplicity. In 2004, 100 million Kalashnikovs were in service, out of a total of 500 million firearms throughout the world.

The M16 is the American equivalent. It is a 5.56×45mm rifle. It is a development of the Armalite AR-15 rifle which had been produced in the 1950s.

In 1969 it became the standard firearm of the U.S. Army. It has a magazine of 20 rounds.

Like the AK-47 it can be automatic or semi-automatic. It has an effective range of 550m (601yd).

Also like the AK-47, it is used by many other military forces in the world. Around 8 million M16’s are produced worldwide. There are more M16s than any other 5.56 mm caliber guns.

In this video, R. Lee Ermey finds out which is the better rifle – AK47 or M16?


Joris Nieuwint

Joris Nieuwint is a battlefield guide for the Operation Market Garden area. His primary focus is on the Allied operations from September 17th, 1944 onwards. Having lived in the Market Garden area for 25 years, he has been studying the events for nearly as long. He has a deep understanding of the history and a passion for sharing the stories of the men who are no longer with us.