Why the AK-47 type 2 is my weapon of choice in the urban Afghanistan environment.
Construction: The Type 2 has a milled steel receiver, it is robust and can withstand a lot of damage such as dropping, driven over. It has a chrome lined barrel, chrome piston which makes it easier to clean even if you are using corrosive ammunition. There are no small parts in the AK-47, all parts are built to last.
Ergonomics: There are not many niceties with the AK-47 but there are aftermarket parts available to enhance the ergonomics such as pistol grip, quad rail, forward grip, bi-pods and other accessories. The type 2 cannot accept aftermarket folding or collapsible stocks but they can be modified to adapt.
Operation: This rifle is easy to operate. The selector on the right side has three positions: Safe, Auto, repetition. The bolts handle is also on the right side. Easily operated with the strong hand in case of stoppages with the rifle against the shoulder and on target. You do not have to drop the weapon down to charge the handle and it is amazingly fast when doing this. The drills are very simple and quick. The trigger is also very smooth and breaks consistently.
Field stripping the AK-47: This weapon can easily be disassembled with one hand while slung or moving from one location to another (not recommend unless in a safe area) and it breaks down to six (6) parts and no tools are required. AK-47 can be field stripped in 15 seconds and reassembled just as fast:
1. Dust cover;
2. Return spring assembly;
3. Piston/bolt carrier assembly;
5. Piston chamber;
6. Stripped AK.
Cleaning and assembly: The AK-47 is easily cleaned with modern cleaning and lubrication products on the market but the most used cleaning and lubrication item in Afghanistan is diesel fuel. Diesel fuel is readily available and has enough lubrication properties to lubricate the AK-47 without any adverse wear or tear. To assemble the AK-47 just reverse the process.
Accuracy: The AK-47 is designed around the 7.62x39mm cartridge. This is an intermediate cartridge and is effective and accurate to 300 yards to hit a man sized target. The weapon was designed as an assault weapon and not as a long range rifle. A good shooter can effectively hit targets out to 600 yards with this weapon and cartridge.
Dependability: This is its biggest virtue; it is very dependable and requires little maintenance or cleaning. It can go years without a detailed cleaning in hostile dusty environments and all working parts are interchangeable with other Type 2 and Type 3 AKM versions.
Conclusion: I have learned to trust this rifle and with any weapons system I have learned the pro’s and con’s and its limitations. This is not a specialized weapon but it can do a lot as long as I understand its capabilities. Is it the end all be all weapons system? No. Are there more accurate/better rifles out there? Yes. Does this rifle suite the environment and conditions I operated in? More than enough yes.